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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Panacea -Chapter 2 (Formerly: Enhancing and destroying memories through nanotechnology...really.)

by J.R. Wagner

If you haven't read Chapter one, I highly recommend doing so before
reading part 2.  Read it HERE

From the UC Davis Human Memory Lab

Nothing is ever as easy as it first appears. Remember that.  Remind me if my memory gets screwed up sometime in the near future.  The beauty of blogging is that by the time this posts, it will be the near future.  You see, I've scheduled all of my posts out into the future in the event that my 'friend' decides I no longer require specific memories -those about his illicit activities to be precise.

I decided to take the high road and see if I could 'talk him down' from the nonsense.  My first conundrum was where to meet him.  His lab? No way! If he already has my memory channels mapped walking into his lab would be like wearing an overcoat made of stitched together ribeyes and strolling into a tiger cage.

His home isn't exactly a great choice either.  God only knows what he's got lying around in that place.  I needed somewhere public to have this conversation so I decided on visiting him at his other job -the one that actually brings in the money.  I'd go to the hospital. Foolproof, right?  Public, safe, nothing terrible could happen there.

I made my way to his office on the seventh floor. He's got one of those huge offices overlooking the entire city with mahogany everything.  In short, he's a big-wig. Don't be fooled by stereotypes. Big-wig's can be idiots too.  I took the stairs to avoid prying eyes as well as the possibility of running into my 'friend' on his terms rather than my own.

I'll be the first to admit I have a bit of a weight problem. It isn't a weight problem in the sense that most people think -don't get me wrong, I'm a chubby guy for sure, it's just that because I'm short (5'5") and have a small frame (If I didn't have a weight problem I'd probably tip the scales at around 130 lbs) and my small frame coupled with a few dozen extra pounds makes climbing seven flights of stairs quite a challenge.  I thought I was going to have to pull the bright orange CODE lever on the landing of floors five and six. I seriously need to start exercising or something.

By the time I reached seven I could hear the blood whooshing by my ears as my heart attempted to force blood to my lungs, brain and lower extremities through ever-narrowing arteries (I like fast food) and was pretty sure I was going to barf.  In fact, I did barf.  The closest receptacle I could find was a potted plant just past the entrance to the stairs.  Hopefully someone will notice before the entire hall starts to reek.

I found the bathroom, splashed some cold water on my face, straightened my hair and looked myself in the mirror.  I seriously need to start exercising. And I need to shave. And a haircut wouldn't hurt either.  I'm a slob, what can I say?  Onward.

When I reached Dr. Insane-o's office it was empty.  Perfect. I sat in his chair and, after finally catching my breath, began rifling through his desk (of course I checked his computer but it was password protected and despite being a video gaming god (I'm theorizing this may have something to do with my current state of health) I am not a hacker.

Nothing of interest in his desk except a handful of what look like tire-pressure gauges.


After my debacle with Dr. Insane-o was over I was able to find out (god bless the internet) that it would be of little use in checking my tire pressure but would be most helpful in administering a dose of medication without needle-skin contact! Thank you Robbins Instruments for making something from the original Total Recall a reality!

Only motivated by my need for a tire pressure gauge and the belief that one man does not need sixteen of them, I pocketed one. Just as I closed his desk drawer, Dr. Insane-o strolled in. He was yapping away on his cell discussing some medical procedure in a language reserved for those who've spent the better part of their youths attending college and learning how to treat patients like the ignorant pieces of meat that we all are.

I'd like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the hand in the picture above mostly because it is very, very distracting.  The hand is clearly masculine. The wrist structure, the bulbous thumb-base, the overly wrinkled palm and stubby fingers all belong to a man -I'm sure of it...that is, until I look at the fingernails, which are clearly manicured and way too long for the typical man-hand.  So, the question is; why in the hell was this hand even chosen to model the device.  It has pretty nails, yes, but is otherwise quite ugly. Clearly not a full-time hand model. Anyway, I digress.

Once chatty Cathy ends his call he slides into the larger and more comfortable looking chair beside the bookshelf on the opposite side of the desk.  He's obviously tired. After taking a moment to collect his thoughts, he turns in the leather chair making farting noises as do all who turn in such chairs. See video for demo if you're really curious.

Anyway, he begins the conversation as if nothing has happened and our 'friendship' is same-ole, same-ole.

"So...how are things going with your research," I asked.

"Quite well.  I am making some very real progress," he replied.

"Have you...I don't know, abducted any unknowing test-subjects lately?"

"Great science requires great men to stretch the boundaries of legality from time to time.  I know you are fully aware of the potential implications of my discovery.  It's a game changer.  I need to be sure -absolutely sure that I'm not missing something before I bring it before the board. I'm only allowed to test along very narrow and limiting parameters that slow down the entire process."

I imagine those parameters are in place for the safety of others but I said nothing.

"You don't approve, I see." he said.

"Willing test subjects are one thing. Unknowing, innocent test subjects are something entirely different.  It's immoral not to mention illegal."

"What if this got in the wrong hands? What if a person of power used this to manipulate others?  Once I submit my findings, it will be taken from me and I guarantee you, it will fall into the wrong hands."

"One could easily argue that it has already fallen into the wrong hands," I said.

He laughed and seemed to relax.

"Look, I understand where you are coming from. What you don't understand is how this industry works.  People die fighting over the latest discoveries. The cloak and dagger nonsense that goes on between pharmaceutical companies would blow your mind.  The money, the resources, the kickbacks and bribes in every level of government. It's insane.  There is a war going on in our own country between pharmaceutical companies. Has been for years. I know with complete certainty that people would kill to get their hands on my discovery."

"So why keep going?  Why keep developing, testing, researching?  Why not shut it down and walk away?"

And then he told me...and I understood.  I was wrong about everything.

 The story continues...
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7 
Chapter 8 
Chapter 9


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