Black City Survivor
a novel by C. R. Porta
about 100,000 words
The video feed started abruptly.
"So, Doctor Kavelsky, you claim to have discovered... immortality?"
In a small television studio, two men sat awkwardly facing each other in matching navy-blue love seats.
Although the two appeared to be having a private conversation, they were in fact well aware of the possibility that the entire world could be tuning in to this live interview.
The Doctor, an attractive man in his mid-thirties ran a hand through his short silver-streaked hair as he considered the question.Even though he was dressed in a dull white lab coat for the interview, he somehow managed to exude an air of vitality and masculinity.So much so, that a person would not be wrong to doubt his credentials -- as his muscular physique suggested that he spent most of his time training athletes, and not studiously working in a lab somewhere.
With a charming smile towards the camera, the Doctor uncrossed his legs and leaned back comfortably in the chair. With his casual demeanor and silky smooth movements, you would think that he had been practicing for this moment his entire life.
"Immortality..." The interviewer continued, making sure to let the words hang in the air for as long as possible. "The ability to live... forever.Is that correct?"
Doctor Kavelsky cleared his throat and paused for a few agonizing seconds before responding."That is correct."
Before that last syllable could leave his lips, a strange form of controlled mayhem broke out in the studio as people reacted to the news.Some gasped and looked at their neighbors in amazement, some jumped up and down ecstatically, a few people even screamed in excitement.By the time they managed to quiet everyone down on set, Doctor Kavelsky had unsuccessfully tried to contain a sideways smirk for well over a minute.
"Well then, let's see here..."The interviewer began as the noisy excitement in the room died down."I'm sure a million questions are running through the heads of viewers, but how about we start with one of the basics."How exactly," he started with an easily assumed air of interest, "Have you discovered immortality to be possible?"
Unfazed by the momentary hiccup in the interview, the Doctor smiled charmingly and thought for a second before responding."Well Larry," he began smoothly, "It has something to do with two of the most recent developments in modern technology.Stem cell research, and advanced nano-machine development."
The interviewer, Larry, cocked his head to the side and thought for a moment."Ok, yes... I believe that most people have heard of these scientific fields over the past few decades."
Larry shifted slightly in his seat.An older gentleman and seasoned pro in the television business, it was one of the few times in his lengthy career that he did not have to pretend to be interested in his guest's response."So, Doctor..." Larry said as he rubbed his hands together in anticipation."What is this magical combination that you and your team have come up with exactly?"
"Well..." The Doctor began, pausing for a moment to consider the easiest way to explain the concept, "We have known for a long time that stem cells have the ability to take the place of old cells within the body -- usually with a little guidance by a surgical team of course."Now," the Doctor said in a captivating tone, "What you may not have heard about stem cells is that once injected they will 'never' deteriorate with age."
"They have an unlimited amount of replications?"Larry asked in surprise.
"Yes." Replied the Doctor, "You see, where most cells in the body have a finite amount of replications, stem cells have an infinite supply."
Larry scratched his head and pondered what the Doctor had said for a quick moment."So what you are implying..." He began slowly, "Is that it is somehow possible to replace every cell within the human body with a stem cell?"
A huge grin stretched across the face of the Doctor."That is exactly right." He said with a small nod.
No doubt impressed by his own problem-solving abilities, Larry beamed as if he had been the one to make the discovery himself."And I assume that the recent developments in nano-technology have enabled this process to occur?"He postulated with confidence.
Doctor Kavelsky couldn't help but let out a friendly laugh. "Again you are right on target Larry.Perhaps advanced bio-medical research is your true calling?" He said with a sly smile.
Larry grinned devilishly."You know Doctor, the television industry needs geniuses too!"He said with a little wink at the camera.
Before he could get too carried away though, the Producer gave Larry a quick signal to keep the interview rolling on schedule.
Larry turned to the Doctor and put on a serious tone -- he didn't have to glance at the Producer to know that the segment was doing way better than expected; just by feeling the atmosphere in the room he knew that this interview would be considered a ground-breaking historical event.
"So Doctor," Larry said as he returned to the scheduled questions, "Stem cells and nano-machines, how have you combined the two in order to bring us... 'eternal life'?"
Every eye in the room was locked on the Doctor as he sat up and took a long drink of water before responding.
"The nano-machines we developed" he began slowly, "Are basically like miniature surgeons that operate within the constraints of the human body."
Pausing for a moment, the Doctor analyzed the faces of the people standing in the studio to get an idea as to how well he was explaining the concept.
"After the surgical team removes the appendix and inserts a similar-sized bundle of stem cells in its place,"He continued, "The nano-machines then begin the slow process of replacing the old cells of the body with the new."
Clasping his hands over his knee, the Doctor crossed his legs and leaned back in the chair in a satisfied fashion.
"The entire procedure takes about one full year from the insertion of the stem cells and their respective nano-machine components in order for the subject to be completely--"The Doctor searched for the right word.
"Revitalized." He finished with confidence.
Larry was as enthralled as any viewer might be at this moment."And that's it?" He asked in disbelief. "A small procedure and one year later, poof!, immortal!?It just seems a bit too easy don't you think?"
The Doctor laughed again warmly."Well it wasn't 'easy' by any means."He admitted."We had some help from a super-computer that utilized a quantum-computing processor... and the research took a very, very long time."
Remembering a segment he had done on the various health scams that were becoming more and more extravagant in certain parts of the world, it was at that moment in time that Larry seemed to notice the glowing vitality of his guest for the first time.
"Speaking of that Doctor..." He said suspiciously, "You seem to be a little young to be the head scientist on the project.How long have you been personally involved with the research exactly?"
The tiniest of smiles graced the Doctor's lips as he gazed down at the strong and youthful hands resting on his lap.
"Let's see..." He exhaled slowly and cocked his head to the side for a moment. "I would say roughly... thirty-two and a half years or so."
"Don't be preposterous!" Larry replied. "That would mean -- wait... how old 'are' you Doctor?"
Staring straight into the camera, Doctor John Kavelsky cleared his throat.
"This February I will be sixty-three years old." He replied calmly.
As the camera's focused in on the Doctor's steel-grey eyes, the video feed cut out.