Friday, December 05, 2008

Doctor ...a short story is a great site for those who love medical technology. Once a year, however, they branch off into realm of medical science fiction, sponsoring a short story (250-2500 words) contest limited to this rather small literary niche.

While some of my readers would probably disagree, I don't post fiction here, and I had never really tried my hand at it...until now. I've posted my feeble effort below. Obviously, it didn't win the contest, but I had some fun with it anyway. By the way, this is in no way autobiographical or anything else. I was mainly experimenting with telling a story using the fewest words possible. Try not to laugh too hard....


Doctor was the last. His implants had nearly lost their cohesion to his nervous system, the end point to his existence. But the occasional impulse did cross from the organic to the non, and Doctor made do with that.

The child in the tattered unisuit tugged at his wrist. "Doctor? Doctor?" she whimpered. He yanked his arm away, servos screaming.

"What do you want, urchin?"

"Please, Doctor! I need you....I need you..." She looked up, pleading, seeing her reflection in his face.

"Leave me, urchin. I can't help you. I can't help anyone. I never could." He started off again down the deserted street, trying not to see....anything.

"But, Doctor, Doctor, Please..."

From an long-unused lattice within his crystalline backup memory, an image insinuated into his visual. The time-stamp read "1 March, 2063," years before he had been augmented. He saw a child, holding his hand, that of flesh, smiling up at him. He shook his head out of instinct, trying to banish the pic back to silicon, but it had already imprinted upon his consciousness. His breath would have caught, if he still had it. The child. His patient. Lost. Mere protein constructs and humours could not see what was needed. Simple tissue had not the speed or the precision to save her. So he evolved.

What God saw as perfection, he improved. Polymer lenses superseded gelatin. Sensors tuned to spectral extremes replaced the function of the spider web of rods and cones. Tendonous and osseous yielded to steel. Actin and myosin and adenosine triphosphate to servo and actuator and fusion-cell. Cortex interfaced with doped metals. He was more. Oh, yes, so much more. He was the first, the best. He was ... Doctor.

Others changed, too. But they didn't. So much of them was replaced, they became what they already were. There were not like him. They were less. They were not Doctor. Their software reverted to self-serving infinite loops. The program was abandonded. And so was Doctor. He was the last.

"Doctor? Can you come with me?" The old image faded, replaced by the earnest features at his side.

"All right, urchin, all right." He modulated the impatience and intransigence out of his audio transducers, and hoped she wouldn't notice. "I'll help you."

She took his actuator in her hand, and led him off into the ruins of the city.

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