Shauna rubbed her temples, her eyes closed. When she opened them, everything was back to normal. She sighed in relief. Damn thing was glitching again. She had been to the biodocs three times in the last month and each time they promised everything was fixed. She shivered as her body began to warm again, the cold slowly releasing its grip. She looked up at the sun, eyes closed, smiling. The air was fresh, trees were in bloom, and people were walking through the clean streets. She started to walk again, she wouldn’t be late, at least there was that. The first time it happened she had been stuck like that for almost six hours. That was not fun. Of course work was fine about it all, there were problems like this every now and then when someone had to go to the biodocs suddenly, but it was starting to push it. The first time it happened she had been terrified, everything had gone dark, the sky cloudy, trees became skeletal, her body became cold and she found herself alone in a desolate world. Of course she knew it had to be a problem with her implant, that was the only explanation as to why the seat that Jean from accounting had occupied was empty and broken, why the food on the tables had disappeared, why her own lunch had turned into a dead rat. The thought of it made her stomach lurch. Things could have been resolved quickly if she had kept her head about her, but no, she had to go wandering off. Couldn’t have tried talking to Jean, couldn’t have told her something was up. Jean had told Shauna later that she had just stood from the table and wandered away. No, she had been too scared, too worried and too embarrassed to say anything, so she decided to get to the biodocs herself. That wasn’t a fun trip. The roads appeared empty, the pavements cracked and broken, but she knew they were full of cars and people. She couldn’t just wander into the streets and pray not to be hit. Sure cars had the auto-brakes now, but there was no guarantee it could stop in time. She had to wind her way through empty shops that had bridges across the streets, move through dark buildings with remains of god only knew what littering the floors, ignoring the lumps that could be bodies, but were probably only mannequins in the real world. When she got to the biodocs she almost started sobbing in relief. She didn’t know what to do, so she marched to the front desk, thankful that who ever was in front of her cleared out of the way, and just started to talk, telling them she had a problem with her chip. She felt a strange urge to start walking into one of the offices and went with it, after she was told it was a nurse guiding her in, but Shauna hadn’t felt the nurse steering her, just a strong need to start walking. She did cry a little when they fixed it, when the lights returned and she was no longer dressed in rags, when she was warm again, when she was around people. The relief had been immense and she hadn’t been able to control it. They had sent her to diagnostics afterwards, trying to figure out what the malfunction was. Shauna didn’t mind hanging around, she was just happy to be free of it all.
Then, a week later it happened again. This time at least she was with her boyfriend, Tom. There was no embarrassment this time, just fear. He brought her to the biodocs, guided her the whole way. Shauna just trusted the supposed instincts and crossed the road when she felt the urge to do so. Again it was fixed and again they were baffled as to why. The third time it happened they installed a patch, an easy fix that she could use herself when it happened, then she was to get to the biodocs as soon as possible after. The patch would record what had changed when the malfunction happened. Now though she had to get to work, that first, biodocs later. The patch would hold up for that long surely.
Work moved by quickly enough, it always did. She enjoyed her work and there was rarely down time. When she was done, she gathered her things, said goodbye to everyone, then left, going straight to the biodocs.
On the walk there, she felt a faint twinge, her vision flickered, everything changed, coldness suddenly settled over her, then, as quickly as it happened, things were back to normal again. She put her hand on her stomach which had cramped in hunger in those few short seconds. She wasn’t hungry before, but hunger pangs hit her, she took a slight detour and stopped by one of the carts to buy a burger. She ate slowly, enjoying it. It felt like it had been years since she had last eaten one of them, though in reality it had only been a few weeks. She ate as she walked and when she was done, she felt sated again. She’d have to remember that, tell the biodocs it had happened.
The nurse smiled at her as she entered, Shauna didn’t even need to go sign in, they knew her now, mostly because of her unusual symptoms. She took a seat in the waiting room and began to read. It wasn’t long before the doctor called her in. She sat in the chair, he smiled at her.
“Welcome back, I hope the patch worked?”
“It did, it only lasted a short while each time. The last time though some effects carried over, I was hungry when I came out of it, whereas before it I wasn’t hungry at all.”
The doctor frowned, “Hmm, that is strange. Well, let’s see what the patch says.”
He typed something into the computer in front of him, then began reading.
“Ok, I see what the problem is now, a slight misfire of a few of your synapses. Sometimes that can happen, the brain just needs to adapt to the changes and occasionally it creates problems. There was one man who developed a fear of all water, another who developed an incurable cough that had no distinct cause. The good news is we can fix it permanently. The chances of this happening was extremely rare and a relapse has never been heard of, still, I’m going to issue you with an alert, if something like this happens again we will get an alert and assistance will be dispatched immediately to your location.”
He started typing again.
“Thank you so much doctor, I’m just happy this whole thing has been resolved.”
“It’s what we’re here for. Speaking of, the few times it happened were, I’m sure, quite traumatic for you. I think I have a solution to that as well. I’m just going to upload a few things here and you should be good to go.”
“I-” Shauna winced and closed her eyes, when she opened them, she was smiling.
“So, as I was saying everything is fine and that’s it for your yearly check up. If you have any concerns, please, don’t hesitate to visit or ring us.”
“No, I have none at all. Thank you doctor.”
“Of course, have a good day.”
Shauna stood from the chair and walked out, calling out “you too!” behind her. It was important to keep up with ones health, it was unlikely there were any problems, but her mother had always said she should go for a check-up once a year, just in case. Smiling, Shauna left the biodocs.