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untitled Signy post-"Hunter's Moon" vignette

Signy had been floating in the regen tank at Kismet General for what seemed like a significant fraction of forever. There was no time here, and nothing to do but think. She couldn't really move or speak, and half the time -- depending on what treatments she was receiving -- couldn't see or hear either. The nurses offered her various forms of direct-to-brain entertainment: recorded memories of outdoor activities or vacation spots; books and holos on brain-tape.

She refused them in horror.

A frustrated doctor tried to explain things to her. "Sensory deprivation is not going to help you get better; it's only going to make you worse."

Privately Signy was inclined to agree with him. Left floating in darkness for hours, she found that it was becoming ever more difficult to tell the difference between her implanted memories and her own. But that was precisely why she couldn't go inserting anything new into her fragmented brain.

While the medical staff didn't entirely seem to understand her deep-rooted fear of the brain tapes, or possibly wrote it off as some kind of religious peculiarity, they didn't force them on her. The doctor suggested environmental stimulation as a compromise.

"What do you mean?" she asked through the voice synthesizer that served while her lungs were saturated with the healing nutrient compound.

What they meant, she soon found out, was flashing lights, loud noises in certain patterns, and apparently random changes to what little of the room she could see through the walls of the tank. Sometimes they'd reorient her in the tank so that she was upside down.

"This cannot possibly be helping," she snapped the next time the doctor checked in on her. To her intense annoyance, the voice synthesizer conveyed her words in its usual measured tones, all emotion stripped out of them. "This is going to drive me crazy faster than the sensory deprivation would have!"

"You need stimulation. Move your arm."

Signy sighed, and attempted to comply. She had no idea if it actually moved or not, but the doctor wrote something down on his handheld. Another thing they wanted her to do was to move her limbs in the nutrient fluid, using small swimming motions like a fetus in the womb. Apparently it helped keep her blood flowing and prevented muscle atrophy and other useful things.

Maybe it would have been less mind-numbingly boring if she'd been able to tell whether or not she was actually moving. She'd had a pain block, they told her, and that was why she couldn't feel anything below the neck. Her muscles still responded to conscious control, but she got no feedback to tell her that anything was moving. Small servos on the limbs kept them in slow, constant movement -- she'd gotten used to the flashes of motion out of the corners of her eyes -- but conscious direction of the muscles was much better for them, or so she was told.

"If you don't like the alpha lights, perhaps you have a friend who might visit you for a few minutes a day? Social stimulation is the best kind."

This, she didn't even dignify with a response, and he only asked the once.

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