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    2021-2-28 01:17
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    发表于 2022-3-6 11:20:26 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
    源自
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch1-874035811
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch2-874075187
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch3-874374399
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch4-877459130
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch5-882005735
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch6-889929034
    六篇合一,翻譯版有小作整修,下面會放原文供各位超級比一比XDD
    這篇的理論比我自己想的獵奇還酷XD

    ****
    譯文


    Ch1


    約三個月前,當赫克穆準備騎自行車上班時,一輛麵包車決定為他停下來是可選的,並將他送進了一個郵箱。股骨嚴重骨折,幾個小時的手術後,他拄著拐杖走路到當地醫院的治療部門接受他的第一次醫療酷刑。如果沒有其他小型貨車或郵箱再次出現在他面前,他可能會再次騎自行車。

    由於數據中心的夜班工作時間很奇怪,他們唯一能找到的時間表是晚上10點,系統甚至沒有列出。

    當他把車停到門診大樓時,裡面一片寂靜漆黑。停車場的大門已經關閉,所以他最終把車停在了街道上更遠的地方。雖然地址匹配且前門是開著的,所以他想如果他走錯了地方,保安很可能會很快找到他並指出他正確的方向——一個拄著拐杖的困惑的傢伙拿著一個裝滿文件的文件夾,是不太可能偷筆記本電腦或其他東西。

    他從文件夾裡拿出大樓的地圖,在一些非常黑暗的走廊裡徘徊,直到找到唯一一家還開著燈的辦公室,然後朝它走去。接待處有一扇面向走廊的窗戶,她一看到他就精神煥發。

    “早上好!我是說,晚上好!” 晚上 10 點,接待員非常高興。

    “你好,我來對地方了嗎?大樓其他地方的所有燈都熄滅了,停車門也不讓我進去……”赫克穆說。

    “哦,我很抱歉!你應該在下班後得到一張門禁卡!我今天在你離開之前給你一張!”她的咖啡因可能有點過量。他回答說:“沒問題—謝謝妳的幫助。”

    “隨時!還有你的理療師會在幾分鐘後到,你可以在等候區坐下!”

    候診室是一個設計得既舒適又熱情的地方,有一些淡綠色的椅子和長凳。整個地方都瀰漫著健身用具的味道,還帶有些消毒水的味道。

    他一走進來,就注意到另一個人坐在遠處角落的椅子上等待;一個女人靜靜地坐著,穿著連帽衫、灰色瑜伽褲和白色運動鞋。一根細細的白色手杖放在她旁邊,還有一個健身包。

    為了避免寂靜的尷尬,赫克穆開口說:“嘿,怎麼樣?”

    …沒有回應,所以現在很尷尬——也許她戴著耳機?

    他瞥了一眼女孩,似乎有些不對勁——在她的運動衫罩上,戴著面罩和墨鏡的情況下,他看不到她的大部分臉,但從她身上散發出一些神秘的氛圍。

    在那裡坐了10或15分鐘後,門打開了,教練走了進來。她們都是 20 多歲的女性,她們的工作顯然是保持身材。一個直接走向運動衫女孩(顯然不是她第一次來訪),另一個看著赫克穆說:“嗨,我是愛麗絲,接下來幾週我將成為你的 PT。你今天晚上好嗎?”

    “我很好,到這裡有點混亂,但我來得早,所以沒問題。”

    另一位治療師和神秘的健身夥伴拿出手機,瘋狂地互相發簡訊,儘管他們之間的距離只有幾英尺,這似乎有點奇怪。短暫的交流後,兩人一起進了訓練室的門,訓練師扶著運動衫女孩,小心翼翼地拿起包抓起手杖,幾乎沒有用它導航,好像已經做過很多次了。

    愛麗絲把赫克穆帶到訓練室,那裡有橡膠地板和各種看起來很奇怪的運動器材,還有更傳統的重量、健身球和瑜伽附近的東西。她把他帶到一組雙槓旁,並解釋了計劃——非常簡單,用槓鈴來回走動,用槓鈴做支撐,輔助深蹲,弓步等。在健身房的另一邊,運動衫女孩正在做一些一種平衡練習,繞過障礙物,用她的手杖在房間裡導航。

    完成這一系列任務後,赫克穆試圖注意愛麗絲對在家要做的伸展運動和鍛煉的簡要介紹。

    “好的,我想你們第一天都準備好了——幹得好。” 愛麗絲說,因為赫克穆剛開始在輔助深蹲時遇到肌肉衰竭。

    “謝謝,沒有我想像的那麼糟糕,雖然我肯定是因為那次事故失去了很多力氣。”在背景中,赫克穆注意到另一對也結束了,另一位教練給她沉默的健身房夥伴發簡訊。

    “如果你堅持下去並完成我們給你的功課,你可能會在幾個月後回到手術前的狀態,幸運的是你還年輕,所以你應該會恢復得很好。我們回候車室,我去拿你的作業包。”愛麗絲帶著赫克穆走到候診室,雖然他很想問問她關於神秘女孩的事情,但他也不想引起他人的保密問題,或者在第一天看起來像個怪人。

    在候診室站了約一分鐘後,愛麗絲帶著要帶回家的鍛煉信息包回來了。愛麗絲說:“好吧,試著每天做這些,如果你開始感到酸痛,一定要冰敷你的腿——我們的日程安排非常緊張,所以我希望你能夠跟上。”

    “謝謝,我會——幾天後見!”

    當他正拐著走進走廊時,接待員幾乎是跳到赫克穆面前,拿出一張鑰匙卡說。“這是你下次進門的卡,第一天過得怎麼樣?”

    “一切都很順利,但我敢打賭明天我會很痛。自從那次事故之後,我就沒有做過這麼多了。”赫克穆說。

    接待員回到她的櫃檯前:“是的,一定要好好休息 - 每個人都說第一次會議後的第二天很艱難。”

    兩天後,他又把車開進診所的停車場,搖下車窗,把門禁卡貼在門口的讀卡器上。它發出嗶嗶聲,門打開了,謝天謝地,這次讓他停得更近了。他從車裡出來,從乘客座位上抓起拐杖,讓自己站起來。

    運動衫女孩又一次靜靜地坐在候診室的角落裡。赫克穆坐下後不久,她把手伸進包裡,拿出一支鋼筆和一個小記事本。她緩慢而仔細地寫下一些東西,站起身來,轉向他的大致方向。她故意靠近了幾步,在大約 6 英尺外停下來,拿出記事本,將文字對著他。

    筆記上打的文字是:

    你好,我是莉雅。我不能說話,但你可以給我發簡訊。我的號碼是242-555-2398。

    她將訊息給赫克穆看了大約 15 秒鐘,然後小心地轉身走回她的座位。

    赫克穆掏出手機給她發簡訊,“嗨,我是赫克穆——怎麼了?”當簡訊打到她的手機時,聽起來她的手機正在快速嗡嗡作響,而且持續時間比人們預期的文本通知要長得多;另一個奇怪的事情要添加到列表中。

    她回復了,赫克穆更仔細地看了看她的手機。它看起來有點像老式黑莓,有一個真正的鍵盤,屏幕不大。

    “嘿,希望你的第一次會議不會太糟糕。”

    “情況並沒有我想像的那麼糟糕,但我仍然處於相當大的痛苦之中——那些女士們真是太殘忍了。”

    “不開玩笑,他們每週讓我通過他們自己的忍者戰士計劃三遍。

    這基本上是免費的健身房會員資格,當他們不想破壞我的整個身體時,他們非常酷……

    你必須經歷我輕鬆的日子之一,只是導航和平衡工作。今天應該是有氧訓練,但我想我可能需要等待。

    你有什麼安排?”

    赫克穆回答:“我在星期一、星期三、星期五 - 我很高興我周末不必來。”

    打字時她似乎有點緊張,但從房間對面和蓬鬆的連帽衫下很難看出來。“看起來我們的日程安排是一樣的,他們有沒有讓你知道我也要去這裡?”

    赫克穆簡訊“不,我剛出現。我的上班時間很鳥,所有上午的課程都滿了,所以他們把我安排在一個奇怪的時間段。”

    “那你也是來訓練視覺的嗎?”她問。

    “不,我的腿摔得很厲害,不得不打鋼板,現在我正在努力恢復走路時不用拐杖。從好的方面來說,我現在可以繞過機場金屬探測器,而且我可以知道什麼時候會下雨,哈哈”

    她現在似乎在恐慌中給別人發簡訊,不久之後,接待員從前門旁邊的立方體辦公室區域的後窗向赫克穆揮手致意。她有點瘋狂地示意他過來,但這可能只是她的正常設置。他走到櫃檯前,問她“發生了什麼事?

    接待員驚慌失措地吸了口氣說:“嘿,莉雅有點害羞,我安排你和她在一起,但我認為她會很冷靜,因為她有點孤獨,而且她已經在這裡待了幾個月了,她只會在晚上出去,這很傷心,她認為她不能和這裡的其他人一起做她的事,我告訴她你很可愛,但她認為你會嚇壞了,她必須今天做有氧運動,但她不能帶著她所有的東西,我希望你不要嚇壞了,但她發生了一些瘋狂的事情,但她非常聰明和有趣,所以保持冷靜,不要逃離這裡,但我想你真的不能跑,因為你摔斷了腿,所以保持開放的心態,我會告訴莉雅我和你談過,你看起來很酷,我不想惹麻煩,所以冷靜點好嗎?

    “什麼。”

    她稍微吸了口氣,鎮定下來,然後說:“莉雅的病情很特殊,除了我們醫院的人,她沒有真正接觸過任何人。她很孤獨。我以為我可以做一些媒人工作,從我在你的信息中讀到的你既書呆子又單身,所以我想你會相處並安排你參加她未列出的會議。對不起,我很奇怪,請不要告訴我,否則我會被解僱,那太可怕了,莉雅可能會惹上麻煩。”

    “好吧,我會盡量保持冷靜——我為什麼會害怕?除了視力有些問題外,她看起來還不錯。”現在赫克穆既困惑又想弄清楚到底發生了什麼。

    她說:“所以她完全失明,她可以通過手機上的應用程序聽到聲音,但她也必須與之交流,除非你能看懂手語。她可以用她的手機說話,但不喜歡,因為她說這很令人毛骨悚然。她會用手指拼寫,但速度很慢,而且只能靠觸摸。她過去幾年過得非常艱難,但她也可能是我認識的最聰明的人-她編寫了她在手機上使用的程序,並且在她被困在這時進行大量研究。我會讓她知道你很酷,你知道發生了什麼,剩下的就交給你們兩個了。最壞的情況我可以嘗試重新安排你。也別慌。”

    “謝謝,我還沒有完全明白,但我不想搞砸你的整個情況,所以我會盡量保持開放的心態,我猜?。我仍然不確定我為什麼會害怕,她似乎經歷了很多,但我不知道為什麼我會對此有異議。”

    她看著自己的手機,已經給莉雅發了簡訊,說“你應該和她聊天,她現在似乎不太可能想要殺我了。”

    “我會的。謝謝。”赫克穆說著轉身坐下。

    莉雅給他發簡訊“那麼我們的咖啡因過量的朋友有沒有在莉雅的秘密項目中讀過你?”

    “有點,她讓我知道妳因為聽力和視力問題用手機說話,妳正在做一些編程和研究。我對其他一些事情感到非常困惑。”

    “我有一個安排,他們讓我留在這裡做我的工作並接受持續的治療,他們可以繼續他們的研究。”

    “研究?”

    “我可能已經說得太多了,但這裡的人真的無能為力,所以無論如何。

    我得了一種最終會要我命的疾病,這個地方想嘗試一種實驗性藥物。

    它有點奏效,因為我的大腦不再變成粘液,但是他們搞砸了劑量,並且出現了一些瘋狂的副作用。

    現在他們欠我一大筆錢,所以我可以免費住在這裡並得到照顧,而且他們不會被起訴。

    如果一切順利,我會以一種全新的方式來幫助人們,我會耐心等待,最後我可能會得到回報(或股票期權……)”

    “所以視覺和聽覺的問題是藥物的副作用?” 赫克穆問。

    莉雅回答說:“不算是,我的視力和聽力多年來一直在惡化,而且由於我的病情,我開始失去腦細胞。

    他們進行了實驗性治療,強迫我再生神經細胞,因此他們希望能夠逆轉這種影響。不過他們完全搞砸了這個過程,所以現在我成了一個怪異的鬼屋景點。”

    “妳在我看來沒那麼怪啊,什麼意思?”

    “無論如何我都得把這些東西拿下來才能鍛煉,所以去吧,我就給你看。”

    她把連帽衫翻回來,很明顯有什麼不對勁的地方。她的皮膚似乎太有光澤和可塑性了。看起來她脖子上還戴著黑色塑料製成的項圈或厚項鍊,這對於健身房來說是一個奇怪的選擇。

    她在手機裡輸入了一些東西,我聽到她的手機開始說話。當她把手伸向脖子上的黑色項圈時,困惑變成了恐慌,我聽到了喀嗒聲。她雙手放在下巴下,抬起頭頂,開始升起,露出那項圈其實是一頂黑色的塑料帽蓋在她的脖子上,而她的頭則是一個逼真的假頭。

    帽子前面有一個洞,大概是為了呼吸,但這就是赫克穆試圖同時站起來,抓住拐杖,走向門口,收起他的手機逃跑,而身體卻無法同時完成所有這些。她的手機用標準的安卓語音大聲說:“對不起,我說我是個怪胎。”

    在決定是逃離房間、找醫生還是嘗試保持冷靜時,赫克穆意識到——她仍然是一個正在掙扎的人,值得一個機會,這…到底怎麼可能?

    赫克穆一邊大聲說話、一邊盡量保持冷靜,並確保自己沒有出現幻覺:“到底怎麼回事?妳怎麼還沒死?”

