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Authors: Girish Karthikeyan

Remember (9 page)

BOOK: Remember
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A man enters brusquely from the
corridor after a quick series of taps to the door. "Hello, I'm Kurt. This visit is to tell you about the technology options that are available. I
'll try not to take up too much of your time today."

"I know nothing about it, actually."

He cocks his head to one side. "It is understandable not to know much about it.”

I just look at him deadpan for his non-explanation.

He shrugs. “That isn’t my department. I can tell you about your options. You already have L-tech. That is something you ingest and required for you to be treated. H-tech is optional."

"What’s the difference?"

He shifts his lips to one side. "H-tech will allow you to have interaction. That's the major difference. Taking H-tech is usually more difficult than L-tech. In this case, it will be easy. You are getting an intravenous solution. The tech can be given the same way."

"What do most people choose to do?"

"Almost all of them upgrade to H-tech."

"I’ll take it."

"I just need you to sign a form and we are good." He finds a plastic form and gives it to me, a consent form.

"I would also like to know about leg assists."

"You mean A-tech. That is what you mean, right?"

"I guess so."

He closes his eyes for a second before continuing. My ignorance to all things tech requires creative thinking. "You will get a few containers of A-tech. You have to attach each container to the port on your clothes. Just leg, right? To your pants, then. To work correctly you have to use full length mode."

"What port?"

"I will show you a short walk through."

He just goes to the tv and the image changes. He explains how to use a computer to create the port. I just have to choose the accessory port on my forearm and touch the set of clothes. It looks simple.

"As you saw, the A-tech is an external device. It has the functionality of a computer without the need for implantation. Other interaction methods over an embedded tech screen can be used. They just require a lot of practice. They go generally unused.”

"Do I get to try it before accepting?"

"Before it is installed, that is almost impossible. Each instance of A-tech is only set to respond to a specific user’s H-tech. Without one, you can’t use the other. "

"How does tech work?"

He enters into the mechanics with the ease of a well-practiced expert. He eyes stay unwavering. "It is just an intricate distributed mesh network. A large number of separate computers create a grid within your body. The finer details are too complex to understand without multiple advanced degrees. Nevertheless, the documentation details it. That will be provided after you give approval."

"What do I have to do to begin?"

His degree of oration drops to clumsiness. "Just sign this form, actually both forms. The one I already gave you and this one. I will also need a print, a finger print."

"Okay, how do I give a finger print?"

"Oh yeah, here is a print pen," Kurt says as he takes a pen and gives it to me. "You see, this device gives a notification sound when it gets a successful print. Oh, here is the form."

"I just use this pen and that's it." I start signing without reading it much.
The language is not something that can be contested.
The pen chimes when contacting the paper.

"You got it! You can keep the form after I send it in for more information. I can also transfer the forms onto one pad."

I give him all the clear plastic pages. “I just have to scan it for our records. Here you go. Thanks for the time."

He rushes back in, right after going out. The exertion blushes his face and neck. "I forgot to say one thing. The nurse will give you the H-tech and install the A-tech on the clothes you brought with you. Thanks, again for your time."

 

(—)

 

"Sorry for the wait. Here's the H-tech."

Stacy produces a large syringe of a silver translucent liquid. She attaches it to the other port on that white weightless infusion box with a short tube. The contents don't seem to move at all.

"That will take about an hour or so. The I.V. controller," as she holds onto the white box, "will send me a message when it is done. You do know the possible side effects, right?"

 

Technical Issues

Tues 4/18/17 4:03 p.m.

 

"Y
ou will feel drowsy."

"What?"

"Just stay calm, Conor, everything will be fine…"
My drift off to sleep smothers her voice into nonexistence.

(—)

 

I wake up to an almost empty room. The sofas, tv, and just the room itself entertain some ghostlike quality. I press the help switch, while examining my forearm for a screen. A picture forming, the inky streaks turn my pinkish skin to an unnatural shade of grey. Then, Stacy enters the room.

"Good, you are finally awake."

I slowly look up into Stacy’s waiting glance. "What happened?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't tell you about the side effects. You can expect drowsiness, blurred vision, and confusion."

"How long have I been sleeping?"

"It’s 9 o'clock right now, so it has been 5 hours."

"Everything looks different."

A patronizing look precedes an answer. "Until you adjust to the tech, anything that has tech inside will look different. It should become better tomorrow."

"Thank you."

"You should just get something to eat and go to bed. What do you want to eat?"

"I will take option C15 like earlier, please."

"Here you go." Stacy orders up my food and pops open the delivery shelf.

 

(—)

 

I wake up to the identical sunny day. Everything returned to normal. I refer to my forearm, 6:30 in a crisp white font on black. We'll see if I get out of here today. Too many people come and stop me from doing anything.

"Hello, Mr. Abby. It is Dr. Kim. Sorry, you looked asleep. "

"I can't wait to get out."

He raises his eyebrows. "I think today is the day. How did the H-tech work out? I hear you had some initial problems."

"It looks like I passed out." A dry chuckle passes through my lips.

"Some people take time to adjusting to it. Today, you should try using the assist with your PT. By the afternoon, you should be leaving the hospital. I'll be back, then."

"What is happening with the graduates?"

Dr. Kim searches the room looking for the missing staff and presents his findings. "They are off today. See you in the afternoon."

 

(—)

 

"Hi, it's Vue. You remember me, don't you?" Vue holds out an expectant smile.

"I'm doing much better today. Thanks for asking."

"Let’s try using the tech today."

"I don't have it on me yet. Can you get me the clothes over there on the sofa?" I point through her to the stack of clothes with the tech.

"Oh, you mean these?" She spins around with the unfurled shirt and pants.

"Yes."

"I'll come back in a few."

