Episode - S1:E2.2
Season 1, Episode 2, Segment 2
Leah and Dennis have had a refreshing night’s sleep and have been pampered all morning by their assigned droids, Amy and Butch. Dr. Jasmine Kell, the chief of the Time Extraction Team has welcomed them to 2218 and introduced a presentation on how the team discovered time travel. They have settled in to began an easy day of scheduled briefings.
Chief Kell reaches back into the blue hologram on her wrist and touches one of several red buttons floating in the cloud.
The room lights come back up, and an urgent klaxon blares from the hallway.
She touches another red button, and Amy and Butch both emit beeps.
Amy moves briskly toward Dennis and touches his arm.
Leah leaps like a scalded cat from her seat as Butch touches her arm. She looks up at him as he says, "The two of you need to come with us right now, and you can watch this later."
The theater doors open automatically, and the klaxon wail fills the room.
The other three extractees spin in their seats, blinking as their eyes adjust to the light. They watch Leah and Dennis stand up as Butch guides them toward the back of the theater.
Amy takes their coffee cups, and Dennis says, "I love having you as my assigned droid. You just automatically think of everything, even carrying my coffee for me."
As they rush through the entrance door, Amy glares at Dennis as she sets down the two cups on a tray by the door. His eyebrows knit as he says, "Oh, so droids can make facial expressions."
"No coffee where you're going, but you'll need some when this is over. I'll bring you a fresh cup later."
"When what is over?"
Amy spins around and hustles Dennis and Leah across the hallway to the elevator. Two droids stand like school crossing guards in front of the elevator with flashing yellow virtual semaphore holograms extending from their arms to block foot traffic.
The elevator doors are open already; the cab is waiting. Butch hustles them under the red light flashing above the door. The doors close off the klaxon noise, and they begin descending as Butch eases Dennis and Leah against the back wall and turns them to face the front. They see the elevator control panel is flashing.
Butch turns to face them. "You're both about to see why we selected you for extraction. The plan had been for you to finish watching that documentary, then go to your respective departments, meet coworkers, and receive welcoming briefings. Instead, you'll both be working in a few minutes. I'm afraid to say you're going to feel overwhelmed by the information that's forced on you today."
"Like drinking water from a fire hose!" says Leah.
Butch's eyes flash twice, "Oh, okay, I accessed that cliche. It's old and based on old technology. Today, buildings have nitrogen lines rather than water lines. In the case of fire, nitrogen puts out the fire. The humans pass out, but fresh air revives the humans when the fire is out. So, there are no fire hoses, but I compute your reference."
Leah tilts her head back and forth, her eyes flash up, and she says, "Maybe a better one is to say it'll be a baptism by fire, then, huh?"
Butch eys flash twice, "Oh, okay, another old one. That idiom entered the human lexicon about religious leaders who burned at the stake people who disagreed with their religion as a way to teach them a lesson. That's another one we don't use any more due to its reference to intolerant attitudes and violence between humans."
Leah throws up her hands and rolls her eyes.
Butch computes her frustration and says, "Okay, since you like cliches, try a 23rd-century one. In the next few hours, you two will experience a Triple D, which means a droid's dream date. Droids love to get together and plug into each other and download massive amounts of data from each other's memory. Broadening our data pool helps us learn. If we dated as humans do, that would be a dream date. Humans, of course, are exhausted by downloading that much data so quickly, so the Triple D is like your drinking from a fire hose expression of long ago."
"Butch, it was only two days ago for us, so not long ago." She grins at him and says, "Be nice, or I'll rename you to something embarrassing."
"Yes, of course. I apologize. But you both are going to experience a Triple D today."
Amy adds, "But we'll take good care of you afterward. Remember, we don't get tired."
The doors open, and Butch and Amy hurry into the hallway of a hospital ward with Dennis and Leah pressed to keep up. After a few steps, Amy peels off to enter a room labeled "DROID SANCTUARY," crowded with droids, and Dennis and Leah can barely keep up with Butch.
