Even in the late 2020's, medical science still hadn't
found a cure for several causes of death related to extensive damage to
the brain. The bicycle helmet was still the best thing going for prevention.
Fred's job involved research into the use of computer circuits to replace
irreparable portions of the brain. Given that Fred was very much a loaner
and dedicated to his work, it was no wonder he hadn't been selected to
work on the latest circuits designed for use where areas of the brain providing
personality and so on had been destroyed. He had just concluded a very
boring project that involved conducting a very detailed set of tests on
circuit that he didn't even know the purposes of. He was in the kick-off
meeting for the next test project.
"Gentlemen," said the project leader, "We now reach the
most exciting part of this project. A few weeks ago we received a body
of a 23-year-old woman who had specified her body should be donated to
medical science when she would stand no chance of resuming consciousness.
Her condition has damaged no part of her body or lower brain functions.
We installed several of our circuits in her brain and she is today fully
conscious. Our task now is to conduct extensive testing to determine if
she can function in society.
He walked over and stood by Fred. "We have selected Fred
to begin this testing because of several points. First, since we want the
subject to live with the tester, we decided they should be single and unattached.
Second, his last testing project was so successful that he has to be the
One of the other members of the team broke in with, "I
don't mean Fred to take this the wrong way but he's hardly the social butterfly."
Fred added, "Let's face it, I'm hardly qualified to give
any opinion on how close to 'Normal' the subject is." He laughed, "I've
often joked that some day I might want to 'upgrade' to one of our circuits
The leader continued, "Well, Fed, with all due respect,
we only want written tests and results. We don't want any judgement at
this time. Essentially we want to find out what situations our circuits
can be used in."
After another half-hour of meeting, Fred was asked to
meet with one of the other team members, Frank, to get detailed instructions
and to be introduced to the subject.
"Now Fred, don't be nervous. Think of her just like any
other team member," Frank suggested. While they were waiting for her to
arrive, Fred was briefed on how to conduct the testing. Then the door opened
and they both stood up. "Fred," Frank said, "I'd like you to meet Alana
Gray." He looked at Alana as she approached Fred to shake is hand, "Alana,
you'll be staying with Fred for a while. He'll be looking after you."
As Fred shook her hand nervously she said with a big
smile, "I think I'm going to like living with Fred!" Fred returned her
greeting and she was taken away again.
"Are the braces part of our work?" Fred asked Frank.
"No, she had them when we got her. Unfortunately we have
to completely disconnect her from all her previous family and friends,
including doctors. As far as they are concerned, she passed away. We have
changed her identity and done the paperwork to make you the legal guardian.
So we can't get the details of her treatment. When you feel ready, you
should take her to an Orthodontist and get them to figure it out. Remember,
the company will pay for all of these expenses."
"But Frank, what happens when they ask questions - like
who started the treatment?"
"Oh, you tell them you are a friend who is looking after
Alana. Say she has suffered Amnesia and there were no clues found at the
time of her accident. Your paperwork fits this story." Frank replied. Then
he continued, "Now Fred, I want to make sure you understand the latitude
you have to conduct these tests. We want her tested in a large number of
situations. She will be living with you as a roommate, so that covers many
family situations. We want you to test her at parties and in one-on-one
situations, such as dates. Now if you set her up with someone, you have
to interview them afterwards."
"Frank," Fred asked one last question, "Wouldn't it provide
more accurate results if I dated her?"
Frank signed and then answered, "Fred, you are quite
right. Company policy forbids us to ask that of you. In fact ultimately,
if all previous tests were successful, we would want to test her as a spouse.
All I am permitted to say is that if you choose to be the other subject
in any of these situations, beyond your roll as guardian and roommate,
the company has no problem." Fred got the point.
Fred was then asked to take Alana home and get her settled
in his guestroom. As he went to the room she was waiting in, he heard her
talking to someone in the office. He paused outside the door to listen.
"He's really cute. I'm going to enjoy staying with him." He waited a little
longer and then walked quickly in as if he had rushed up the hall.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Alana, we can get you settled
now." She smiled as soon as she saw him and got up, took her suitcase and
went with him.
