The L Word : Behind the Scenes

The L Word Bette Porter Tina Kennard


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C O U N T D O W N: Missing Hours – Chapter Two

(If you’re just joining the story, Chapter One – Dr. Porter is here http://wp.me/p4AUvc-nZ4 )

Dateline:  January 15, 2017

Five Days Until Inauguration Day

Chapter Two – Missing Hours

My missing hours have become a meditation exercise.

I’m staring at a doorknob.  Staring deeply at a doorknob.  I’m entering a spiral, going deeper into the spiral, following my breath…to escape my anger that’s been simmering for hours.

 

This doorknob has real meaning for me.  It is the doorknob on a closed door that I want to throw open.  Turning that knob would lead me to freedom and drop the curtain on this bad piece of  theater –starring the intercept team in dark suits — and this exasperating interlude would end.

I don’t consider myself a naive person.  So, how did this happen?

Days ago, I’d whispered into a comatose combat veteran’s ear that Donald Trump was crazy and I had some answers for the right people who wanted to get serious about this bullshit.  Did I expect anyone to show up?

No.  Never.

But they had shown up and I had taken them seriously.

During the drive over to the house with the doorknob I’d worked out a clear meeting agenda in my head.  Using the Socratic Method applied to the subject of brain science, I’d created a step by step process for people unfamiliar with neurology to follow. I had believed I was in possession of the golden keys to this meeting.

Standing before them in the main room of what I can only guess would be called a Safe House – a place for stashing people of interest until the heat has died down – I had delivered the following opening statement, but not in one of my power suits, not in one of my pristine lab coats, but in my riding attire of knee high boots and jodhpurs.  The team had nabbed me at my office after I’d returned from the barn.

During my presentation the agents had sat on a sofa and chairs and were dressed in nearly identical dark business suits.  Before beginning my statement, I’d decided not to mention how the swarm identity they were exhibiting would likely led them straight to Groupthink whenever considering a case together.  Their cognitive problems would have to come later.  We had national security issues to tackle first, and so, I had begun.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s non compos mentis exhibits as a psychosis.  Signs of this as being true are observable and well documented. Here is a list of behaviors that should be setting off alarm bells that America is on the brink of violating its Constitution.  Up until this moment, I had believed these catastrophic signals had been falling upon deaf ears.  This I’d found disturbing and increasingly odd.  Five days out from inauguration, I’m grateful to share them with you.

“First, Donald Trump is a compulsive liar.  Second, he experiences events by way of interpreting them through his hallucinations that he believes are real. Third, his mental derangements, his inability to recall events as they truly occurred minutes, hours or days before, is an acute form of psychosis.”

Then I had sat down, brushed a bit of horse hair off my jacket, crossed my legs and had waited for them to spring into action.

But that’s not what had happened and we are still sitting here.

The missing hours…

I hear the rustling of clothing off to my left and I tense at what I suspect will be another question that challenges my patience. Is it possible they believe the laws of science could have changed in these last hours?  That the facts of neurology will be different and by waiting they’ll get a different set of answers out of me?

When the rustling stops I turn my attention from the doorknob to a man in a suit who asks, “What medical proof do you have Dr Porter that President-elect Trump’s mentally impaired?”

“That’s a great question, as I’ve said the last twenty times you’ve asked it, and I’ll repeat for the twenty-first time my answer that your use of the word “impaired” slights the seriousness of his mental illness.  Please correctly state his condition as mental derangement. Mental impairment implies that you believe Trump suffers from something like a concussion.  A condition that will pass over time. I’ve stated the exact opposite of that. Donald Trump’s behavior will not reestablish itself back into any reliable state of equilibrium.  Why?  Because his delusional behavior instead presents as a persistent peaking effect of his mental psychosis.  Which means, Donald Trump spends more time in delusions than he does in reality.”

The man in suit continues, “So, you have no proof, just theories.”

