Dr Donovan’s Eternity: Part 4

Predictably, it happened on a live broadcast. A patient who had seen the results and literally begged to participate in the Project (as I still thought of it) had spent three days being calibrated in the monotonous word-association sessions that the machine required. The general public mood was in favour of the break-through, with the same typical few reservations that exist when any great change is announced.

The old guy’s eyes were alight. I’ll never forget his wrinkled, serene face in close-up on the TV cameras.

Reality is suspended,” Dr. Donovan was saying, in respectfully lowered tones in an interview within the walls of the monitoring station. “All the things that you always wanted to happen, but were denied by the reinforcement of reality, happen in your mind.

In the bed in the ward next door the old man was having the electrodes on his head checked. He smiled weakly up at the orderlies.

In those seven milliseconds – as we saw from the data in my lab, and the data recorded on poor Mr. Myers five days ago – all the connections that your brain ever wanted to make actually occur.

The dying man was the only patient among dozens of gathered staff, officials and other professional witnesses. He’d told someone he’d fought in ‘the war’. He was so old it could have been any of them. He looked at them with his bright eyes. What had he seen over the years? What would he see yet?

There is no ‘over-ride’ telling you what experiences you can and can’t have. The mechanism that gives us our picture of ‘reality’ breaks down upon near-brain death, and then this seven-millisecond burst of activity takes place. It’s like a lucid dream, where all the connections that your brain wanted to make, happen all at once.

In the ward a man was caught on camera tactlessly looking at his watch and snatching his hand down guiltily. You couldn’t see any relatives or mourners. Maybe he’d outlived them all.

In this seven-millisecond...‘zone’, if you like, nothing is impossible. Loved ones come back to life. Old flames, dead heroes and war-buddies welcome you. All those who ever wronged you are banished from your sight. You can fly.

You can find the complete version of Dr Donovan's Eternity: Part 4 in issue 53 of TBD.

Paul Davey