He said nothing for most of the way home. He wasn't sure
what to say. Alana was looking around at everything and didn't seem to
notice he was so quiet. His house was located in a semi-rural area. There
was forest on two sides of the yard and the nearest neighbor was a fair
way off. He showed her to the guestroom and she started to unpack. "When
you're done, if you will join me in the family room, there are a lot of
questions I'm dying to ask you." Fred said to her.
She was about a half-hour and then she finally joined
him. She had changed from the business attire she had come home in, into
"I hope you don't mind, I changed into something more
comfortable," she said. She sat down in an armchair across from Fred.
"Alana, what do you know about why you came home with
me? How did you come to be at the office?" Fred asked.
"Well..." she thought for a second, "I don't have any
memory before the office. They tell me that I suffered lots of brain damage
and that I donated my body to science, so they implanted stuff in my brain
so I could wake up again. They kept me in the lab for a few weeks to help
me adjust to the new stuff in my head and to make sure I recovered properly
from the surgery. Yesterday they told me that everything had gone so well
and now they needed to have you take over. They said I could live with
you and see if I could start my own life again. So should I start looking
for a job, do you think?"
Fred laughed, "No, you have a job. You work for the same
company as I do. You are testing some of our latest products. We'll go
to the office often enough and you are currently getting a salary that
they put into a trust account for you. I wanted to ask you, though, does
everything seem to be working ok in your head?"
"No, every once in a while I get these episodes. They
only last about 10 minutes, but I get this sudden feeling of extreme sadness
and insecurity. The lady in the lab would hold me until it passed. It only
seems to happen in the evening. I'll let you know if one happens." She
looked around, "So what should I do now?"
"Well, I thought I would get you settled in here. I need
to show you where everything is and then we need to run some errands. First
we have to go to the bank and open an account for you so you can get your
"Ok. That sounds easy," she said. "Then what?"
Fred thought for a minute and then said, "Well, the other
thing they asked me to take care off soon was to get find out about your
She put her finger up and touched them, "Oh, yea. I guess
they were there from before. But I don't know anything about them."
"Well, they told me to get you to an orthodontist and
have them figure out what your treatment was all about. The company said
they would pay for everything during this testing period. I'll see when
I can get an appointment." Fred had decided that it would be a good test
to see how she reacted to someone poking around in her mouth. He got out
a phone directory and started looking for nearby practices. He found one
whose name he recognized. A good friend of his had gone to him and said
he was really good. He phoned to see when he could get an appointment and
was told they just had a cancellation the same day for a long installation
procedure and could he come down in an hour and half? Alana agreed so they
went right after Fred showed her where everything in his house was.
A young girl was leaving just as they arrived. She seemed
unhappy at her mother, "Oh please don't make me wear it outside. I'll put
it in as soon as we get home!" Fred guessed she was referring to her headgear.
The receptionist wasn't there so they took a seat.
Fred turned to Alana, "That poor little girl. She probably
just got the headgear. Would you make her wear it right out of the office
if you were her mother?"
She seemed completely unconcerned, "I don't see why the
little girl should mind, but the mother shouldn't force her." Fred made
a mental note that she didn't empathize with the little girl's vanity.
A minute later the doctor came out with a clipboard and
asked Alana to fill in some of her medical history. Fred explained that
she was an amnesia patient and that he was legally responsible for her
at the moment and that he would fill it in from the limited info available
on her. About 15 minutes later the doctor returned to get Alana. "Do you
mind if Fred joins me?"
"No, not at all. Follow me." They followed him into his
examining room. He got Alana tilted back in the chair and started to examine
the metal work in her mouth. "Hmmm," he said. "The teeth are fairly well
aligned. They obviously weren't at the beginning of the treatment, but
the bite is not done. Alana, do you recall ever wearing headgear? Did you
happen to find a face bow or anything amongst your things?"
She shook her head and Fred answered, "No, they didn't
recover much." The doctor conducted a full analysis. He even took impressions,
but with the braces already on, they came out funny. After the doctor carefully
examined the x-rays, impressions, and his notes, he took them into his
office so they could discuss it.
