Introducing Davis and the Magic Theater

Davis Marlenko Jr. had followed in his father's footsteps, joining the Navy and pursuing special forces training to become a SEAL commando, a warrior. They put him early through OCS upon his making special forces, and completing OCS, making officer, as his father had done. Enlisting and then making officer, stallions, they were called. Davis, a SEAL stallion by age twenty-two, presently of twenty-four, on leave for a month after a long tour of duty in the middle east, visiting his hometown of Austin.
Visiting a Western boutique, he bought a leather hat and boots, listening patiently but indifferently to the salesman's description of proper care for these items, Davis nodding politely but saying no thanks to the leather care products. Outside the store, he made a few calls to some old friends, looking for someone to watch a matinee out at the new tech plaza, but everyone had plans for the day, so he went by himself. The TV ads said they accommodated the single viewer just as well as two, or ten, or hundreds of moviegoers. Davis put his hat in the pouch on his motorcycle and put his helmet on, started the bike and rode out to the plaza. It opened for business more than a year before, but there were hundreds of cars in the parking lot.
At the box office he paid for a guided tour and waited service for one viewer. A cheerful teenage girl bounced up beside him, introducing herself as his hostess, showing him down a long corridor of entries into large theaters, the corridor opening at length into a great, round room with curtains into individual rooms. "The single viewing hall," she said. "We have booths on the other side for couples and small families, as well as the big screens for general admission." She led him to an available booth, seated him into the viewing chair, handing him a menu and queueing the demonstration video on the convex, parabolic screen, lit by a projector that emerged from above. She played the demonstration, pointing out the cameras about the edges of the screen, saying they register the viewer's expression and body language, and adjust the action for the best experience accordingly, and that one could watch the same movie multiple times and see a different version each time. A pair of actors appeared on the screen, talking to each other about motorcycles and folding origami. "All the acting is computer-generated," she said. "Even a lot of the scenery and music." Explaining further, that the computer took the composite filming of the actors, in various outfits and various readings and scenes, and computed the movie action, for the most part, on the go, information about the viewing uploaded in real time and the play-flow sent back from the datacenter, “Truly a theater of the mind."
Davis ordered a beer and a fresh pretzel. "Coming right up!" she cheered, keying the order to her handheld tablet. "Your waitress will be here in a minute," she said, continuing the tutorial.
"What if I don't like the movie afterwards?" Davis said. "Surely that's possible."
"Yes, of course," the girl said. "It just shows what it thinks you'll appreciate the most, compared to other versions rated by other viewers." She continued that one could rate the experience as the credits begin to roll, or if he wanted to leave early. Davis asked about the length of the show. The hostess informed him that, if he liked, he could set a preference for the duration of the viewing, otherwise payable in twenty-minute blocks. "Without setting the preference, and the computer picking up an interest in the storyline, I've seen people watch more than five hours."
"Set it for ninety minutes, please," he said.
"Sure thing," she chimed. The waitress arrived with his order. The hostess finishing the demonstration and tutorial, inquired what he thought, saying it was all based on his expressions during the time they had been talking. "All of that was made up?" he said and she nodded with glee. "Every bit," saying,"it thinks you like those actors, or that you would."
"How about that."
"None the same viewing twice!” she sang. “Would you like to select a movie, or let it choose for you?"
"Let it choose."
She drew his attention to a selector on the chair-side touch panel, showing how to prefer automatic selection for approximately ninety minutes. After a moment, the lights lowered and a movie started. She showed him how to order service at any time, then bowed happily and left the booth.

The End

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