TRANSFORMATION. Fall 2017/Spring 2018 - Page 19

Malcolm shuddered , trying to keep the image of Yellowtooth gnawing at the bars of his cell from creeping back into his mind .
“ You still talk ,” he said . “ And you ’ ve been here longer than forty years .”
The doctor dried his hands carefully . Malcolm chewed on the end of his stylus .
“ That ’ s what you ’ re chasing ?” The doctor moved towards the door , motioning for Malcolm to follow .
“ You think I ’ m going to be your story ?” The doctor opened the door , and flipped the light switch . A corridor of light led away from the now darkened medical room .
Malcolm smiled a thin-lipped smile . “ You ’ d be part of the story , sir ,” he replied at last .
“ I don ’ t get much news from Earth anymore ,” the doctor said as he walked down the hallway . “ The prison warden sends me the budget he has , and I send him back what I need shipped up here . Sometimes I get what I need . Sometimes , I make do with otherwise . Either way , there are always people in need of treatment . Prisoners and guards alike .”
“ Funding shortages ?” Malcolm scribbled another note on his pad .
“ What else ? How many people on Earth want to make sure a bunch of convicts imprisoned on the far side of the moon stay alive ? We ’ re lucky to have a backup generator in case heat and air services fall apart .”
The doctor pulled open the door at the end of the hallway . Inside the small room was a cot and a metal desk . A glowing screen was mounted on the far wall , sending soft light across the worn floor . Malcolm knew the screen was connected to the monitors in the inner medical ward . If any of the patients displayed any untoward behavior , the doctor would be alerted .
The doctor seated himself on the cot . Malcolm sat crosslegged on the floor .
“ I will make a bargain with you , young man ,” the doctor said . “ I will tell you my story — or the parts of my story I am willing to share . And when you write for your fancy newspaper down on Earth below , you will write everything I have said .”
Malcolm blinked . “ Sir , you have to understand —”
“ Those are my terms ,” the doctor interrupted . “ I do not haggle .”
Malcolm ’ s grip tightened on his stylus . “ Fine ,” he said .
The doctor sipped clear liquid from a bottle by his bed . The glowing orb that had replaced his eye in the left side of his face stayed focused on Malcolm . The reporter looked away , unable to meet the mechanical stare . Replacement technology had always made him uncomfortable .
Artificial replacements for body parts were nearly a century old now . They had been improved upon both in function and appearance until now they almost perfectly resembled actual flesh . The doctor ’ s eye was so crude that it must have been an early model . But how had a man who was now a doctor at the prison for Earth ’ s worst criminals been able to afford the eye ?
The doctor replaced the bottle on the floor . Then he began to speak .
" This is where I needed to be ," the doctor said . " It is where I can remember what I was , and where I am now ."
“ There was an accident ,” he said . “ The accident gave me the eye you ’ ve been staring at for the last week . And it gave me these .” He held up his hands , and balled them into fists . Their silvery metal caught the light from the glowing screen and threw it around the room in a bright blur .
“ What sort of accident ?”
The doctor lowered his arms . “ The kind that might have been fatal . Mistakes were made . Some of us died . Some of us lived . They agreed to pay for our surgeries , and our futures . That is how I became a doctor .”
“ W — why did you have only one eye replaced ?”
The doctor turned his head so that all Malcolm could see was the other half of his face , the half that was a mess of metal implants and scar tissue . The eye socket was dark and sightless , a stark contrast to the glowing orb that sat within the other socket . Then the doctor turned his head again , and his artificial eye focused back on Malcolm .