Dennis says, "Wait, where's she going? If I'm going to have a stressful day, I want her along."
"She's the wrong kind of droid for that, so she'll park there and recharge and engage other droids in data pooling. You'll be getting a surgical assistant droid. It was assigned to you this morning, and you would have met later today, but as I said, this is a Triple D day."
"A surgical droid? I'm going into surgery?"
"Yes, in a few minutes. It's an emergency."
Leah freezes, "Oh, no. I don't do blood, which is why I became an architect."
"You won't see blood. Long ago, lasers came to be used to cauterize human flesh wounds cleanly and instantly, and they staunch the flow before you see it."
"Okay, but I don't want to see anything gross."
Dennis interrupts, "Why does she get to keep you in there?"
"She won't be performing surgery. She will observe to see exactly why we brought her to our time. Leah, you might see things you perceive as gross, but the people won't be bleeding and in pain. Those are the factors that made humans think of human injuries as gross, and we've remedied all that."
Leah remains frozen in her tracks, "First, it was blood. Now it's human injuries? I don't think so, and I already told you I'm not…."
Dennis interrupts again, "Let's get back to my surgical assistant."
Butch continues, "Amy and I are designed to look like friends. Surgical droids are purpose-designed, and they are not human-looking. They have eight long arms with multiple, universal articulation. And several short arms for holding items for you. They move about on a single pole with a universal ball as a wheel. That lets them spin in place so they won't trip you up or get in your way because they are thinner than a human. And when you're in surgery, they attach to an overhead grid system and work above you, staying completely out of your way. They also have a ring of eyes around their head and more powerful computers. Also, there are those coagulating lasers I mentioned."
He motions them to continue walking. Leah’s legs wobble. She catches herself and starts with him, but her face looks like she just swallowed a worm, "How is any usage of the word coagulating not going to be gross?"
"Leah, this won't be your regular job. We brought you here for your architectural education, and you'll only need to see this once."
"And what does designing buildings have to do with gross things happening to human beings? I mean, I've been grossed out by some ugly wallpaper, but…."
"We didn't extract you to design buildings. There are enough designs in the system now that humans just pick an existing design."
"Wait! Then why in the . . ."
Butch stops in front of a door and interrupts, "This is a sterilization room. Dennis, it's quite different from what you know. The procedure will appear to you as unsanitary, but we know how to kill germs on a nano-technology level now, so it's far more thorough than anything from 200 years ago."
Butch looks directly at Leah, "You and I are going in, too. You'll get a different procedure from Dennis because you're not going to touch the patient."
"Damn right, I won't be touching a patient! Especially if the word coagulating is involved!"
He pushes open the door and says, "Dennis, meet your surgical assistant, Bosco."
Leah chokes on a hard snickering laugh, then catches her breath, "Seriously? Bosco?"
"Yes, human users don't get to name the assistants, and we give them names that….." and he glares his smooth droid face at Leah as the light behind his eyes flares up, "... that we'd never give to a person or a humanoid droid, to avoid confusion in the operating room."
"Okay, Butch. I guess your name is safe with me. I won’t rename you as Bosco."
He leads them in, and Bosco holds up a pair of long surgical gloves for Dennis, one glove on each pair of her four arms. She was ready to pull them onto Dennis' arm.
He recoils and says, "I need to scrub first."
Bosco's central eye turns toward Butch, and he says, "What…..? He hasn't been trained?"
"No. Today is the doctor’s first day here. Look, this is an emergency, and he'll be fine." Butch turns to Dennis and continues, "Dennis, please trust us today. A lot has changed in 200 years."
Dennis extends both arms, and in one smooth move, Bosco pulls both gloves onto his arms. They're oversized and fit loose on his arms. He glares at the floppy latex on his arms, shakes them, and says, "Ummmm, how will I be able . . . to . . ."