"Alana," he started, "you are about a quarter the way
through your treatment, as far as I can tell. The course adjustment has
been done. You're way overdue for having the arch wire replaced. That's
why it is loose in places. But the correcting of the over-jet is not happening.
You may have worn elastics, but there were no extractions, so I don't think
that was it. You may have worn headgear because there are tubes on your
molars, or you may have used a one of a couple of plastic appliances. The
most effective option and the one that would get the bet results in the
end would be the headgear. You'd have to wear it ten or twelve hours per
Before he could talk about the other options, Alana cut
in, "So that's the option we should use."
The doctor replied, "Well, it's quite usual in adult
cases to go with the extractions and elastics to avoid the headgear. Adults
are often too self conscious for it."
Fred looked at Alana, "Are you sure you don't mind wearing
headgear, like the little girl that we passed coming in had on?"
"No," was all that Alana said. The doctor led them back
into the examining area and started work. He removed the old arch wire,
cleaned around all the brackets and then put in a new, finer one. Throughout
the procedure, Fred carefully noted her reaction to the work. There was
virtually none, except to open her mouth wider whenever the doctor asked
her to. There were no expressions on her face or anything.
When he was done he sat back and said, "Ok, that's the
adjustment done," and Alana ran her tongue round her mouth and licked her
lips, then closed it. The doctor went on, "So do you feel a little extra
pressure?" She nodded. He turned around and rummaged through a drawer in
the cabinet behind him. "Let's try this one. You should be a #7." He was
actually talking to himself. "Now if you could just open half way, I'll
try this size." She did exactly what he asked and he inserted the bow into
the molar tubes on her back teeth then withdrew it. He took his pliers
and very carefully made a couple of adjustments to the ends of the inner
bars on each side.
Fred noticed that while he was doing this, she just relaxed
her mouth and looked blankly ahead. When the doctor had finished and brought
the appliance up to her mouth, she opened it without moving her eyes. He
inserted it and left it there this time, saying, "There, easy fit. Now
I'll start you off with the strap loose until you get used to it." He pulled
out a strap and loosened off the tension, then fed it under her neck and
attached it to the face bow. Then he said, "Now you'll feel some pressure
on your back teeth. After a while that will start to hurt. During the first
week, you will want to wear it for short periods until you feel you can
go through the night. Then after a few more days you'll want to tighten
the strap a good inch." Melissa looked at him while he was explaining this
to her without expression. She just nodded and uttered Uh huh. He continued,
"Now I'll have to show you how to take it in and out. Come over here to
the mirror and I'll let you practice.
Suddenly his pager went off. He said, "Just a second.
My answering service would only page me if there was an emergency." He
ran to the other room and got on the phone.
Fred turned to Alana and asked, "How do you feel about
all this. Are you having second thoughts?"
She replied, "Why do you say that?"
"Well, I guess it's the way you react to all his instructions."
Fred wasn't really sure what to read into her reaction.
"No," she replied, "I'm just listening to his instructions."
A moment later the doctor returned, "I'm awfully sorry
for the interruption. There's been an accident and one of the victims has
his face bow jammed in a car air conditioning vent. It's stuck, but the
impact also bent the bow so it's stuck in his molar tube. The paramedics
want me to go and remove the molar bands. Apparently he is also injured.
I can be back in half an hour to cover taking it in and out and the wear
Fred suggested, "I watched you put it in. I can show
her. Isn't the wear schedule 10 to 12 hours a day or more?"
The doctor looked almost pleading, "Well, if you don't
mind showing her. The 10 to 12 hours doesn't apply until you have broken
it in and tightened the strap. After that you will loose about a day for
every 2 hours under. However you can make up time on the weekends, up to
4 hours per weekday. I really appreciate this." They got up and left the
office in a hurry. The doctor locked the door as they left and ran to the
basement where his car was parked.
Fred realized they were in the same situation as that
little girl leaving the office when they arrived. He said to Alana, "I
don't think you have to wear it now." In his mind he was trying very hard
to find out if she had any embarrassment about wearing it out of the office.
