Spacer Family Reunion 135
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[Perspective switch: Everyone Else]

    I saw the sky brighten slowly through the window. In the distance I could glimpse a patch of woodland. The window itself was too small to fit through, even for me, even without the decorative-looking bars.
    Dr. Ellis arrived with a smile, closing the door behind him. "How are you feeling?" He sat down in a silver egg chair; I wondered what that hideous relic of the '70s was doing in a place like this. Although the entire furniture set looked a little like it had been handed down a couple of times.
    "Fine, thank you." My head was clearer than it had been, but still not entirely right, and I felt weak, but didn't see any reason to share that fact.
    "Are you feeling all right?" he reiterated after a moment of study, as if he didn't quite believe me. I nodded. "Do you feel like you're in control of your muscles?"
    "I'm going to undo your straps." He unfastened them, moving slowly. "You may want to stretch somewhat. While you have been in a coma for several months, due to the aftereffects of Rogers' Syndrome I don't know how much loss of muscle tone you'll actually have."
    Ah, the mysterious effects of Rogers' Syndrome, which were undoubtedly going to explain away every hole I could find in this little setup.
    "Are you familiar with Rogers' Syndrome?" he went on.
    "As I said, Rogers' Syndrome is the aftereffect of an improperly manifested variance. It usually happens in individuals who have a natural biological variance occur at a later stage in their life, after the prime ages between seventeen and twenty-two. In your case it came in two stages. There was an initial stage in an airport, you suffered an aneurysm and a low-end telekinetic burst, fell over and complained for a few weeks of dizziness, blackouts, memory loss and nausea. Eventually after a couple of months you simply passed out. Your parents arranged for you to be taken here. We're a clinic that specializes in cases similar to this, people who have had some sort of unfortunate variant occurrence."
    I couldn't quite suppress a twitch at the word "parents." And I didn't remember anything like what he was talking about. But then again, presumably I wouldn't, what with the blackouts and all.
    "They know you're awake, but we're going to hold off on having them actually see you for a few days so we can gauge your condition." He had noticed the twitch.
    "Okay." It would probably take them a few days to find the actors again.
    "There were several unusual aspects to the coma that you were in," he continued, "that correspond with what are considered the standard effects of Rogers' Syndrome. Your muscle tone, as I said, doesn't look like it decayed nearly as much as it should have. Your body went through a substantial weight loss without loss of muscle tone, that had apparently started before the actual coma began. You've also gone through an intensive period of REM sleep, you probably suffered some memory loss. Do you feel like certain parts of your past are somewhat fuzzy, indistinct?"
    "There's been a biological rewriting of your brain. I realize that's a frightening prospect."
    I smiled slightly; it was a prospect I'm rather familiar with, actually.
    "You seem lucid," he went on, "and you'll probably with therapy be able to recover everything. You no doubt have the important bits, but some of your minor aspects may seem... washed out. Also, your memories for the period of blackouts, you were complaining of memory loss then too, I don't know how much of that you recall, but more likely than not you probably lost several months before the coma as well. You might have been experiencing rather realistic dream states, and/or hallucinations during your coma period. When you broke your arm you were thrashing around and claiming that you were in some sort of conflict."
    I glanced at my arm. It still hurt.
    "You were yelling, but not coherent. Do you have any memories of any of your dreams, in the coma?"
    "They were very vivid," I equivocated. It seemed best to play along to whatever extent I could, try to figure out what the game was, act as if I accepted what he was saying.
    "Some people's are, some aren't. I'm sure that you might have gained an enhanced degree of awareness, do you feel that your senses are preternaturally sharp now? Has your hearing increased, your eyesight better?"
    "Are you experiencing any spatial perception problems?"
    "Not that I'm aware of." How exactly would one know if one was?
    "You may," he warned. "It's going to be some time before you can safely leave this room. There's a common experience for people that are bedridden for too long, you lose depth perception outside of whatever room you're in. It's a neurological problem, similar to when people have serious accidents on their limbs, they'll lose sensation and awareness in them for a while. It's nothing to be concerned about, it will fade as soon as you actively start moving outside."
    "And that will be...?" I invited.
    "Within three or four days. We have to gauge exactly how much muscle tone you've lost, what the effects of the variant emergence have been on you. It would be dangerous for us to try and move you outside this area, or even for you to be walking too much on your own. It wouldn't do for you to collapse on a stairwell."
    "No, we don't want that." I smiled pleasantly.
    He looked at me with a certain amount of concern. "Sasha, I have this feeling that you don't trust me."
    I hate being this readable, I really do. Or maybe he was just assuming the obvious. "Well, it's a little bit... odd to wake up like this, as I'm sure you can imagine."
    "I certainly can."
    "I imagine that most people who go through this have an adjustment period."
    "We have a psychologist on staff, if you feel as if you're having any sort of trouble I can arrange for him to come by and see you."
    "I'll think about it."
    He made a note on his clipboard. "I'll arrange an appointment for him to at least come and meet with you so you can get a feeling for him. There's also a chaplain here, if there's any religious issues you'd like to discuss."
    "Thank you." Why were they going through this entire bizarre charade? Why not just plant some more false memories overtop of what was there? Hell, why not just erase "me" and start over?
    It occurred to me that that sounded a little paranoid, didn't it? Which of the options facing me really seemed more likely?
    Don't, I ordered myself. Don't let that sort of thing start.
    "We're going to have to start a battery of tests on you, determine what the effects are. We're going to have to take some blood. Now that you're conscious again, there'll be a CAT scan, other physiological examinations. There was a telekinetic outburst originally, do feel that you have any sort of external awareness?"
    "No." I stared at the opposite wall and wished I was lying.
    "That may or may not come back. This is not a unique situation, I want to put your mind at ease about that," he said reassuringly. "There are other people that have gone through this. Fortunately for you, unless we discover anything atrocious, which from our basic workup so far I doubt, you've made out better than most. There are no external biological modifications, you haven't grown horns or fangs, your skin hasn't changed color, you'll be able to reenter your life exactly where you left it."
    I'm still not sure if that last statement was a mistake or if they knew exactly what they were doing, but he was wrong. Within the confines of the story they were giving me, he was wrong, and the little knot of fear under my solar plexus grew slightly larger.
    "There are a lot of people who pray for that sort of opportunity."
    "It'll be nice to be back," I said noncommittally.
    "Some nurses are going to come in, take a blood sample, and someone'll come by and bring you some food."
    "Is there any coffee?" What the hell, as long as I was trapped, may as well make the best of it. And it might help jump start my thinking processes.
    "We can get you some coffee," he agreed with a smile. "It'll be decaf, though." I made a face.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson