Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 5, 2398

Heath is getting better. He’s learning his skills quickly. The clinical neuropsychologist, Doctor Nuadu Merrick is very optimistic regarding his recovery, and expects him to be a fully functioning, independent human being within at least a couple of years, much to his surprise. Heath has the benefit, of course, of not suffering from any actual brain injury, which is what has happened to most of Dr. Merrrick’s patients. Heath—or rather, this version of him—just has a brand new brain, which needs to learn everything that a normal person would know. They’re starting with the basics, like how to walk and talk, before tackling more advanced tasks, like how to eat food with a fork.
Marie was overjoyed when the first assessment came following a few therapy sessions. She could see it for herself too, he is well on his way to no longer needing any help anymore. When she thought about what that day might look like, though, she started to realize the truth. Now she understands that any happiness she feels for the patient’s progress can really only be felt in a general sense. Her love for people, and the desire for their success, is what’s going to keep her going, as long as it’s strong enough. There are other forces at play here. The relief she felt upon hearing the news has subsided. She now feels herself falling into a depression. It’s as close to a literal pit in the earth as possible while remaining metaphorical. Her heart feels low. No matter what they do, that’s not Heath. He’s a completely different person, and he always will be.
“There is another option,” Mateo says somberly.
“What would that be?”
“Keep in mind that this is only a possibility. I can’t guarantee anything, and if it doesn’t work, we may not be able to undo the attempt, and go back to just helping the individual we have here learn how to move around the world.”
“Spit it out, Mateo,” Marie demands.
“If we ever get back to the main sequence, and we bring him with us, we could blend his brain with the real Heath from the past.”
“That’s it,” Marie says. She paces away from him like a soap opera character, and looks for figurative holes in Mateo’s suggestion in the imperfections on the wall. There’s one big one. “Except what are we going to do with him until the day comes when we can escape the Third Rail?”
“I don’t know, but that’s not our biggest problem.”
“What is?” she questions.
“The Third Rail is special. Nerakali can blend brains from any timeline, but I’m not sure what that means for parallel realities. I don’t know if her power would treat them the same, or what. She may not have any access to Heath’s original mind, especially not if this world’s power dampening-power makes it impossible to do anything like that anyway.”
“She’s not the only one with such a power,” Marie points out.
“They all originate from her, including when Leona and I shared the ability.”
Marie paces some more. “So either we help Heath Two-Point-Oh learn how to live, or we stick him in a box on the off-chance that we can recycle his body later.”
Marie sighs. “We obviously can’t do that. It’s incredibly ethically suspect.”

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