    很明顯她聽到了他的聲音,因為她的肢體語言放鬆了一點,她的電話對赫克穆說:“我告訴過你我與眾不同。有一種病正在摧毀我的大腦,他們給我的藥物讓我的腦細胞再生,只是不在我的頭中。”她伸出她的假頭說:“檢查一下”

    赫克穆站起身來,試探性地靠近她幾步,現在稍微放鬆了一點,仔細看看她的假肢。它非常有說服力,但近距離觀察它顯然是由矽膠和塑料製成的。

    她的手機放出語音:“它很重,所以我討厭戴它,而且我不能帶著它跑步,所以我必須在有氧運動日取下它。”

    赫克穆發了通簡訊:“哇,我很抱歉——這一定很艱難。”

    “可能是這樣,我當然有我的好日子和壞日子,但我們都必須打自己的仗,你知道嗎?”她打開她的包,把頭藏在裡面,拉上拉鍊。

    做完這一切之後,訓練員打開了訓練區的大門,儘管赫克穆仍然處於震驚和難以置信的狀態,但他仍試圖表現得冷靜。

    愛麗絲問:“所以你知道莉雅嗎?你一直都知道嗎?”她顯然參與其中,而赫克穆撒謊說他已經知道了,用他能擠出的最不驚慌的聲音。

    莉雅導航到設置跑步機的角落,放下她的健身包。她做了幾個快速的伸展運動,然後脫下她的連帽衫。當赫克穆在訓練室的另一邊為他的鍛煉做準備時,他終於看到她沒有假肢和衣服,同時被吸引、印象深刻和不安。雖說是絕美絕倫,但動作似乎有些不自然,而腦袋的缺失,也是他需要一段時間才能消化的東西。她跳上跑步機,慢慢開始,隨著她習慣了節奏,調整了方向並加快了速度。

    赫克穆完成了他的鍛煉動作,並增加了幾次重複和幾個練習,整個時間都被莉雅 高度分心,並試圖讓他看起來不像。當莉雅前往瑜伽區並通過一系列伸展動作時,保持專注變得更加困難-她非常靈活,而且沒有頭部使她的動作看起來既陌生又非常有趣。赫克穆發現自己越來越不害怕,越來越好奇,隨著訓練結束,他走向候診室把門打開,讓其他人通過。莉雅的教練留下來清理健身房並關閉。

    “謝謝愛麗絲,鍛煉很棒。不過妳說的酸痛是對的——我昨天摔得很慘。赫克穆說著,莉雅選了一個座位,打開了她的健身包。

    “你看起來很快就會恢復,以良好的健康水平受傷肯定會有所幫助。”愛麗絲一邊說,一邊打開她的健身包,取回她的假肢。她將人工頭抬到合適的位置,然後將其推到她的頸帽上,試探性地前後晃動一下,看看它是否被夾住了。在這個過程中她的頭髮稍微翻轉了一下,然後她重新整理了它的方式。

    赫克穆也準備離開,然後說:“嘿,莉雅,今天鍛煉不錯 - 週五見!如果您想稍後聊天,請給我發簡訊”

    莉雅向他豎起大拇指,並向他簽了名。然後她抓住了自己,只是向他揮手致意。

    赫克穆回到他的車裡,仍然有點困惑和茫然,但現在他可能會認識一個真正獨一無二的人,儘管可能會有很多挑戰,但他很想看看這會走向何方。

    Ch2


    赫克穆回到他的公寓,一個小但功能齊全的地方,離診所不遠。他小心地倒在沙發上查看手機。沒有緊急情況或工作故障單,但有來自莉雅的新簡訊。

    “嘿,我很高興你今天沒有跳出窗外。我已經習慣了與我互動的人的糟糕第一反應,因此不必解釋所有內容並嘗試先做一些準備工作,這令人耳目一新。無論如何,它永遠不會奏效,人們會做他們該做的事。”

    “我得承認一開始我有嚇到,接待員試圖警告我,但她說太快了我沒聽懂。我更困惑的是,妳這樣是怎麼活著——我以為妳是某種機器人或什麼,哈哈。”

    莉雅回答:“哈!如果我是個機器人,我就不需要鍛煉了——至少我認為機器人就是這樣工作的……我去學校是為了編程而不是機器人技術”

    “如果你不想談論它,我不想問太多令人不舒服的問題,但我有很多這樣的問題。”

    莉雅回覆:“讓我們從頭開始——不是雙關語……我在大三的時候被診斷出聽力下降,所以我不得不學習一些手語。畢業後我試圖找份工作,但那時我的視力也開始衰退、記住事情也變得越來越難,我開始失去協調性。我的一位朋友發現了這個地方和藥物試驗。我認為在損壞變得太嚴重之前已經沒有多少時間了,所以註冊了。一旦我被錄取,他們就進行了大量的掃描、智商測試、面試和作品,由於身體已經很糟糕,所以做了一些調整。

    在接下來的幾個月裡,我接受了大量的藥物注射,每次他們都說我的記憶力和協調性越來越好,但我的感官並沒有真正改善。在所有瘋狂之前的最後一輪大測試之後,他們發現我的頭部和面部開始失去知覺。我很可能很快就無法在沒有幫助的情況下進食。我認為他們變得非常沮喪,所以他們給我安排了 MRI、CT、PET、EMG、MEG,基本上是他們可以找到空閒時間進行的所有昂貴測試,試圖弄清楚到底發生了什麼。

    在報告出爐後,他們差點瘋掉。我的大腦基本上沒有了,根本沒有在活動。我處於未知領域——根據他們所有的學識表示,我已經腦死了,我怎麼還在四處走動(有點,我的平衡很糟糕)並通過了他們的所有測試?顯然,由於沒有大腦,頭部對血流的需求也低了很多,所以他們擔心在這個過程中,隨著動脈開始收縮,其他任何事情都會破裂。

    一旦他們發現了這一點,並停止恐慌後,他們以相同的結果重新運行測試。其中一位醫生想再次進行 PET 掃描,但對我的整個身體進行掃描,雖然我有點受夠了受到輻射,但我還是同意了。

    他們發現了他們正在尋找的大腦活動,只是已經散佈到任何地方——我的整個身體都有均勻的神經元塗抹,我的脊髓基本上變成了一條的大腦。他們沒有看到我脖子上方發生任何事情,所以這解釋了我的臉變得麻木-面部神經基本上與其餘部分一起消失了。

    這就是我還在這裡的部分原因——他們付給我一大筆錢讓我成為一隻白老鼠,我也可能能夠幫助他們最終用這些數據挽救生命。”

    赫克穆回答:“所以在那之後一定發生了其他事情,介意我問一下嗎?”

    幾分鐘後,莉雅回了一條簡訊:“抱歉,我最近沒有去想它-很重的東西。隨著疾病蔓延,我開始全職住院,我的朋友們幾乎不再來訪——我想他們被我的外表嚇壞了。顯然,我看起來像一具行屍走肉,這使我成為了一件非常令人信服的萬聖節服裝(我扮成殭屍護士,哈哈)。

    到那個時候,我覺得我的頭不再是我的一部分了。它基本上沒有功能;我仍然可以使用我的下巴和舌頭,這樣我就可以養活自己了,但萬聖節過後,我開始感覺很糟糕,以為自己得了流感或重感冒。

    當他們檢查我時,他們發現我頭殼裡的某個地方有一個非常嚴重的感染,缺乏感覺、血液流動不良和我試圖逞強,導致它傳播得非常遠。他們不得不打開我的頭四處探查以試圖清除感染,但他們發現它進展得非常快。我眼睛都噴了,頭殼基本上到處都是感染並試圖向下蔓延。他們很快就想出了一個非常激進的計劃,讓我有機會活下來。他們移除了我的頭骨和 C3 椎骨上方的幾乎所有東西,移動了一堆東西,盡可能地重整我的脖子。

    我醒來時矮了 7 英寸(這很糟糕,因為我已經很矮了),輕了 10 磅,並且從我的腋窩開始包紮起來。他們給我注射了另一劑他們的咒藥,希望能抵消他們在手術過程中造成的任何傷害。副作用是我的觸覺變得更加強烈。我無頭的在病床上醒來,感覺就像被狂喜製成的公車撞了一樣,這真令人迷惑。”

    “另一方面,你不會相信絲綢床單現在感覺有多好-我強烈推薦”

    赫克穆發簡訊:“哇,這對一個人來說真是太糟糕了。我會記住床單的事情,哈哈……所以妳怎麼能聽到我說的話並閱讀這些信息?”

    “在我完全失去知覺之前,我破解了我戴在手腕上的智能手錶,並編寫了一個程序,該程序將嘗試進行語音識別並在我的手機上接收我的文本,然後將其轉換為我能感覺到的振動。這基本上是個摩斯代碼。如果不行,我也可以做手語或手指拼寫,如果我們有機會出去玩,我可以教你。我會教你一些手語髒話,它們非常有趣。”

    “所以妳住在醫院?這對其他患者有什麼影響?”赫克穆感到不安,站起來在他的公寓周圍踱步,拿起一些東西,準備好他的東西以備工作。

    他的手機響了。“我有個房間,大多數員工都被鎖在外面。只要我與研究人員預約,我基本上就可以在那裡做我想做的任何事情。當我不做功課時,我會在房間裡做一些瑜伽,有時還會給我幾個朋友發簡訊。我真的很晚才出去,偶爾在醫院的場地上閒逛。不過我真的走不遠,如果我迷路了,我就得打電話求助了。

    “哦,妳在上學嗎?這真的很酷 - 你在學習什麼?我正在做一些認證——我在數據中心工作,架著服務器,拉電纜的速度很快。而且我真的不能用斷腿來做,所以我一直在學習很多。”

    莉雅回答說:“雖然我的工作比大多數人慢很多,但我有很多時間來做我的生物醫學工程領域碩士論文,我正在考慮出售我一直在研究的輔助技術。”

    “很好,等妳做大了,我會嘗試進入 IPO……”

    莉雅發簡訊:“不,我可能會做一個 SPAC,所以我不必老實說我有多破產,哈哈。”

    赫克穆這次收到一條帶有附件的文本:“這是我的設置-我認為相機指向正確的方向,但這可能很不穩定。”所附照片顯示了最初作為標準病房的情況,經過大規模升級-移除了大部分醫療設備,增加了一張額外的沙發,一張為一台漂亮的電腦安裝的桌子,許多毛絨動物堆積了其中一個沙發。

    “這很酷,我也挖了毛絨玩具堆。”

    “我一直從好心人那裡得到那些,有時當一大堆他們出現在病房時,我也會騙一些。當你心情不好的時候,把它們壓扁很有趣。”

    在照片的一角,赫克穆注意到了邊桌,她的假頭就坐在上面,有人希望看到一盞燈。“那他們是怎麼想出假頭的?那看起來像是一個相當高科技的複製品。”

    “假肢匠人真的很好,並且擁有各種很酷的技術。他們3D打印了支撐結構,在其周圍澆注了一些矽膠,並將其塗裝的很逼真。醫生付錢給他們,並告訴他們這是為他們中的一個人正在建造的鬼屋準備的。鎖在裡面的帽子內置了一些磁鐵,我可以通過這個帽子上的孔通過鼻子和嘴巴呼吸。我還有其他帽子,用於淋浴之類的東西,底部邊緣有通風孔,這樣我就不會淹死。我正在考慮一個游泳用的,但我還沒有開始設計”

    “哦,所以帽子是穿脫型的?說得通。”當赫克穆讀到最後一條消息時,莉雅開始了影音通話。她坐在電腦前,開著鏡頭,一邊揮手一邊在聊天中打字:“你能看到我嗎?

    赫克穆透過鏡頭看到莉雅穿著素色T恤坐在他對面。她那件運動文胸肯定承受了很大的擠壓力,顯然她的胸部很有天賦。這並沒有完全分散他對更明顯特徵的注意力,她的頸帽就在前面和中間。她的脖子看起來特別長。赫克穆輸入“是的,我能看到妳——妳看起來很棒。”

    莉雅打字:“我敢打賭你一定很好奇我在下面的樣子”她指著帽子。“我認為當醫生讓我重新組合時,他們可能玩得太開心了——不過這是個好設計…”

    她微微傾身,抓住帽子把它舉起來讓開,赫克穆很快就明白她在說什麼。她的脖子頂部看起來很像另一個比較開的陰戶,她的氣管在褶皺下方靠前處開孔。在它後面,赫克穆看到一個粉紅色的腫塊,從某個地方滑出並向上向外擴展。

    “天哪,他們留住了妳的舌頭”,當她像觸手一樣將它從喉嚨裡滑出時,他打字道。

    “是的,他們把它移到我的脊椎上,看看我是否還能用它——我把它貼在我的喉嚨裡,以防止它擋住氣管,也防止喉嚨變乾。它有夠長,”

    她打字,因為它的全長映入眼簾,完全蓋住了她的脖子縫,稍微懸在後面,如果它沒有在長度的一半處分成兩半,它就會蓋住前面的洞。

    “我讓他們把它分開,所以我可以用它來抓東西——這樣我仍然可以吃一些食物。我覺得當我吃優格或冰淇淋的時候真的很煩醫生,所以我只要我能笑就去做”

    “我想親眼看看,”赫克穆打字。

    “我也能把冰棒搞得一團糟,暗示提示……”

    莉雅開始用一隻手打字,並在另一隻手移到她的脖子上時傾身,舔她的手指,用她的舌頭將它們纏繞在一起,然後用拇指捏住她的舌頭。“我被困在這裡這麼久了,沒有約會也沒有行動,我的朋友把我和一個認為我仍然很性感的帥哥勾搭上了?如果你今晚過來,我親自帶你去看。

    我在東翼一樓 1180 房間。按門旁邊的呼叫按鈕。”

    “我20點到。”赫克穆掛斷電話。

    Ch3


    赫克穆衝過他的公寓,腦子裡想著即將發生的事情。他揮了揮手,抓住了他認為必要的任何東西。他大聲對自己說:“明天的工作服,也許吧——我會把它放在車裡以防萬一。”

    他把旅行用的浴室用品包在一堆衣服裡,抓起他的工作證,把它全部扔進一個健身包,然後走向他的車。當他走出公寓時,他注意到即使只鍛煉了幾次,他的腿就開始放鬆了,儘管它仍然很虛弱。