I shoot back, “Are you confused perhaps about how theory is applied to research?  I’m not using the term theory in the way a man like yourself might dream up a “theory” — that if you get a burner phone and only call your mistress on it your wife will never find out you’re having an affair.  You could mistakenly call that a theory, but you’d be using the word incorrectly, and using it to assuage your guilt, whereby further giving yourself permission to cheat on your wife.  In that case, what you’re using is not a theory at all, but a flawed strategy of deceit.”

I must’ve hit a nerve because Agent 2 storms out of the room and another man clears his throat to regain the floor,  “How do you develop your theories Doctor Porter?”

But I’m still having fun mind-fucking Agent 2 so I shout,  “If you’d asked me I could’ve plotted with mathematical certainty if you’d get caught cheating.”  I cup my hands around my mouth in a mini megaphone. “FYI!  The key is plugging in more variables than a stupid burner phone.”

“I believe you’ve drilled in your point, Doctor Porter.”

“Have I?  Good.  Because I’m ready to leave.”

“Not yet.”

“Look, unlike a cut on your finger, or a broken bone that will heal, the human brain does not work that way.  The brain is not a bone-knitting type healer for itself.  It’s a complicated organ.  It has many regions that are constantly doing automatic things, like breathing and beating your heart and creating fluctuations in your body’s endocrine system.  The brain does other things, such as, comprehension tasks, as in seeing what’s right in front of you.  If it’s healthy it sees what’s actually there.  If it’s Trump’s brain it filters real time as a mass hallucination.”

I pause for effect, because this is the most serious problem the President-elect has, whereby making it the most serious problem we all have.  “Let me ask you a question.  When everyone watches the same thing, a replay of a video clip for instance, do we see what Donald Trump says he sees?  No we do not.”

“What’s the endocring system?”  This is his lame follow up.

“E N D O C R I N E system, with an e.  Goddammit! I should fucking bill you people at this point for being so stupid and wasting my time!  If I knew where to send an invoice I absolutely would.  Give me your business card, please.”

I lean over snapping my fingers together and opening my hand for someone’s business card.  “It would be for $800 by the way.  I’m four hundred an hour, when not in surgery.  You, and Agents 1 through 5, need to sharpen up, because I’m leaving here in five minutes. Non-negotiable.”

Then the only woman on their team takes over.  “Okay, Doctor Porter, we realize you’re a specialist with years of experience and training.”

She’s the one who coaxed me into the car to begin with.

“I will kick right through that door with these boots.  I hope you’re hearing me.”

“I’m hearing you.”  She nods and sends me – what must pass for an sympathetic look in the intelligence community – a softening of her eyes that only makes her look sleepy.

 

“Then pay closer attention because this is my last lesson on the subject of the deterioration of cognitive function.”  I lean forward and tick off the issues to make my point.  “Is one lie a symptom of deterioration?” I hold up one finger.  “The answer would be no.  Are five Trump lies a symptom of a something being off cognitively?” I hold five fingers up. “How about a hundred?  Or a thousand?”

At this point I’m feeling deranged.

“Are conspiracy theories a symptom of psychosis? Is bullying and incessant ridicule a sign of mental trouble?  Is threatening people?  How about sexually assaulting women and kidding about it?  Is that troubling enough for you?”

“People who know him say that’s his personality.  He’s a bullying-type of guy.  I don’t see how that can be proof of mental instability.”

“To you hurting people intentionally is a sign of mental stability?”

“I did not say that.”

“But you did just say that!  You dismiss every symptom I point out  as non-problematic for a world leader to possess.  Otherwise you would get on the phone and begin,  what I would hope would be, a rapidly escalating series of steps to stop Trump from taking office!”

Then I stop shouting and my tone becomes lighter.  “Look, we’re not talking about just any “Crazy Joe” sitting on a park bench talking to invisible pigeons.  Delusions, ideas of impossible grandiosity, lying as second nature…these are symptoms, no Goddammit, they are proof that he’s mentally deranged.”

At this point she glances at the man sitting next to her on the couch, but I can’t read what’s exchanged quickly between them.

I lean forward to focus their attention back on me.  “My last point as it pertains to his delusions.  Have you heard any strange and grandiose ideas about building a two thousand mile long border wall?”