"He said until it started to hurt. It doesn't hurt now,"
"But you can wear it at home after dinner when we're
in private. Wouldn't that be easier?" he asked.
She looked confused, "I don't see why." Fred suggested
she remove it until he had been able to show her how to take it in and
out. This was not the reason, but he had ideas about using it as part of
"Ok", she agreed and stood still. He reached up and removed
the strap and then gently slid the face bow out of her mouth. If he had
been looking for 'wrong' responses, this was certainly a hot spot. Why
had she not taken it out herself? Surely it was obvious to her. Did she
not feel any embarrassment wearing an appliance like this in public when
she wasn't prescribed to? Most people would have expressed some concern
right after having it installed and not being used to it.
On the ride home, they said nothing. Fred was beginning
to formulate his test plan. In his mind he was listing the qualities, responses
and emotions that he could test for: reason, embarrassment, humor, anger,
sadness, empathy, sympathy, and so on. He planned to put her into situations
where he could observe her and categorize her display of any of these.
As they were arriving home, Fred asked Alana, "You didn't
say anything all the way home. Is everything ok?"
"Sure," she replied. The look on her face suggested she
was in a pleasant mood. They went inside and Fred led her to the bathroom
where he had the biggest mirror. He showed her how to put the face bow
in and got her to try it a couple of times.
"Ok, there you go. The doctor said you would feel pain
after a while and you should take it out then," Fred said as they left.
"Now I have some typing to do in the office. Maybe you'd like to make yourself
comfortable in the rec. room. I'll be about an hour."
He looked in on her a couple of times and she seemed
comfortable. She was watching TV. He completed his rough test plan. When
he was finished he went in and sat beside her. Her attention didn't distract
until the next commercial. She turned off the TV and asked him, "So what
is it you do at your job?"
Fred had decided to be somewhat honest. He couldn't let
her know when he was testing her, so he decided to change his story somewhat.
"Well, normally I devise very thorough tests for one of the circuits we
make and perform and record them. But starting today they wanted me to
get you started living in the outside world. I think they picked me because
I have a guest room and because there aren't a lot of things I'm busy with
outside of work." Fred changed the subject. "I'm wondering if you have
any hobbies or recreational activities you do?
She thought for a second, "I don't know of any."
"Well," Fred suggested, "we could start by looking at
things I have to do here and see if anything interests you." He got out
a deck of cards and showed her how to play a couple of games. She learned
them fairly quickly. He showed her solitaire and left her playing that
while he started cooking dinner. He could see her from the kitchen. After
a while she got up and went to the washroom. He noticed she was hanging
her head down slightly, probably trying to give to the pressure of the
strap. It should be hurting her by now. When she returned he called her
into the kitchen, "Dinner's almost ready. How'd you like to talk to me
while I get it ready?"
She came in to the kitchen and sat down on a stool at
the counter across from him. "I got one of the three tries with the cards
to work out."
Fred asked her, "So do you enjoy the game?"
"It was ok," she answered after some thought. "It was
a way to keep busy while you did other things."
Fred asked, "Is there something else you would rather
have been doing?"
She thought for a second and then said, "Yes, but I'm
not quite sure what it is. I mean I know I do it with another person and
we touch. I wonder if it is some memory coming through."
Fred suddenly got rather nervous. Was she thinking what
he thought she was thinking? He had just dished up dinner but left it there
for a second. He went over and stood beside her, "Is it something you do
standing, sitting or what?"
She stood up and faced him. "Not sitting." She stepped
closer so she was touching him and said, "Standing very close."
"I think," said Fred, feeling a little uneasy with her
standing so close, "that you mean slow dancing. There's slow music playing
and you and your partner move slowly round the dance floor, turning."
She smiled wide and, still standing very close to him,
said, "Yes, THAT is what I would like to do. Can we do it soon?"