 

(—)

 

"Are you ready yet, I've been growing old out here." She feigns a groan.

"Yes, I'm all ready to go."

"Using the tech isn't that difficult. You just start the standup mode and try standing up. After you have good footing, change to walking mode."

"What happens if I mess up?"

"You fall down. Don't look so worried, you'll always fall back onto the chair. Are you prepared to try it,
yet
?" She offers her outstretched arm for support.

"Yes."

"Good, try to stand now."

Pivoting to the edge of the bed and attempting getting up feels easy. I almost make it, but fall back at the last second. Her calls of "again" drive me forward. This time I can do it! I leverage all the way up and the floor starts coming up, alarmingly fast.

Vue scoops me up and throws me back, more gently than it at first feels. “I got you, don't worry. Back to bed you go. That's it. I'll have to turn down the tech."

My fear-induced panting demands an answer.
"What happened back there?"

"The tech is too strong. I haven't set it to a good level. Are you ready to try again?"

"Yeah, all set." A tremble denounces my agreement.

I get up with no struggle, walk over to the sofa, and try to sit. This actually launches me into standing. What now, I can't sit down. I try again. This time it has to work. It happens, again! I throw my arms down, dejected. “I can't get onto the sofa. It keeps fighting me."

She grabs my arm, vigorously swiping and prodding at it. "I just have to enter into sitting mode. Now try it."

"No, let me try going back to the bed."

"Just give me a second to fill you in on all the details."

"Sure, we can take a break, if
you
need it."

We adjourn to the sofa. "The tech has three modes, you are going to use. Your allowance covers the stability modes — walk, standup, and sit down. Each mode helps some physical exertions and stops others. As you can see, trying to sit or sand without the correct mode causes you to stay standing or sitting. Let's try walking down the hallway."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"Yes, let's go!"

I verify standup mode is set, stand up, and schlep out the door into a wide-open space with too much light. A second adjusts my eyes, and I start walking. I get pretty far, but after that, each step becomes tougher, more labored. A seat in one of the lounges draws me in.

"I think that is enough for today. You can go back to bed."

 

Discharge

Wed 4/19/17 3:15 p.m.

 

"G
ood, you're back, Dr. Kim. I can't wait."

Dr. Kim unceremoniously produces a sheet (plastic and clear, besides the black text) and hands it over. "Time to leave. This is a list of medicines and the schedule to reduce the tech support."

"Okay." I flip through the two near-blank pages.

"This medicine,
sensory stabilizer-A
helps the ear issues, the dizziness, instability, and motion sickness. The
memory enhancer-LS
improves memory retention and creation. The medications will help you regain lost function and allow you to be taken off them with time." He lists them with his fingers and binds them together.

"Okay."
The almost meaningless words pass through my head leaving some residue.

"You have to expose the medicine to your tech as indicated. The
memory enhancer
, once a week, and the
sensory stabilizer
, once in 3 weeks. The tech will handle the dosage. It's being set up right now. Dr. Mekova will review your dosage and the tech reports remotely. She will also conduct an interview after a week."

"That sounds good."
I continue blankly, still reveling in the prospect of leaving.

"One more thing, I will get someone to setup the assist reduction. The tech monitors how much support you're using and reduces it as possible. Some people worry the tech will be too aggressive with the reductions. I can confidently say the tech won't do that."

"Okay."
I frantically search for the missed directions and ease into comfort finding his spoken word engraved into black typeface.

"I will get someone to fill the prescriptions and escort you to your apartment."

I’m going home.

 

Home

Wed 4/19/17 3:24 p.m.

 

"H
i, I'm Tommy. I'll be taking you to your apartment. Here, take the prescriptions."

"Okay." I cough out as Tommy presses the bag into my diaphragm.

"I got you a wheelchair, if you need it."

"I want to try walking there."

"Just a warning, it’s a pretty long walk. I'll take the wheelchair,” Tommy wiggles the chair back and forth, “if it becomes too much for you. Are you all set?"

"Let's go."

I pull on my shoes. Tommy starts gathering all my belongings, most of it clothes. I get up without any difficulty. We leave the room and go up to the ten
th floor. After that, I lose it right there in the lift. I become unsteady and brace myself against the wall. Tommy helps me into the wheelchair. We roll out, turn left, and pass by a few closed doors.

"Here it is."

We stop at a clear door in the curved section that ended the last hallway. Tommy opens the door with the screen on the left sidewall. The door retreats into the frame, allowing Tommy to bring the chair along the sofa inside. I move to the sofa. He hands me a sheet and leaves with the chair in tow.

"Have a good day, Mr. Abby."

I look around. The cavernous space dwarfs the sofa, while the counters running around the perimeter resolve to a thin ribbon. Far to my left, across the room from the door, a tiny widow shows a pinprick of outside. The ceilings shelter me with a panoramic skylight veiled in gossamer thread.

A practiced, ethereal voice comes from all directions, "Welcome to apartment level S7. As you can see, the apartment extends 14 meters by 14 meter. It includes a sofa/bed, one closest/bathroom, a spacious kitchen, and one tech space, with the standard config, all easily changed. Please indicate where to continue."

"What, now?" I say mostly to myself, now that Tommy left.

"Please, say which section you want more info about."

"How do I make the door solid?"

"All parts of the room can be operated just like any other tech. Choose an option with the H-tech and touch the item to apply the changes." The trim around the door lights up as it shifts through a few options.

"How does the closest work?"

"Choose the closest option on the closest/bathroom door and enter." The door slides open to an empty hanging space directly ahead.

"Can I use the computer over there?" I point to the highlighted section of counter.

"For more detailed info about tech please contact tech support."

"How do I do that?"

"Place your hand on the table and say whom you want to call.”

BOOK: Remember
4.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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