None of the agents will look me in the eyes.  They stare everywhere but at me.

“Please just bring him over to where I work, or I’ll meet you at Walter Reed and take some blood samples, do a CT scan and run him through the MRI.”

“That’s just not going to happen today.”  She stands up, as my signal I can leave.

Did I sense a feeling of regret in her voice?

“You know, Agent 4, reality should not have to grasped at, as if it were a balloon floating away from you.”  I knock the side of my head to make my point.  “Reality should already be firmly in here by the age of three.”

 

 

Even though I saw him earlier, I drive back to the barn to see Nightingale.  I really don’t want to talk to anymore humans today, in fact, the thought of a human voice feels like shattered glass cutting into my skin.  I need the smell and nustling of my horse.

I slip his halter over his nose and fasten it behind his ears and with a lead rope I guide him out of his stall and down the centerline of the stable.  He blows out a long exhale and makes significant snorts, as one by one the other horses in the barn extend their heads and necks out over their stall doors and snort back as we pass.

Nightingale and I clop along the frost covered path that encircles the riding ring.  It’s dark, nearly 7pm, and there’s not another human soul in sight. I may walk in circles with no destination for hours just followed by my horse. I have serious thinking to do, but no wish to concentrate on any of it.

I halt our forward movement and throw my arms around Nightingale’s neck.  I almost feel like weeping, as I bury myself in his mane and muscle, when out of the blue the, “OMG! We’re all going to die!” pinned tweet of the sexy TV pundit swims up in my mind and I groan instead.  Partly out of sexual frustration and admitting it to myself.

If I had married I would’ve been divorced six times over by now.  I am, so they say, not easy to get along with on a long term basis.  I’m brilliant for a year, and then I get bored.  The women may look even better than when I began dating them.  It’s just that I like silence much more than I enjoy constant engagement.  This makes me an odd combination of being professionally extroverted, and when in the mood, sexually aggressive in pursuit, but also possessing the anomalous traits of a social outlier.

Thus the horse, the empty bed and no dates on the books.

I reach in my pocket for the apple I brought for Nightingale and up with it comes a crumpled note stuck to its peel.

 

Navigating through the wide curves around Dupont Circle I turn onto N St and miraculously find a parking space near the Tabard Inn.  An hour ago I was certain I wanted to be left alone, but the invitation, coming as it did, secreted to me in my jacket pocket, spurred me onto the interstate and straight into Washington, D.C.  Had the mysterious note been an invitation to meet in a suite at the new Trump hotel, I would still be walking around in circles.

Taking two steps at time up the stairway I’m surprised to see The Tabard Inn’s quaint lobby empty, with not even a desk clerk in sight.  Then I remember, of course, in the days ahead of the upcoming inauguration of our puppet president every Democrat with any means has bolted from Washington.

Standing in front of Room 303, it opens after I knock lightly, and I’m met first, by the scent of perfume and then, this woman appears in front of me.

The TV pundit, who never wears this kind of dress on air.  I can barely tear my eyes from her plunging neckline.

“I recognize you, which makes me wonder if I have the right room?”  Saying this, I reluctantly lift my eyes to look into hers, that crinkle at their sides as she steps backwards and ushers me through the door.

In the rear of the room I spot the woman intelligence officer, who’s quickly gathering her keys and phone off the top of a table and brushing past me she whispers, “I thought you two should meet.”

And then, she’s gone like a puff of smoke and the door clicks closed behind her.

“May I offer you a drink?”  Asks the TV pundit.  “My name’s Maria and you are, of course, Doctor Porter.”

I practically dive at the bar while insisting that she call me, Bette.

“Did you come from fox hunting or something?”  She illustrates with a sweep of her hand over my riding clothes.  “Nice boots.”

“You don’t hunt foxes at night on horseback.”  I swallow an inch of Scotch in one gulp.  “May I fix you something?”

“What you’re having is fine.”