But two of the droid's hands have already morphed into rings, with a brilliant blue aura roiling inside each circle and passing over Dennis' arms. In one smooth motion, the gloves shrink to a perfect fit. Bosco stops at the top, and the roiling blue aura turns to a dazzling array of red, yellow, and orange as he passes the rings back down Dennis' arms. After the swirling aura passes over the latex, Bosco retracts the rings, the aura vanishes, and Dennis is wearing transparent surgical gloves that fit so perfectly they look like his own skin.
Bosco says, "That's it, Doctor Tanner. Your gloves are in place, and your arms are sterile. Now please stand straight, arms at your side, and hold perfectly still."
Bosco's arms morph into a single large ring, with the same dazzling red, yellow, and orange aura roiling inside them. He passes the ring from head to toe, then back up. It takes only 10 seconds.
He turns to Butch and says, "And her name is?"
Bosco continues, "Leah, please stand the same way."
He moves to her and passes the same sterilizing ring down and back up over her body. "You both are free of living external pathogens and ready to enter."
Butch says, "Not yet. Your regular clothes are fine for this first room. You both are going to observe something, something that Leah will probably consider to be gross."
He flashes her a droidy smile, "Is that the right word from your era?"
"Right word, yeah, but like the wrong thing for me to be doing."
"It's going to be okay. I promise."
"We're going to let Leah see this and consult with both of you. I will then take her to her department, where she'll meet Sigrid Olsen and Katherine to discuss what she's seen here and why we extracted her to our time."
Dennis says, "And me?"
"You'll enter surgery with Bosco. You'll go back to the same room, get a gown, then the same sterilization process when we move the patient to an operating room."
Butch looks to Bosco and says, "How long do we have for the patient's anesthesia considerations?"
"To leave a safe margin, no more than 15 minutes in this room."
"Fine. Leah will be ready to depart well before then."
Leah recoils, plants her feet, and says. "I'm ready to depart now. I ain't going in—no freaking way."
Dennis reaches out to take Leah's hand, but he sees his sterile glove and yanks back before reaching her. He holds both arms straight out in front of him in classic scrubbed-surgeon style.
Bosco says, "It's okay to take her hand. You have no idea how clean you are, and there are absolutely no pathogens on either of you nor in this room."
Dennis reaches back out and takes Leah's hand. His eyes flash just as they did the first time she saw him behind her at Starbucks. It was two centuries ago, but she remembers that look as if it was just days ago, which it was. She smiles and follows Dennis, who follows Bosco.
Jasmine Kell is waiting for them inside a sterile lab. She's standing next to a privacy screen, dressed casually now, no longer sporting the high-power business look she had on the stage. Her long hair is down now, but the taut look on her face says that more than her appearance has changed since they last saw her.
She extends her hand to Leah and says, "Hello, Leah. I'm Jasmine Kell. Everyone calls me Jazz unless they're in trouble, then they call me Chief or Doctor Kell."
She and Leah shake hands, and Jazz continues, "I had planned to meet you this afternoon when you were with Sigrid in your department, but then . . . well . . . this . . . ." as she motions toward the privacy screen.
She turns to Dennis and says, "Welcome to the Time Extraction Team, Doctor Tanner. I had planned to meet you later today, too, but under more casual circumstances. We need you here, as you'll soon discover. By the way, I'm not that kind of doctor, I have a Ph.D. in cosmological physics, so I don't do people!"
Leah says, "That makes two of us."
Jasmine nods at Leah and continues, "I'm here with you now because we have a major problem with time travel, and we need the two of you to . . ."
Bosco interrupts, "We are pushing a time limit on this man."
"I hate it when droids interrupt us humans . . . because they're always right when they do. Okay, Boss Bosco, remove the screen."
An unconscious man, in his mid-40s, is lying on his back on a bed. Not an industrial, medical facility bed—it doesn't belong to TET. It's a regular bed, complete with his green and blue plaid bedspread and blue sheets. But his legs and the bed are embedded in a one-foot thick concrete block just below his knees. The block sits on the lab floor, perpendicular to the bed. It's a cleanly cut slab, one foot thick, four feet high, and the same width as the bed. The man's feet, ankles, the footboard of his bed, and the foot of his bedspread hang loosely over the end, on the other side of the block.
