And then a rush of questions, memories, pain, love, pain. And a sound; high in pitch; an alarm; beeping quite quickly.
A cloud of warmth fell upon it all, settling into all the nooks and crannies of awareness before it had a chance to wonder.
“He’s dropping again, Doctor. Vital signs are strong; brain waves becoming less erratic; breathing has surrendered to the pump. That’s the fourth time in the past hour, and I don’t think his body could cope with a fifth time.”
“Thank you, Nurse. What dose did you give him?”
“200 milligrams. You did say to halve it.”
“Hmm. Do you think he’s dreaming? I mean, actually dreaming?”
“It’s possible. The scans showed there was no brain damage...just a hibernation of sorts...shut down across all but basic life support functions. If I may, I would like to scan again.”
Doctor Ellison Barnes stepped back from the pod and glanced across its surface where small monitors revealed a digitised array of feedback about the man inside its chamber, Patrick Collins, pulled from the icy waters off Antarctica after his ship went down losing all on board. How this one survived was now the stuff of legends generated around the world, not just in the media but in all medical fields. His story had quieted to being updated once or twice a week now, as nearly everyone knew about the expedition escaping the millennium’s largest earthquake that had split the southern continent in two. What only a few knew concerned his smart-watch and its program records. Patrick had been in the water for three days. And he should be most certainly dead.
“Yes, get the team in. Full-spectrum in concert; and pay particular attention to the thalamus. Let’s see what’s going on in there, shall we? I’ll conference Yamamoto and see what his team have found.”
Ellison watched the screen turn blue as the other end was answered, then the video and audio-feed came on and Yamamoto’s face appeared. The gent looked a little tired but had a certain gleam in his eyes.
“I was just coming to call you,” the Japanese brain specialist blurted. “We’ve been running live-feed analyses during the past...twenty-so minutes, and he’s awake. Well, not really awake but somewhere inside that brain of his is life.”
Ellison leaned towards the screen, lowering his face to peer over his glasses. “He’s had four seizures in the last hour and we are getting brain activity. What are you seeing in it?”
“All kinds of things. One of our guys brought in a program Johns Hopkins uses in rehabilitating motor-connections in amputees, and its algorithm says he is dreaming. But beneath that is something else entirely. It’s like he is rewiring his whole platform. Or should I say ‘reprogramming’ his whole brain.”
“I don’t get it, Ben.”
“Neither do we, Ellison. Neither do we. Konshu has run all the data from his watch in a virtual field and found that just five minutes after submersion, his brain shut everything down, respiratory, motor functions, even digestion. It was like he was put in a suspension tank. And his heart-rate! Fell to one beat per minute, then per fifteen minutes, then per hour. He wasn’t even alive but still living!”
“Yamamoto-san, can I ask you not to report this to anyone. Let’s keep it between us for the moment.”
The Japanese gentleman slowly nodded then took his own glasses from his nose and raised a hand to tired eyes and rubbed at them.
“We’re putting him through another set of scans, in case he has another seizure. I’d like to see what is going on in there if he does. See what areas are firing. You keep your guys on it, and I’ll check back in an hour. I...think I need to talk to Ramapundra and find out about Indian meditation techniques.”
“Okay, Ellison. And put your phone in your pocket. I’m sure protocol can be put aside for this one.”