I turn back to the bar and catch my reflection in a mirror.  My hair seems to be having an electrical reaction to meeting her and has taken upon itself to curl even wilder.  I run my hands through it in a vain attempt to look normal, and then pick up our drinks to join her.

“I’ve seen you on television, many times.  You’re smart and so amusing.”

“I looked you up on the internet.”

I lean back in my chair trying my best to look relaxed.  “That must’ve been dull going.”

She laughs and says, “No, not at all, but I’ll admit to not understanding much in a recent speech of yours.”

I look puzzled.

“I watched the talk you gave in San Francisco on YouTube.”  She opens a reporter’s notebook I hadn’t noticed before, and flipping through a few pages she stops and reads, “Moyamoya Disease Explored Through RNF213.”

“Yes, that would be a confusing topic.  Please don’t ask me to explain it to you.  I’ve had quite a day.”

“So I’ve heard.”  She sips her Scotch and smiles at me.

“Are you married?”  I hear myself asking without meaning to.  God Lord!  Where is my filter?

She looks puzzled but quickly answers, “No, are you?”  Her question ending with a delightful lilting laugh.

“I don’t know why I said that,” I confess.  “I haven’t had dinner, or lunch for that matter.”

“Let’s order something, Bette Porter.  What would you like?”

“Poached salmon, asparagus with hollandaise and french fries. You?”

“I’ve had dinner already so,…I’m thinking of dessert.  Do you like chocolate?”  She asks while dialing for Room Service.”

It didn’t take long after dinner, wine and more Scotch to find ourselves, with her shoes my boots off, leaning back against the Tabard Inn’s headboard and talking about everything, but Donald Trump.

At one point during dinner, when she had slipped french fry after french fry off my plate, I’d brought up the topic of his hallucinations, which we talked about in some depth, but soon the topic drunkenly drifted, as things do, to her telling me a story about dropping ecstasy at Burning Man last summer.

 

 

I had stared into her eyes as she described her out of body experience of joining with a ring of naked dancers around a bonfire that had at its center — a forty foot high effigy of Donald Trump engulfed in flames.

Now we’re leaning back against the pillows, and she’s telling me more extraordinary things that happened to her at Burning Man, until finally looking over at her I cannot stop my desire of falling lips first into her cleavage.

I watch her taking a sip of red wine and then lightly licking a droplet away from the top of her lip.

“I need to tell you something.”  I say very softly while my hand slides inside her dress and finds her nipple.

“Hmm,” she whispers back, “the hands of a surgeon.”

“A brain surgeon,” I remind her before we kiss.

She slides down into the bed and pulls me on top of her.  “I’m a little dusty from the horses.  Does that bother you?” I ask.

“I smell them on your neck.”  She licks up my skin to just under my ear.  “Salty.”

Slipping her dress off her shoulders, I forget every annoyance of today and think of only curves and nipples and sucking them.  She opens her legs to me and moves my hand into a sensation of waves of her wetness and heat. Our lips meet in a kiss, that becomes a dance of tongues inside her mouth and mine, and she bites my neck when I slide inside her.  Another long kiss and she pulls my shirt tails out of my riding pants and whispers she wants me naked.

“I hate to stop,” I half moan in her ear.

“More of you,” she says while pulling her dress over her head.

Nude and kneeling at the edge of the bed, she pulls my riding pants off and somewhere over her shoulder sail my bra and panties.   One french manicured finger traces down the single strip of hair that I wax into a thin line straight to my clitoris.  In circles she plays with my aching for her.

Closing my eyes, I feel her lips on mine, her breasts pressed against me, the pleasure of her sliding inside me, we make love slowly and rhythmically…riding the long waves of pleasure and sensation.

I roll her over and suddenly the awareness of my fantasy unfolding – the vision I’ve had of her under me – the longed for realness of being with her, sends my animal brain up to eleven.

Transformed, I hear a gasp of breath from her and everything changes between us.  Everything.

She digs her fingernails into my back, and cries, “Jesus!  Fuck me,” and we’re locked on a ride of throbbing currents, until the sounds and shockwaves of our final climax… shoots through me…far, so very far from my control.

