It's 4 AM. I haven't slept in 2 days, and I don't think I'll be capable of sleep for a long time. How anyone can react to this kind of news in a "healthy" psychological manner is beyond my comprehension.
Terminal cancer. I can't die yet. There is far too much left to do. We have saved one person so far and that is not even close to enough.
The doctors told me I had only a few months to live. The tumors are too many, growing too fast, and spreading, apparently, like nothing they have ever seen before. There are simply too many for them to be able to treat me.
That the research that I have devoted my life to is the cause of my imminent demise is an irony that is not lost on me. My work in creating the newest cell division stimulant is the only possible cause of this illness. I must have inhaled small amounts of it with each use, and once it reached my circulatory system, I was already dead. The gradual accumulation must have caused my cells to spin out of control. The doctors told me that this level of metastasis is impossible, theoretically. If I had not already created higher levels of cell growth in my lab, I might have been inclined to agree with them. Small, but very malignant tumors have started growing everywhere within me. No one within the Project knows yet, and I rather intend to keep it that way. The number of growths should be sufficient to kill me even before visible symptoms show.
Especially disturbing is the thought of the tumors in my brain. My brain, my intellect, has always been my singular strength, and the one thing that has made me special in this world. I cannot bear the thought of it twisting into something monstrous. I will not become just another old man, dying in his own filth, as the the world speaks in hushed whispers around him.
The sterile smell of the hospital seems to still linger around me, different from that of the lab. Maybe the collected last breaths of countless people are what makes the scent so inhuman. I cannot imagine spending my last days in such a place, with doctors and nurses bustling around me, jabbering away while holding pointless diagnostic charts. We already know what's wrong. They would make futile attempts to make me comfortable as I prepare for a death as unmemorable and insignificant as the rest. I suddenly feel a sharp pity and sense of companionship with our own subjects… we bring them to our lab not even to offer them any sort of support, but to watch them die and record as much data as possible. Will mine be any different?
What can I do now? Or should I even do anything? There is nothing left. I will be erased from the world far before I had the chance to complete my life's work. Months is not enough time to create a cure for cancer… not enough time to do anything except give up.
Straighten out my affairs. Just … slip out of existence. Perhaps I will be a footnote in a textbook some time if the Project manages to finish the treatment without me, not that they really can. Even though all of our research notebooks are accessible by every member of the Project, no one really understands how the disparate thrusts of the Project fit together except me.
If I get extraordinarily lucky, maybe I'll even be the "Father of Regenerative Medicine", doomed to die hundreds of years before someone else can implement my techniques to save me.
I just need more time. We somehow managed to return Rinn from the underworld, but she's the only one. More bodies, more experiments, and maybe - just maybe - we'll be able to repeat Rinn's procedure to save another person. But still, they would remain only in the same, static, half-dead state. If the same procedure could be done on myself … I would have more time, and maybe just enough.
It's impossible, though... the freshly-dead, or the dying subjects only pass through our lab maybe once a week, if we're lucky. That's simply not enough test subjects to make any sort of improvement, or indeed even the same incremental success.
Unless we resort to the somewhat.... darker path that my foreign colleague used before joining us. These are people who no longer wish to be alive anyway, and if we didn't give them the opportunity, they would find it some other way.
No. Our job is to save people, not kill them. Whether or not they are happy with life is not our concern.
But … I suppose … if they would do it to themselves, are they really alive any more? They are abdicating their lives. We have a duty to make them contribute at least something for the world. In life, or in death. In fact, we have already been approached a few times by those who want their last moments to make a difference ...
And, if we succeed, we will save millions. Death and disease would no longer be enemies, and instead, every person would be able to focus on life however they so choose, and these people would have given their lives to make that possible. Lives have been sacrificed over much less.
It is growing light out, but I have a lot to do tomorrow. 4 hours of sleep will be enough to function on.