“ Not pretty , is it ?” Malcolm shook his head . “ Back in the day , these were expensive ,” the doctor said . “ There was no need for me to have two eyes when this one —”
Malcolm shuddered, trying to keep the image of Yellowtooth gnawing at the bars of his cell from creeping back into his mind. “You still talk,” he said. “And you’ve been here longer than forty years.” The doctor dried his hands carefully. Malcolm chewed on the end of his stylus. “That’s what you’re chasing?” The doctor moved towards the door, motioning for Malcolm to follow. “You think I’m going to be your story?” The doctor opened the door, and flipped the light switch. A corridor of light led away from the now darkened medical room. Malcolm smiled a thin-lipped smile. “You’d be part of the story, sir,” he replied at last. “I don’t get much news from Earth anymore,” the doctor said as he walked down the hallway. “The prison warden sends me the budget he has, and I send him back what I need shipped up here. Someti W2vWBvBVVB6WFW2RFvFFW'v6RVFW"vFW&R&Rv2VRVVB`G&VFVB&6W'2BwV&G2ƖR( Ю( gVFr6'FvW3( 667&&&VBFW"FR0B( vBV6SrVRV'FvBFR7W&R'V6b6f7G2&6VBFRf"6FRbFR7FƗfSv^( &RV6FfR&6WvVW&F"66RVB@"6W'f6W2f'B( ХFRF7F"VVBVFRF"BFRVBbFRvख6FRFR6&v26BBWFFW6vvp67&VVv2VFVBFRf"v6VFr6gBƖvB7&70FRv&f"6WrFR67&VVv26V7FVBFFRF'2FRW"VF6v&BbbFRFVG0F7VBVFv&B&Vf"FRF7F"vVB&RW'FVBFRF7F"6VFVB6VbFR6B66B7&72ЦVvvVBFRf"( ĒvR&&vvFRVr( FRF7F"6B( ĒvFVRג7F'( F"FR'G2bג7F'vƖpF6&RBvVRw&FRf"W"f7Ww7W"FvV'F&VrRvw&FRWfW'FrfR6B( Ф6&ƖVB( 6"RfRFVFW'7FN( N( Ю( F6R&RגFW&2( FRF7F"FW''WFVB( ĒF@vvR( Ф6( 2w&FvFVVB27GW2( fR( R6BFRF7F"6VB6V"ƗVBg&&GFR'2&VBFPvvr&"FBB&W6VB2WRFRVgB6FRb2f6P7FVBf7W6VB6FR&W'FW"VBvV&PFVWBFRV667F&R&W6VVBFV6w@v2FRV6f'F&R'Ff6&W6VVG2f"&G'G2vW&RV&ǒ6VGW'BrFWB&VV&fVBW&FgV7F@V&6RVFrFW7BW&fV7Fǒ&W6V&VB7GVfW6FRF7F.( 2WRv267'VFRFBBW7BfR&VVV&ǒFV'WBrBvv2rF7F"BFP&6f"V'F( 2v'7B7&֖2&VV&RFff&BFRWSFRF7F"&W6VBFR&GFRFRf"FVR&VvF7V%F22vW&RVVFVBF&R"FRF7F"6B$B0vW&R6&VV&W"vBv2BvW&RЦr ( FW&Rv266FVB( R6B( FR66FVBvfRRFPWR^( fR&VV7F&rBf"FR7BvVVBBvfRPFW6R( RVBW2G2B&VBFVFf7G2FV 6fW'WF6VvBFRƖvBg&FRvvr67&VV@F&WrB&VBFR&'&vB&W"( vB6'Bb66FVC( ХFRF7F"vW&VB2&2( FRBFB֖vBfR&VVfF֗7FW2vW&RFR6RbW2FVB6RbW2ƗfVBFWw&VVBFf"W"7W&vW&W2BW"gWGW&W2FB0r&V6RF7F"( Ю( ~( GvFBRfRǒRWR&W6VC( ХFRF7F"GW&VB2VB6FB66VB6VRv0FRFW"bb2f6RFRbFBv2W72bWFG2B66"F77VRFRWR66WBv2F&B6vFW727F&6G&7BFFRvvr&"FB6BvFFRFW 66WBFVFRF7F"GW&VB2VBvB2'FfЦ6WRf7W6VB&66( B&WGG2C( Ф662VB( &6FRFFW6RvW&RWV6fR( FRF7F"6B( FW&Rv2VVBf"RFfRGvWW2vVF2^( N( У