He agreed and moved away from her to get the dinner plates
and moved them to the counter. Alana moved back to her stool and Fred sat
at one on the other side of the counter and they began to eat. He watched
carefully as she started to see if she would think to take her headgear
out. She picked up some small vegetables on her fork and carefully put
them in her mouth under the face bow, closed her lips and pulled them off
the fork. She chewed them and swallowed them.
"How come you don't take your headgear out?" Fred finally
asked her. "I know it must be hurting you by now and you don't have to
eat with it in."
She began to take it off and said, "I wasn't sure how
much it should hurt before I should take it out. I didn't know you don't
eat with it in." Fred made a note about the pain threshold idea. It way
past where the Doctor said it should hurt. They continued eating. Alana
asked, "So what kind of things do you do at work? I mean what do you actually
do in your testing?"
Fred thought for a second, "Well, testing can get very
complex. What's important is creating the test plan." This was all he wanted
to tell her.
She smiled, "So how is the test plan coming?" Her smile
told him that she had figured out that she was the subject.
"Well, I was making great progress for a while but then
I realized there was all kinds of thinks involving the interaction of the
various circuits with each other and with the brain. I guess basically
that I'm trying to come up with ideas. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions
to see if I stumble on anything?" She shook her head. "When you stood very
close to me, did it feel funny? Do you know what I mean by personal space?"
"Yes, I stood in your personal space. It felt very warm
to me," she said with a straight face.
He gave her a confused look, "But when you do that to
someone you're not used to doing it to, it should feel a little uncomfortable."
She shook her head. He changed the subject, "Ok, well, after you noticed
your mouth hurting, did you not want to take the headgear out to make it
She thought for a second and then answered, "No, the
pain was expected. I figured it wasn't hurting because something was wrong
so I didn't need to do anything about it yet." He asked a few more questions
before they finished dinner. It turned out she didn't like or dislike most
of the food he had made.
When they were finished Fred gathered up the dishes ready
for washing up. Before he started, he got an idea. Alana was still sitting
at the table watching him. He stopped, turned and said in a loud, rather
angry voice, "If you're going to live here you have to pull your weight!
Now I cooked the dinner, you wash up!"
She got up, with a slightly guilty look on her face and
walked quietly over to where he was standing by the sink and stood in front
of the sink. As he looked at her from the side, he could see tears building
in her eyes and she began sobbing as she started gathering the cutlery.
He then, in a soft voice said, "Alana, I'm sorry to hurt you. I didn't
mean what I said. I thought you weren't going to react. I was beginning
to think you didn't react negatively to things. I'm sorry. I won't do experiments
like that any more." He rubbed his hand slowly over her back to sooth her
while he apologized.
She took a tea towel and dried her tears and smiled at
him, "I'm so relieved you're not mad." She paused, "I don't understand.
I remember how to wash dishes, but I don't ever remember doing it." Fred
noticed that her mood changed just like an infant's. She was back to normal.
She did, however continue with the dishes. This gave Fred a chance to go
back to the computer. He wondered what she would do when she was done.
After a while he figured she would be done and he wandered
out to see how things were going. He found her sitting at the kitchen counter.
Everything was spotless and the dishes were all washed. She looked up when
he entered. She had put her headgear back in, but done nothing else. "What
a wonderful job," he complemented her. She thanked him and he asked. "So
what do you want to do now?"
"I don't know," she said.
"Were you just going to sit and stare into space until
bed time?" Fred asked seriously.
"I guess so," she said, blankly.
Fred was beginning to wonder if her brain just stopped
when she had nothing to do. It was like she was half asleep until some
stimulus triggered her to wake up. The tester in Fred came alive. He took
the other stool over and sat on it right up close to her. She turned her
upper body and neck to face him. He took off her neck strap and laid it
on the table. She looked at him without expression and he asked, "Did you
feel at all uncomfortable when I sat this close to you?"
She replied, "No, not unless you yell at me."
"Don't you want to push me away? Don't you feel I'm getting
too personal when I take your strap off? What if it was someone you didn't
know?" He handed it back to her and she put it back on. He moved the stool
back to a respectable distance while she replied.