    開車過去充滿了興奮和期待,既想像著可能會發生的事情,又不想完全搞砸一切。他在腦子裡打了個電話,確保自己沒有讀得太深——儘管他認為她看起來很直接。

    他進入停車場,停車並決定將大部分包留在乘客座位上,從浴室包中抓起幾個避孕套,以防萬一將它們塞進褲子口袋。

    康復診所現在已經完全黑了,連清潔工都離開了。他試了試前門,門被鎖得嚴嚴實實。不過,他注意到門框角落裡有一盞小紅燈,將門禁卡放在讀卡器上。

    赫克穆小聲對自己說:“我猜值得一試……”電子鎖的嗶嗶聲讓他進入了空蕩蕩的大樓。他走進大廳幾步,看了一眼地圖,找到了東翼,朝那邊走去。

    赫克穆在走廊裡無聲的漫步,他想知道是否有任何安全系統需要擔心或警衛試圖向他解釋,但他毫無問題地到達了正確的位置。

    房間有一個標有“電器櫃”的標誌,一側有一個工業門鈴按鈕。他按下按鈕,等待回應,期待、緊張和興奮更加高漲。

    門打開,他看到莉雅,沒有戴假肢或帽子,穿著和之前一樣的 T 恤和一條睡衣短褲。她的外表甚至更引人注目——由於身高下降,她幾乎與他的胸口同高,儘管脖子殘肢還沒揭開,但她的舌頭卻被隱藏了起來。他可以看到她脖子周圍有一些輕微的疤痕,在那醫生們盡可能地將所有東西重新組合在一起——看起來他們做得很好。

    她走過去抓住他的手,他迅速將兩個拐杖移到另一隻手上,這樣她就可以把他帶進房間。她默默地拉著他,小心翼翼地把他帶到房間中央。他在照片和影片中看到的這個空間並沒有任何驚喜,唯一的額外項目是一個非常好的無障礙淋浴間和浴室。

    莉雅把赫克穆翻過來,輕輕地把他移到她和床之間的站立位置。她擁抱他,深呼吸並用腳趾站起來。她的舌頭溜出來,碰到了他脖子一側的一個點,她最接近的一個吻。

    她後退半步,將手放在他的胸口,擺出一個更有統治力的姿勢,推著他的胸口,迫使他向後倒在床上。

    兩件事大致同時發生:

    赫克穆意識到他的腿幾乎沒有足夠的力量、柔韌性或抗衝擊性來應對摔倒在床上。

    當他跌倒時,他一隻手握著的拐杖被夾在腋窩中,重力、慣性和槓桿作用的組合接管了他。

    倒下時,赫克穆有足夠的時間說“Woooaaah”,因為其中一個拐杖的尖端鉤在 莉雅的腿上,目前處於一個涼爽但不是特別穩定的姿勢並將她的腳抬離地面。

    赫克穆重重地撞在床上,腿上的疼痛幾乎傳遍了全身,讓他大叫:“哦,該死!”當莉雅開始旋轉時,動量和她的平衡使她翻倒。她側身向後翻身,滾進床邊附近的瑜伽區。

    她首先降落在瑜伽球和一堆隨機彈力帶和泡沫塊之間的捲起的柔軟墊子上。

    赫克穆雖然被腿上的劇痛分散了注意力,但還是有足夠的力氣從床上的位置抬起頭,看看莉雅是否還好。雖然她看起來沒有受傷,但他問:“妳還好嗎?”

    她將拇指放在空中,然後指著他並做出 OK 符號。赫克穆說:“是的,我很好。不過那可能有點太咄咄逼人了”他自言自語地笑了笑,然後又低下了頭。

    她在口袋裡找到手機,從瑜伽墊上探出身子,上面寫著“我想我可能撞到了頭……等等,沒關係。”

    赫克穆看向邊桌,“實際上,我想我可能撞到了你的頭。我在桌子上再也看不到它了……”

    她撲倒在墊子上,似乎在笑……

    片刻之後,一旦他們從系統中擺脫了這個可怕的笑話,赫克穆從地板上拿起拐杖,靠在床頭櫃旁的牆上。莉雅走過去摸索著自己的假頭,很快就找到了它,把它放回床頭櫃上,一邊整理假髮,撣去灰塵。

    莉雅在赫克穆旁邊的床上坐下,用她的手機打字:“對不起,我想我可能有點過於雄心勃勃了。不過看起來會很酷……”

    赫克穆說:“考慮到所有因素,這非常酷——妳成功地向後單腿翻騰,並且在這個過程中沒有受傷。” 當赫克穆說話時,他注意到莉雅的智能手錶開始運轉,將他的講話轉換為振動並將對話轉錄到她的手機上。

    她感覺到這些話時微微停頓了一下,然後輸入:“我將不得不教你一些觸覺標誌,它比這個電話快一點。我們是這樣的書呆子,即使我們坐在彼此旁邊,也會互相發簡訊;)“

    “為什麼不現在開始?”赫克穆問。

    莉雅鍵入:“最簡單的方法是描摹,您只需在對方的手掌上畫出字母即可。我會給你看。”

    莉雅微微側過身去,伸手去拿住赫克穆的手。他將手掌放在她的手掌上,用食指開始描繪字母。當她從字母表的前幾個字母開始時,赫克穆還很容易懂。

    在赫克穆看到字母 I 後,莉雅停下來拿起她的手機。她輸入:“現在進入高級模式”。

    她再次握住他的手,在赫克穆試圖拼湊單詞時追蹤。

    “赫克穆,對吧?”莉雅點點頭。

    “莉雅。”又是一個正確答案。

    “燈,當然。”莉雅向他豎起大拇指。

    莉雅猶豫了片刻,然後又開始了。

    “吻?”赫克穆猜測著,莉雅側身向赫克穆靠過去,靠近赫克穆。

    他走進來,臉靠近她脖子的末端。他試探性地吻了吻她的脖頸,不確定這是不是她的意圖。她把手放在他的腦後,把他拉得越來越近,越來越低。她的舌頭從它藏身的地方輕輕伸出,用它的叉狀尖端抓住了他的嘴唇。

    吻迅速變成介於深吻和舔陰之間的東西,她的舌頭進入他的嘴裡,挑逗著他的舌頭,用分裂的尖端抓住它。赫克穆用舌頭和嘴唇小心地探查著她的脖子。

    莉雅向後退了一點,抓住了他的手。她連忙在他掌心拼出:

    “拿”“離開”“您的”“褲子”

    赫克穆很快就服從了,盡可能快地脫掉褲子和鞋子。莉雅從床上滑下來,跪在他的腿前。她抓起他的平角短褲將它們滑下來,赫克穆將它們從腳底彈開。

    莉雅摸索著他的腿,直到找到他的勃起,用手感受它的大小。她的手輕輕地上下滑動,慢慢加快了步伐。她把自己的身體靠得更近一些,將一隻手移開,不再照顧赫克穆並抓住他的大腿。她拉近了與赫克穆直立肢體的距離,她的舌頭開始沿著它的長度舔舐。裂開的舌尖輕彈,逗弄著赫克穆的陰莖,他的陰莖不時地繞著一圈,他說:“天哪,這太不可思議了。”

    莉雅一邊想著“你還什麼都沒看到”,一邊抓住赫克穆的軸狀物,將尖端引導到她的脖子上。尖端消失在她的喉嚨裡,因為她的舌頭環繞並在軸周圍形成一個環。她向前傾身,穩步地將他的那根推入喉嚨深處,並用舌頭輕輕地敲擊著它。她觸底反彈,迅速深入了解整件事。

    “天哪,”赫克穆說,莉雅的舌頭繞在他的軸的側面,繞到他的球袋頂部的一半,輕輕擠壓,讓他發出一聲呻吟。當他開始隨著她的動作輕輕地插入時,她用她的上半身和脖子鍛煉他的長度。莉雅似乎也很享受,呼吸越來越急促。

    他堅持不了多久,她的技術完全超越了他所經歷過的任何事情(或其他任何人,就此而言)。“莉雅,我很快就要(违规用词,请立即整改,禁止带有成人内容)了。”他說,因為莉雅給了他 OK 符號,並加快了她的步伐。

    當她用胳膊摟住他的腰,把他一直拉到基地時,他鬆開了她的喉嚨。當他把她的喉嚨抽到她的喉嚨時,她被刺穿在他的軸上,莉雅有節奏地吞嚥。她向後移動,將他的陰莖從深處滑出。她向後傾斜成直立的跪姿,她的舌頭在脖子上快速掃過,以捕捉任何亂七八糟的東西。她的舌頭滑回它的藏身之處,她坐回床上,打開邊桌,遞給赫克穆一張紙巾,讓他擦乾淨。

    “莉雅,你真是個性方面的超級英雄。”赫克穆說,他屏住呼吸,從她手中接過紙巾。

    赫克穆打掃時,莉雅在手機上打字。“我不確定我能不能做到——不過很瘋狂,對吧?”

    “他媽的太棒了——妳會讓其他女孩嫉妒”赫克穆說。

    “他們應該是,我他媽的很棒。也很謙虛。”莉雅一邊打字,一邊用腳在地板上滑動,找到了赫克穆丟棄的短褲。找到後,她用腳趾抓住並抬起它遞給赫克穆。

    “嘿,我知道上屋頂的方法。我以前在那裡看星星,想呼吸新鮮空氣嗎?” 莉雅打字,赫克穆重新穿上他的內褲,小心地站起來。

    “當然,我很樂意。”赫克穆說,莉雅在邊桌上撈著頸帽和假頭。

    “妳應該把那些東西留在這裡,我想看看真正的妳。再說了,這裡沒人,何樂而不為呢?” 赫克穆說,莉雅猶豫著,她的手懸在帽子附近。

    莉雅將手指放在原本應該放在下巴的位置上,做出沉思的手勢,然後站起身來摟住赫克穆。當他發出像一隻驚訝的牛蛙一樣的聲音時,她把他從他的身體裡擠出來。

    當莉雅抓起她的手杖時,赫克穆穿上褲子,他們兩人走出門,莉雅領頭,幾乎不使用她的手杖在一條人跡罕至的小路上導航。她打開一扇標有“請勿進入”的門,然後帶赫克穆走上一段樓梯到一扇門。

    屋頂巨大、平坦、開放,可以欣賞到城鎮的美景和天空的美景。靠近屋頂的盡頭是一條長凳——顯然該區域並非完全未使用。莉雅和赫克穆坐在天空下,呼吸初夏的空氣。一開始他們沉默地坐著,彼此依偎在一起,享受著陪伴。

    莉雅在她的手機裡打字:“我很高興那個瘋狂的女士把我們聯繫起來——我從沒想過我會在這一切之後回到遊戲中。”

    “我很高興認識妳—妳很棒。嘿,如果妳不忙,這個星期六要好好約會嗎?”

    “我不確定這會如何運作……我真的不再出去了。”莉雅懶散地打字,肩膀微微下垂。

    “我有個計劃……不過不必現在就決定,我會等,如果妳願意,可以給我發簡訊。如果沒有,我周五還是會在健身房見妳,”赫克穆說,莉雅拉著他的手。

    當她靠在他的肩膀上時,她對著赫克穆的手拼出“謝謝”。

    Ch4


    被夏天的空氣溫暖了,赫克穆和莉雅在屋頂上享受彼此的陪伴。當赫克穆坐在那條無情的長凳上開始感到背部疼痛時,他會查看手機查看時間。意識到已經很晚了,他說:“嘿 莉雅,已經很晚了——我得在上班前睡一覺。”

    “莉雅,目前坐在赫克穆旁邊,靠在他的肩膀上,雙臂摟著他的腹部,擠壓著他。她摸到他的手,“是的

    赫克穆和莉雅回到樓下。莉雅打開她的門,在門口轉身。在他們返回的路上,她一定是按下了發送她準備好的簡訊,因為就在她轉身之前,赫克穆的手機亮了。它說:

    “赫克穆,今晚真的很棒。我很期待我們的約會,但我也有點害怕……我期待著周五在健身房見到你。<3”

    莉雅給了赫克穆幾秒鐘的時間來閱讀信息,然後將她的手臂彎曲到他的下方並給了他一個擁抱。赫克穆在莉雅的脖子上吻了一下,說:“謝謝今晚,我會想念你的。”

    那天下午晚些時候,赫克穆上班時已經筋疲力盡了。深夜已經付出了代價,他的睡眠並不是特別好。他安頓下來,開始專注於他的工作日;快速掃描未解決的問題,檢查他的請求和票證,登錄各種管理系統。

    他的手機響了,他從口袋裡掏出——這是莉雅的新簡訊。他解鎖並看了看。

    “所以我在考慮我們週六的約會,我真的很擔心……我需要知道你在計劃什麼,然後才能決定我是否可以做到。我不想在公共場合被抓到——如果我在整件事結束之前把它變成新聞,我會遇到很大的麻煩。

    赫克穆回答說:“這很公平,我希望妳能夠玩得開心,而不是擔心,所以我會破壞驚喜。我想我找到了一個應該很有趣和壓力小的地方。

    我在私人水療租賃場所的最後一次會議中為我們預訂了晚上。他們有熱水浴缸、桑拿、按摩椅、冷泡池和冰沙機。

    最好的部分是這一切都是我們的,三個小時沒有中斷。我們應該可以毫無問題地辦理登機手續,這一切都是通過我的手機完成的。想法?”

    “有趣…我想我在船上!我會記得帶上我的泳衣。雖然傳統桑拿是裸體的;)”

    赫克穆現在完全被腦海中的圖像分散了注意力,試圖完成一些工作。大約 30 分鐘後,他的手機再次響起——這次是在信息中附上了一張照片。

    “嘿,我的鍛煉結束了,我想在你被困在工作中時我應該再折磨你一點。我有沒有提到我很靈活?” 照片是莉雅在她房間的瑜伽區中間,中間姿勢。她躺在胸前,雙腿向後彎曲,膝蓋彎曲,腳後跟鉤在肩膀上。伸出一隻手臂,拿著她的手機。另一隻手和手指正在戲弄自己的脖子殘肢,將一側舌頭輕輕拉向另一側,一根指尖插入她的喉嚨。

    “哇,莉雅,真的好熱。絕對不安全的工作雖然大聲笑。我之前很累,但這確實把我吵醒了。”

    “或者至少喚醒了你的一部分,哈哈。說到這裡,你可能應該警告我你在那裡裝了一些強大的火力——我想你昨晚他媽的差點用那東西刺死我。我將需要訂購一些更大的玩具……無論如何,在我做一些功課的同時考慮一下。回家後給我發簡訊 <3”

    赫克穆開始了一個在線課程,並試圖保持專注,但是,連同其他事情,現在有點困難。

    赫克穆在沒有太多戲劇性的情況下完成了工作日,他在力所能及的地方提供幫助並努力學習一些新技能。他開始考慮他的下一個職業轉變,從一名拉線員和服務器騎師,到更先進、更不體力的工作。

    回到家後,他給莉雅發了一條簡短的簡訊,“嘿,我回家準備晚餐了。我期待著再次見到妳,即使我要付出代價才能被毆打……”

    “雖然你被毆打是有原因的,但你很快就可以放棄那些拐杖了。

    “這是真的哈哈。說到拐杖,我打算明天只用一根。我已經厭倦了永遠無法解放雙手,而且我已經變得更強壯了。”赫克穆在從冰箱裡取出一些剩菜和打開微波爐之間回答。

    “好的!這是一些重大的進步!”莉雅回答。

    “謝謝!妳之前提到過功課,論文怎麼樣了?”

