Waking the Zed - By ML Katz

Waking the ZED

"I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects.

This being you must create."

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Future Faith Cryonics, Incorporated

Dr. Ada Klein’s mood almost appeared rapturous as she made a circuit of Preservation Room 17. Her rubber soled shoes glided soundlessly across the gleaming tiles. Her expertly outlined and tinted lips curved upward in an unusually placid smile. A streak of grey accented her dark and carefully coifed hair. The colorful scarf, draped artfully over her narrow shoulders, fluttered about as she walked. As the slim middle aged woman moved from one gleaming man-sized capsule to another, she bent over the transparent face plate of each tube, considered it, smiled, and then moved on.

Pam Stone, the graduate student intern, stood stoically as her boss made a circuit of the room. For a moment she thought that her boss’s movements reminded her of a dancer making a grand sweep of a ballroom while curtsying to an array of suitors. Of course, the grey streak in the doctor’s dark hair, her cold manner, and her current occupation also reminded Pam of an old black and white horror movie she had seen at a teenage sleepover. Considering that the gleaming steel and glass cylinders each contained the preserved body of one of Dr. Klein’s clients, Pam thought, not for the first time, that her middle aged mentor’s actions and mannerisms were really quite creepy. An involuntary chill ran up Pam’s spine.

Pam cleared her throat, reluctant to disturb her boss’s reveries for a variety of reasons. When the older woman glanced over at her, Pam asked, “Dr. Klein, do you want me to run the usual diagnostics this morning?”

In contrast to Dr. Klein’s slim and elegant figure and carefully coifed hair, Pam appeared sturdy and natural looking. Her unremarkable straight hair fell past her shoulders. She had tied it back in a loose and simple pony tail for work. Some Native American ancestors had bequeathed Pam high cheekbones and a long straight nose. English ancestors had contributed her pale eyes. But otherwise Pam Stone’s pleasant face appeared rather strong but unremarkable. Though trim, her corn-fed upbringing on an Iowa farm showed in her muscular legs, strong hands, and fairly broad shoulders.

When Pamela stood next to Dr. Klein she often felt like a thick, ungainly, and untutored hayseed. Few people actually ever considered Pam Stone, a pathology doctoral candidate with her own research and publishing credentials, any of these things. She just has that affect o people. Pam frowned crookedly.

Dr. Klein looked up slowly, as if Pam had just pulled her out of a private fantasy. Though Pam had arrived, on time, at her assigned duty station, she felt like an unwelcome intruder. The older woman considered the request and seemed to study her intern for a moment. Then she shook her head and said, “No, I have something very different planned for this morning. Hopefully, you can handle a change to your normal and expected routine.”

The doctor did not elaborate immediately, so Pam just continued to stand there uncomfortably, trying not to shift from one foot to the other. Truth be told, the more that Pamela learned about Future Faith Cryonics, the more she thought the whole operation was a giant scam that existed to suck generous annuity payments from each paying client.

Pam knew that this collection of industry giants and political leaders could have well afforded the price tag of the required annuity fund that had to be established to pay for their care. Their heirs would be unlikely to skip a five star restaurant meal, utility bill, or even a luxury trip to St Bart’s because of the added expense. But Pam also knew that many live people subsisted on less money than Future Faith Cryonics required for the care of the dead. She certainly thought that the money could be put to better use funding care for the living. The whole concept just jarred with her normally practical way of viewing the world.

There, Pam had thought it, and she knew she believed it. No matter what Future Faith Cryonics called those poor people, they were surely dead and quite likely to stay that way. No matter how much Dr. Klein insisted that Future Faith preserved the cream of society until they could be safely revived, Pamela believed that her boss either must be