The Transplant

The warmth of the sun was something Henry had become unfamiliar with over the course of his treatment for bone marrow cancer treatment. He had spent a year mostly confined to the hospital bed. Now, just months after a successful bone marrow transplant, he sits atop a rock on a mountain overlooking the Los Angeles Basin, enjoying the warmth of the sun on his face.

Henry’s daughter, Nancy, sits down next to him and embraces him with a hug that radiates more warmth than the sun on his face. “I miss mommy,” she says.

Tears stream down his face as he recalls how much his wife had courageously battled skin cancer just one year before his own battle. She had not been so fortunate. “I know, honey. I miss her too, but I know she’s in a better place,” Henry sobs.

As they walk back to Henry’s car, he pulls his keys from his jacket pocket and taps Nancy on the arm and displays the keys in his open palm. Nancy looks down at the keys and then up at her father with wide eyes, “Are you serious daddy?”

“I’m as serious a bone marrow cancer, sweetheart!” He smiles.

Nancy frowns and looks down, “That’s not funny, daddy.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I know these last five years have been hard on you. I’m trying to find humor though. I know it was more scary for you than it was for me. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be 16, having just lost your mother and having a father with both feet in the grave. I’m well now.” He pauses as he lifts his daughters chin with his hand, “That’s something I’m dead serious about.”

Nancy cracks a smile as she takes the keys from her father’s hand, “You know how I know you’re feeling better, daddy?” She starts walking towards the driver’s side of the car.

“What’s that, sweetheart?”

She chuckles, “Because you’re back to telling lame dad jokes like,” she switches to a mocking voice, “That’s something I’m dead serious about”. You’re such a dork, and I love you so much. Wouldn’t it be ironic that you survive bone marrow cancer only to die from letting your daughter drive you down a mountain?” She gets in the car.

Henry runs up to the passenger door and opens it and jumps inside. “Okay, that’s not very funny!” He says as he closes the door and puts on his seat belt.

#

“Remember, I’m just a short drive away, sweetheart,” Henry says to Nancy as she awkwardly stands in front of her on-campus dorm building.

She smiles, “Yes, daddy. I already promised to visit you on each of the days you listed in your email.”

“You didn’t mark the email as SPAM did you?”

“Oh my God! Of course not, daddy! You are the most important thing in the whole world to me!” Nancy says as she throws her arms around him and hugs him tighter than she ever has. “I know it’s not going to be easy for you to be home all by yourself. You can call me or text me at any time if you need someone to talk with.” Henry smiles as he embraces his daughter one last time before he makes the short hour-long drive back to his house from her college.

As he’s pulling into the driveway of his house, he has a sudden and disturbing vision flash before his eyes. He’s startled out of the vision as his car hits his garage door. Henry sits in his car, trying to comprehend what just happened. He looks up at the front end of his car smashed a foot-and-a-half into his garage door and again sees the same vision of a leg of a woman on an operating table with all of the skin removed from the shin, exposing the bone which has the top layer of bone surgically removed. He can see the bone marrow inside of the bone and bloody tissue all around the bone as a medical assistant uses a bloodied cloth to soak up the blood that oozes from the tissue.

He shakes his head and puts his car in reverse to pull it away from the garage door. After inspecting his car and the garage, he goes into his house and calls doctor Rascher to report the unusual incident. At the end of the conversation, Henry’s doctor recommends a psychologist to Henry, and he sets up an appointment for two weeks later.

#

Henry anxiously taps his heel as he’s biting his fingernails, awaiting his first meeting with his psychologist. It’s been two weeks since his first horrific vision, and the visions are now daily occurrences and even more disturbing! He’s also noticed significant changes in his food preferences, music tastes, and has oddly become interested in military history programs on The History Channel. His psychologist welcomes him into her office and notices right away that Henry is not doing well.

His psychologist starts off, “Why don’t we start with some background of your circumstances. When we spoke on the phone a couple weeks ago, you had mentioned that your wife had died from skin cancer a year before you were diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. Let’s start there.”

Henry struggles to walk her through the experience and his memories. “I feel like I’m forgetting my wife. I feel like my brain is no longer mine. Something just doesn’t feel right ever since the bone marrow transplant!” He’s becoming increasingly agitated.

Calmly, she states, “Well, Henry, you have gone through one traumatic experience after another over the last five years. You’ve lost your wife. You’ve nearly lost your own life and orphaned your wonderful daughter. It’s understandable that this level of physical and mental stress might result in unusual behavior.”

“But I can’t get the images out of my head. There is a woman lying on the table, and I am operating on her shin bone. I can see her bone marrow!” Henry shouts!

