Apologies for being so slack with my posts. 😦 For some reason my brain has been working full speed ahead the last few days and I’ve been averaging over 4,000 words a day on my nanowrimo project. As a result, I haven’t been able to think of a single thing to post about. Consider this latest excerpt from the nano story as proof of my guilty conscience!
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Doctors Charles McGrath and Kenneth Wu stood three feet apart in Innerscape’s reception area, staring out through the front doors as they waited to welcome the company’s newest patient.
Standing a little behind, and to the side of the two doctors, Charge Sister Emily Watson waited as well, her slightly over-weight, motherly figure radiating excitement and impatience in equal measure. Miira Tahn would not be Innerscape’s wealthiest patient, but for the moment at least, she would be their most well known. All the news services were full of her rags to riches story, helped no doubt by her recent generosity in giving the historic Durai property to the National Trust. Having such a prominent public figure choose Innerscape for her last years was sending the company’s shares sky high.
In a week or so the public would lose interest, as they always did, but until then Miira Tahn would be treated as a Very Important Patient indeed. That was why Dr. Wu was included in the reception committee. Kenneth Wu’s family were not Refugees – they had been in Australia for close to two hundred years – but the powers that be hoped his Asian features would make Miira Tahn feel more… at home. It would not look good if Innerscape’s most famous patient changed her mind at the last minute. Not many patients did, but there were always a few who chickened out when they were confronted with the reality of what awaited them in the medical facility.
Above ground, Innerscape maintained a small, but exquisite presence in a large, Federation Edwardian style house. Prospective patients and their families were always charmed by the deep verandahs, high ceilings and old worlde charm of the building. Once past the elegance of the administrative offices however, the high tech sterility of the underground complex could be quite daunting, even to those who had little to lose.
As a general rule, prospective patients were shown holos of only certain parts of the facility, such as the state of the art operating theatres, the staff canteens and recreation areas. This was because the company’s psych profilers had been adamant that seeing holos of the actual containment modules would be too distressing for them. Those patients who expressed an interest were given detailed, and at times excruciatingly scientific information sheets that explained the procedures they would experience… without being too graphic about it.
In practice, few patients ever asked to see holos of the containment areas and those few who did were easily discouraged. Unfortunately, Miira Tahn had been one of the rare exceptions. Not only had she insisted on seeing the holos, she had insisted on physically touring the whole complex and had heard staff referring to the coffin-like containment modules as the ‘Catacombs’. Apparently she had been quite distressed, but had decided to enter Innerscape anyway.
“Do you think she’ll change her mind once she’s inside?” Sister Watson asked nervously.
“It’s up to us to make sure she doesn’t,” Dr McGrath said with a pointed look at Kenneth Wu.
The young doctor standing near Charles McGrath had a reputation for being the company wiz kid, a researcher with a freakish intelligence and a ‘tell it like it is’ manner. His abrasive style had ruffled the feathers of many of the older staffers, including Charles McGrath, and he had been the one who had told Miira Tahn about the Catacombs. Despite this, however, all the patients seemed to like him.
The appearance of two, extremely bright lights in the night sky forestalled any further conversation and the three medical staff came to attention, staring out through the plastiglas front doors as the ambulance bearing Miira Tahn came in to land.