 

 

 

______________

Hope you enjoyed Chapter Two.


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C O U N T D O W N – Chapter One – Dr Porter

 

Chapter One – Doctor Porter

Dateline: January 12, 2017

Eight Days until Inauguration Day –

At this time of the morning the drive from my home in Virginia to my suite of labs and offices near Langley is never congested.  The turn off for the massive CIA headquarters is miles before my own exit off the small highway that winds its way past horse farms and turn-of-the-century Victorian homes surrounded by ancient oak trees and pastoral orchards.  I crack the car window open a few inches and inhale the woodsy scents of the fields still frosty in early January.  The chilly breeze lifts the dark curls off my left shoulder and before I reach for the radio – to hear the first news of the day – I stop myself and curl my fingers tighter around the steering wheel instead.

The news I fear has been irrevocably changed by the election of Donald Trump, and in defense of my sanity I just cannot listen to another one of Trump’s tweets read aloud.  On my drive to work I usually enjoy morning radio programs, but they’ve devolved into an implausible search for coherent meaning inside the circus tent of Trumpworld.  Political commentators have begun to mimic shamans, who look for mystical signs in the entrails of dead baboons, and American journalists search for policy in Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

Nevertheless, as infuriating as it continues to be, each day I give our national dilemma some thought, even though I have my own impossibly complicated work to pay attention to.  How to remedy the unimaginable brain damage of my patients?  That’s what waiting for me at my office.

Do I try a complicated system array of electrical micro-pulses I’ve designed for the combat vet lying in a vegetative state?  How do I treat the woman whose car crash has left her unable to speak or move her legs?  These are but two, on my long list of responsibilities, and that’s before I delve into the neuroscience research technology I’ve committed to R & D.

My Audi speeds by the icy brown leaves of winter, so stuck and frozen together on the roadside they barely stir an inch as I drive past.  So, I ask my silent radio, “Who has the more impossible task?  You as political pundits trying to divine the truth in a tweet, or me as a brain surgeon!?”

I roll the car window all the way down and let the freezing air blow hard and fast against my face, as I scream out the window.  “Just say it for God’s sake!  We’ve elected a madman as president!”

Well that accomplished the sum total of nothing, except startling a murder of crows from their roost.  Their inky black bodies lift off the limbs of the pecan trees and take flight, as my thoughts drift and soon land on the pretty face of the wise cracking redheaded TV pundit I’ve got an impossible crush on.

I like it that she surprises me with her different hairstyles and chic bracelets and how she gets that Trump’s insane.  I can see her dying to say it out loud on MSNBC, but always stopping herself just short.  I’d love to give her chance to confess it to me if she’d like.  Over a bottle of wine I’d earnestly praise her political comic genius and then take her home to bed.

But it will never happen.

I sigh out a long foggy breath and wish her journo-beat was neuroscience instead of politics.   Doesn’t she want a Pulitzer?  Because I know what’s terribly wrong inside the President-elect’s brain.  Wouldn’t she like to see deeply into my world of neuroscience and its wonders?

I checked her Twitter feed last night, when I didn’t see her on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show.  She’s usually on-screen with David Corn, from Mother Jones, and the extremely serious former CIA guy, Jason-somebody, who never cracks a smile, even at her best crafted ironies and jabs at the President-elect’s dim wittedness.  It was then I noticed my TV crush had changed her pinned tweet to, “Every morning I wake up thinking, “OMG!  We’re all going to die!””

In sidewalk speak, she’d fucking unnerved me.  In science speak, she’d hijacked my amygdala creating a neurological brainstorm that had kept me up for hours.  I should never read Twitter before bed.  It matters little to the human brain, hard-wired ten thousand years ago to avoid man-eating tigers, that we presently live in a modern world of luxuries and comforts.  Our flight or fight traits may be an atavism of little use in our tiger-free cities, but for millions of people on Twitter I suspect Trump is the tiger.

madison neurological institute Front

Madison Neuroscience Research Lab –

Cassie Davenport is my oldest friend’s daughter, my Godchild and my extraordinary surgery assistant.  If she vanished tomorrow, I’d have to disappear to.  She’s that critical to everything.