His psychologist remains calm, “Henry, does this woman on the table remind you of your deceased wife?”

“No! I feel no love for her at all. I hate this woman on the table. I feel nothing but hatred towards her. I feel like I want to kill her!” Henry sits up aggressively on the psychologist’s sofa.

Still remaining calm, the psychologist continues, “It seems you might need some additional help that I might not be able to provide you with in a single session, Henry. It sounds to me that you want to check yourself into a facility of top American medical scientists that can monitor you and ensure that you are not going to hurt yourself or anyone else.”

Henry’s eyes turn from anger and rage to complete peace as he looks at the psychologist, “You mean I will be surrounded by esteemed professionals of the Unites States medical industry?”

“Yes, Henry. If you like. It is entirely voluntary at Raven’s Bridge.” She begins writing on a prescription pad. “You can leave whenever you like. If you like the place, you can stay there as long as you want. If you don’t like the place, you can come back here and see me. Perhaps we can find you another place that’s a better fit. But only if you like.”

Henry’s hands are shaking uncontrollably as he’s practically drooling on his fingernails he’s been biting incessantly the entire session. His psychologist places a paperclip on the prescription paper and hands it to him. He quickly snatches it out her hands as he walks out the door.

“I will call them to let them know you are coming, Henry.” She says as Henry hurries out the door.

#

Henry’s daughter is downtrodden as she leaves her father’s nursing home. His mental health has gotten worse over the last nine months, and this time he doesn’t want to speak with her during her visit that he cuts short. As Nancy exits the building, she bumps into a woman in her mid-40s with a stern face. “Mind where you’re going young lady,” the woman says with a harsh German accent.

“I’m terribly sorry, ma’am,” Nancy says as she looks up at the lady. “Are you okay?” she asks as she looks at the lady and has a sense that she’s seen her before.

“I am fine,” the lady snaps at Nancy. “Someone less agile than myself might not fair so well with your irresponsible behavior.”

“I am very sorry, ma’am,” Nancy says as she hurries off to her car.

Nancy sits in her car sobbing for nearly half-an-hour. She looks at pictures of her mom and dad on her phone. She runs through so many happy memories of both of them and anguishes over her father no longer wanting to meet with her. She reminiscences of all the wonderful experiences she had with her father. As she wipes tears from her eyes she sees the grumpy lady exit from the building with her father. They stand on the porch of the building talking with each other.

Henry stares at the grumpy lady who has been visiting him weekly for the last 3 months. The question is always the same…

“Have you discovered who you are?” the lady asks Henry in her thick German accent.

Having answered “I’m Henry” 12 times in a row, this time his answer is different. “They say my name is Henry, aber ich weiß… nicht…” he shakes his head and looks down.

The lady leans in and whispers, “Oskar?”

“Yes, ma’am! Yes! Oskar!” he exclaims as he lifts his head, eyes wide open with a wild look on his face.

“Control yourself, Oskar!” the lady quietly reprimands.

He leans into the lady, “Ich bin Oskar Schröder!” He whispers with excitement.

“Well, then Oskar. Go back in and ask for Mr. McCloy, and have him check out this Mr. Henry from this shithole. Meet me at the bottom of the stairs. Our mission is well underway.”

Oskar goes back into the building and comes back out with his suitcase 20 minutes later. He walks down the stairs and follows closely behind the lady. “Wie heißen Sie??” he asks. The lady does not respond as Oskar continues to tail her awkwardly as she has an unusual gait.

Oskar sees the two stout men at the end of the walkway. As he and the lady approach the men, they raise their right hands coyly. She responds with a lazy wave of her own right forearm; an unmistakable wave… an unmistakable gait… Oskar has goosebumps. “It couldn’t possibly be…” He mumbles to himself.

The lady stops and turns to Oskar. Folding her arms, she smirks; realizing Oskar has come to an important realization. She wags her eye brows once, waiting for Oskar to speak.

“Mein Furher?”

The Disclosure: Universal Healthcare

Returning from the video intermission showing life inside Earth 2.0…

Jan: It’s truly amazing what you have made possible with Earth 2.0, but let’s talk about X Labs’ biggest breakthrough. Last year, your company’s medical robots were estimated at having saved nearly $10 trillion dollars in healthcare costs and increased economic productivity around the globe by more than 15% from the prior year!