    “我的項目的標題是:通過移動設備語音識別和觸覺編碼促進非語言自適應通信。顯然標題越長論文越好,所以我轉向看台……實際上我將在下週左右對它進行最後的潤色。我希望當研究人員準備好向全世界展示我的論文時,我的論文就準備好了,這樣我就可以在隨後的關注浪潮中乘風破浪。”

    赫克穆回答說:“這真的很酷——妳知道整個揭露是如何運作的嗎?”

    “我最近發現了計劃會是什麼,但接下來的部分可能會變得很奇怪。他們對允許參加會議的人非常嚴格,所以我希望這會有所幫助。聽起來前端需要很多技術性的東西來為觀眾做準備,然後談論我和我的案例,然後我會展示自己並回答問題。我認為即使它爆炸了並且我成為新聞,它可能會減少當我在公共場合時害怕的人數。如果我幸運的話,觀眾中會有一些人想要購買我的作品或讓我參與其他人的研究項目。”

    赫克穆吃完晚飯,然後回答說:“我迫不及待地想在公共場合和妳出去,即使人們有時很痛苦。如果有人很奇怪,我將能夠提供幫助——我會針對愚蠢的問題做出一些尖刻的回答……”

    莉雅發簡訊說:“哈!一旦我把這篇可怕的論文弄掉,我也會想一些。說到這裡,我還是回過頭來吧。我必須提前趕上週六才能有時間出去。明天健身房見。<3。”

    第二天,赫克穆穿過關閉的診所的門回到現在熟悉的物理治療辦公室。接待員在她平常的崗位上,仍然像往常一樣受到過度刺激。

    當她向他打招呼時,她用一種試圖保持安靜但仍然大喊大叫的聲音。“赫克穆,最近怎麼樣?莉雅告訴我你們兩個真的很合拍,週末還有秘密的樂趣!別擔心,我不會問的——你的秘密是安全的。”

    “進展順利!我們將在周六晚上進行半秘密約會,我很高興她能同意。”赫克穆說。

    “太好了,莉雅有段時間沒出門了,還好你過來把她拖出來。”當她開始準備 PT 會議時。她取下假頭並將其藏在包裡,然後脫下她穿的輕薄夾克,露出紫色的運動文胸。她站起來開始做一些初步的伸展運動。

    赫克穆說“我最好進去準備一下”然後轉身走進候診室。

    接待員跳起來說:“我去開門,你也丟了一根拐杖!好的!” 然後跑到候診室的門口拿著它,這樣赫克穆就可以進去,而無需拄著拐杖。

    當赫克穆進來時,他說“嘿,莉雅”,然後她向他揮手致意。她完成她的伸展,並招呼他過來。等他拉近了距離,她伸手抓住了他,又將他拉入了懷抱。他們擁抱了幾秒鐘,她快速地拍了拍他的屁股以示他的厚顏無恥,然後在他們等待培訓師開始訓練時將他帶到她旁邊的椅子上。赫克穆輕輕握住莉雅的手,拼出一句“很高興見到妳,妳看起來很棒。”

    莉雅拼寫:“謝謝!我今天在做舉重,所以少即是多。”

    鍛煉按預期進行。培訓師打開了這個地方,找回了他們的病人。赫克穆經歷了一個現在很熟悉的例行程序:伸展、力量、協調等。莉雅正在抽鐵並且做得很好,除了一些偶爾的平衡問題。

    當赫克穆完成他的鍛煉時,莉雅已經完成了她的工作,正在收拾她的東西,準備回去。就在他完成最後一項活動時,他的手機響起一條簡訊。

    赫克穆完成了他的最後一項任務,拿出手機看了一眼。“餵,有時間出去玩,要不要一起吃個飯?我的食物會送到我的房間,如果你餓了,我可以為你添加一些真正的食物。”

    赫克穆回到莉雅的住處,按了門鈴,她突然打開門。她仍然穿著健身服,在辦公桌前坐下。在她旁邊是一罐神秘的灰白色液體和一個帶有軟管的大塑料注射器。她在床邊放了一個滾動的電視托盤,供赫克穆用作餐桌,上面放著一個塑料外帶容器。

    她的電話響了。“對不起,如果這很奇怪,但對我來說,做一個快速的液體午餐要容易得多。我需要很長時間才能吃普通食物。有時候成為這樣一個怪人真是令人沮喪。”

    赫克穆回答說:“莉雅,我不認為妳很奇怪——妳經歷了很多,並超越了它。妳正在用學校教育扼殺它,可能很快就會達成一些瘋狂的交易,而且真的很漂亮。”

    莉雅在她的電話裡打字,“謝謝,我可能正在為我向世界的重大揭示以及我的論文即將發表而感到興奮。一段時間內這將是非常瘋狂的,但希望人們能很快習慣它。不過能再次在公共場合閒逛會很好。你應該早點吃午飯,我會很快完成的。”

    赫克穆坐下開始吃午飯。“這對醫院的食物來說很不錯,不過需要更多的鹽。”他說兩口之間。

    莉雅取下她的頸帽,將它放在她的辦公桌上,並抓住了大注射器。當她將軟管浸入盛有液體的罐中時,她的舌頭從喉嚨裡的位置伸出。她將大部分吸入注射器,然後用另一隻手抓住管子。把它舉起來,她把管子移到她的脖子殘端的頂部。她裂開的舌頭伸出並抓住管子,幫助將其拉入喉嚨,同時將其部分推入食道。然後她將注射器向下推,逐漸清空內容物。她解開管子,將注射器放回液體中,吸乾剩餘的液體。重新連接管子,她再次清空注射器,然後小心地將管子從喉嚨里拉出來,把零件放回托盤上。

    “看,我說我很快……那裡有我需要的一切,他們會為我計算卡路里,所以我不必這樣做。”莉雅在赫克穆繼續吃飯時打字。

    “是的,這似乎很有效。我敢打賭,妳可能也會在洗髮水上省下一大筆錢。” 莉雅起身時,赫克穆在兩口食物之間說道。

    她走到浴室,在拐角處消失了。赫克穆聽到抽屜被打開和一些拖沓的聲音。幾秒鐘後,莉雅身著蓬鬆的浴袍從拐角處走了出來,還戴著不同的領口。這個是灰色的,底部邊緣有通風槽,頂部是堅固的,略呈圓頂狀。她靠在門口,給赫克穆發了一條簡訊,然後從拐角處返回。

    消息需要幾秒鐘才能到達,大約在赫克穆聽到水打開的同一時間。“說到洗髮水,我會在回去工作之前沖個澡。我很快就完成了整個沒有頭髮的事情,但我讓門敞開著……提示提示”

    赫克穆又咬了一口,放下午餐,起身走過去。莉雅已經在洗澡了,透過磨砂玻璃牆的立方體可以看到她的輪廓,這個立方體目前充滿了蒸汽。他盡可能快地脫光衣服;他雖然恢復的很快,但有些動作還是比較吃力的。

    他推開門走了進去,終於第一次看到了裸體的莉雅。水從她身上傾瀉而下,從她的浴帽上滑落,順著她的身體流下。不受運動文胸的束縛,她的胸部更加令人印象深刻,與她健美的身材形成鮮明對比。她走過去讓赫克穆下水,抓起一個淋浴海綿,往裡面擠了些肥皂。她開始給赫克穆擦肥皂,在他的身體上抽吸,摸索著四處走動。

    她把噓聲遞給赫克穆,轉過身來,指著她的背。赫克穆在莉雅健美的身體周圍用他的方式揉搓起泡沫——從她的頸帽末端下方,沿著她的肩膀和背部,沿著她的臀部和屁股,一直到她的腿。當他往回走的時候,她靠在赫克穆身上,把他的手臂拉到她身體的前面。她從他手裡接過肥皂泡,把它掛在淋浴間的側壁上。她將他的一隻手引導到她的(违规用词,请立即整改,禁止带有成人内容)上,另一隻手向下引導。他的手臂環繞著她,她的頸帽抵在他胸口的頂部,她引導他的手指沿著她的下唇並在她的下唇之間。儘管莉雅保持沉默,但他的身體環繞在她身上,赫克穆感覺到她的呼吸加快了,隨著他用手指撫摸她,她身體的緊張感增加了。莉雅迅速有力地撲進他的懷裡,她的腿一時失控,靠著他扶著她。她輕拍他的手臂,示意他放手。她讓自己冷靜了一會兒,轉身擁抱赫克穆,抓住他現在猛烈的勃起。她把手伸向牆上的一個瓶子,將一些乳液泵入她的手中,然後開始在他的陰莖上上下移動。他沒有在莉雅的注意下持續很長時間,並告訴她他就在附近,儘管她的手機放在櫃檯上,她不太可能聽到。她感覺到他的陰莖繃緊並開始射擊,流動的水很快就會清理乾淨。

    他們一起洗完澡,擦乾身體。一旦她足夠乾,不用冒損壞手機的風險,莉雅就會抓起它並打字。“那很棒;我需要一些壓力緩解,這確實成功了。”

    “同意。這裡的水壓也很好……”當莉雅穿上浴袍並取下浴帽時,赫克穆說道。當赫克穆擦乾身體時,她抓起一塊毛巾,將其弄濕並擰乾,然後輕輕地清潔她脖子上的殘肢;唯一沒有淋浴的地方。

    莉雅打字:“想在床上躺一會兒嗎?我知道你最終必須回家,但我們可以在這裡放鬆一下。在小勺子上點點滴滴。”

    他們走到床邊,莉雅脫下浴袍,疊好放在邊桌上。她拉開被子,側身躺下。赫克穆在她身邊躺下,在她拉過毯子蓋住他們兩人時滑到她身後。

    當莉雅開始和赫克穆一起用勺子喝水時,他確保莉雅的脖子上的殘肢沒有被毯子蓋住,而且她很舒服。莉雅伸手去拿浴袍,掏出手機輸入一條信息,然後拿起手機讓赫克穆閱讀。

    “赫克穆,我知道最近事情有點奇怪,但這週很棒。以前的我可能會認為這樣的生活既不可能又非常可怕,但你幫助我意識到我有很多期待。”

    赫克穆回答說:“莉雅,我很幸運能找到像妳這樣的人。我等不及我們能完成這一切,我們可以像正常夫妻一樣生活。媽的,我很期待能秀給妳看,你絕對是獨一無二的,真的很漂亮。赫克穆給了她一秒鐘來處理他的聲音,然後低下頭親吻她的脖子。她深吸了口氣,嘆了口氣,再靠在他身上一點。

    Ch5


    莉雅 打開她的壁櫥,在裡面的某個地方尋找一個長期被忽視的真空袋。她向後挖去,摸到起皺的塑料,然後把它放到床上。她打開封條,袋子慢慢變成一團無形的皺巴巴的衣服,自從她開始住院以來幾乎被遺忘了。她把袋子倒出來,開始摸索,試圖記住裡面有什麼。

    她心想:“該死,我第一次入住時帶了什麼東西?我可能沒想到要帶些好東西以防萬一有人出現……”

    她拿出手機,給她能想到的唯一可以提供幫助的人發簡訊——已經在電話裡的接待員。“嘿,妮可,你今天上班嗎?我在服裝方面遇到了難題,需要一些幫助。”

    她回答說:“我今天不工作,但我可以隨意拜訪!我大概有5分鐘的路程,所以我可以跑到你那裡!我現在就走!”

    大約 3 分半鐘後,有人敲門,莉雅打開門。妮可走進來,瞥了一眼床上那堆衣服。“這是為了約會,對吧?太刺激了!”

    莉雅在手機裡打字,上面寫著“打開這個包之前我更興奮,看來我真的沒有什麼可以挑選的了。”

    妮可開始在一堆東西中挖掘,拿起碎片並回頭看著莉雅。“我覺得我在這裡看到了一些潛力,這個怎麼樣?”她舉起一件皺巴巴的夏裝。“是的,它是黑白花卉印花——它需要快速蒸汽,但我認為它可能會奏效。我認為這可能是這裡唯一的選擇,除非你想要超級休閒——其餘的主要是睡衣褲和T恤。”

    “我認為必須是那個,我會盡快嘗試。” 當莉雅走到妮可身邊時,她的電話響了,Nicole 將裙子遞給她。她走到浴室和拐角處。妮可不斷地翻閱那堆衣服,偷看她的梳妝台,看看有沒有其他想法。

    片刻之後,莉雅穿著裙子從浴室裡蹦了出來。

    “好的!妳看起來很棒!”妮可一邊說,一邊在莉雅原地旋轉。莉雅說:“它還有口袋!是的!”她在“一秒鐘”標誌上舉起一根手指,然後快速輸入另一條信息。

    “我還有一件我在網上訂購的東西,我想讓你做出判斷——很難說它看起來如何,因為很明顯。”她回到浴室,幾分鐘後穿著兩件式泳衣和灰色頸帽重新出現。

    “哇哦,真是太好了!”妮可一邊說一邊靠近了幾步。“不同的帽子是怎麼回事?色彩協調?”

    莉雅說:“這是為了淋浴和待在水邊——底部邊緣有通風口,而不是頂部有一個通風口,以防止任何濺出。”

    “哼,一開始我不知道它會掉下來。我討厭窺探,但我有點好 -我從培訓師那裡聽說了妳的情況,但沒有任何細節。如果那頂帽子可以掉下來,它下面是什麼樣子?” 妮可問。

    莉雅回答說:“當文檔進入並開始剪輯時,他們不得不做一些以前從未做過的瘋狂事情,所以他們即興創作了一些。最終結果有點不適合大眾消費。”她伸手拉下帽子,當莉雅露出她的脖子殘肢時,妮可睜大了眼睛,下巴掉了下來。

    “哇,我沒想到……妳給妳男朋友看了嗎?我打賭他會很高興的!”

