The doctor tried to rub the stress from his eyes. The conversation was following roughly the same route it always did. In short, he was getting nowhere.
“What do you think we did to you?” He tried to keep the irritation out of his voice.
“I don’t know! Some sort of plastic surgery? My arms are wrong. And you won’t let me have a mirror so I can see what you did to my face.”
The doctor looked at the face of his patient. Even he could tell the reconstruction had gone wrong. His supervisors were still discussing what to do about it. So he had to deflect once more. “I told you before that we are still exploring treatment options.”
“But why are you keeping me here? Why have I had no visitors?”
“We have covered all of this before. Surely there are other things you would like to discuss.”
“No. Not until I get some straight answers.”
The doctor sighed. Today was not going to be productive. He stood and headed for the door. “Please let me know if there is something you need.” He left before having to listen to the usual impossible requests.
In the next room, his assistant was taking notes. The wall was transparent from this side, and microphones had picked up the conversation. She looked up from her terminal when he entered. “Still no progress?”
“You see what he is like. I cannot get him off this idea that we have done something to him. It is impossible to get any useful data like this.”
“I thought research had indicated doctors were respected and someone to confide in?”
“It did. But it would appear to be more complicated than that.”
“What about the other specimens?” ”None of them have woken up. So I can’t even tell if this kind of suspicion is normal for the species, or if he is unusual in some way.”
“Why not tell him what has happened?”
“I have considered that. Given the lack of progress so far, it probably would not make things worse. It may even help. But so far, they have resisted approving that course. They worry that it could cause extensive psychological trauma. They do not want to risk it until they know why he survived the recovery process intact when the others apparently did not.”
“It just seems so cruel.”
“Perhaps. But remember why we are doing this. We need to understand this species if we want to save it. Or at least learn from their mistakes.”
She nodded. He had to remind himself of their purpose every day. It was the only thing that made the frustration bearable.