"If it makes you feel any better, we're in the same catamaran."
I couldn't make out the face of the figure towering over me. His head seemed miles above, but his chilling, emotionless voice was loud in my ear. I couldn't struggle or move in any way for that matter. I was paralyzed in a nightmare, able only to squint at my fuzzy, poorly lit surroundings as the palpable pressure threatened to cave in my chest.
Oddly enough, I didn't panic. Perhaps this was the kind of learning experience, albeit unconventional, I sought. That was life's highest purpose: learning. There wasn't much else to do anymore anyways. It was the future after all and hunger, poverty, disease, social strife and environmental degradation were the stuff of folklore. Some even questioned if such scourges ever really existed in an era where benevolent synthetic microbes digested all forms of waste and emitted clean air, a nutrient-dense paste and side effect-free super drugs as byproducts.
Self-discovery and refinement through full immersion in the fruits of human culture and ingenuity replaced scraping by to survive. Hence, my desire to pursue yachting as a pastime. But instead I found myself bobbing up and down in a hitherto unknown sea of unrest, fettered in a would-be pleasure craft with my perception hopelessly obscured. Odds are my nervous system had been invaded by a colony of synthetic microbes who had evolved a collective consciousness.
The shadowy lunatic looming above me was probably just a normal guy with his own dreams and flaws. At least we weren't drowning.