    “是的,我想這種瘋狂的情況有一些好處——不死也很好……”

    那天晚上,莉雅收到了赫克穆的簡訊;“我要出家門,大約20分鐘後到。我會在妳的房間停下來,送妳出去上車。”

    “聽起來不錯,謝謝!”

    赫克穆走到莉雅的房間,按響了門鈴,這是一連串的練習。莉雅打開門,讓他進來。

    “哇,妳看起來很棒!”赫克穆說,對著裝的變化感到驚訝。

    莉雅說:“我在登記入住時打包的東西中發現了這個。第一次真正約會時,肯定比睡衣或運動褲好。”

    “當然,它看起來真的很好。準備好出門了嗎?我把車停在外面。”

    “酷,一秒。”莉雅走到床頭櫃前,將手機放在口袋裡,抓起她的假頭。把它掛在她的頸帽上,她把它牢牢地調整到位,然後從床上抓起她的錢包。她拿出手機,輸入“我看起來怎麼樣?”

    “妳看起來很棒——順便說一下,我對假肢很好奇——它是根據妳原本的樣子嗎?”

    “有點?他們說他們使用了我原始頭部的尺寸,但面部是我和他們從另一項研究中藉來的一些女性隨機掃描的混合體。它看起來和我以前的樣子很接近,但已經足夠讓以前認識我的人無法立即認出我。有助於讓我的整個情況保密。 我想買幾個不同的,但這個並不便宜。”

    “無論如何,讓我們振作起來——醫生們不知道這件事,但要見死不救。只要我們早上回來參加我的約會就很酷。”她從靠牆的地方抓起手杖,朝赫克穆走了一步。

    赫克穆拉著她的手,帶她到停車場。場地幾乎是空的,黑暗而安靜,赫克穆小心翼翼地帶領著莉雅——試圖避開任何障礙物或粗糙的地方。夏天的空氣平靜而溫暖,因為他們短途旅行到汽車上。

    他說:“我們到了,等一下。”當他打開她的車門並引導她進入乘客座位時,確保在他關門時她遠離車門。他轉過頭坐在駕駛座上。當他們駛出停車場時,莉雅的肢體語言似乎表現出緊張,所以赫克穆握住了她的手。她擠壓它,他輕輕地向後擠壓。

    “不會有事的,這個地方在晚上的這個時候基本上已經死了——我有時會預訂一個地方只是為了做桑拿和泡一會兒,我是個常客。工作人員認識我,上夜班的那個人很酷。”赫克穆一邊開車一邊說。

    赫克穆開進了停車場,這是一個位於購物中心的地方,否則就關門了。他是對的,停車場裡只有幾輛車,周圍沒有人。

    “登記入住基本上是自動化的,我會在自助服務亭掃描我的手機,然後我們就可以前往我們的房間了。”赫克穆轉身走到乘客門前,幫助莉雅出去,他們穿過停車場,莉雅抓住赫克穆的手臂尋求指導。

    前面的等候區也空無一人,赫克穆對著鏡頭揮手,知道主人可能在後面結束一天的工作。走廊上有休閒室,還有早上瑜伽課的房間。

    “我會掃描我們,一秒鐘。”赫克穆掏出手機,將屏幕放在自助服務終端掃描儀上。他得到了一個綠燈和房間號,然後他們倆都朝走廊走去。到目前為止,當他們進入水療套房時,他認為很好。

    套房雖然不是很大,但佈置得很好而且很乾淨。赫克穆對莉雅說:“好吧,妳的右邊是按摩台和指壓椅。過去是熱水浴缸和桑拿,雖然很小,但我想我們可以擠進去……左邊是淋浴間、衣鉤和毛巾。我會把妳的包放在更衣區。先去哪裡?”

    “我認為首先是按摩椅——在我們濕透之前;然後是熱水浴缸,桑拿,然後回到浴缸。”莉雅一邊寫著,一邊將包交給赫克穆,然後導航到按摩椅。她扯下她的假頭,帽子也隨之而來。把它遞給赫克穆,他得到了信息,把它放在她的包裡。莉雅在按摩椅上坐下,很快就在扶手上找到了控制面板。

    在啟動它之前,她輸入“當這件事開始時,我將無法用我的手機接聽你的演講並感覺腕帶正在翻譯它,所以如果你想說話,只需抓住我的手並拼寫它。讓我們看看這件事是如何運作的。”她按下按鈕,椅子開始燃燒。赫克穆坐在另一把椅子上,打開了它,驚訝於它即使在調低的情況下也有如此強大的力量。

    “這真的很放鬆”莉雅有點困難地在赫克穆的手上寫道,在第二次嘗試時,她的世界中的一切都在迅速擺動。

    “如果這件事讓我更加劇烈地搖晃,我可能會液化”

    “這是最好的部分!”

    經過大約 15 分鐘的搖晃、加熱、刺激和推動椅子的循環結束,莉雅站起來,雙手交叉並伸展手臂和肩膀。她抓起手機輸入“該死的感覺真好,總有一天我需要給我拿一個。”

    片刻之後,赫克穆的椅子關閉了,他跌跌撞撞地站了起來。“那很放鬆;現在我需要記住我的腿是如何工作的……”

    莉雅的電話響了,“嘿,你能指點我去更衣室嗎?” 赫克穆把她帶到門口,把健身包遞給她。莉雅在門口停了下來,打字:“別偷看,我想讓你有懸念。”

    赫克穆打開桑拿房和熱水浴缸的泡泡控制器,莉雅換下衣服,跳進淋浴間沖洗乾淨。片刻之後,她穿著比基尼,戴著防濺帽,手裡拿著一個防水的小袋子,走出了更衣室。她在原地緩慢旋轉一次以炫耀。赫克穆說:“很好!非常好。” 他走進更衣室,迅速穿上泳褲,在淋浴間沖洗乾淨。

    當他回來時,莉雅正在熱水浴缸裡泡澡。她把手伸進她的泳池包,按下手機上的按鈕,朗讀文本到語音。上面寫著,“我不得不取下手腕上的帶子,這樣熱量就不會損壞它們,所以從現在開始只能觸摸。” 赫克穆走過去時,她把手機放回包裡。他小心翼翼地走進來,既因為太熱,又因為小浴缸裡沒有活動空間。他滑到莉雅身邊,莉雅用胳膊摟住他的後背,靠得更近了。

    她握住他的手,拼出“這很好。如此溫暖。”

    赫克穆回道:“是的,真的很好。我很高興我們能做到這一點。”

    莉雅伸出另一隻手,取下頸帽,將其放入包中。她抬起身子,側身挪動身子,靠在赫克穆的胸前,用她的脖頸蹭了蹭。赫克穆低下頭,看到她脖子末端微微分開的陰唇,她平穩而平靜的呼吸從前面的洞裡逸出;她的舌頭彎下,伸進了稍微靠後的洞裡。他試探性地吻了吻她的脖頸,莉雅作為回應,將她推得更近,拉著赫克穆的手環住她的腰。莉雅再次挪動身子,小心地坐在赫克穆的腿上。赫克穆再次親吻她的脖子,她的回應是將舌頭從食道中的位置滑出。莉雅伸出舌頭,她先是用分叉的尖端抓住了他的舌尖,中吻,將他的舌尖拉進了她的喉嚨,肌肉擠壓,拉得更深。

    坐在赫克穆的腿上,莉雅感覺到他在變硬並開始摩擦他的勃起,她的靈活性使她能夠這樣做,同時向後彎曲得相當厲害,以繼續他們的親吻版本。

    在一次激烈而獨特的化妝會議之後,莉雅抓住赫克穆空閒的手並拼出“帶我去按摩台”,然後從赫克穆身上下來並轉身。赫克穆握著她的手,幫她從浴缸裡出來,然後把她帶到房間的另一邊,邊走邊抓著一條毛巾。他把毛巾扔在桌子上,莉雅脫下泳衣扔到附近。她用雙臂摟住赫克穆,然後拼出“你現在需要操我。”

    赫克穆迅速拼出“避孕套。”,當赫克穆跑到袋子前抓起一個時,莉雅迅速豎起大拇指。

    當莉雅躺回桌子上時,她將雙腿踢出裂縫,然後越過。赫克穆搬進來,把他的勃起放在她的肚子上——當他滾動橡膠時,他的手伸到她緊湊的身體上出奇的高。赫克穆退後,自己排好隊。

    當他分開她的下唇時,莉雅深吸了一口氣,伸出了她的手。赫克穆見狀,把手放在她的手上,她連忙拼出“慢點”。赫克穆一點一點地慢慢向前推進,輕輕地撫摸著莉雅是否有不適的跡象。當他終於完成一個完整的划水動作時,莉雅的腿伸到周圍並環繞在赫克穆身上,她將他拉進去,然後用她的腿讓他出來。

    赫克穆微微前傾,抓住莉雅的腰,利用槓桿將自己拉得更深,每劃一次都用力向前。隨著她的敏感度增強,不久赫克穆就覺得莉雅緊張起來並失去控制,她的腿在顫抖,身體在強烈的高潮中痙攣。他放慢了片刻的速度,讓她有機會渡過難關,然後在她的肚子上摸了摸,“繼續?” 她的脖子前後傾斜。

    他再次開始變得更加咄咄逼人,伸手輕輕揉搓她的陰蒂,同時積極地操她。赫克穆感覺自己越來越近了,與此同時莉雅似乎也達到了她的巔峰,他連忙拼出“很快”。她豎起大拇指,抓住她的一個乳頭擠壓。他們同時來了,當赫克穆的陰莖開始深入她的核心時,莉雅的陰戶被擠壓了下來。莉雅的身體一瘸一拐,她的腿從 赫克穆 身後垂下來,懸在狹窄的桌子邊上。她的舌頭從她那短縮的脖子末端伸出來。赫克穆把手放在莉雅身上,既要檢查她是否還好,又要防止她從按摩台上滾下來。幾秒鐘後莉雅醒來,笨拙地握住了赫克穆的手。她拼寫:“太好了,電話?”

    赫克穆退出,莉雅又緊張又放鬆,突然退出又帶來一陣愉悅。扔掉避孕套後,他把手機和腕帶拿回來遞給莉雅。

    “看來我有點昏倒了……我應該解釋一下吧,哈哈。所以,是的,還記得我的大腦現在有點神經嗎?那裡有很多神經,所以基本上你只是把我的大腦搞砸了一點。我出去多久了?”

    “只有幾秒鐘,妳還在呼吸,所以我想妳會沒事的。” 赫克穆一邊說著,一邊從地板上撿起莉雅的泳衣,放在他們的東西旁邊。

    “絕對,再好不過了——我只需要一秒鐘就可以重新開始思考。當我使用我的玩具時,我有時會變得有點笨,但這是自整個實驗以來我得到的第一個實際行動。關於我們在淋浴間打掃衛生?”

    他們走進浴室,洗了個大體健康的淋浴,輪流噴水,讓自己變得乾淨。他們重新穿上便裝,拿起自己的東西,然後回到車上。赫克穆幫助莉雅回到車內,並啟動了他的汽車。

    “妳玩的高興嗎?” 當他們走出停車場時,赫克穆問道。

    “天啊,好久沒出去玩了,泡個熱水澡,終於上我男朋友了,總之我不能抱怨!” 莉雅說,赫克穆開車時她的電話正在替她說話。

    “男朋友啊?我認為可以肯定地說-我想繼續見到妳,想讓我們成為正式的。希望當妳最終公開時,我能夠將我的狀態設置為‘戀愛中’。”

    “現在'這很複雜'就足夠了,哈哈”莉雅說著戳了戳赫克穆。

    “我想是的……無論如何,我們正在駛入停車場——我會確保海岸乾淨,然後帶你回到你的房間。”赫克穆說著,在大樓附近找了個停車位。他打開房門,說“我馬上回來”,然後跑向大樓。

    他看著窗戶,看看周圍有沒有人。當他走回來時,他給莉雅發簡訊說海岸很乾淨,然後把她從車裡救出來。他們手拉手回到莉雅的房間。

    “莉雅,我很高興你今晚出來 - 我知道這並不多,但把它混合起來很好。當他們接近她的房間時,赫克穆說。

    “太棒了,我認為小心翼翼地回到這個世界是個好主意。此外,你很擅長偷偷地計劃樂趣……”莉雅在開門前寫道。她擁抱了赫克穆,後者輕輕地抬起了她假頭的下巴。她的假頭不費吹灰之力就脫落了,赫克穆走了進來,吻了她道晚安。

    莉雅回過身,後退一步,揮手道別,輕輕關上了門。

    莉雅把她的假頭放在床頭櫃上,然後把她的濕衣服放在浴室裡。她摸了摸床沿,然後跳了進去側身翻過,像海星一樣伸出胳膊和腿……她躺在那裡,思考著她最近的瘋狂生活軌跡和未來的可能性。

    幾分鐘後,她認為是時候查看電子郵件以查看是否添加了任何學校作業或醫療預約,因此她啟動筆記本電腦並登錄。

    回到家後,赫克穆打開行李準備睡覺。當他把濕衣服扔進洗衣機裡時,他的手機震動著莉雅發來的一條簡訊。

    “天哪,赫克穆,研究人員明天早上要舉行大型會議,直到今晚才告訴我。混蛋!”

