“You okay?” the tech asked as he leaned in over me, checking the IV. I nodded, too nervous to speak. “Okay, then,” he said as he closed the door on the isolation tank. I heard the latch on the tank’s door snick closed and then a slight click as the intercom came on. “Can you hear me?”
“Loud and clear”, I replied.
“All right,” he said. “Get ready for the joy juice.” I couldn’t hear anything, but I knew he’d pushed the button that injected a rather large dose of Ketamine into my IV. “Have nice trip.”
In the days since signing up to be a test subject for what I thought would be everyday, run of the mill psychiatric research, I had spent a lot of time in working in sensory deprivation. Hell, it was getting so that was more comfortable in the tank than I was in my own bed. I can still remember when we’d found out that astral projection wasn’t just esoteric bat shit craziness, but something actually worked; the entire lab was silent for a second, then erupted in a full-blown nerdgasm when everyone realized what we’d done. Since then, I’d traveled outside my body more times that I could count and it was the single most exhilarating experience I’d ever had.
It wasn’t long after that the government guys showed up. We’re with DARPA, they told Dr. Zemanski and we’re interested in what you’re doing here. We think it may have applications in government service and we want to give you tons and tons of cash to further your research. Okay, so they didn’t say quite that way, but that’s what happened. The money rolled in, along with all kind of new toys and a bunch of new people with new ideas; one of which we were testing today. Some guy, supposedly a bigwig neuroscientist who knew all about this stuff, heard about a claim that hallucinogenic drugs heightened the out of body experience. He pulled out the old MK Ultra data, some of the most comprehensive research on the subject, and did some math or something and the next thing I know, I’m being asked to take another trip. If he was right, the combination of the tank and the drug should take things to a whole other level. And, I was about to find out just where that level might be.
I repeated the phrase and performed the hand movement that had been planted in my subconscious to automatically induce a hypnotic state. As I did, I felt the drugs begin to kick in. The Ketamine would induce sleep paralysis (for my protection) and, more importantly, open my mind and let me access the portion of my brain that allowed to me travel outside my body. And this time, not just travel, but actually do things. Real, physical things.
The “K” began to take hold and I felt the vibrations that signaled the beginning of the process of separating my consciousness from my body. Then came the high-pitched whine that let me know I was ready. I went to take the first step away and all of sudden I flew up and out of the tank, hovering for a moment on the ceiling. Holy shit, that was strong! In all my trips, I had never felt anything like that.
After a minute to get my shit together, I stretched out and aimed for the door. This first trip wasn’t going to be a long one, just get out and about and see if I could actually make things happen. Opening the door would be the big test. Of course, I had no need to open the door; when you’re projecting, walls and doors are no barrier at all. But, if I could open it in front of a group of observers still in the physical realm…, well, that would be a major step in the program. It would validate all the time, effort and funding that gone into it and Dr. Z would be very happy. And, when Dr. Z was happy, everyone was happy.
Getting to the door was nothing, By this stage of the game, I was an expert at moving around a room while traveling etherically. Once I got there, though, that’s when things got serious. With the enhanced hypnogogic state induced by the ketamine, tapping the part of my brain that made my consciousness concrete was much easier than I expected. I looked down at where my hand should be and sure enough, it began to manifest. I was only supposed to do my hand and open the door, but it felt so good that I kept going. Before I knew it, a entire body was standing there at the door, in front of the assembled scientists. But, it wasn’t my body. Well, it was and it wasn’t. It looked familiar, but it didn’t appear…, well, substantial. It was sort of like a solid shadow. For all of that, it looked a whole lot better than my physical body did. Muscular but not like a body builder, it was lean and athletic; like it could outrun that trouble that came its way, but fight like hell if it couldn’t. I looked down at the hand and the fingers, my fingers I realized, and smiled. This was beyond cool.
After spending a few moments appreciating this new and improved me, I reached out for the door knob, expecting my hand to pass right thru like it had every other time I had tried to touch something while projecting. But, it didn’t. It wrapped around the knob. I stood there for a second, not believing what I was feeling. My god, I was in the astral plane and touching something in the physical! No one had ever done this before! My mind relayed the command to turn the knob and the hand in front of me obeyed. The door opened effortlessly. I turned to look at Dr. Z and his colleagues. Most of the other scientists were stunned, a couple of mouths even hung open. No one thought we’d actually be able to pull this off. No one except Potter, the government guy whose idea this was. He’d been certain from the start and now wore an incredibly satisfied smile. He looked at the technician and said, “That’s enough for now. Bring her back.”
No, I thought (speaking hadn’t been worked out yet), I want to stay. But, the tech pushed in the drug that would counteract the “K” and bring me back down. I felt it flow in and, in seconds, my strong, beautiful shadow body began to fade. As the effects increased, I felt my consciousness being pulled back into the tank and my physical body and, then, in a rush, I was back.
They opened the tank and helped me out. It took me a minute to steady myself and, when I did, I turned and saw Dr. Zemanski standing there, Potter right beside with that smug smile still plastered across his face. “Well, Samantha,” Dr. Z asked, “how was it?”
I was shaking from the exhilaration I felt. I reached out and grabbed his arm and said, “More! Send me back. I’ve got to have more!” And, then, I promptly passed out.