"No, it just feels warm," she said with a slight smile,
then went serious. "If it was someone I didn't know, I would think I should
back away because they may want to hurt me."
Fred got up and went into the living room. Alana just
sat and watched him. He took out a CD and put it on the stereo. He turned
on the lamps in the living room and turned out the ceiling light. He rolled
up the area rug and then beckoned to Alana, "I'm not a very good dancer,
but I'm ready to try if you like?"
She got up and walked over to him. Saying nothing, she
stood up close and put one arm on his chest, the other in his hand. They
began to dance. Fred felt a little awkward, while Alana was graceful. She
tried to lean her head toward him, but because she was as tall as he was,
the best she could do was to dig her face bow into his shoulder. After
the track was over she stopped and look at him, "This I like. Can we keep
going?" He just started dancing as the next song began and she followed.
This one started show and very quickly picked up so that she was making
him bounce around, while they maintained the same stance. By the end of
that song, beads of perspiration were forming on her forehead. She released
his hand and said, "This shirt is too hot for this. I need to take this
Fred's mind suddenly went back to work, 'Pain wasn't
a big problem, being warm was?' He pondered it for a second and then returned
to reality as he realized Alana had taken off her sweatshirt and was in
her bra. "No, no. You have to wear something on top in public!" he said
"Oh, she said, let's go see what I've got," she said
as she turned and headed for her bedroom. He instinctively followed as
if he was afraid she would do something else wrong.
She went into her closet. There were not many clothes
in it, but she quickly identified a top that was much cooler and put it
on. She stopped and looked at him.
He said, embarrassed, "I'm sorry, I don't usually follow
women into their room to change. That was wrong." He paused and then said,
"Alana, you mustn't do that again. You should go into your room or a restroom
and change there, Ok?"
She looked serious, "I know that. I wonder why I forgot?
I think I am still recalling things I knew before I died."
"You didn't die," he corrected her, "Part of your brain
died and they replaced that at the lab. When you talk to other people,
outside of the office, you should say something like 'the accident'. To
make it easier on everyone, we are saying you had an accident and suffered
amnesia. You don't remember much about the accident, Ok?"
She nodded and then quickly took his hand and walked
swiftly out into the living room, saying, "I want to dance more. I'm really
enjoying it." The next song was a little faster. Alana showed him that
she could dance very well to faster songs as well. Fred felt a little left
behind. After the next song, Fred moved toward the kitchen, saying, "I
need a drink. How about you?" She followed, shaking her head. As he was
putting back a large drink of water, he noticed she place a hand on her
cheek and winced.
She unhooked the strap and took it off, placing it on
the counter and then as he put the glass down, she took his hand and walked
back to the dance floor. Another song had started and it was a slow one
like the first. She took his hand in hers and put her hand on his chest
but looked at him rather than leaning her head on him. She said, "Did I
do right? I felt a sudden increase in the pain and I took off the strap
so the pain would stop. You seemed to think that was important before."
He replied, "Yes, but why did you not take the face bow
out. It doesn't do anything without the strap, so you don't need to keep
"I don't know," she said without doing anything. She
kept dancing and looking at him, smiling, "Do people do this a lot? I really
"Yes, some people do. Actually they usually go to restaurants
or dance clubs where lots of people who like to do this go." Fred realized
he was sounding authoritative on a subject he knew very little about.
She got this informed look on her innocent face and said,
"Oh." She paused and then asked, "Can we go? Tonight? I want to see how
other people dance. I don't know if I'm doing it right." Fred hesitated,
not answering. She stopped dancing and stepped back half a step, then pouted
and said, "Please?"
Fred was surprised. She had seemed almost emotionless
until now. It was like someone had woken her up... she was much more 'normal'.
He smiled, "Why not? You're dressed well, let me change my shirt." He went
into his room to get changed and she followed. He found a shirt he liked
and changed into it. Alana was standing watching as he did. He started
to say something and then stopped.
"Oh," she said, "I just did what you did. You said that
was wrong. I'm sorry." She was back to her previous self, sounding unemotional.
He couldn't deal with it then and told her not to worry this time.
