This is something I started a couple weeks ago.
“Thank you all. I believe these comments will be of assistance to the care team.” The official acronym for the Clinical and Ethical Advisory Board on Treatment of Debilitating Dyssynchronoses, CEABTDD, was enough of a mouthful that most called it Sync Board. The chair of Sync Board, Dr. Stacey Singh, wore a pin-striped unisuit and kept their braided silver hair coiled in a column atop their head. They spoke with the quiet authority befitting their half century of ministering to the temporally maladjusted, and all dozen attendees listened. “And now, case number three on today’s panel, Doctor Zealand, would you care to present the patient?”
A much younger person—burly male form in the traditional knee-length white coat of a resident-in-supervision—rose, nodded to Dr. Singh, and began, “Patient Q is a forty-six-year-old cis-gendered male in optimal age-appropriate physical health who was recommended to us for multi-spectral therapy following his failure to comprehend the charges brought against him in a court of law.”
“And those charges were…” prompted Dr. Singh.
“Criminal assault of a Vital Stabilizer with intent to kill. Also, reckless endangerment of innumerable supporting and dependent entities. Finally, with illegal possession and operation of a multiply destructive obsolete device.”
“Excuse me, Doctor Zealand,” said Dr. Singh, “but for this case I’d like to request that you provide additional details about the patient and his situation. Go deeper than we typically do at this venue. Show us, to what extent possible, the person of this Mister Q. Give him life. For after all, it is only through understanding a patient’s perceptions and drives that we may clear his path. Seek, with your words, to nurture empathy.”
Dr. Zealand pursed his lips, drew his eyebrows together, and looked down for a few moments as seeking help among his notes. Finally, he began again. “Very well. Yes. A chronological declaration of events may help.” He swallowed, cleared his throat, and drew a deep breath. “I should mention, however, that some of the particulars of this case are… well, they could prove upsetting to—”
“We are all here for one another,” said Dr. Singh, “and we are equipped to provide what moral support may be required.” Nods and murmurs of assent echoed this from around the table.
“Well then,” said Dr. Zealand, his voice incrementally less strained, “Patient Q is a native of the twenty-first century. He was born in the year two thousand twelve, so he lived through the collapse, the revolution, the movements and redistributions, and the famine. Or rather, he survived to see the famine. He’d lost nearly everyone by that point, and his occupation was obsolete, so he accepted the Sleep with a randomly assigned wake date of seventy-nine years post stabilization.”
“Which stabilization was declared…” Dr. Singh tapped a finger on chin. “Let me see… exactly seventy-nine years and twenty two days ago, no?”
“Yes. And accordingly, Patient Q was woken twenty-two days ago.”
“He had slept alone?”
“Yes. According to the notes on his consent form, he was averse to the notion of passing indefinite time among strangers, so he elected solo berth.”
“And upon waking?”
“Normal disorientation, but he adjusted quickly and moved through Awake Now course work efficiently. He registered for occupational retraining and a series of socialization sessions. He was deemed fit for discharge four days after waking, so he was issued a life kit and transported to lodgings.”
“Four days. That’s one day below mean.”
“Yes. He seemed particularly motivated to re-enter society.”
“Did he receive any sociosensual therapy during those four days.”
“No. It was offered, but—“
“Offered in patient-compatible language?”
“Um. He… he seemed to understand.”
“He seemed, if anything, angry—or maybe disgusted—when we described the services.”
“And did he pursue intimate contact with anyone at all prior to discharge? A peer in the orientation course? An instructor?”
“Not that we are aware. But… that’s not unusual, is it? I was under the impression that a large minority of newly woken persons elect to remain detached.”
“Yes, but a large minority of newly woken persons do not go out and commit violent acts within their first three weeks.”
“So… you think his sociosensual reticence might be related somehow to… to what happened?”
“Everything usually ends up being related to everything else, one way or another. But no, I have no particular reason to suspect a connection here. It’s only that the imperiopatriarchocapitalist ideas that prevailed throughout Mr. Q’s life, when once entrenched, are quite challenging to uproot. And as you know, such ideas contaminate and threaten all that they encounter.”
|What I Write
Speculative fiction that could be mistaken for something else (mostly science fiction, some fantasy, a bit of horror… all on the literary end of the respective spectra).
“Nine Instance of Rain”
October 1st, 2014