"I was a gamer, too, you know, '' said the father, not for the first time. "That's what we called it." His daughter just looked at him or appeared to.
"It wasn't that different from what you do. Took reflexes, learning, training. Lots of caffeine. You learned to almost calculate things with your fingers." He showed her his left hand. "I had to quit when mine gave up." His daughter blinked. It could have been a stray current of air. The father clung to the hope that it was otherwise with the desperate speed with which once he'd have fired a shot at the last tenth of a second.
"But I understand. I could understand. Tell me how it is. I know it's not the same. But I could understand." His daughter looked away.
"I know," he said. "We didn't have cortical implants. We didn't rearrange our visual cortex for a dynamic number of dimensions. It wasn't possible, and at first when it was it wasn't legal." His daughter didn't look at him. She hadn't really wanted to focus on anything three-dimensional in the year since her eighteenth birthday surgery.
"It shouldn't be legal," he said to somebody else.
"But it is, sir," answered her team's lawyer from a VR window through which she was monitoring his visit. "And it makes her better at what she loves to do. You understand."
He looked at his left hand. "I do, I do." He sighted. "I just wish she would talk to me."
She remained silent, as she had been for months now, her prosthetic fingers threading impossible patterns inside the control fields while she began a new game in a place where he could not follow no matter how much he wanted to.
He didn't put a hand on her shoulder before leaving her training room. That would have distracted her.
"I love you," he said, knowing her reprogrammed senses were focused elsewhere. She didn't answer. She was in and for and she was the game.
Her father smiled at her. She had left him irrevocably behind in something that had infused and defined the lives of both, and that was also a form of love.