When I opened my eyes, I found myself reclining on a bed in what appeared to be a hospital recovery room. An IV line was hooked up and running to my left wrist, a painful stinging like the world’s worse paper cut where the tubing entered my skin and was taped down. “Hey, what happened? What’s going on?”
I was dressed in that classic patient attire, the open in the back hospital blue gown and nothing else. I could feel the scratchy texture of well starched sheets beneath me. I was bare-bottomed. A sheet and a loosely woven white blanket was all that protected my modesty.
The scarred face doctor popped his head between the curtains that hung from a track on the ceiling, creating a diaphanous wall. “Excellent. You’re awake now. I have some questions for you.”
“Did you operate on me?” I was trying not to sound panicked, but I accidently gestured with the arm that had the IV and the sharp pain caused by that motion caused my voice to rise into a whine like a kicked dog. Losing Lila, the elevator explosion escape, the kidnapping by Mr. Mercedes and his subsequent brutal death—it was all snowballing into something that I wasn’t sure I could handle.
“No. As it turns out, removal of the bio-nanites is not possible, right now. “
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me, when did Lila find out that you had inoperable brain cancer? That’s what we want to know. Imagine our surprise when the MRI revealed that the bio-nanites are doing their job, attacking the cancerous cells in your brain. Unfortunately, they cannot be removed until their job is complete without killing you. That is their programming.”
The doctor smiled, his scars stretching. “Your girlfriend, at considerable risk to herself, managed to make you one of the few lucky participants in an extremely limited clinical trial. This trial is top secret and by invitation only. The dose that you took was meant for the wife of a United States senator. There were only three doses produced at the cost of approximately six million dollars, each. You, literally, are the six million dollar man.”
“I never told her about the cancer,” I denied. I had never wanted a pity party. “There was no point. There was nothing that could be done. I was just trying to live life to the fullest, total John Green, ‘Fault In of Our Stars,’ thing, except we came to Switzerland rather than Amsterdam.”
As I mulled over his words, one early morning during our vacation flashed back at me, something that hadn’t quite make sense. Lila’s almost desperate insistence that we’d have a long life together, a statement that I side-stepped, at the time, saying that I’d love her forever. “Are you telling me that these nanobots can cure my cancer?”
“That’s what these bio-nanites do; they are like miniature heat-seeking missiles that target cancerous cells. Within a month, you will be completely cancer-free without primitive chemotherapy or barbaric surgery, which is the only option for cancer treatment, today. Your hair will not fall out. You won’t even be aware that the bio-nanites are working. The side-effects are virtually non-existent, generally, just a stuffy nose and itchy eyes, as if you’re suffering allergies.” He sounded proud to me and it was quite an accomplishment, if he was telling the truth. Millions of lives could be saved and untold suffering averted.
“The only problem is that the senator will still want your dose for his terminal wife. Lila was hired to be the courier and she never delivered it. Cancer won’t kill you, now, but the senator’s retrieval team probably will…”