What many said wasn’t possible just decades ago has become reality thanks to your relatively new healthcare division. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization confirmed that your vaccines have completely eradicated every known virus within the industrialized world in less than a decade, and that your responsible outreach programs in marginalized communities has lead to better vaccination rates in regions of the globe normally forgotten. Some skeptics have voiced concerns that new super viruses are going to be the eventual result from your efficient vaccinations. Are you concerned about a super virus?

Lysander smiles at Fredrick as Richard berates him about his presentation for a new healthcare division for X Labs that will start with a vaccination program.

“Look, Richard, we have the studies lined up. Dr. Fields has friends at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, LSU, University of Nebraska, NYU, and Yale! This thing is a slam dunk! We’ll get approval for the super vaccine in no time. We have all the right connections.” Fredrick appeals to Richard.

“But you don’t have an actual product! This thing isn’t ready for human trials, and you know that.”

“Richard, we cannot leave this kind of money on the table! We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year for something that costs us virtually nothing. Plus, we’re indemnified by every government we work with. The governments cover the cost of any injuries incurred by our vaccine. There is no downside for us.”

As the two go back and forth, Lysander ponders the long-term opportunities to universal acceptance of their entirely new vaccine delivery system. He interjects, “Fredrick, I’ll admit that I’m kinda with Richard on this one. So, here’s an idea…” Lysander gestures with his hands, “You and Tom keep saying that it’s as safe as drinking water. If Tom is so sure about the safety of our super vaccine, then let’s setup a bet that involves just him.”

Fredrick looks at Lysander with skepticism while Richard smiles ear to ear, as he does not like Dr. Tom Fields.

Lysander continues, “Tom inhales the super vaccine once a day, every day for 100 days. Richard here, will drink a glass of water.”

Richard interjects, “Can we make it a beer?”

Lysander raises his eyebrows and looks at Fredrick for confirmation. Fredrick nods.

“Richard, here… will drink a beer…”

“A 40 would be my preference, given that we’re dealing with a SUPER vaccine,” Richard adds.

“Richard will down a 40 each day.” Lysander places his hand on Richard’s shoulder. “If Tom is perfectly healthy after 100 days, then let’s move forward with the trials.”

Richard claps his hands together, “I love this plan! I’m going to get started on it right away!” He starts to leave the office and pops his head back in the door. “I mean, I’m going to tell Tom our plan on my way to get a 40 from my fridge.”

Fredrick gives him a thumbs up and Lysander smiles.

After Richard has left the room, Lysander leans in to Fredrick, “Move forward with the trials you’re talking about. It’s going to take at least 30 days to get them started anyway, right?”

“Twenty to Thirty, yes, but we can get the approval from everyone within 60 days. I’ve worked with these guys before.”

“Perfect! I’ll work with Tom on making sure that everything goes right with the real trials and with his personal trial. I certainly don’t want him getting sick in the next 100 days. This thing doesn’t work any better than existing vaccines does it?”

“You want me to be completely truthful?” Fredrick can tell Lysander is asking a serious question. “I don’t think it does, but we have enough medical connections to stack the approval in our favor and political connections to make it the new standard in global mandatory vaccinations. Plus, it hardly costs a thing to manufacture, and every government around the world indemnifies us for any complications. This is a cash cow, Ned!”

Lysander pats Fredrick on the back, smiles, and then goes to his office.

Lysander spends the next 30 days going into Earth 2.0 and placing himself in an overclocking algorithm that moves everything forward in a shard at an accelerated rate. Working with the medical robots he has built in Earth 2.0 over the course of 100 accelerated years, they design a nano bot that Lysander will add to the super vaccine inhalant.

The nanobots slowly take resources from the human body to build more nanobots; nanobots that leverages the chemicals used to place people into Earth 2.0 but without the side effect of death. Those nanobots will be able to enter the brain and attach themselves to specific centers within the brain. Lysander estimates that he’ll have enough of a connection to be able to not just read a person’s thoughts but also communicate data directly into the brain.

Lysander knows that Dr. Fields has been entering Earth 2.0 and harassing the women there and resetting their experience after he’s finished violating them, and Lysander views this new nanobot technology as the ultimate means to control Dr. Fields. So, Dr. Tom Fields will be the first test subject  as part of the 100 day super vaccine trial. Within 12 days of Tom taking the daily super vaccine, Lysander is ready to start testing the outcome!

Tom and Lysander enter the clinic together, and Lysander has a human nurse take all of Tom’s vitals. As Tom is sitting on the table, Lysander goes over to his computer and connects to Tom’s brain. Lysander opens an application named Lucid4. Tons of data is scrolling along the console windows on Lysander’s computer as it reads Tom’s mind. It displays simple sentences on the screen that are showing Lysander the exact thoughts that Tom is having! Lysander isn’t surprised by Tom’s lustful thoughts about the attractive nurse who is taking his vitals. Lysander brought her in for that exact reason.

