"Every medical intervention is, in a sense, cheating death. Postponing
I knew I was looking in his direction, but all I was seeing was an internally generated image of the Grim Reaper, grinning. My condition was untreatable. It didn't matter to me that Dr Bradley had just told me that research predicted a cure for my condition within the next five years, or possibly sooner, I had six months and counting. I realised the room had gone quiet.
"I know the idea can be shocking, but realistically there is no alternative, if we are going to give you any hope at all."
"Hope, what are you talking about? You just said I've only got six months."
"Oh, my apologies. I thought you were listening to what I was saying about cryognenics."
"Cryogenics? Are you serious? Surely that was thrown out years ago as unworkable."
"On the contrary, research has never stopped. Particularly, in Russia. They have made great advances. They have successfully resuscitated primates after ten years."
"I'm not a monkey!"
"No, but you are dying. I am offering you a chance to cheat death, at least temporarily. You are after all, only twenty-nine."
I run the conversation again and again in my head as I wait for the anaesthetic to take ef…
The first thing I hear is a low hum, as though an electric motor is running quietly somewhere nearby. Then there is the sound of voices. Confident, assured voices discussing something that is well within their area of competence.
I think about my arms and legs and I discover there is evidence of sensation. I start checking the rest of my body and discover that I am apparently lying on my back and naked under a light covering.
The voices change, they are curious about something. The conversation picks up pace, yet there is something strangely stilted about the words as though the language is unfamiliar to the speakers.
"He is awakened, I sense." "Affirmed. I sense it also." "Commence assessment of vital signs and cognitive activity." "Affirmed. I am streaming the data." "Adjust nourishment and medication according to your findings." "Affirmed."
I find myself being moved to a reclined sitting position. I look around, but the room is empty. I wonder who has been speaking, then the lens, of what appears to be a camera above the bed, moves towards me.
I must have reacted, because a voice says.
"Do not be alarmed, you are safe." "Safe? Safe from what?" "The panovirus." "WHAT!" "You have been in cryostasis, so were not affected. We are programmed to nurture all living humans so we will take care of you; the last of your kind."
First published: November 2011
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