They went for the door and he stopped and checked his
pockets... keys, wallet, change, comb, yea that was about all he would
need. Then he looked at her. He handed her the purse she had put down when
she entered his house earlier that day, "You might need this... and, why
do you still have the face bow in your mouth?" he asked with a semi laugh.
"Oh, I don't know," she replied, taking it out and putting
it on the hall table where her purse had been.
"Can I suggest," Fred said, "that you put both pieces
in your purse. You have the bow here and the strap in the kitchen. You're
liable to loose it." He felt like a parent, but she didn't take it that
way. She gathered up the two pieces and put them safely in her purse and
they left the house. He opened the door for her and she got in. He closed
it and ran round to the driver's side and jumped in. "This is getting kind
'of exciting. I haven't been out with a girl for years. I almost forgot
what it was like to..." he stopped himself.
"To what?" she asked confused with a slight smile on
"I'm sorry," he said, "I didn't meant to assume..." she
continued to look more confused so he finished, "a date! I haven't dated
in a very long time, but I don't mean to assume... It's just because you
are staying with me." He turned to look behind them as he backed out of
"Oh, Ok." She said, "I haven't dated since I... I mean
since the 'accident'. I don't remember what it is like." She paused momentarily,
"So you can be my first date, Ok?" He agreed, smiling and drove quickly
to a place he had heard mentioned at work by his younger co-workers. He
knew where it was from the name.
They arrived shortly and the car was parked for them
as they went in. "Can I see some identification please, ma'am?" The door
man said after Alana announced with a big smile that they had come to dance
with all the others." Fred helped her pull out the ID that had been obtained
for her by the lab as a part of her new identity. The doorman looked at
it and then back at Alana and said, "I'm very sorry ma'am, I guess the
braces make you look a lot younger."
They went in and found a couple of seats at a 6-person
table that was completely empty. They sat down and almost immediately a
server came by and Fred ordered a couple of rum-and-cokes, asking to run
a tab, for which he was asked for the credit card in advance. Alana looked
confused and he explained, "If I get a tab, the company will pay for it,"
he said loudly enough that she could hear over the music.
"Why will they do that?" she asked.
"Because this is a very important part of getting you
used to society. That is one thing they wanted me to concentrate on helping
you with." He told this lie on the grounds that he needed to cover up his
real assignment on testing so she wouldn't fake her reactions and wreck
the results. "Have you had a drink before... I mean alcoholic?"
"No," she said without expression, just as the server
delivered them to the table. Alana drank it down completely before Fred
could say anything. "Oh," she said in response to his starting to say something,
"I was supposed to drink it slower... Wait, I've had something like that
before. You sip on it and it relaxes you. Will I be ok?" she giggled.
"Probably, with only one, but you are supposed to make
them last a little longer. I don't know if we know what the effect on the
circuits is with drinking. Let me know if you feel very strange... Oh,
wait. You said you have those episodes in the evening. What if you have
"Well, I'll tell you if it happens... It's so loud in
here, how about I squeeze your wrist?" That's what the lady in the lab
first suggested when she didn't know I could talk ok when it happened."
Fred nodded OK to her. "Can we dance?" she asked just as a new song came
Fred gulped down his drink and got up. She got up and
then looked at him, "I thought you weren't supposed to do that?"
He laughed, nervously and said, "No, but first, I am
a little nervous doing this in public and second, this way no one can steal
my drink." They wandered up to the dance floor and started dancing. This
was a fast song and Fred was a little out of practice. Alana, on the other
hand, was in perfect style. Fred admired her well-coordinated moves. They
were a little sensual without being outright suggestive. He noted that
this was a physical characteristic and the circuits they had implanted
where mostly non-physical brain center replacements. It was probable that
she was this good before her near-death, whereas her personality was probably
not at all similar.
As the dance sets continued, Alana did not show any adverse
signs of intoxication, as Fred had feared she might. The night was uneventful
and they got home before midnight. Over the next few days Fred completed
the creation of his test plan and by that time, he had collected enough
observations that his testing was well on its way.
... This story could be continued by others ...