I’m examining the combat vet’s latest brain scans when she breezes into my office.

“How’s your mood this morning, because I’ve got two things to tell you.”  She stands a few feet away, green eyes, long brown hair she twists on top of her head with pencils and knitting needles while at work.  She squints at me to discern my feelings.  She started this squinting business when she was nine.

This morning her scrutiny causes me to frown and wonder again about my eroding temperament of late.  “What?” is about all I can muster.

“First, the good news.  Your horse is fine.”

I spin around and knock a stack of patient medical files on the floor. “What?”

Cassie straightens her crisp white lab coat and stares straight into my eyes.  “You’re cleaning that up.”  She points to the mess of paper on the floor.

“Agreed.”  I bend down and shuffle reports back into their folders.  “What’s this about Nightingale?”  I make a dash for the phone to call the stable.

“Put the phone down.  As I said, he’s fine, but this morning a new barn hire let too many horses out in the ring for exercise and Nightingale jumped the fence.”

“Then what?”

“Back in his stall, safe and sound, with a bucket of oats, but Mrs. Prescott wants you to come by or call her.”

Unable to stop her need for order, Cassie leans over and straightens the pile of folders I’d haphazardly dropped on my desk.  She continues my briefing/scolding.  “Mrs. Prescott says to tell you that he misses you and to remind you that he’s a young horse who, I believe this is how she put it, needs your ass in the saddle, or needs his mother.  I forget which.”

This she follows with her laugh.  A pleasant kind of cackling that amuses me, but I don’t show that yet.

Caught being lazy I revert to an old habit that drives some people up the wall.  I crack a few knuckles before shoving my hands deep into my pockets.  “Mrs Prescott would’ve said his mother, because she’s old fashioned that way, but you’ve explained the situation.  I get it.  I should’ve gone there yesterday to see my boy.”

“It has been cold lately.” Cassie sympathizes.

“I have a coat.”

“And nice riding gloves, if I remember.”

“Lots of gear and tack.”  I turn back to the charts.  “Should we operate on this man?  I think we should.”

“That’s the second thing I was going to tell you.”

“Hit me,” I say as I rearrange the brain scans, suddenly stopping at one in particular.

“Exactly!  A noticeable increase…”

I press a series of commands and the scan becomes 3D.  “In the pre-frontal cortex, right behind both of his eyes!  Will you look at that!”

Cassie joins me at the imaging table and lifts her fingers up to tap an inch inside her scalp line, “A little hole drilled right about here?”

“Hm, make that two.  I’m building an electrical bridge between these two areas of his brain nuclei.  I’ll put the implants twenty microns behind this part of the optic nerve.”

“Doing that on both sides?”

“To create a neural web-like effect, stimulating from cortex to cortex and then…maybe deeper.  I’ll have to see once I get in there.”  I turn back to the wall mounted display of my patient’s brain scans.  “He’s ready.  Look at the difference between this morning and three days ago.”

“Remarkable to see how the brain revives during coma.”

“Rare for sure.  Anything else before we scrub in?”

“Just that…because nobody else could possibly do this he’s very lucky.”

“Well, possible Tony.”  Now I’m back at my desk and syncing my iPhone with my computer.  “Have you heard from him?”

“Did you fall in well?  Or did I forget to tell you?”  Cassie hyperventilates.  “He’s recovering from a shark attack!”

“You’re kidding?  No!  You’re serious.”  I focus on her guilty face.  “Where?  When?”

“Surfing off the coast of some unpronounceable Pacific island, but lucky for him it wasn’t his hands.  A shark took a chomp from his calf though.”

“Oh God!  Well, he can still operate.  We should send a card.”

“Sitting down.  At least for awhile.  Card.  Already done, along with one to the ex-wife.”

“He has three.”

“The one you like.”  She winks at me.

“After that…”  I blush and fidget with objects on my desk. “I quit drinking at office parties.”

