I walked into the dingy, underground medical facility with only a slight feeling of nausea and anxiety. I passed the rows of clunky and dust-covered medical equipment set up around the wide complex. This place could have once been an old fitness center, or warehouse.
I walked through the center until I found what I was looking for. A middle-aged woman sat next to the plastic recliner, which resembled a dentist’s seat. Tubes and IVs ran along the back of it, and menacing straps revealed their purpose along the length of the chair. The woman looked up at me as I approached. She took a long drag from her e-cigarette before she spoke.
“Two-thousand credits,” she said, letting out a breath of vapor.
“Pay for what you get, huh?” I said. The woman merely nodded in answer and took another drag, the tip of her e-cig glowing blue.
I handed over the money and she gestured for me to sit. When I had, she wasted no time strapping me in, arms, chest, legs, and one that went across the length of my forehead. The hard plastic restraints were uncomfortably tight, so that even my breath came a little harsh. The whole while she kept the little e-cig in her mouth, occasionally puffing on it as she tightened a strap here or loosened one there.
When I was properly secured, she inserted one IV into each of my arms, and placed a tube in my mouth that felt like an oddly shaped pacifier. The anesthetic would come from there, I realized, though they probably wouldn’t knock me out for this. I imagine that would cost me a whole thousand credits more, and I couldn’t afford that.
The woman must have turned the machine on, because a foamy, greenish liquid began to travel through the tube and into my mouth. The taste was like mint and sand, but the consistency was spongy and light. I swallowed with only the knowledge that this whole thing would soon be over, and soon felt a numbness cover my entire body like a warm, wet blanket.
I couldn’t feel the changes quite then, but I knew what the results would be. Having cells that essentially repaired themselves would lengthen my lifespan tenfold. Nanotechnology has come a long way. This sort of procedure was common for the folks who had the money, although they would have it done in legitimate facilities with a full anesthetic. When people wanted their cell repair to work at a hyper-fast rate to say, repair the damage from a possible future bullet wound, they came to a place like this. The drawback, of course, would be that in exchange for the improved speed in cell repair, every time it activated, it would reduce my lifespan by about ten years.
The rush of fluids stopped and the woman stabbed me with a needle in the arm. A sharp, searing pain and then blackness welcomed me home.
I woke up in the same chair. The restraints had been removed and the woman was sitting, watching me while she smoked her e-cig. I sat up and rubbed my head. The procedure had left me a little fuzzy and weak. The woman handed me a glass of water and I drank, grateful for the rush of clear, cold liquid down my throat.
I sat up and flipped out my pocketknife. Then drew a long line across the length of my forearm. The wound opened up, and it still hurt, but didn’t bleed. Instead, I watched as that first layer of skin knit itself back together without leaving even a scar. Feeling like a new man, I smiled and stood up.
I had certain things to attend to.