Five: Episode Forty-two is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction, supernatural, thriller, The Contingency Generation.
Red and green vials stand in rows on the sterile draped tables on both sides of the resurrection table. The red ones contain Corpicom, the substance that re-activates body fluids and specifically the dormant blood cells, and the green vials contain Verdegan, a cell memory prompter that triggers sleeping tissue cells to reawaken and resume their task.
Most of the set-up assistants wear the garb of Triump interns. Permission to be present for the resurrection process is granted to only a handful of the highest achieving senior interns. Before my colleagues arrive, I plan to impart my perspective and calm frazzled nerves.
“Good morning interns. I’m glad you could join me for this historic event.”
Several pause in their activity. I guess they’re surprised by my friendly address. Most medical superiors thrive on the formal caste system and this dictates that interns are to be treated with indifference and not addressed except for correction.
“I won’t ask that you stop what you’re doing, but just listen. I will also have a few questions for you.”
I circle around the table as I speak. “Just like fire, the human body requires three main things to thrive, intact physiologic structure, transportation of nutrients and waste, and oxygenated air. Fortunately, air is a given, so successful resurrection is really only two scenarios away from reality.”
I’ve always believed educating words given clearly and concisely bring calm, and calm must prevail if we are to succeed in this truly abnormal occasion.
I search for more eye contact, and I’m pleased to see now that the entire room seems to be giving me their full attention.
I continue. “We are merely working to reverse a process. One could say that the day a human is born is the same day he enters the continuum that leads to death. The premise of Resurrection Science is built on this awareness. Our goal today is to use all that science has taught us and work to reverse and then restart the physiology that gave our John Doe life. Which, by the way, from this time on, I will only refer to our resurrection candidate as Natalie. It’s her given name.”
I fold back the cloth that covers her body.
Macy, a heavyset blonde and the one obviously in charge, comes over to help me with my initial inspection of the candidate, who has already been moved from the cylinder and is now being dried and warmed by the thermoscan.
The first thermoscan was invented decades ago when cryogenics was thought to be the best preservation method for human tissue. While regaining body temperature is important, studies have shown that temperature is really only a secondary requirement and not primary to resurrection. Regaining normal body temperature comes almost at the end of the resurrection process, and it only matters when cell activation and exchange have been present for some time.
My lab bird, Phinny, recovered more quickly after warmth was achieved, but everything else had to be in balance before that factor had any effect.
I’m pleased to see that Natalie’s skin appears to be in pristine condition. The telltale bruising from the Bonemic plaque is present around her joints but research shows that the plaque organisms cannot survive the effects of Rejuvacaten. The bruises will fade over time if the resurrection is successful.
When we turn Natalie to view her back, I’m surprised to see a small tattoo of a dove in front of a cross with the bannered words, “Book of Wisdom,” flowing across the base of the cathedral window embellished on her left shoulder.
This reminder, a symbol of the mystery that seems to follow me, is undeniable, but I will not be distracted. I cannot be distracted. I continue my report.
“Class quiz. What’s the first treatment a person receives in the process of resurrection?”
A thin man setting up the liver station responds. “Step one is the prophylactic ingestion or injection of Rejuvacatin IF it’s believed that death is immediately pending.
“Right. Good answer. This woman’s resurrection process began when she received her dose, which has been verified in the history of the candidate. Now, can you tell me what Rejuvacatin does to the body and what common term is used to describe the effect?”
The man moves into the center arena where I stand, and I see he’s not one of the Triump interns but wears a gown marked with the Sheol logo.
“Rejuvacatin, is a substance that suspends cell life in a state of hibernation. Ten years ago it was the first medical breakthrough in Resurrection research and the term, “cellular hibernation describes its effect.” He places an instrument pack in the shallow drawer just under the tabletop.
“Very true, but one important thing to keep in mind is that getting a person to exist in a state of cellular hibernation is not the same as being fully alive. We don’t call the hibernation state, “alive.” Adjusted definitions in the science community reflect this distinction. Now someone tell me what the drug does and does not do.”
Macy jumps on this question. “The drug solves the problem of preserving structure and prohibiting decay, but it offers no solution for jumpstarting the exchange of nutrients and the removal of waste.”
“Right. Absolutely right, and this is the most important thing. Listen up trainees. The exchange is everything. Human tissue cells must be able to recognize and receive what is beneficial and good, and they must also recognize and discard what is toxic, or bad. The correct exchange is vital. When it’s incorrect or missing entirely, the cell dies.”
The room has been filling since I started my discourse, and attendance is now almost complete. Birch is the only one still missing. Perhaps it’s his way of drawing attention to his significance, but I believe my early presence and narrative has won over any doubters. I’m hopeful the entire team now realizes that I’m fully able to lead them in the task.
I run a final assessment to make sure each team has accounted for all necessary prep duties. They must be prepared to perform a variety of stabilizing treatments should the path of total body resurrection become unbalanced and threaten a particular vital organ function.
I’m in charge, and despite my disagreement on the timeline for performing the first human resurrection, I’m proud to be in this position. Birch is under my command. Even if it was Fol’s influence that tipped the consensus to allow me to lead, his action connected me to a realm where I still have power. I’m here because of a process of choice. I’m not an idiot. I recognize the factors of chance that affect me. Perhaps even my research and experiences could be categorized as various dominoes standing in a line, one thing that leads to another that brought me to this moment. But I still have control over whether I stand or fall.
Resurrection is an outcome of reverse process, and choice is a process of willingness to go forward and risk the future in one direction or another.
By choosing one, I set both in motion. I’m in control.
I sign off on the last team as Birch arrives. I turn to look my skeptic square in the eye and say, “Let’s begin.”
Over the course of the next several hours, careful distribution of the two substances, Corpicom and Verdegan are managed by injections in the five primary locations, the back of both knees, the joints of the elbows, and the base of the neck.
Excitement builds as evidence of tissue vitality is noted. Since there is not an intact circulatory system, the drugs disperse from permeation near the surface to deeper tissue through each increment of newly activated tissue. In a sense it’s a ripple effect, but the process is much longer and more complex than Phinny’s resurrection.
When Natalie’s core body temperature reaches ninety-six degrees, we start the lung and heart machines. A cheer is given when O2 saturation levels come up. Several interns begin weeping when Natalie struggles to breathe on her own.
We call her name, and see her eyelids flicker. Her heart pattern shows only slight arrhythmia and her core body temperature has risen to 98 degrees.
The resurrection is a success.
Now all we have to do is wait for Natalie’s brain to regain full consciousness.
This blog post is an excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts will appear weekly as my story development progresses. The story snippets will likely be full of typos, garbage, and confusion. I’m sure to regret allowing readers a sneak peak of the chaos involved in this process of making a finished book.
Someday, if I still have an audience, my book(s) and screenplays will be polished and for sale. Until then, my story snippets are free, but payment by “subscribing” with your email would be a nice gesture. For doing this you might get a discount on my purchasable work should that day ever arrive. All you get now is a notice via email of a new story episode that I have ready to read on my “blog.” I don’t sell my email list or do anything else with it.
Why am I doing this stupid and terrible thing—letting readers see my “off the cuff” story writing?
Book industry experts say that in today’s world of book marketing, an unknown author must build their own sales platform. I’m supposed to advance my platform by collecting readers, and for now, by blogging. Since I can’t imagine blogging about what I had for breakfast or the things my cat does, then instead, I’m blogging fiction excerpts of my work(s) in progress.
Thanks for slogging along. Maybe we’ll meet on a bookshelf someday.