“My mother wonders if that’s still true?”

“Mostly.  Why is everyone I know so nosy?  Call the OR, will you?  And quit worrying about me and my horse or anything else that’s bothering you.” I twist the axis control on the imaging console and the combat vet’s brain pivots 90 degrees.

“Zen mind, of course.”  Cassie nods an affirmative and together we stare into the scan that captured lightning strikes of neural activity and has frozen them in time.

I flip off the display.  “I’m impressed with our combat veteran. He came a bit more alive overnight.”

“I wonder if he dreams now?”  Her voice drifting in awe, as we leave the room.

Operating suite 5A

Four hours later –

People say surgeons, like fighter pilots, are born not made. It’s an interesting theory.  There’s something to having top notch skills and performing perfectly under pressure.  Parts of it can be learned.  I certainty didn’t pick up a micro laser in med school and begin neurosurgery, but I do have the hands, the coordination and the patience for it.  I also have something else.  An innate, perhaps empathic sense that guides me more than my surgical skill does to heal a damaged human brain.

Along the edges of crossword puzzles I finish I unconsciously doodle intricate multi-dimensional shapes I’ve never seen before I create them.  They look like super cones or tubes with interlocking prisms, and for the life of me, I don’t know their meaning – yet.

What I do know is that I’ve had great success with simple geometric shapes and implanting these as functioning electrical web arrays.  They sync with the patient’s brain wave patterns and they heal.

My surgery plan today is to go behind the eye and enliven the optic nerve clusters by connecting them with different synaptic groupings deeper into the brain.

 

Now that the patient’s brain has been opened I slide a micro thin probe by his left optic nerve and nod for Cassie to send through a pulse.  “Let’s start low at 15 ef hertz and move up from there.”

Cassie waits by the pulse stimulator as we both watch the tiny wire I’m guiding slide past the optic nerve shown on the screen next to my left shoulder.  “It’s live at 15 for you Dr Porter.”

“Send the pulse please.”

A second monitor registers the patient’s brain activity in reaction to the tiny jolt of electricity I gave him.  “Okay.  That’s a good position for the right side.  Now going in to the patient’s left side.  Across the operating table nearer to Cassie is the screen that shows the second micro fiber I’m pushing slowly into his brain behind his eye. “Fifteen for each in sync this time.”

“Fifteen is ready on both sides now doctor.”

“Send the pulse please, Cassie.”

“Not enough, in fact nothing.” I stare at the screens left and right. “These are the outer most points for the neural web array.  I’ll do one more at 30 microns posterior creating a triangular shape of connectivity.  That should penetrate deeper given where we’re beginning in the cortex.”

I set my third and final implant and ask for another synchronized pulse at fifteen.

The brain begins to respond with increased neural activity  between the three micron width vibrating probes.

“Okay, slow but sure.  I like what I’m seeing at 15.”

Cassie puts on a pair of goggles with extreme magnification and peers into what looks like an empty test tube, but to her the tube contains hundreds of micro-sized nanorobots, so small that she’ll slide them down the micron width of each fiber probe, and I’ll never seen them until I direct their web knitting program from a computer.

“Please place twelve down the probe on the left.”  And again, invisibly she performs her task counting off the tiny nanobots as they releases down the fiber.

“Eleven, twelve are now in.  Bring them up screen?”

“Sure, I’d love to see my babies go to work.”

Nanobots used this way is very new to brain surgery.  Thanks to their micron size they have the ability to maneuver through the complex passageways in the brain and go right where I want them to.  These I designed to do additional surgery if I need them to repair a tiny brain bleed, or change their position and send out pulses up to 55 ef hertz, but their first task is to configure into a three dimensional triangular web array behind the combat vet’s eyes and slightly deeper.  This is my genius at work.  Nobody outside of this operating room tries design and guidance technology to cure comatose victims.

Finishing up the second and third implantations with Cassie applying the nanorobot army to each micron fiber I finally lean over for the scrub nurse to wipe around my brow and eyes.

“Cassie, all your bots in place?”