    Ch6


    在講堂下層的小房間裡,莉雅一邊緊張地來回踱步,一邊試著聽演講。雖然其中一些真的很先進,但大部分談話基本上都是在解釋整個情況是如何失控的。研究人員希望在長期保密之後,他們的職業生涯不會被完全摧毀,從而逃脫。她的部分在最後,她認為他們計劃讓她出現在那裡,希望能從人群中獲得一些同情。

    她坐在小房間的角落裡,拿出她的手機,瀏覽她的文本編輯器,她辯論在她的演講中進行任何最後一分鐘的更改並決定不這樣做 - 當她通過手機慢慢閱讀每個單詞時,可能是時候離開了反正那裡。

    她心想“我真的應該加快這件事的速度。”

    在一個報告廳的巨大混凝土碗中,一位資深研究人員站在講台上,對著麥克風講話,儘管大多數人都在前幾排。

    “……患者對治療的反常反應讓我們停下了腳步,但隨著考試成績的不斷提高,我們對掃描結果的準確性產生了一些懷疑。…測試分數不斷提高,而我們所有的掃描都表明發生的神經活動減少了。我們確定最好的方法是繼續治療並監測任何延遲的變化……”

    赫克穆試圖盡可能多地融入觀眾席,聽眾大多是穿著實驗服和記事本的老人,他第二次聽到這個故事,但填補了空白。大部分內容都超出了他的頭腦,但是基本故事是一樣的-他們想幫助某人,但他們的整個計劃脫軌了。希望他們能夠為觀眾做好足夠的準備,讓她的首次亮相不那麼瘋狂,儘管一旦媒體掌握了它,就難說了。

    研究人員繼續說道,“這是在我們發現我們困惑的根源之前的最終核磁共振成像。”幻燈片變成了一個橫截面,看起來像是對莉雅的頭部掃描。“乍一看很明顯,神經變性的過程有增無減,組織的損失和液體量的增加是壓倒性的——通常情況下,具有這種程度損傷的患者會在呼吸機上,而不是四處走動,通過高水平的書寫和問題解決測試。事實上,她的分數一直在穩步上升……”

    隨著聽眾對講座的深入了解,他們似乎分為擔憂、困惑和懷疑,而他才剛剛開始。

    “在確保掃描結果正確地從機器傳來並且掃描設置正確之後……

    當掃描開始時,清楚知道這些東西的觀眾們靠得更近了,試圖更好地觀察,隨著醫生的繼續,他們似乎真的很震驚。

    “…掃描以驗證代謝活動水平。請下一張幻燈片。”

    “顯然,當我們看到這一點時,我們幾乎無法相信。從表面上看,我們在大廳裡的那個病人已經死了,或者至少是完全腦死亡。我們的一名團隊成員佔領了掃描室,對我們患者的全身進行了掃描,下一張幻燈片證實了他的懷疑。”

    當下一張幻燈片出現時,人群中傳來一陣低語聲,除了大腦之外,其他地方都在活動,並且基本上隨著活動量的增加而超出範圍。

    “看來試驗藥物確實在治療過程中產生了結果,但神經再生不知何故被重定向……

    “……隨著時間的推移,整個患者身體的新生長似乎彌補了功能的逐漸喪失,甚至導致了增加……”

    人群中有人舉手,主辦方連忙說道:“請大家提問到最後,我們將在演講結束後進行後續問答環節。

    “…對患者性格和功能的影響很小可能是由於治療時間長以及正在進行的物理和認知治療。”

    赫克穆試圖融入,他是唯一明顯不屬於此地的人,但他的緊張似乎無法掩飾。希望觀眾足夠分心。

    “顱神經和視神經連接的喪失導致感覺缺陷進展……”

    “……雖然用輔助技術進行了很好的補償,其中一些是患者自己開發的,但退化的後果最終導致了一系列大規模感染的發生。這使我們進入下一階段的治療。直到進展為迅速蔓延的晚期敗血症,患者才報告任何問題……

    人群中的一些成員開始互相竊竊私語,其他人則在瘋狂地寫作。赫克穆認為他看到一個攝像頭從後排的一排彈出了一會兒。

    …開始移除所有受影響的組織並被迫做出決定。請下一張幻燈片。”

    手術照片相當粗糙,觀眾反應在震驚的沉默中。觀眾大多由經驗豐富的專業人士組成,他們在翻閱解構莉雅的照片時保持沉默,從一個漂亮但明顯身體不適的女人到一堆繃帶、管子和機器。該文檔非常詳細地描述了可怕的細節。

    “雖然這似乎是一個完全無法生存的最終結果,但莉雅的生命體徵幾乎在手術後立即恢復到正常範圍。”醫生抓住了自己,意識到他說的是她的名字而不是“病人”,儘管一旦信息離開演講廳的牆壁,這可能無關緊要。

    “兩天之內,患者進展良好,並在一周內恢復了正常生活。幾週後,她完全康復並完成了一個治療課程。”

    下一張幻燈片是現在大大簡化的莉雅在房間周圍採取輔助步驟,在她身後拖著一輛裝滿機器的手推車;然後是治療的一些照片。

    激動的人群的背景噪音隨著他們變得更加不安而增加,其中一名觀眾站起來說:“你希望我們相信你給病人服用了未經測試的藥物,她不知何故腦死亡,然後你砍掉了她的頭,她現在健康嗎?這些奇怪的照片和幾個假掃描不會削減它。這是惡作劇嗎?我正在向董事會報告此事,哪怕只是為了浪費我的時間!”

    人群顯然同意觀眾的看法,他們搖著頭,互相竊竊私語。隨著音量的增加,大多數人開始站起來,有些人開始走出演講廳。

    醫生回答說:“我救了她的命,並找到了一種全新的方法來治療數以千計的疾病!不相信我?自己問問她!莉雅,是時候向這些人展示真相了!”他跺著腳走到側門,把它打開。

    莉雅坐在房間昏暗的角落裡,被砰地關上的門嚇了一跳;醫生強迫自己冷靜下來。“對不起,我想一旦他們問妳幾個問題,他們就會放鬆一點。我會努力控制局面,控制我自己。妳會做得很好,我知道。我們走吧。”

    莉雅站起身來,猶豫地跟著博士走進了講堂的水池。當她走出昏暗的側室時,觀眾們都深吸了一口氣。一個女人走出昏暗的側屋,與其他穿著商務休閒裝的上班族有著天壤之別。為了盡可能清楚地傳達信息,她決定不戴假頭,她的脖子末端是一頂保護帽。醫生帶她走上講台,她將手杖靠在講台沉重的木結構上。

    站在莉雅旁邊,醫生靠向麥克風並清了清嗓子。“我想現在是問答的好時機。這是莉雅,我們的病人。”

    莉雅對著目瞪口呆的人群微微揮手。

    “作為研究生學習的一部分,她一直在努力適應和創造自己的輔助技術,並且在這種情況下一直很好地合作。我相信她準備了一個簡短的演講,然後你可以問自己或她任何問題。莉雅?”

    她拿出手機,摸索著尋找輔助線。她插入手機並點擊播放,她合成的聲音充滿了大廳。

    “大家好,我是莉雅。我提前準備好以節省我們的時間,因為在每個人面前輸入它會花費我太長時間。“

    “在發現自己注定了一個快速衰退和短暫生命的未來之後,我開始在這支隊伍的照顧下開始。醫生認為可能有辦法幫助我,所以我報名了。顯然,一路上事情變得很奇怪,正如你所看到的,但在他們的幫助下,我能夠繼續我的學習,進行一些原創研究,並成為我自己輔助技術的beta測試員。雖然我失去了很多,但我在這個過程中得到了很多,並且正在努力盡可能多地恢復我的生活。

    我希望這裡的每個人都可以忽略這項研究中的任何問題,因為結果幾乎肯定會改變您社區中的很多事情。當然,這需要進一步的研究——如果這項研究發展得更遠並有更好的控制,那麼有很大的可能性。

    我在最後一次手術前開發了一些輔助技術,以彌補失去的聽力,讓我恢復聲音;所以只要你一次說一個,而且不要太快,我很樂意回答你的任何問題。當然,請直接向醫生提出任何醫療問題,因為我絕對沒有資格回答這些問題。

    如果有人願意,我也很樂意在之後進行一對一的交談,尤其是如果您有任何我可以幫助的項目。我也在尋找我的下一個演出,所以如果你們中的任何人需要聘請軟件開發人員,我即將畢業。我敢肯定,這些人會給我一封推薦信——他們似乎認為我很有頭腦……嗯,有點。”

    觀眾中的一些人對這個糟糕的笑話嗤之以鼻,觀眾現在似乎沒有那麼敵意了。

    “謝謝你的時間。”

    觀眾似乎有些猶豫,他們的現實剛剛被稍微打破,並試圖處理莉雅就站在他們面前的事實。聽眾中的一個人舉了手。醫生指著他說“去吧”。

    “嗨,莉雅,對吧?我是一名神經科醫生,到目前為止我已經想到了大約十五個問題,但我現在將其限縮為一個。妳的記憶力怎麼樣?主持人指出您基本上沒有變化,但我不確定在這種情況下這是否真的可能。”

    莉雅想了想,再次拿起手機開始打字。“我知道我在這里和那裡失去了一些過去,但總的來說我能夠保留大部分。我猜我之前做的記憶練習可能有助於將這些記憶移動到現在存儲的任何地方,但在這一點上,這是任何人的猜測。”

    觀眾中的另一個人舉手。“妳認為妳的其他感官彌補了損失嗎?如果是這樣,妳能描述一下妳的經歷嗎?”

    莉雅回答說:“當然,我認為我的觸覺很容易翻倍。一個很好的例子是我的平衡,沒有內耳,我必須感覺到身體上的壓力才能分辨出哪條路向下。這需要一些訓練,但我現在已經很好了。”

    問題持續了一段時間,人群中幾乎每個人都想問些什麼。會議的時間已經不多了,演講者結束了活動,並希望他們不要毀了自己的職業生涯。一群人跟隨莉雅到側廳進行更多的一對一聊天。赫克穆站在遠處觀看。他等到大部分人群散去,許多人在離開之前遞上名片或交換了聯繫方式。

    赫克穆給莉雅發簡訊,“嘿,這真是太棒了,如果我在技術細節上有點不知所措。”

    莉雅回答:“如果我還有一個lol的話。我想我剛剛拿到了大約 30 張名片,所以你需要幫我輸入一些數據。”

    “聽起來不錯,我的還是妳的?”

    莉雅回答說:“現在有點複雜,我有一些壞消息和一些好消息。
    壞消息:隨著項目的結束,我被趕出了診所的房間。
    好消息:我會在幾天內收到整件事的報酬,而且這不是一筆小數目。就像,靠它生活一兩年,然後用錢周遊世界。我當然很跛,所以我會投資大部分,帶你出去吃一頓昂貴的晚餐慶祝,但我也得收拾東西,找個地方住。”

    赫克穆迅速回應,“妳應該留在我的地方。哪怕只是等妳找到別的地方,我也會很高興有妳陪在我身邊。”

    “赫克穆,這太棒了,但我不想妨礙你——你確定?我們只認識了一段時間,這是一個很大的飛躍。”

    赫克穆發簡訊說:“這不是問題,我很樂意。如果它不起作用,我會幫妳找到一個好地方,我們可以稍後再試。我不希望妳在考慮下一步行動時有壓力。”

    莉雅回答說:“非常感謝你,你是最棒的!”

    赫克穆發簡訊:“那麼,當妳結束的時候,想讓我在妳家附近閒逛嗎?”

    莉雅回答說:“當然,那很酷。哦對了,門密碼是4242。”

    赫克穆回到莉雅的房間,他坐在沙發上,懶洋洋地翻著手機。當他正在瀏覽他的新聞提要時,他並沒有真正注意他的手機幾乎掉了下來。會議的照片和社交媒體評論已經在網路上流傳——比如“無頭女孩震驚了醫學研究人員”和“科學走得太遠了嗎?”。

    赫克穆給莉雅發簡訊:“妳不會相信這一點,但妳在會議上的照片已經在網上瘋傳。我認為妳在社交媒體上很流行……”

    莉雅回答說:“該死,我想我最好盡快聘請代理人。我想這會很快發生。我想如果工作不成功,我總是可以成為一個有影響力的人……我最好用一個好的頭像來更新我的個人資料。上身射擊?我不知道。”

    幾分鐘後,莉雅進入房間,將她的包放在地板上。她朝赫克穆的大致方向揮手,赫克穆正迎面而來。他輕輕撫摸她的手,她將他抱在一個大大的擁抱中。他們走向沙發,並排坐在一起。莉雅拿出她的手機,開始興奮地打字,給赫克穆看屏幕。

    “會議結束後,一位女士走過來說,她正在研究腦機接口。她認為和我一起工作會容易得多,完全沒有鑽進別人的腦袋的事情。她認為在我接通電源後,我將能夠連接到手機之類的東西,這真的很有幫助。雖然沒有承諾,但他們可能會幫助我恢復一些感覺。他們還希望我在事情變得太瘋狂之前加入,所以他們希望我盡快進入他們的辦公室。很甜蜜吧?”

    赫克穆說:“這真的很酷,只要他們是合法的,那就是一個很好的機會。他們所說的盡快是什麼意思?

    “如果可能的話,他們希望我明天去檢查,我必須在那裡待四天以進行植入和校準。他們已經從團隊中獲得了大量數據,顯然他們一直在交流信息。”

    莉雅打字,她的肢體語言既緊張又興奮。

    “我敢打賭,在接下來的幾天裡,會有很多人試圖抓住妳。在它變得太瘋狂之前,先低調一段時間並繼續努力可能是有意義的。我會想妳的,但我們可以很容易地保持聯繫。如果一切順利,我們將不得不在事後慶祝。” 赫克穆說。

    “親愛的,我會讓她知道我們在船上。我得收拾行李,但我開始為搬家做準備,我只需要一個手提箱就可以把這個地方清空。要幫忙嗎?”

    莉雅從她的衣櫥裡拿出一對手提箱,他們開始收拾行李。那天深夜,莉雅的公寓被裝進了 2 個手提箱、一個行李袋、一個筆記本電腦包和幾個垃圾袋。

    當赫克穆搬行李時,莉雅的電話響起:“嘿,隔壁壁櫥裡通常有一輛手推車,我們可以把這些東西裝進去。你可能不應該舉得太多,我真的只能用一隻手用我的手杖搬運東西。”

    赫克穆說:“哦,太酷了,我會檢查一下。”

    他帶著一輛巨大的手推車離開並回來,小心地把莉雅的所有東西都裝好。在他們離開之前,赫克穆問:“我們需要退房嗎?還有,妳平時不是要等到關門後才出去嗎?”

    莉雅的電話說:“免,我已經上新聞了,無論如何他們都會在早上回來驅逐我。這就像'你不能解僱我,我退出'。”

    她抓起最後一個要收拾的東西,她的假頭,把它扔到一堆東西的最上面。“希望我不再需要這東西了——我已經躲過了一劫。”

    他們都出去了,當赫克穆把巨大的手推車推到車上時,莉雅抓住了赫克穆的襯衫背面。雖然是周末,但還是有些人在大廳裡閒逛。他們大多是會議的人,但少數不知情的人反應如預期。有些人不相信或認為這是一個惡作劇,最困惑的是,幾乎都震驚了。

    莉雅已經不在乎了,如果他們現在不知道,他們最終會知道的。


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     楼主| 发表于 2022-3-6 11:23:41 | 显示全部楼层

    Project Lia

    本帖最后由 怪顎龍 于 2022-3-6 11:26 编辑

    原文
    By r7j65b

    Ch1

    About three months ago while John was heading to work on his bike, a van decided that stopping for him was optional and launched him into a mailbox. One badly broken femur, a couple hours of surgery and some titanium plates later, he finds himself crutching his way over to the physical therapy department at the local hospital for his first session of medical-grade torture. The eventual goal being walking regularly, and maybe biking again if no other minivans or mailboxes jump out in front of him again.

