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Nimue's Grotto

Dream Accelerator

by Ken Dushek

"In a few months, I'll be gone. The cancer is tearing apart the marrow in my bones, soon I'll be hospitalized, then a few weeks later, placed into a coma for my final few weeks..."

"Dad, don't say that, there's new medicine every day, and..."

"And I need you to be strong... for your brother. He's going through surgery now to convert his DNA into a purified form that will be free of my genetic abnormality..."

"They said he might not even have the same disease you..."

"You have to accept the inevitable. Time is not on my side. Once my brain is transposed into my robotic form, the man you knew as your father might not be there anymore..."

"Any more change will destroy me dad, I can't let you go through with this..."

"With this surgery, I'll have a twenty percent chance of surviving with my awareness in robotic form. I don't expect you to understand why..."

"Understand why you want us to accept you're acquiescing to defeat..."

"To defeat an obstacle, sometimes we must surrender our wills to the inevitable, and not fight against our own futures, which will..."

"Which will ruin our family. Mom's coming back next week. There's still time to..."

"Time to face the truth is where we are now. Your mother would agree, and your brother is too young to..."

"You're too young too!"

"I wish that were true."

"What's true is that a robot will be your wife's new partner. Does that sound right to you?"

"She'll be landing at the space station next week, but it'll be months before she passes through customs and returns to the surface with us..."

"With us is where you belong!"

"This surgery is the best way to save what's left of my brain. I need you to explain to your brother when he's older, that his dad didn't leave him. He chose robotic implantation so that I could stay with you as you grow up over the next few centuries."

"I won't allow it dad! He's still incubating. It will be another decade before they finish splicing his genes free of your condition. Why can't they just correct your DNA now?"

"It's my RNA, not my DNA, and the longer we wait, the less of my mind they'll be able to save for my new form."

"But it won't be you.."

"I'll be in there somewhere, and what's left will be as much love as I can foster for the both of you to remember me by."

"He'll never even know who you were."

"Then you can remind him of those quirks in the machine that take after me..."


"There's no alternative. If I don't do this surgery, there'll be nothing left to preserve, and then I'll be gone forever..."

"I already miss you."

"I'm not gone yet. Try not to think about it. I'm doing this now, so there'll be more of me to convert before my brain cells melt into the gray matter where my thoughts and personality will be out of the reach of the laser simulation reactor."

"Those reactors are still being tested."

"We're lucky I was chosen for the testing. Think of those affected by this outbreak that weren't chosen. They will suffer much worse, and their families..."

"Their families aren't our family..."

"Forget that for now. Your brother will be removed from quarantine soon, and then the gene therapy will condition him to prepare for robotic transformation that I now pave the way for future trials..."

"Mom will never forgive you..."

"It will take a while for her to get used to the new version of me, but she'll understand I made the best choice I could to save what's left."

"Dad! Your arm!"

"They warned me the medicines I have to take might lead to appendages falling off."

"This is too much for me!"

"Don't worry. I'll soon be repaired with new, stronger parts that won't ever fade away."

"Your phone is ringing."

"I can't answer that now."

"In my new job, they said anyone related to a victim of the flattera virus would be placed on leave indefinitely."

"Don't tell them then. By the time the surgery is complete, I won't be classified as an outbreak victim. You'll keep your job."

"But I'll lose my father."

"I'm doing this for you."

"You need to rest. Your nose is bleeding, and your arm looks much worse."

"Get the laser. If we burn it now, it will slow the spread..."

"The spread in the game tonight is close..."

"I'll prep dinner. Turn on the game, and let's enjoy our time."

"Time isn't on our side is it?"

"No. Not anymore. How does pizza sound?"

"I'd love that. Let me tune Peter's therapy down, and I'll meet you in the kitchen."

"I'll get your pill ready so we can eat together."

"Can you put pepperoni in my meal pill tonight?"

"Only if you promise not to supercharge your dream accelerator again."

"I promise."

About the Author

Ken Dushek is a professional writer, editor, programmer, and trainer. Poetry and short fiction has been a hobby and passion since early childhood. Other interests include bicycling, philosophies, volunteering, swimming and other sports, and alternative healing and medicines.

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