Leah gasps briefly and lets out a little, "Oh."
But then she blinks twice, tilts her head, and the trepidation on her face instantly changes to curiosity.
Dennis notices her mood change. Her eyes are darting over the concrete block, and she seems suddenly immersed in thoughts. She lets go of Dennis' hand and moves to the block.
She brushes her hand along the sides of the block down to where it met the sheets. She touches the foot of the sheets. She tugs on the sheets, which are locked into the concrete. She throws back the foot of the sheets and exposes the man’s ankles and bare feet. She points at his bare toes and throws a look at Dennis. She squiggles her lips.
She runs her hand up over the top of the block. She goes up on tiptoes to check out the top. She rubs her finger on top of a few metal bars, and she taps one of them.
She turns to Jasmine and says, "I've been noticing that your building techniques haven't changed much in 200 years. You still use steel-reinforced concrete."
Jazz moves beside Leah, then she taps the end of a rod and says, "You're right. Even 200 years later, concrete is still concrete. But that's not steel. It's a titanium alloy."
"Titanium! That's crazy expensive just for building."
"It was in your time, but by the end of the 21st century, we perfected undersea mining robots, and since then, we've had plentiful supplies of many elements that used to be expensive."
"So, since it doesn't need to be heat-treated, I suppose it's an alpha-alloy rather than a beta-alloy, right?"
"Correct. An alpha alloy of titanium, aluminum, and tin."
Leah slaps the block with the palm of one hand, leans against it, turns to Dennis, and says, "So, Dennis, that guy's legs are like really, really stuck in there, buddy. Really stuck. Good luck cutting away titanium-reinforced concrete."
Dennis looks a little pale now, and his only response is one hard, dry gulp.
Jasmine continues, "Well, no, this is the thing. His legs are not stuck in there, so you couldn't cut away the block if it was soft plastic foam."
Leah smacks the bottom of a bare foot and says, "Then what the hell are these sticking out back here?"
Jazz looks up at Bosco, who is already attached to the overhead grid, and says, "I'm not the medical expert. You should take it from here."
Bosco glides over the man, shines a gentle spotlight on his unconscious face, and says, "Doctor Tanner, I know you like to meet your patients before working on them. His name is Bryan Gallemore. He was 43 years old when we extracted him from May of 2018. He's an ocean power system design engineer we need for our extraction power systems. He's not been awake in 2218, so he doesn't know where he is. He did, however, experience the same jump as you and Leah, so when he wakes up, he's going to be very confused. More than yourselves because . . . .", and his light moves down to where Bryan's legs enter the block.
"Doctor Tanner, Bryan's legs are molecularly fused with that block, and the titanium rods do not run through his legs. The rods, the concrete, his legs, and his bed are a single block."
Dennis does no more than mumble as he licks his lips between words, "So . . . if he's. . if he's fused into that block . . . uh . . . then all I can do is amputate?"
Jazz continues, "Yes. And then we'll fit him with robotic prostheses. You're going to be impressed with 23rd-century replacement limbs."
Suddenly, Dennis stiffens, his jaw sets, and he stares at Jasmine, "You insane, selfish people tore me away from my life, from Rachel, the love of my life, to come here to do simple amputation surgery? What the hell were you thinking? I know you've had the big brain drain, but doctors performed amputations 200 years before my time. I'm pissed that I'm here, and there's no way that I'm going to . . ."
Bosco interrupts again, "Doctor Tanner, I have to interrupt."
Jasmine can't resist, "Ah, now it's your turn. Annoying, aren't they?"
Bosco moves the floodlight back to the man's face and continues, "When we find people like this in the field, the process we use to put them out has a fixed time limit, and it's temporary until we get them to the operating room. We have to get this man under a longer-term coma in 12 minutes or . ." and he moves the light back to the man's legs as he continues, ". . . .he'll wake up to see this."