    Due to the weird hours working evening shifts at a datacenter, the only schedule slot that they could find was one at 10PM, which wasn’t even listed in the system.

    When he pulls up to the outpatient building, it's silent and dark. The gate to the parking lot is down, so he ends up parking farther down the road on the street. The address matches up though and the front door is open, so he figures if he’s in the wrong place a security guard will probably find him pretty quickly and point him in the right direction - a confused guy on crutches holding a folder full of paperwork is pretty unlikely to steal a laptop or something.

    he pulls out the map of the building in the folder of stuff and wanders down some very dark hallways until finding the only office that still has the lights on, and heads toward it. The receptionist desk has a window facing into the hallway, and she perks up as soon as she sees him.

    "Good morning! I mean, Good evening!" The receptionist is startlingly cheery for 10 PM.

    "Hi there, am I in the right place? All the lights are off in the rest of the building, and the parking gate didn't let me in..." John says.

    "Oh I'm so sorry! You were supposed to get an access card for after hours! I'll get you one before you leave today!" She might be a bit over caffeinated. He replies "It's no problem - thanks for the help."

    "Any time! Also your physical therapist will be here in a few minutes, you can take a seat in the waiting area!"

    The waiting room, a place designed to be as comfortable and welcoming as is profitable, has a handful of pastel-green chairs and benches. The whole place smells of gym mats and exercise balls with a tinge of standard hospital antiseptic.

    As soon as he walks in he notices one other person sitting in the far corner chair waiting for the session to start; a woman sitting silently wearing a hoodie with the hood up, gray yoga pants and white running shoes. The handle of a thin white cane is sitting next to her, along with a gym bag.

    In an attempt to head off the awkwardness of sitting in the waiting room silently together, John says "Hey, how's it going?"



    There's no response, so now it’s awkward- maybe she has headphones in?

    He glances over at the girl and something seems off. He’s not sure what though - with the hood of her sweatshirt up, a face mask, and dark glasses he can't see much of her face but there are some waves of uncanny valley vibes emanating from her.

    After sitting there for 10 or 15 minutes, the door opens and the trainers step in. Both are women in their 20s who obviously keep in shape as part of their job. One heads right over to the sweatshirt girl (clearly not her first visit), the other looks at John and says "Hi, I'm Alice and I'll be your PT for the next few weeks. How are you this evening?"

    "I'm pretty good, a bit of a mix up getting here but I arrived early so no problem."

    The other therapist and the mysterious gym partner have their phones out furiously texting each other, though they are only a few feet from each other,  which seems a bit odd. After a short text exchange they both head in to the door to the training room, the trainer holding the door for sweatshirt girl as she carefully gathers up her bag and grabs her cane, barely using it to navigate as if she has done this many times before.

    Alice leads John over to the training room, which has a rubber gym floor and various strange looking exercise equipment along with the more conventional weights, medicine balls and yoga-adjacent stuff. She leads him over to a set of parallel bars, and explains the plan  - pretty straightforward, walking back and forth using the bars for support, assisted squats, lunges, etc. On the other side of the gym area, sweatshirt girl is doing some kind of balance exercises, working around and over obstacles and using her cane to navigate the room.

    After completing the series of tasks, John tries to pay attention to Alice giving a rundown on stretches and exercises to do at home.

    “OK, I think you’re all set for the first day - good job.” Alice says, as John just starts hitting muscle failure on the assisted squats.

    “Thanks, that wasn’t as bad as I thought, although I definitely have lost a lot of strength from the accident.” In the background John notices the other pair wrapping up as well, with the other trainer texting her silent gym partner.

    “If you keep it up and do the homework we give you, you will probably be back to about where you were before the surgery in a couple months, luckily you are still young so you should bounce back pretty well. Let’s head back to the waiting room and I’ll grab your homework packet.” Alice walks John out to the waiting room, and although he is tempted to ask her about the mysterious girl he also doesn’t want to cause any patient confidentiality issues or seem like a weirdo on the first day.

    After standing in the waiting room for only a minute or so, Alice returns with the packet of take-home workout info. Alice says “Here you go, try to do these every day, and if you start to feel sore make sure to ice your leg - our schedule is pretty aggressive so I want you to be able to keep up.”

    “Thanks, I will - see you in a couple days!”

    As he is crutching his way out into the hallway, the receptionist practically jumps in front of John and holds out a keycard and says. “Here’s your card for the gate for next time, how did your first day go?”

    “It went pretty well, but I bet I am going to be pretty sore tomorrow. I haven’t done this much since the accident.” John says

    The receptionist heads back into her glass cube / front office desk thing and says “Yeah, make sure to get plenty of rest - everyone says that the day after the first session is pretty rough.”

    Two days later he pulls into the parking lot of the clinic for another round, rolls his window down and sticks the access card against the reader at the gate. It beeps and the gate opens up, thankfully letting him park much closer this time. He maneuvers his way out of the car, grabbing his crutches from the passenger's seat and maneuvering himself into a standing position. He’s not really looking forward to this again, both because of anticipating the pain of PT and the awkwardness of the waiting room.

    Again the sweatshirt girl is sitting silently in the corner of the waiting room. Shortly after John takes a seat she reaches into her bag and takes out a pen and small notepad. She slowly and carefully writes something down, stands up and turns toward his general direction. She takes a few deliberate steps closer and stops about 6 feet away, holding out the notepad and facing the writing toward him.

    The note says:

    Hi, I'm Lia. I can't talk but you can text me. My number is 242-555-2398.

    She holds out the note for about 15 seconds, then carefully turns around and walks back to her seat.

    John pulls out his phone and texts her,  “Hi, this is John - what’s up?” When the text hits her phone, it sounds like her phone is rapid fire buzzing and for much longer than one would expect for a text notification; yet another odd thing to add to the list.

    She replies, and John gets a better look at her phone. It  looks a bit like an old-school blackberry, with an actual keyboard and not much of a screen. “Hey, hopefully your first session wasn’t too bad.”

    “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I’m still in a pretty good amount of pain - those ladies are friggin brutal.”

    "No kidding, they run me through their own Ninja Warrior program three times a week.

    It's basically a free gym membership, and they are pretty cool when they aren't trying to destroy my whole body…

    You got to see one of my easy days through, just navigation and balance work.

    Today was supposed to be cardio training, but I think I might need to wait.

    What’s your schedule?”

    John replies, “I’m on Monday, Weds., Friday - I’m glad I don’t have to come in for the weekend.”

    She seems to tense up a bit while typing out a reply, but it’s hard to tell from across the room and under a puffy hoodie. “Looks like we have the same schedule, did they let you know that I was going to be here too?”

    John texts “No, I just showed up. I had to work second shift and all the morning sessions were full, so they put me in a weird time slot.”

    “So are you here for visual stuff also?” she asks.

    “No, I broke my leg pretty bad and had to get a plate put in, now I am working it out to get back to walking without crutches.

    On the plus side, I can get around airport metal detectors now, and I can tell when it’s about to rain lol”

    She seems to be texting someone else now in a panic, and shortly after the receptionist waves at John through the back window of her cube-office area thing by the front door. She motions him to come over in a somewhat frantic manner, but that’s probably just her normal setting. He works his way over to her cube, and asks her “What’s going on?

    The receptionist takes a huge, panicked breath and says “Hey, Lia is kinda shy, and I scheduled you with her but I thought she would be cool with it, because she is kinda lonely and she's been here for like months and she only talks to the PTs and me and only goes out at night which is sad, and she doesn’t think she can do her stuff with anybody else here and I told her you were cute, but she thinks you will freak out, and she has to do cardio today but she can’t with all her stuff on and I hope you don’t freak out, but she has had some crazy stuff happen but shes super smart and fun so just be cool and don’t run away from here, but i guess you can’t really run cause you broke your leg so just keep an open mind, and I’ll tell Lia I talked to you and you seem cool and I don’t want to get in trouble so be cool ok?

    “What.”

    She catches her breath a bit, composes herself, and says “Lia has a unique condition, and she hasn’t really interacted with anybody but us hospital folks. She’s lonely. I thought I could do a little matchmaker work, you are both nerdy and single from what I read in your info, so I figured you would get along and scheduled you in her unlisted session. Sorry about being weird, please don’t tell on me or I’ll get fired and that would be terrible, and Lia might get in trouble.”

    “OK, I’ll try to be cool - why would I freak out? She seems fine other than having some sight issues.” Now John is both confused and interested in finding out what the hell is going on.

    She says “So she’s totally blind, she can kinda hear with an app on her phone but she has to communicate with it too unless you can read sign language. She can use her phone to talk but doesn’t like to because she says it’s creepy. She can do finger spelling, but that’s pretty slow and touch only. She’s had a really rough past few years, but she also is probably the smartest person I know - she wrote the programs she uses on her phone and is doing a bunch of research while she’s stuck here. I’ll let her know that you’re cool and you have some idea what’s going on, and I’ll leave the rest up to the both of you. Worst case I can try to reschedule you. Also don't freak out."

    “Thanks, I still don’t fully understand but I don’t want to mess up your whole situation so I’ll try to keep an open mind, I guess?. I still am not sure why I would freak out, she seems like she’s been through a lot but I don’t know why I would have an issue with that.”

    She’s looking at her phone and already texting Lia and says “You should chat with her, she seems like she’s less likely to try to kill me now."

    “I will, thanks.” John says as he turns around and sits back down.

    Lia texts him “So has our overcaffeinated friend read you in on secret project Lia?”

    “Kinda, she let me know that you use your phone to talk because of hearing and sight issues, and you are doing some programming and research I am pretty confused about some of the other stuff.”

    “I have an arrangement where they let me stay here and do my work and get ongoing treatment, and they get to keep their research going."

    "Research?" John texts.

    "I probably said too much already but the folks here can’t really do anything so whatever.I had a disease that was eventually going to kill me, and this place wanted to try out an experimental drug.

    It kinda worked, in that my brain is no longer turning into goo, but they messed up the dosage and there were some crazy side effects.

    Now they owe me big, so I get to live here rent free and get taken care of, and they don’t get sued.If all goes well, I get to be patient zero in a whole new way to help people and I might get a payout at the end (or stock options…)”

    “So the sight and hearing stuff was a side effect of the drug?” John asks.

    Lia responds "Not really, my eyesight and hearing had been getting worse for years, and I was starting to lose brain cells due to my condition.

    They had an experimental treatment to force me to regrow nerve cells, so they were hoping to reverse the effects.

    They totally hosed up the process though, so now I get to be a freaky haunted house attraction.”

    “You seem not-that-freaky to me, what do you mean?”

    “I’m going to have to take this stuff off anyway for the workout, so screw it, I’ll just show you.”

    She flips her hoodie back and it seems obvious that something’s off. Her skin seems too glossy and plasticky. It also looks like she is wearing either a collar or thick choker made of black plastic around her neck, which is an odd choice for the gym. She types something in her phone, and I hear her phone start speaking. Confusion turns into panic as she reaches to the black choker around her neck and I hear a click. She hooks her hands under her chin, and lifts up on her head and it starts to rise, revealing that that choker is actually a black plastic cap covering the top of her abbreviated neck, and her head was a realistic fake. There’s a hole in the front part of the cap, presumably for breathing but that’s all John can figure out as he tries to simultaneously stand up, grab the crutches, head for the door, put away his phone and run away while physically unable to do all of that at once. Her phone says out loud in the standard android voice “I said I was a freak, sorry.”

    While deciding whether to run from the room, ask for a doctor, or try to be cool John is hit by a realization - she is still a person who is struggling and deserves a chance, also how in the heck is any of this possible?

    John says out loud while trying to stay as calm as possible and making sure he isn’t hallucinating “how in the hell? How are you not dead?"

    Clearly she hears him, because her body language relaxes a bit and her phone speaks to John “I told you I was different. I had a disease that was destroying my brain and the drug they gave me regrew my brain cells, just not in my head. She holds out her fake head and says “check it out”

    John gets up and takes a few tentative steps closer to her, having now relaxed a tiny bit and gets a closer look at her prosthetic. It’s pretty convincing, but up close it’s clearly made out of silicone and plastic.

    Her phone says “It’s pretty heavy so I hate wearing it, also I can’t run with it on so I have to take it off on cardio days.”

    He texts her “Wow, I’m sorry - this must be really tough.”

    "It can be, and I definitely have my good days and bad but we all have to fight our own battles, ya know?” She opens up her bag and stashes her head in it, and zips It up.

    After all that, the trainers open up the door to the workout area and John tries to play it cool even though he’s still in a state of shock and disbelief.

    Alice asks "So you know about Lia? Did you know this whole time?" She clearly is in on it, and John lies and says he already knew in the most not-panicked voice he can muster.

    Lia navigates over to the corner where the treadmill is set up and sets her gym bag down. She does a couple quick stretches and pulls off her hoodie. As John preps for his workout on the other side of the training room, he finally sees her without the prosthetic and layers of clothing and is intrigued, impressed and uneasy all at once. Although she is absolutely gorgeous her movements seem unnatural, and the lack of a head still is something that will take a while for him to process. She hops on the treadmill and starts slowly, getting her bearings and increasing the speed as she gets used to the rhythm.

    John goes through the motions of his workout with a few more reps and a couple more exercises added in, the whole time being both highly distracted by Lia and trying to seem like he isn’t. It becomes even more difficult to stay focused as Lia heads over to the yoga zone and works through a sequence of stretches - she’s pretty flexible and the lack of a head makes her movements seem both alien and really intriguing. John finds himself less freaked out and more curious by the minute, and as the workout winds down and he heads out to the waiting room he holds the door open for the rest of the group to pass by. Lia’s trainer stays behind to wipe down the gym and close out.

    “Thanks Alice, the workout was great. You were right about being sore though - I was pretty wrecked yesterday. John says, as Lia picks a seat and opens up her gym bag.

