I woke up in a haze, unsure of where I was or how long I have been out. The room’s once bright lights have been dimmed down considerably from when I last saw them. The first thing I saw when I came to were Dr. Arora and Trevor entering the surgical room. It was easy to see that the two men were polar opposites; one a member of the working class, while the other part of the elite. On closer examination, I could see beads of sweat running down Trevor’s forehead, presumably concerned with how the procedure went. Upon seeing me, he ran up to me with a smile of relief. With each step he took, his movement looked distorted and uneven. The sight of it was slightly painful to watch and I didn’t know why.
“Hey Ford, you’re ok. How you feeling buddy?” He asked, putting his large hand on my forearm.
“Mr. Gillian, I specifically told you not to move too quickly. The anticipated photo-sensitivity is always the worst following the procedure. With the wetware implanted, his anticipated response times will increase by a minimum of 1.85 seconds and both his Frontal and Parietal lobes need time to adjust to the augmentation. You need to move more slowly around him for at least two days.” Dr. Arora stressed to him as he slowly walked up to me.
“Shit, sorry about that Doc. But still, you doing ok Ford?”
“I am doing ok, but my head hurts like you wouldn’t believe.” I told him. I rubbed my fingers along the back of my neck and felt the implanted augmentation. Along the nape of my neck, a metallic plate was embedded, fastened to my spinal cord with rivets. I had also felt four ports for wire connections and two cable connectors towards the center of my neck. It was official, I was augmented.
“That is expected. As information is fed through the augmentation and converting into a means that your brain can use, it can be painful for the first week or so. You will get used to it. I am going to perform a small test to ensure that your ability to recollect short term information has not been damaged.” Dr. Arora pulled out a deck of cards and began to slowly shuffle them. He pulled the first of the cards out and held it in front of my face, an eight of clubs. Putting it back into the deck, he continued to pull out cards, showing each of them to me; a two of hearts, a six of spades, a joker. I was able to memorize every detail of those dingy cards from the bent corner of the two of hearts to the slight tear in the joker card. “Alright, I want you to tell me what cards I pulled out in the exact order.”
“An eight of clubs, a two of hearts, a six of spades and a joker card.” I told him.
“Short term recollection seems to be functioning perfectly.” Dr. Arora commented as he recorded the results. Trevor rolled his eyes at the aged doctor, questioning the logic of the cards.
“Don’t take this the wrong way doc, but I don’t think Ford paid four grand so he could count cards.” He said, crossing his hair covered arms.
“This also is used to test the long term memory as well. Following the procedure, Mr. Tremonte will be required to stop back for three appointments to check on not only his health, but the condition of the wetware. He will be asked to remember the cards that I had just shown him to ensure that his long term memory is functioning perfectly and there isn’t any brain damage.” Dr. Arora explained.
“I see what you are saying.” Trevor said, wagging his pudgy finger in agreement.
“Is the procedure done Dr. Arora?” I asked him as I tried to stand up on my own. With the remnants of the drugs that were in my system, I struggled to get to my feet. Trevor walked next to me, putting his arm under me and lifting me up. I experienced vertigo as I stood there. “Thank you Trevor.”
“Apart from your appointments, you are officially augmented. You clothing are in the plastic bin to your right and as you leave, you will be given a box of post surgery supplies and a small maintenance kit.” Dr. Arora told me.
“Post Surgery supplies?” I was unsure of what he meant,
“As you leave here, you will receive items that you are required to use for the next two weeks to help alleviate the post surgery symptoms such as sunglasses for the photo-sensitivity, four hundred milligram Itoxotin for the headaches and so on. You will also receive a specially designed neck pillow that you will have to use whenever you sleep.” As soon as he said ‘neck pillow’, I glanced at him with mild confusion to why they would provide a neck pillow. The other items seemed understandable, sunglasses for the photo-sensitivity and pain killers for any discomfort I might have felt, but a neck pillow just came off as odd.
“A neck pillow? Does it come embroidered with ‘Loghain Technologies’ on it?” I jokingly asked as I slowly made my way to the box containing my clothes. Each article of clothing was neatly folded, waiting to be worn.
“Not that I am aware of, but it is designed to keep your neck and spinal cord stabilized while the augmentation finishes setting. You are to use it for every time you sleep and you should avoid turning your head too quickly for at least a week. If you move your head too quickly, then you can easily tear the epidermis and the worse case scenario, damage your spinal cord.” Dr. Arora explained sternly, stressing the importance of doing what is required.
“I see. Thank you for telling me this Dr. Arora.” I told him as I began to get dressed. My dress shirt’s tag caught on one of the cable connectors, but I quickly undid it.
“It is not a problem Mr. Tremonte. Please excuse me, I have other appointments that I need to attend to. I will see you in two weeks for a follow up.” The doctor bid farewell, heading to the doorway to resume his work.
“See ya doc.” Trevor said. As I put the last of my clothes on, Trevor approached me slowly, taking the doctor’s advice from before and patted me on the shoulder. ” You good to go man?”
“Yeah…Yeah, let’s go.”
We proceeded to leave the surgical room, walking down the elongated hallway, following the painfully bright signs directing us to the exit. As we closed in on the lobby, we were greeted by a smaller woman holding two small boxes. Her attire was more akin to an airline stewardess rather than someone who would work in the medical profession, colored in a bright blue and white colors. The first of the boxes she gave me contained the sunglasses, a bottle Itoxotin and other small items that I was unfamiliar with. I took the sunglasses and put them immediately on, finding some relief in the colored lenses. The other box had the mentioned neck pillow, a machination of metal and clothed cushion, resembling something closer to a leg brace. Having received the supplies, the woman bid us farewell and congratulations on the success of the augmentation.
As Trevor drove me back to the apartment, I leaned against the window of the car taking everything. The world seemed to be moving slower and I could take in more information. After ten minutes, it became painful to look, forcing me to close my eyes. Trevor glanced over to me and saw my discomfort, feeling compelled to ask.
“Hey Ford, you feeling alright man?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I am still trying to adjust to this. Taking in every single detail around me is straining.” I told him.
“Well, don’t overdo anything. You heard what the doctor said, you need to take it easy. When we get back to the apartment, I want you to lie down for a while. Relax a bit.” He requested as he focused on the car filled road ahead.
“OK mom.” He chuckled at my joke, glad to see that I still had my humor with me.
When we reached the apartment, I proceeded to my bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed, holding the neck pillow with confusion on how to use it. After searching the boxes, I found the instructions for how to use the ‘pillow’. Pulling the thin metal beams apart, the pillow extended into an elongated rack with a rectangular cushion with no center to provide room for the augmentation. I sat it down on the head of my bed and laid myself down. It was discomforting at first resting my head on the rack, but I quickly fell asleep.
Four hours had passed before I woke up to the sound of conversation in the living room.