Jazz jumps in again, "I told you they're annoyingly right when they interrupt. The man's life is on the line here. Please, let me quickly explain, and then I'll take Leah to Sigrid's department and leave you and the medical team to work. Please?"
Dennis sucks in a long breath, folds his arms on his chest, heaves out a sigh, and glares at Jazz.
"Yes, we've been using robotic prostheses for years, and they're fully functional. But the wearers would still prefer to have real flesh limbs. Bosco, please take over and make this short."
Bosco picks up instantly, "You humans do love your skin, as fragile as it is. We perfected cloning a century ago, which allows everyone to have a cloned twin."
Leah freaks a bit and steps back with, "Whoa, dude! Everyone has a twin these days?"
"We cannot bring the clones to life. They provide spare parts kept in cryogenically frozen storage if anyone needs an organ transplant. Our doctors today are quite capable of transplanting internal organs. But as we gained the excellent robotic prostheses, we lost the art of transplanting limbs, which is very different due to . . . ."
Dennis interrupts, "Wait a second. I wasn't doing limb transplants. You've snatched the wrong doctor!"
Jazz jumps in, "Doctor Tanner, we found in your history that you specialized in that field in medical school, and you didn't practice it after you met Rachel and moved to New York.
"You couldn't know this now, but you switched to that field the month after we extracted you due to a patient of yours who suffered a horrendous injury in a subway accident, which inspired you."
"Okay, so you admit I had no experience transplanting limbs, but you snatched me away anyhow?"
"Yes, but what you don't know is that you have a gift for it. You became a leader in that field, and it all started because of the passion that filled you after that one patient."
She turns to Bryan and says, "I brought you here today, hoping this man will be your inspiration in this life."
"But he's not from this time, and he doesn't have a clone to grab parts from."
Bosco continues, "True, Doctor. Today you will amputate both legs, and then in a few days, we'll give him robotic prostheses. We've taken his DNA, and it's in a lab right now, preparing to grow into his clone. We can create a full, adult human body in six months."
"And so I'll be the transplant surgeon."
Bosco continues, "Yes. Doctor. Your gift will emerge in 2218, just as well as it did back in 2017. I have all the medical journal articles you published stored in my memory. And we now have eight minutes to move this man. Have you seen enough?"
Leah gurgles a convulsive sound and says, "I have, that's for damn sure. But what about this? How in the hell did that guy's legs fuse with that block?"
Dennis spins to look at her and echoes, "Damn good question!"
Bosco reminds him, "After the surgery, Doctor! We need to move this man now." As a squad of droids moves Bryan, Bosco heads toward a door, beckoning Dennis to follow.
As Dennis exits, Leah brushes his arm. When the door closes behind him, she stares at the door for a few seconds, then blows a kiss toward the door, then beams with a wide grin as her eyelashes flutter.
Leah turns to leave, and bumps smack into Jazz, who sports a grin of her own after witnessing that little pantomime show. Leah blushes.
Jazz smiles, "Butch will take you to Sigrid and Katherine now."
Leah looks at Butch and fidgets with her hands as Jazz continues, "If you can come back to reality, they'll explain how Bryan's legs became embedded in that concrete. It's the reason we selected you."
"Oh, yeah, sure. Legs fused in titanium-reinforced concrete were like my architectural specialty, and I was the very best in all of New York City."
"And blowing kisses."
"Dennis Tanner is very, very married to Rachel Tanner."
"Leah, that was two centuries ago."
"It was only yesterday."
Leah blushes again as Butch motions for her to follow him back out of the entrance. As she turns, Jazz says, "Oh, one more thing. Many of us unwind after a day like this at a local club called The Bohemian Cavern. I’d like you and Dennis to join me there at seven tonight for dinner and drinks."
"Well, yeah, I'll bet that Dennis will go with me for dinner and drinks."
"So, where is it?"
"Butch and Amy will escort you there. It's just a few blocks, and you'll be ready for a walk after you leave Sigrid's office. Just come on over—I can hardly wait to see how he reacts to the way your eyes flash when you look at him."