Longevity Chapter 2: 2025
Mind Flayers. In Space... Yeah.
In other News
So Baldur’s Gate 3 got released and have to say that I'm fairly impressed with the game. I don't think I knew what to expect, I wasn't involved with the prelaunch version of the game, but when I saw my entire YouTube feed blow up with praise for the game on so many different levels, I think I just had to give it a try. It seems smooth gameplay is surprisingly easy to deal with for someone like me with limited mobility. I think I was expecting to have to fool with a lot of extra mouse scrolling or wheeling around or something and I found that with the exception of just a few things, and most of that is just me figuring out the controls, I really only have to deal with a couple of things, and that makes me sort happy. I don't think I've got a fly through it like a lot of folks do, or at least seem to and I'm not catalog become ours you know that I've seen some people logging but in general I think it seems to be a pretty good representation of Dungeons & Dragons.
I thought I was going to have to hook up my fancy Xbox controller and program a whole lot of combinations into a stream type like you did for Dungeons & Dragons Online, but after inputting one thing it just doesn't seem to need it.
So okay, on with this week's fiction expert excerpt.
Longevity Chapter 2: 2025
I'm getting married tomorrow. I know it's hardly the time for a routine checkup, but It's been on my radar for the last couple of months, and I wanted to get it over with before we went on our honeymoon. Marla and I are going to go on a tour of Mexico. We wanted to go on the rocket that shoots passengers on a five-day cruise around the moon and back, but we couldn't swing it. We'll have to try for that on an anniversary or something.
I've rarely been sick, but I don't like the look in my doctor's eyes. He's got some kind of news to tell me, but I'm uncertain what it is. The truth is he's breaking up with his wife, who runs a small bookstore in the mall next door to this office, but it’s still a lot of me me me, and I think that's all it's about. I don't know his wife very well, but she seems nice enough. I hope they work it out and stay together.
My fiance and I are packed and ready to go. I've been living in our little one-bedroom apartment for the last three months, but she picked out all the furniture. I wanted to go, but couldn't get out of the day job long enough. It's hard enough putting in the regular sixty hours a week. I couldn't imagine doing like some in the office are and being there seventy, eighty hours a week. I can't figure out when those guys ever sleep.
He's kept me waiting for a while now. At this office, they like to pull you back as early as they can, even if you come in without an appointment, but sometimes you can wait in the exam room for half an hour before they come and take your blood pressure. They've already done that, so all I'm waiting for is him. He's not exactly a talker or anything, but I thought he'd have more to say.
There was a knock, and he entered the room.
He peeked in.
"Yes, hello," I said.
"Getting married, are we?"
He came into the room and took his place. It was a short roving stool, and he liked to push around with it. He'd swing over to pick something up, and then swing back to drop it off again, and he always carried a cup of coffee in his hand. Since the day I first met him, he was carrying it.
"Yeah, well..." I said.
"Not to be taken lightly." He pushed a pen around on a small clipboard.
He flipped through some papers. His office had gone digital about five years ago, but he never got the memo. He still made everyone keep everything on paper for him. He didn't know it, all the information was on the Internet all the time now, but whenever he had an appointment, his staff would print up all the records for the day to hand to him.
There was a knock at the exam room door.
"Yes?" said the doc.
A short, round face popped in through the door after it cracked open. "Doctor, you have a visit from the drug rep. He's got a..."
"Tell him I'm with a patient, please."
"He's on your desk phone now."
"Then go wave at him and tell him he'll have to wait his turn." He waved my freshly printed file at her and she popped back out.
"I hate that guy, and I hate that video thing."
"Don't like them?"
"They've been around for years, but I just don't like them. You have to be able to roll your eyes sometimes when you talk to idiots on the phone, and he counts as one. Call me up on the video... I can't even get a regular cell phone anymore."
"Damn thing is less a phone and more a computer with a program on it that answers the phone for you. Ah well. At least we don't deal with the phone companies anymore."
"True, they all became Internet service providers, didn't they?"
He looks over my chart again and grumbles to himself.
"I don't know why I became a doctor anymore."
"Why is that?"
"Because there's nothing wrong with you."
"I know you wanted to hear something. I could tell you that your sugar was off, and we might want to think about pre-diabetes prevention, or you might have high blood pressure as your father did, but that's just not the case."
"I've looked over your chart a hundred times, and what it boils down to is that you are perfectly fine."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Not for you. For me, it's a tragedy, because all my patients have been slowly getting healthier and healthier every year for a while now. I've had less and less to do. It's been so long since any of my patients had an actual disease. I can't even remember when I last saw one."
"What about injuries, sprains, that kind of thing?"
"The remedies are too fast."
I had to think about that one.
"Yeah, the remedies are too fast," he said again. "Guy comes in with a sprained, hell, let's say broken ankle, and I got this thing here."
He opens a plain white drawer behind him, indistinguishable from all the others, and brings out a small black ring, with a pink logo on one side.
"What's that?" I ask him.
"You put this thing on your ankle, and hit the button, and that's all it takes. It shrinks to fit the person's ankle, binds it, and starts injecting it with painkillers and bone enhancers. You wear it around for half an hour. I don't even let the patient leave, just for my entertainment now really, and then we do an x-ray of it again, and the break is gone."
"That's amazing," I said.
He handed it to me. I fooled around with it for a moment and gave it back to him.
"You can get one of these for about a hundred thousand dollars, minus insurance if you've got it. You just have to fill it up with drugs once in a while. If you're fitting your bill for medical at home, you can buy one for twice that, with a larger supply of drugs to dispense."
"That seems kind of high."
"Not really, when you consider that it'll heal any broken bone in your body in less than an hour, even the tiny bones in your ear. Don't even ask me what we do for diabetes these days."
"A single pill."
I couldn't believe him.
"It's sick, isn't it? Pun intended. Here, look at this."
He hands me a small metal device with a finger-shaped depression on one side.
"Tap your finger to it," he says.
"What will it do?"
"Blood work. Nothing special."
I tap my finger there, expecting some kind of a prick, or poke with a hidden needle, but there's nothing. The surface is smooth, but after pressing the mark, the entire thing lights up. It buzzes and hums, and shows me a small circular logo, with an hourglass on it, slowly turning around, and a small silver progress indicator sliding from left to right. A moment later, it stops and buzzes again.
"It's done, I think."
I had the thing back to him.
He drops it oners the surface of a small tablet computer, and the larger screen lights up.
"What would have been about a thousand dollars worth of blood tests? Ah, look..."
He pointed at the tablet's screen.
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