Ava texted me twice before I sat down at in the restaurant. It was striking how much our relationship hadn’t changed over the years. She’d manipulate and antagonize, I’d run away and reject, then guilt would take over and we’d behave irrationally. I ignored her for now.
Thurman Ober’s social skills were better in Serendipity 3. He greeted me with his tiny hand extended and a wry smile. Everything about him was small and quiet. It was the opposite with Breann, Lena and Clare. They had two months of internet contact, phone calls, and face to face conversation that I did not. Breann stepped forward to introduce them but Clare’s large hands grabbed mine and she pulled me into her long red hair and porcelain face for a hug. Lena was tall, raven haired and muscular. She seemed to wear a “big, Texan housewife” sign on her round expressive face. Lena and Clare smiled broadly and Lena grabbed me for an awkward embrace.
“Finally! We were starting to think you were Breann’s imaginary brother not a real live person. Getting to meet you is awesome! This is the icing on the cake!”
That drew a smile. I sat next to Dr. Ober. Breann had pontailed her shoulder length brown hair with a pencil. She mouthed “we okay?” to me and I reached across the table to squeeze her nervous fingers. We were okay. After pleasantries about families, jobs, and health, I started the conversation with Dr. Ober.
“My doctor, Ava Pennington, showed me a picture of what the heart will look like, as well as the other nervous sytem and brain connections. Is her information accurate?”
Dr. Ober removed his round glasses to clean them with napkins from the metal holder on the table. He put them back on and began.
“Caleb, I’m a scientist, not a physician. I’m a futurist at heart but a biochemical and structural engineer in study. What I know is the hearts that were implanted in each of you , as well as at least two others you all know about, are called CVR14 or cardiovascular replacement models. The 14 stands for something on the patents I assume. They were designed by Connor Bulas and Anson Cluber in 1968 for a study about android technology. I was at the conference at the University of Columbia where they showed these models. They were crude but effective in relaying how metal hydraulics could pump blood, centralize neurons, and operate a human being for years at a time. Bulas and Cluber kind of disappeared after that. They didn’t show at any science fairs or medical conferences until 1971. Which, of course, is post implemnetation into you all. I can not speak to what happened during your surgeries. I studied their CVR14s for many years, and thus that’s how I knew to change the opening valve mechanism.”
Breann took over. Telling our waitress to come back in five minutes. She started asking questions.
“How much of us are robotic? Why are we failing? What can you tell me about Lucas Bonner and his advanced state of repair?”
Dr. Ober never changed expression and never took his eyes off Breann as he spoke.
“Your heart is a metal encased, hydraulic pump controlled, inhuman mechanism. It is not an organ. While it uses your blood, membranes, tissues and cells, it can work independent of your body after it is extracted. Now, inside of you, it’s outdated. You bodies grew over the last 40 years. The metals shavings caused from acids, food, foreign particles and other antibodies have become poison. Your other organs are rejecting your heart because of the poison and it’s obsolete hydraulics. Your bodies are most likely incapable of accepting human hearts because of the poison, areas that were cut during surgery and repair, and brain actualities such as mental illness or synapse control. I have not met this Lucas Bonner. By what Caleb described to you, Breann, I am to believe Lucas Bonner’s claim of being made hybrid is possible. I have studied futuristic possibilities for four decades. Technological singularity or man becoming machine will happen within the next one to two decades. If Bulas or Cluber or some other person has perfected this, I would not be surprised.”
With as much time spent on the internet between me and the three women at the table I wasn’t shocked no one’s eyes were glossed over by Dr. Ober’s analysis. The waitress came back and we all ordered. Lena’s Texas drawl was up next for Dr. Ober.
“So, are their other people capable of helping us other than Cluber or whoever this Bulas is? I mean, so far things have been unusual, weird, and a flat out mess .”
Thurman Ober seemed a calm man of certain refinement. He chose his words carefully. Offending or disparaging fellow doctors, regardless of field or action, didn’t appear to be his way.
“The problem all of you share is your doctors are likely the only people who know how those robotic hearts work inside of your bodies. I may have repaired a valve but I was not familiar with how those mechanisms were used in your chest cavities. Even your personal physicians that are being tutored by Anson Cluber for your upcoming surgeries probably are not aware of the complexities of implanting advanced robotics. “
Ober stopped speaking and looked away. Breann begged him to continue.
“Dr. Ober, we need all the information we can get.”
He took his glasses off again and looked at each of us with sternness.
“Everything I know about technological singularity comes with an awareness that the doctors who work on you own the parts. Those hearts belong to Anson Cluber and Connor Bulas. Now, both men are in their seventies. They also may take the glory througout the medical community and the robotics industry but I am certain that the doctors they entrust with your care will be the only people who know how the robotic parts inside of you work.”
The food came to the table and the smell of my burger was so delectable that I put hands over my face to retain the scent. I knew what Dr. Ober’s words meant but I didn’t want to ask the question. Clare did.
“You’re saying our doctors own us?”
*blogger’s note* – This is another episode of the story I am writing. The rest is located here under a working title of Crazy Robot Stories : http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/crazy-robot-stories/ This is also based off a prompt from the good folks at Studio30plus http://www.studiothirtyplus.com called THE ICING ON THE CAKE.
Today’s song may be way too obvious. It was the first thing my wife and I thought about after I finished editing this episode. YES was a progressive rock band. Maybe they know a thing or two about technological singularity. Here’s some 1980s classic rock, YES’ Owner Of A Lonely Heart.