On reaching the laboratory, miraculously without me either tripping or setting Aeiou’s suit on fire, I notice with relief that it looks exactly the same as yesterday: desk and office chair rubbing up against a wall to the right of the door, an extra chair floating in the general area on the anterior side of the desk, opposite his. The periphery of the room is decorated with linen-clothed tables. Except now I realise that they’re not tablecloths but bedsheets, like the ones we have upstairs. And whatever objects they’re hiding are too bumpy to be tables.
Aeiou strides right across the shadowy expanse of ground to a cloaked sibling at the far end. He turns rapidly to face me, whipping off the covering with a flourish and a prideful “Voila! My CT scanner!”
I’d laugh at the puerile joy in his expression if I weren’t so stunned. The device is a large white tube – very new-looking – preceded by an equally space-aged white platform. It is a white hole from which my scrambled brains will be blasted out, out into the galaxy. “Am – am I going in that?” I ask, unable to suppress a tiny stutter. I’ve never been enclosed in such a thing before.
“Yes but don’t worry; it won’t take long. I just want to take a look at your brain.”
His proposition and the prospect of being trapped in close confinement cause me to do just that. Even as I lay myself down on the surprisingly well-cushioned platform, my entire body sweats and trembles like I am running a fever. I am relieved, now, for Aeiou’s being covered up, for I would not want to maximise the eagerness that is glinting across what I can see of his retina.
My head cradled by an ovular dip, I enter the scanner. It quickly begins clicking and whirring as the brain imaging begins and I experience what I imagine to be the sensation of being inside a time-travelling vehicle: a twirling stomach and flittering eyes, attempting to keep up with the lights rotating above my head.
When the half-hour is up, Aeiou passes me a plastic cup of water, distorted in my dizziness, then disappears behind the connecting monitor; I am abandoned, still prostate, on the platform. Once recovered minutes later, I scramble to a sitting position, legs dangling over the side.
“Mmm…abnormal cells in the…that makes sense.” He murmurs to himself, then flicks his eyes up to mine. “Well, it’s definitely a neural virus and for you it’s residing in the prefrontal area of the frontal lobe, which controls emotions, problem solving, decision making et cetera. So if you start making crazy decisions based entirely off of your feelings, come straight to me!” He chuckles.
If he were in my shoes, however, he wouldn’t be laughing. Like Zaid said, we’re doomed – cured or not – and all thanks to a bunch of reckless ex-scientists.