She checks the test tube and her hyper magnified eyes look freakish.  She shakes the test tube gently.  “All thirty-six deployed.  Did you name them this time?”

I send her a sly smile she cannot possibly see through my surgical mask, but she teases me anyway.  “Fairy tale names this time or child movie stars I’ve never heard of.”

“Comedians.  A carefully curated list you’ll like.  Amy Schumer’s down in there somewhere.  Turn the programming software on and let’s get them moving into place.”

With a pen like tool on a screen that has is synced to their specific signal pulse I move the nanorobots into position and when finished I like what I see.

“Moment of truth here coming up, Cassie.”

Her weird magnifying goggles removed she’s back to normal.  “Ready on this end. At your mark.”

“They’re in place and on frequency Q-33.”

“I’ve got them,” she says leaning over an array that beams back a perfect three dimensional spherical shape with extending electro sweeps of a triangle.  From optic nerve to optic nerve and deeper inside the brain nuclei the geometry of my specific brain design is active and looking different that what I’d imagined.  Almost God like it’s so beautiful.

“Removing the probes now, Cassie, because you have control of them on your end.”

“I have them on my end.”

“Send a burst of 22 efh and let’s see what they do.”

“22 going in now, doctor.”

The nanorobot web begins to connect itself, nanobot by nanobot, and in seconds the operation is complete.

Quickly I attach two external pulse monitors to our patient’s temporal lobe and flip on a screen.  The reading before me is the patient’s real time brain activity supported by the web array deep inside his brain.

A few flashes of electro-cortical activity shoot back and forth and then, his neo-cortex and the front lobes of his brain begin to send back signals of functioning wave patterns.

I sigh with relief.

“Do you want me to close for you doctor?”

“No, I’m going to stay with him awhile and stitch him up.  Nice little silk stitches, he won’t even have a scar.”

I lean over him as I work.  “Sergeant, I’d love for you to do me a favor when you wake up and get back on your feet.  I have a problem with this foolish President we’ve elected.  You military guys probably all voted for him, but here’s the problem since you’ve been in a coma.  He’s not right mentally, mister, and he’s going to fuck your world up just as much as he’s going to fuck up mine.  So, I need to tell someone important about what I know, but mostly – and this is the important part if you’re listening – the President-elect is going to much, much worse and never, ever better.”  I finish my last stitch and the nurse wipes his incisions with betadine.

I lean against his ear and whisper, “Remember what I told you.”

Three days later-

A fleet of fast moving black SUVs pulls to a rapid halt in front of the lab and suddenly my office is filled with men and women dressed in black suits with very serious looks on their faces.  A black helicopter circles outside my building.

I’m dressed in my riding gear, having just returned from the stable.  I don’t speak, but wait to see who’s in command.  A few seconds, the slowest moving seconds ever to tick past in my life time, and finally a woman speaks, but not before she locks eyes with me.

“You have information about the health of the President-elect?”

“Really?  What’s the helicopter for?”

“It might be your ride.”

“To where?”

“That’s not important at this moment.”

“Are you detaining me?  Arresting me?”

A beefy man in the back chuckles.  “We don’t arrest people ma’am, we’re transport.”

“Sure,” I say half heartedly to his lie.

The woman in black starts again, “Dr Porter, do you have information you’d like to share with us about the President-elect’s health, or not?”

“Are you throwing a bag over my head?”

“No you’re riding in the car with me.  I’ll be beside you the whole time.  You’ll be safe, we just have a few questions we’d rather not go into here.”

“So, the Sergeant remembered?”

“His brother is with military intelligence…a special branch.”

“No name I suppose.”

“None that we’ll offer.  You can help us, or not?”

I scribble a note to her:  “Do you believe he’s crazy (which I strike through and add something more like what the neurologist they came for would write) mentally unsound? Perhaps dangerous?”

I pass the note to her.

She nods an affirmative.

Two minutes later I’m in the back of a black SUV speeding through Virginia.

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Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of this science thriller featuring Dr Bette Porter.  More to come soon.

Command out!

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