Part III: Wasting Thousands By The Hour - Chapters 43 - 47

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Chapter Forty Three

Sing a song of sixpence, give me a flat-screen and a pie. Today we eat and watch "Biggest Idol", for tomorrow we shall die.

The clock reads 2:35. My little nurse with her goody tray, right on time as always.

"Sweet nurse, I've been having these dreams." Roll up my sleeve. Swab the pale inside of my arm with alcohol.

"Oh? What kind of dreams?" Needle. Two flicks. 10 CCs white liquid love.

"Interrogation dreams. Past and future dreams." The syringe drains steady like a sewer. Mari looks at me with her usual mix of amusement and compassion. I suspect that part of her hates giving me these drugs and treatments, but that part of her is being repressed by the S.P.E.G.G. modification. It's a reasonable explanation for the pained smile she wears on her face.

"I wouldn't worry too much about it. There will be time for that later."

Now, it's time for my sponge bath. My favourite part of the day.

One day I will buy her a home with no mortgage, and we will eat gold, fresh cherries, and homemade ice cream.

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GENERIATRIC SPRINGS RESORT: GENERIK COMMANDER'S HEADQUARTERS. 2168-04-00. 0:00 PM.

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DOCTOR MARC enters GENERIK COMMANDER'S chambers. Room decor nautical inspired--Navy, grey, and stripes. Framed paintings of lighthouses and ships on walls. The doctor's eyes are 3x larger--a new vision enhancement modification, self-performed. Standard white lab coat swapped out for white Lycra bodysuit with techy metal fixtures, "The Doctor Is In" written across the lower abdomen. Stylish. The Commander sits at his Aspen-washed desk in the corner. Appears hard at work, but is playing a computer game.

GENERIK COMMANDER: Status report, Doctor.

DOCTOR MARC: I'm running out of options here, Commander. The latest figures are somewhat unsettling. It appears that approximately 78 percent of the modifications we've installed in the past month are failing to perform as we expected.

COMMANDER: Well, come out and say it then.

DOCTOR: We're losing them, sir.

The Commander does not turn around to face the Doctor. He continues playing.

COMMANDER: Then shut them off as soon as possible. We can't afford to keep them on life support. Save what parts you can. Refocus your efforts on the ones that still hold some potential--quality now, not quantity. We're running out of rats.

A hit. An enemy vessel explodes on the screen. The Commander is doing well in his computer simulation game. He's about to beat his own high score.

COMMANDER: Meanwhile, West Gen'ers continue to age. We have to get a working modification into them soon. If this project goes over budget...

DOCTOR: I'm doing what I can. I'm a doctor, not God.

COMMANDER: It's only a matter of time.

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When I had two heads and no body, back in the 600s, I ate only light and granite and was allowed to breathe on my own. I feared nothing—had no concept of the past or the future or the iron fist. I had 25 parents who all loved me equally, and every girl I met was my sister but not by blood.

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