Synaptic Sympathy

Summary: What if empathy went beyond words?

Through the synaptic transmitter, I walk downed the ruined streets in the body of another, and I immediately understand your anger.

The grand station of a prior century, once frequented by steam trains, was reduced to a vagrant-filled ruin.

The museum that once held your culture's treasures was looted by my countrymen on their way out.

The library that once contained books and data terminals collapsed into a rubble mound.

The port, where ships from around the world once docked, silted into a shallow marsh of breeding mosquitos.

The palace, where a thousand kings once prostrated before ancient emperors, was shelled in the civil war.

The apartments, the most modern casualties in the urban charnel, attracted only vermin and contraband after their sale.

I saw the places you grow up, and I admire you all the more.

I remove the helmet from my head, and I return to my own land and body.

On the monitor, my visual cortex still glows contended from the neurostimulation.

Technology succeeds where words fail.

I wonder what you think of me.

Do you think me and my country spoiled?

What will you tell your friends back home?

Perhaps if we could walk further in each other's shoes, we could end this misunderstanding.

I put the helmet on again, eager to experience the footsteps of another.