Alice laid back in the large reclining chair surrounded by several robotic arms with large bulbs at the end of each.
"Will it hurt?" she asked the technician.
"Only as much as a million needles filled with morphine at once. Basically, you can be made to forget."
"I don't want to."
The technician smiled, "A common request."
She looked up into the myriad of mechanical devices and stretched, positioning herself for uncertainty.
"It's time," the technician said and gestured on a panel to execute some commands.
Alice gasped. Lights flashed, lasers penetrated deep into her body, ripping flesh away; though with an extreme delicacy. In moments her body was completely pulverized in a flash of glowing debris. She was effectively dead.
The technician pressed a few buttons on a panel, glanced at the pile of ash laying in the chair, and exited the room, turning out the light.
Alice heard buzzing noises and beeps, sounds which would wake anyone from a slumber. She was laying on a table with various tubes and wires extended into her body. A technician was unplugging those which were in her leg.
"I see you're awake. Welcome back!"
Alice groggily exhaled, and took a few deep breaths, "I thought I was going to die."
"You did die," the technician mused, starting on her lower torso.
"So I'm fully upgraded now? I'm an Alt? It doesn't feel different at all," she said as she sat up and touched her arm which still had wires protruding.
The technician pulled more wires out and said, "Are you hungry? Imagine having the most delicious thing you can remember, and you will."
Alice touched her finger to her lip thoughtfully for a moment then snapped her finger, "I got it." She held her hands out, concentrated a bit, and low and behold, a large chocolate banana sundae was in her hands, spoon, bowl, and all. She looked surprised, "How is this possible?"
The technician responded, "The fact that you are holding a sundae? Or the fact that it is completely real?"
Alice held the sundae in one hand, and spoon in another, scooped up a bit, took a mouth overflowing bite, and savored.
"I have to tell Josh about this!" she said with bits of ice cream seeping out of the corner of her smiling mouth.
Josh arrived at the restaurant a few minutes early, when he told the maitre d' that he was there to see a friend, the maitre d' objected.
"Are you sure you want to meet her /here/?"
"This is where I was told to come."
The maitre d' hesitantly took him to Alice's table. As they walked Josh noticed that every single person there was completely motionless. Including Alice.
Josh looked confused, "What's going on?"
The maitre d' responded, matter-of-factly, "They're Alts plugged into the System. They are in fact enjoying a very wholesome dinner."
Josh looked at Alice, sitting there motionless. Her eyes opened at the exact moment he was supposed to have arrived.