Thursday, January 07, 2010


God it’s cold. Why is it so cold?

Crippling confusion swirls like thick fog in my mind. Like wraiths and demons, choking out logical cognition.

Synapses reconnect, neurons fire, the fog thins slightly.

“Can you hear and understand me?” asks a voice from the void above.

Yes, yes I can hear. I can understand; but how? I try to raise my head, open my eyes, voice my epiphany of consciousness, all to no avail. All that I manage is to crack open what I believe to be my lips and with tremendous effort vibrate my vocal cords in a tremulous and primal groan.

“Very good, Ms. Leyburn. You’re doing fine.”

Leyburn? Who is Ms. Leyburn? Where am I?

“You’ve suffered quite a lot of damage from the cryonic process that was used on you.”

Damage? What the hell is she talking about? Slowly memories begin to filter back in; small, disjointed, episodic visions of a life. My life? I try hard to make my eyes work, but the blackness persists.

“Unfortunately it is not damage that we can repair at this time.”

A brief image of an animal drifts through my mind. It is accompanied by the feeling of sunlight, soft golden-red fur against my face, the smell of leather and hay. A feeling of happiness. Contentment. I try to grasp the sensations but they fade all the faster for it, leaving a feeling of loss so intense that for a moment I forget my confusion.

So much grief. So much pain.

“What we have decided to do with cases such as yours, since we cannot viably re-freeze you without causing further damage, is to place you in suspended animation. You will have some level of consciousness, though for the purpose of preserving as much brain function as possible, we will stall the thawing process where it is at the moment and, as a consequence of that, consciousness of yourself and your surroundings will be limited to approximately what you are experiencing right now.”

Re-freeze me? I was frozen? That explains the cold. Why was I frozen?

“In case you are wondering, it is April eighth, 2541. Welcome back to life, Ms. Leyburn. Rest assured that we here at Burns and Levy CryoniTech Incorporated will do all that we can to ensure that your body and mind get the premier care that you paid for when you signed with us.”

I’m dead. I was dead anyway.

I don’t understand what the voice means by “damage”, but the fog seems to be lifting ever so slowly. There are memories there; I can feel them on the edges, just out of reach. With just a bit more time I’m sure that I’ll be able to see and understand them. They will fall into proper order and I will know who I was. Who I am. I just need to know, to think, to feel. Just need time, a little bit more time. My lips open, I strain to speak.

“Alright Ms. Leyburn, I’m putting you into stasis now. Sweet dreams.”



Paul Kuliniewicz said...

One might hope they would check for irreparable damage before thawing someone out.

Renee L. said...

That would be convenient wouldn't it? Presumably it was some sort of trouble that wouldn't be noticed until they got some brain activity though.
The method in which Burns & Levy CT Inc get paid is by some sort of trust or bond or lockbox full of gold. In five centuries you could get some nice returns on a relatively small amount of money, but to insure that the person paying isn't scammed (I always wondered what the deuce makes people think they're so special that the future will want them alive again) the trust or bond or lockbox full of gold or whatever can't be opened until the person is thawed. Loophole though, nothing said about stasis! Not very good business practice, but I never did trust Levy and I think Burns cheated on his wife.

Ryan said...

Tangentially related, but when I had my surgery I was temporarily taken out of deep anesthesia in mid procedure and asked a series of questions, to test for nerve damage. I have absolutely no recollection of the questions, my responses, or the inside of the OR, but I (apparently) capably answered a battery of personal questions before being returned to deeper sleep. It was...odd to hear about.

Paul Kuliniewicz said...

Given that their entire customer base is from five hundred years ago, I don't think screwing them over in the end is going to impact their bottom line too much.

Jamie said...

I'm trying to think of the optimal business model for a cryogenics lab. Should the federal reserve allow it, they could operate as an extremely aggressive bank. Because lets face it, its pretty tough to make a run on the bank when you frozen in the vault.

You'd still need make a substantial deposit, so that they can earn enough interest each year to cover the cost of keeping you frozen and alive.

Overtime this should lead to an explosion in the money supply, causing Milton Friedman to roll over in his grave. Might cause hyperinflation (I'll have to think about it) making your money useless, at which point the government has to step in and bail out the banks, and buy your body.

Of course at this point you are a ward of the state, which has to justify keeping your around. Congress, facing tough reelection campaigns, has no qualms disenfranchising their frozen constituents (voter turnout is considerably low in this demographic). You lose most of your human rights, all of your dignity, and at least one kidney.

Renee L. said...

I bet that the reason you can't remember your Q&A, Ryan, has to do with the anesthesia drugs. I know when they were putting me out to yank out the ol' gallbladder the anesthesiologist told me while giving me an injection of the first drug to "calm me down" that I probably wouldn't even remember him at all, let alone the conversation.
Well, he was wrong.
I actually remember the whole time he was there, and then a resident coming in to check on me, and then being wheeled down the hall, and then the machinery in the OR.
But yeah, regardless of the reason, that is really weird! Did you know beforehand that they were going to wake you up, and did it scare you? Would me!

Ryan said...

Oh I'm sure it has to do with the drugs, I'm just amazed they had that much control over it. I got a dose of "calm down" drugs as well, and for a few minutes I remember them going about prepping things for the upcoming operation.

Did not know your gallbladder had been removed, I'll have to remember that.

I vaguely recall that being mentioned as part of the procedure, but they assured me I would not be awake for it. It didn't scare me any more than the knowledge of what they were attempting to do in the first place.