Harlan is there when I awake this time; he is glad that I recognise him. He is now sleeping in this crowded room, with three medics and three more patients; all of which have some degree of ice- damage and need a great deal of assistance to carry out their normal routine. Two of the patients have intricate silver caps over their scalps, cybernetic augmentation presumably assisting or replacing some of their normal brain or motor functions. These individuals speak in loud, broken voices and keep me awake when I should be resting in my post-hibernation weakness; I feel sorry for them, but Harlan is optimistic about their prospects for recovery
“We are giving them a range of new treatments for neural repair and replacement,’ he told me.”After a while the cybernetics will become fully integrated and these patients will be well again: they might be partly electronic, but a lot of people are these days.”“We will be arriving at the stars as cyborgs,” I said, ruefully.Cyborgs were fairly common back in the Solar System, but they were often unfriendly, haughty, full of self-importance, from what I can recall (with my admittedly unreliable memory).
“At least we will get there healthy enough. But the problems people are having with memory loss are still considerable; there are more people than ever refusing to go back into the freezers, and we are running out of room and life support. The ship AI thinks that he has a solution, and that you can help.”
“If there is anything I can do, I will do it; but what in all of space can I do?” I said.
“You can volunteer for a new treatment, one that Hoyle has cooked up emself. All the Arkships are sharing research and medical information with each other, as they get further apart; there is little useful information coming out of the Solar System these days. None of the ships has come up with a cure for memory loss yet, but Hoyle thinks e has a possible cure, of sorts. And e wants you, an otherwise healthy individual who has been unfrozen a number of times, to join in the trials.” “You know, I really need a bit more information before I make up my mind. Is Hoyle proposing to replace my brain with circuits, like these poor souls?” I indicated the other patients, who smiled back with broad, empty grins.“No, not at all. E proposes to harness the power of dreams.”