He slid the wine glass across the table, the familiar sound of the glass gently scraping on the wooden table bringing him a sense of comfort and anticipation.
He swirled the wine in the glass, watching as the beautiful ruby liquid whirled softly. He paused, and watched the viscous liquid fall back into a smooth neat line, little tendrils of wine dripping down the sides of the glass.
Take a deep breath in through both his nose and mouth, he savoured the distinctive smokey notes of his favourite Malbec.
Ready, he lifted the glass to his lips, and awaited the sensations and tastes to dribble in with the wine.
Everything went dark, and everything about him went away. He was alone, in the dark.
Startled and aggrieved, he reached blindly ahead of him, until his fingers located the cold metal of the round button. He pressed it, fuming.
He felt the pod he was lying in roll out, and the lid opened. Bright light scalded his eyes. He pulled himself upright, and stepped out of the pod, indignant, furious.
"What on earth happened? I paid for 2 hours of simulation! That definitely wasn't...." He trailed off. In front of him, stood a gasping, panting woman, who was hurriedly unplugging all of the other pods.
"They're almost here! They broke through the barricades. They're past the soldiers and they'll be here soon. Run! Get out of here. Hide!"
He looked at her in disbelief, uncomprehending. She continued to unplug the rest of the pods, as more and more occupants started getting up, looking as confused as he felt.
"Get out, find somewhere safe. Save yourselves! They're almost here!"
Despite his resistance, understanding sank in. They were here. Fear bloomed in his heart. No one would be left alive, he knew. They were thorough, and they were merciless. All about him, people began to panic, voices raised in hysteria, bodies shoving and pushing to get to the door. Some were calling their loved ones. People were running, fleeing to perceived safety.
He stood there, unmoving, taking it all in. Then slowly, he turned back to the pod. He picked up the plug that lay listlessly on the ground, and pushed it back into the socket. He stepped back into the pod, lay down, and pressed the button. The lid closed over him, and the pod slid back into its chamber.
He took another sniff of the red wine that appeared before him, and took a sip.