Unidentified Patient 3917,
Hello. Are you okay? Can you understand me?
My name is Doctor Alice Merzbow.
This must be very confusing for you.
Not my name, of course. The situation. My name is pretty straightforward.
I–well, my team–installed a standard wireless neurocommunicator in your brain. You were rendered almost completely paralyzed from the accident, but with a normally-functioning, conscious mind. This condition is colloquially known as “locked-in syndrome”.
You probably need further explanation.
This message is being transmitted directly to your brain as pure semantic information, coupled with a cognitive impression of my bodily presence. I’m not actually speaking with my voice, and this isn’t my physical body. That is just how your brain rationalizes the experience afterward. In reality this method of communication is instantaneous. As you’re thinking about this message, it is probably already over.
Due to several complications, we were unable to emancipate your brain from its shell safely. We require permission from you to perform the procedure in the first place, so we have temporarily given you control of a surrogate body. Your surrogate is located at a satellite clinic near the site of the accident, in order to minimize disorientation. I hope you find it to your liking. The body, I mean, not the clinic. The clinic is pretty boring unless you’re a trained physician. Bodies are much easier to appreciate.
I’m sorry, that probably didn’t come across as intended. I’m not commenting on your body, nor the appreciation of your body by myself. That clearly would be unprofessional.
Your body–your original body, I mean–was moved to the City Hospital main facility, where we have more advanced medical science at our disposal. We understand that original bodies are very important to outsiders, so yours is being held on life support until we find a better solution. Even though we can’t emancipate your brain at present, you can give us consent to do so in advance. That will save us time when the choice becomes available.
Well, obviously, the choice is available to you right now, it’s just not actionable, and after committing to a decision the choice will technically be removed, but I’m sure you understand what I mean.
According to present neurological models, it will probably take decades for you to cope with the trauma of this incident. However, there is a silver-lining: you no longer have to carry a computer with you. Check your inbox for details. The inbox in your brain.
There is actually a second silver-lining, now that I think about it: You don’t have to visit the hospital in person to give us consent to remove your brain from your body. Thanks to the wonders of the neural net, you have the option to consent remotely. Instructions for giving consent have also been sent to your inbox. While your surrogate body does not experience fatigue or muscle strain in the conventional sense, and public transportation is free within city limits, I’m sure you can appreciate the convenience.
If you would like, however, you may visit the hospital to view your body firsthand. You probably won’t. Most people find it unsettling. The experience, I mean, not your body. We don’t allow others to view your body without permission. And I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine body.
Please don’t take that the wrong way. I’m not coming on to you or anything. That would be even more unprofessional than my previous misstatement about your body. I’m just saying there is probably nothing wrong with your body. Apart from the damage caused by the accident.
Speaking of which, the details of the accident can be found on the wall in front of you.
I should probably explain. The details aren’t physically printed on the wall; that would be ridiculous. Your surrogate body is equipped with global positioning accurate to a millimeter, accelerometers that measure bodily orientation and speed, detailed tracking of every joint and muscle fiber, and computer-augmented retinal visualization. These systems interact with an ad-hoc network of innumerable processors embedded in every inch of building material across the city and its surrounding environs, enabling perfectly-aligned interactive virtual displays on any surface. This saves money on overhead costs, as ink cartridges are expensive.
We are extremely busy in the aftermath of the accident and do not have the time or the resources to give every patient post-op care. If you need directions to exit the facility, check your map. The map in your brain, I mean. And if you have any questions or want to schedule a follow-up appointment, don’t hesitate to send me a text. Again, with your brain.
Sorry, I’m not used to treating outsiders.
I’m sorry again, I should have explained more clearly: this form of communication is practically instantaneous. I’m rapidly approaching the end of my microsecond message limit, quite literally. I’ll try to hurry things up.
At the moment your family members, being outsiders as well, do not have records in our system, nor can we locate them short of an exhaustive physical search. They probably don’t have access to our network, either. It is very likely they have been dislocated by the accident and no longer reside where your home used to be. Don’t worry, though. If you want to inform them of your status, all you have to do is–
MESSAGE LIMIT REACHED