As the nurse is making her way around Tom, he keeps turning his head to attempt to look down her top. Lysander projects the nurse’s voice into Tom’s head, “Not interested, creep.”

Lysander watches closely as Tom is baffled by hearing the nurse’s voice in his head but not seeing her mouth move.

Lysander: The trick is to be one step ahead. Our pathogen and vaccine AI systems allow us to receive billions of health data points we received from our universal healthcare doctor bots and ensure we’re staying ahead of the evolution of the pathogens.

Jan: I promise you viewers that we’ll discuss AI in depth shortly. But, first, this year your sixth company announced a new cancer research program that appears to already be making tremendous progress in early cancer diagnosis. This one is close to your heart. The entire project was dedicated to your late, dear friend, Richard Aryu.

“We’re taking a big risk with this project, Lysander,” Fredrick says with a concerned look on his face.

Lysander’s face is unshaven, and his eyes are red from overwork. Even stubble shows on his bald head, ruining the normal shine he is often complimented on. “This is the most important project we will ever undertake, Freddy. We should treat it as though our lives depend on it.”

“But the algorithms still aren’t giving us the results we need. We’ve dumped a ton of money into this, and it’s consuming ALL of your time,” Fredrick places his hand on Lysander’s shoulder and pulls him to look back at him, “And frankly, Lysander, you look like shit. I’m really worried about you. Maybe you need to see a therapist. You haven’t been the same since Richard passed.”

Lysander glares at Fredrick.

“I apologize, Lysander. I truly do. But this cancer program is sinking our ship.”

“I have a solution for that!”

Lysander lifts the cover off a cage sitting in his office. There’s a pigeon inside that’s facing a computer screen. Lysander presses a button, and an image is displayed on the screen. The pigeon nearly instantly presses a red button with it’s beak. The pigeon receives a treat.

“You’ve lost your mind!”

“You’re probably right about that! But I have also figured out a much cheaper way to get instantly 99.99% accurate cancer diagnosis systems in place.”

He presses a button and another image is displayed to the pigeon. This time, the pigeon presses the green button. It receives another treat.

“I can do this all day long! And to be completely honest with you, I have.” Lysander is ranting like a madman, practically foaming at the mouth. “I sat here with bird after bird after bird. Hour after hour after hour. We don’t need a damn bit of AI for this, Fredrick! HA!”

Fredrick looks uneasily at Lysander and sighs, “Then let’s get this into production. We’ve sunk more money into this project than almost every other project combined. Can you get some rest now?”

“I’ll rest soon enough, Freddy,” Lysander says patting Fredrick on the shoulder as he walks him to his office door.

Fredrick leaves and Lysander locks his door and returns to his desk. He plugs himself into Earth 2.0.

Lysander: It was a bird-brain idea at first, but it has lead to some major breakthroughs in cancer treatments and should increase survival rates over the coming decades.

Jan: Let’s talk about what the future holds. Many refer to you and Fredrick as the greatest visionaries of our times. You’ve testified to Congress that global universal healthcare is possible within the next seven years.

Lysander: That’s already well underway. What would be the point of attaining all this technological wealth without benefiting all of humanity?

Jan: Your technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and medical professionals displaced by the bots have proven to be highly useful employees for you to continually improve the technology. X Labs has done a masterful job with introducing new technology and being responsible to the workers it displaces with that technology. You’ve even provided great income opportunities for the displayed medical professionals and placed many of these doctors in third world countries. In turn, lifting millions out of medical poverty all around the globe!

Your companies have helped virtually eliminate terrorism, increased crop yields, eradicated disease, mine minerals and metals on asteroids, successfully colonize Mars, and you’ve also given the entire world completely free satellite Internet access with your Constellation Miragel project.

Lysander: Don’t forget about the first successfully entangled micro-computer on board a satellite that’s just months away from reaching Alpha Centauri!

Jan: It’s truly an amazing time to be alive! A year ago, some rumors surfaced that you were having some mental health issues.

Lysander (laughs): Don’t believe everything you read on the free Internet.

Jan (laughs): Some of our most reputable sources were saying that you were missing important board meetings or showing up looking like you hadn’t slept for days.

Lysander: I’ve been known to sleep in my office from time to time. Or even in the lab. But I’m as healthy as ever. And I want everyone else on this planet to experience the same.

Jan: Great! That’s a relief to hear. Let’s talk about the future! Let’s talk about your AI!