    “You look like you are on track to recover pretty quickly, coming into the injury with a good fitness level certainly helps.” Alice says, as Lia opens up her gym bag and retrieves her prosthetic. She lifts her artificial head up to it’s appropriate place, then pushes it onto her neck cap, tentatively giving it a little shake back and forth to check if it's clipped in. Her hair flips around a bit in the process, and she rearranges it out of the way.

    John prepares to leave as well, and says “Hey Lia, nice workout today - I’ll see you Friday! Text me if you want to chat later”

    Lia gives him a thumbs up and signs something to him. She then catches herself and just waves to him.

    John heads back to his car still a bit bewildered and dazed, but now open to the possibility that he may be getting to know someone who is truly unique, and although there will likely be lots of challenges he's down to see where this goes.

    Ch2

    John arrives back at his apartment, a relatively small but functional place not far from the clinic. He carefully flops onto the couch, and checks his phone instinctively. No emergencies or trouble tickets from work, but there is a new text from Lia.

    “Hey, I’m glad you didn’t jump out the window today. I’m used to bad first reactions from people I interact with so it’s refreshing to not have to explain everything and try to do a bunch of prep first. It never works anyway, people are gonna do what they do.”

    “I have to admit I was shocked at first, and the receptionist tried to warn me but she was talking far too fast to really get it. I was more puzzled by how it’s possible to not be dead under your circumstances - I thought you might be some kind of robot or something lol.”

    Lia replies “Ha! If I was a robot I wouldn’t need to exercise though - at least I think that’s how robots work… I went to school for programming not robotics”

    “I’d hate to ask too many uncomfortable questions if you don’t want to talk about it, but I have a ton of them.”

    Lia texts back “Let’s start at the top - no pun intended... I got diagnosed in my junior year of college when my hearing started to go, so I had to learn some sign language. After graduation I tried to get a job but by then my vision was starting to fade. It was getting harder to remember things too, and I was starting to lose coordination. One of my friends found out about this place and the drug trial. I didn't think I had much time left before the damage got too bad so I signed up. Once I was accepted, they did a ton of scans, IQ tests, interviews, the works, with some accommodations due to being in pretty bad shape already.

    Over the next couple months I received a bunch of injections of the drug, and each time they said my memory and coordination were getting better but my senses weren't really improving. After the last big round of testing before all the craziness, they found out I was starting to lose sensation in my head and face. It was likely that I wouldn’t be able to eat unassisted soon. I think they were getting pretty frustrated so they set me up with an MRI, CT, PET, EMG, MEG, basically every expensive test they could find a free time slot to run, to try to figure out what the hell was going on.

    After the docs got the first set of results back they were pretty frantic. My brain was basically gone, and there was no electrical activity going on at all. I was in uncharted territory - according to all their schooling I was brain dead so how was I still walking around (sorta, my balance was terrible) and passing all their tests? Apparently with no brain left the demand for blood flow upstairs was a lot lower too, so they were worried about anything else breaking in the process as the arteries started to shrink down.

    Once they found that out, and after they stopped panicking, they re-ran the tests with the same result. One of the docs got the idea to do a PET scan again but do it on my whole body, and although I was kinda fed up with getting irradiated I went along with it.

    They found the brain activity they were looking for, just spread out everywhere but where it was supposed to be - I had an even smearing of neurons across my whole body, and my spinal cord had basically converted to a bit of stretched out brain. They didn’t see anything happening above my neck, so that explained my face going numb - the facial nerves were basically wiped out with the rest.

    That's part of the reason I'm still here - they are paying me a ton of money to be a guinea pig and I could probably sue them for like a billion dollars for malpractice. I also might be able to help them eventually save lives with the data."

    John replies “So something else must have happened after that, mind if I ask?

    After a few minutes, Lia texts back “Sorry, I haven’t had to think about it lately - pretty heavy stuff. As the disease rounded the last base, I started living at the hospital full time and my friends pretty much stopped visiting - I think they were freaked out by my appearance. Apparently I looked like a walking corpse, which made for a really convincing halloween costume (I stole some supplies and dressed up as a zombie nurse lol).

    By that time, I felt like my head wasn't really part of me anymore. It was basically nonfunctional; I could still use my jaw and tongue so I could sorta feed myself, but everything above that was dead weight. After Halloween, I started to feel terrible and thought I had caught an early flu or a bad cold.

    When they checked me over, they figured out I had a pretty serious infection somewhere in my head, and the combination of lack of sensation, bad blood flow and me trying to be tough caused it to spread really far. They had to open my head up and poke around to try to clean out the infection, but they found that it had progressed really quickly. My eyes were toast, my head was full of infection basically everywhere and it was trying to spread downward. They quickly came up with a pretty radical plan to give me a shot at surviving. They removed my skull and pretty much everything above my C3 vertebra, moved a bunch of stuff around, sealed everything up as best as they could and hoped for the best.

    I woke up 7 inches shorter (which sucks because I was already short), 10 pounds lighter, and was bandaged from my armpits up. They had injected me with another dose of their magic drug hoping to counteract any damage they did during the surgery. The side effect of that shot being my sense of touch got way more intense. It's pretty disorienting waking up in a hospital bed with no head and feeling like you were hit by a bus made of ecstasy"

    “On the other hand you would not believe how good silk sheets feel now - I highly recommend"

    John texts “Wow, that’s a hell of a lot for one person to handle. I’ll keep the sheets thing in mind though lol… so how is it that you can hear what I say and read these messages?”

    "Before I totally lost my senses I hacked 2 smart watches that I wear on my wrists and wrote a program that will try to do speech recognition and take my texts on my phone, then convert it to vibrations I can feel. It's basically fancy morse code. If that fails I can do sign language or finger spelling, which I can teach you if we get a chance to hang out. I’ll teach you some swear words in sign language, they are extremely goddamn funny.”

    “So you live at the hospital? How does that work with the other patients?” John, feeling restless, stands up and paces around his apartment picking up a few things and getting his stuff ready for work.

    His phone buzzes. “I have a room that’s locked out from most of the staff. I get to do basically whatever I want there as long as I make my appointments with the research folks. I do some yoga in my room when I’m not working on my school work, and text the last couple friends I have sometimes. I go out really late at night to wander around the hospital grounds a bit once in a while. I don’t really go far though, if I got lost I would have to call for help.

    “Oh, you’re doing school? That’s really cool - what are you studying? I’m working on some certifications - I work in a datacenter and racking servers and pulling cables is getting old fast. Also I can’t really do it with a busted leg, so I have been studying a lot.”

    Lia replies “Although I work a lot slower than most people, I have tons of time to work on my Master's thesis. It’s in Biomedical Engineering and I'm thinking about selling my assistive tech I’ve been working on."

    “Nice, I’ll try to get in on the IPO when you make it big…”

    Lia texts “Naah, I’ll probably do a SPAC so I don’t have to be honest about how broke I am lol.”

    John gets a text with an attachment this time “Here’s my setup - I think the camera is pointed in the right direction but this might look wonky.” The attached photo shows what started out as a standard hospital room which has been massively upgraded -  most of the medical gear was removed, an extra couch added, a desk rigged up for a nice computer and lots of stuffed animals piled up one one of the couches.

    “That’s pretty cool, I dig the stuffed animal pile too.”

    “I kept getting those from well wishers, I also sometimes scam some when a massive pile of them shows up for the ward. They’re fun to squish when you’re having a bad day.”

    In the corner of the photo John notices the side table, which has her prosthetic head sitting it on it where someone would expect to see a lamp. “So how did they come up with the prosthetic head? That seems like a pretty high-tech replica.”

    “The guys in prosthetics are really good, and have all sorts of cool tech. They 3D printed the support structure, cast some silicone around it and had one of their artists paint it up to look as real as they could. The docs paid them and told them it was for a haunted house one of them was building. The cap that locks into it has some magnets built in, and I can breathe through the nose and mouth via the hole in this cap. I have other caps for stuff like showering that have vent holes around the bottom edge so I don’t drown. I’m thinking about one for swimming but I’m not really there on the design yet”

    “Oh, so the cap isn’t something permanent? Makes sense.” As John reads the last message, Lia starts a video call. She is sitting at her computer with the camera on, and waves and types into the chat: “Can you see me?

    John can see the camera view, which shows Lia in a plain t-shirt sitting facing him. From what he can see the sports bra was definitely applying a large squeezing force up top, she is very gifted in the chest department. That doesn’t fully distract him from the more obvious feature, her neck cap is right there front and center. Without a head and hair her neck looks especially long, and he can see a bit into what’s going on underneath through the hole in the top but not in any detail. John types “Yep, I can see you - you look great.”

    Lia types “I bet you are curious what I look like under here” She points to the cap. “I think the doctors might have had too much fun when they put me back together - it’s a good design though…”

    She leans in slightly, and takes hold of the cap. She lifts it up and out of the way, and it is quickly obvious what she’s talking about. At the top of her neck it looks very much like another pussy, but slightly more open to allow her to breathe. It looks like her windpipe is open in front, just under the folds. Behind it John can see a pink lump, which starts to move back and out, slipping out of somewhere and expanding upwards and out.

    "Holy shit, they kept your tongue" he types as she slips it out of her throat like a tentacle.

    Yep, they moved it on top of my spine to see if I could still use it - I stick it down my throat to keep it out of the way and keep stuff from drying out. It's super long too" she types, as its full length comes into view, completely covering her neck slit and hanging slightly past, covering up the hole in front were it not split in two halfway up its length. "I had them split it, so I can use it to grab stuff -  that way I can still eat some food. I think it really fucks with the docs when I eat yogurt or ice cream, so I do it whenever I can lol"

    “I think I’d like to see that myself” John types.

    “I can really fuck up a popsicle too, hint hint…”

    Lia starts typing with one hand and leans in as her other one moves up to her neck, licking her fingers, intertwining them with her tongue and pinching her tongue halves around her thumb. “I have been stuck here for so long, no dating, no action and my friend hooks me up with a hunky guy who thinks I’m still hot? If you come over tonight I’ll show you in person.

    I’m in room 1180, first floor east wing. Hit the call button next to the door.”

    “I’ll be there in 20.” John ends the call.

    Ch3

    John rushes through his apartment, running scenarios through his head of what’s about to happen. He flails about a bit, grabbing whatever he thinks is necessary. He says out loud to himself “Work clothes for tomorrow, maybe - I’ll keep it in the car just in case.”

    He bundles up his travel bathroom kit into his pile of clothes, grabs his work ID, throws it all into a gym bag and makes his way to his car. He notices as he walks out from the apartment that even after only a couple sessions his leg is starting to loosen up, though it’s still pretty weak.

    The drive over is filled with excitement and anticipation, both of imagining what might happen and not wanting to totally screw up everything. He runs the call through his head, making sure he isn’t reading too far into things - he thinks that she seemed pretty direct though.

    He cards into the parking lot, parks and decides to leave most of the bag there in the passenger’s seat, grabbing a couple condoms from the bathroom bag just in case and sticking them into his pants pocket.

    The rehab clinic is now completely dark, even the cleaning staff have left for the night. He tries the front door, and it’s locked up tight. He notices a little red light in the corner of the door frame though, and puts the access card up to the reader.

    John says to himself under his breath “Worth a shot I guess..” as the beep-click-bang of the electronic lock lets him into the empty building. He takes a few steps into the lobby and glances at the map, finding the east wing and heading that way.

    The hallways echo with his footsteps, and he wonders to himself if there are any security systems to worry about or guards to try to explain himself to, but he makes it to the right spot with no issues.

    The room has a sign that says “Electrical Closet”, and an industrial doorbell-looking button on one side. He hits the button, and waits for a response, the anticipation, nervousness and excitement bubbling up even higher.

    The door opens and he sees Lia, without her prosthetic or cap and wearing the same T-shirt as earlier and some pajama shorts. Her appearance is even more striking in person - due to the loss in height she reaches up to about mid-chest on him, and though her neck stump is uncovered her tongue is hidden. He can see some light scarring around the circumference of her neck, where they joined everything back together as best they could -  though it looks like they did an excellent job.

    She moves to grab his hand, and he quickly shifts both crutches to the other hand so she can bring him into the room. She silently pulls him along, carefully leading him to the center of the room. The space doesn’t have any surprises from what he saw in the photos and video, the only additional items being a really nice accessible shower and bathroom through a doorway in the back corner.

    Lia shifts John over, gently moving him to a standing position between her and the bed. She embraces him, taking a deep breath and standing up on her toes. Her tongue sneaks out and touches a spot on the side of his neck, her best approximation of a kiss.

    She takes a half-step back and puts her hand on his chest, taking a more dominant pose and pushing his chest to force him to fall backwards into bed.

    Two things happen at roughly the same time:

    John realizes that his leg doesn’t have nearly the strength, flexibility or impact resistance to deal with flopping onto the bed.

    His crutches, which he was holding in one hand, get caught in his armpit as he falls and a combination of gravity, inertia and leverage take over.

    While falling John has enough time to say “Woooaaah” as the tip of one of the crutches hooks on Lia’s leg, currently in a cool but not especially stable pose and lifts her foot off the ground.

    John hits the bed hard sending a wave of pain from his leg to basically everywhere, causing him to yell out “Oh shit!” as Lia starts to rotate, the momentum and her balance sending her tumbling over. She flips sideways and backward, rolling into the yoga zone near the side of the bed.

    She lands back first on a rolled up squishy mat between a yoga ball and a pile of random stretch bands and foam blocks.

    John, though distracted by the wicked pain in his leg, has enough wherewithal to pick his head up from his position in the bed and see if Lia is alright. Though she seems uninjured, he asks “Are you OK?”

    She puts her thumb in the air, then points at him and makes the OK symbol. John says “Yeah, I’m good. That might have been a bit too aggressive though” He chuckles to himself, and drops his head back down.

    She finds her phone in her pocket, leans up from her yoga mat and it speaks “I think I might have hit my head.. Wait, never mind.”

    John looks over to the side table  “actually, I think I might have hit your head. I don’t see it on the table anymore…”

    She flops back onto the mat, and appears to be laughing…

    A moment later, once they worked the terrible joke out of their system, John picks up his crutches from the floor and leans them against the wall by the bedside table. Lia walks over and feels around for her head, quickly finding it and setting it back on the nightstand while trying to arrange the hair and brush off any dust.

    Lia takes a seat on the bed next to John and types into her phone, showing the screen to him “Sorry about that, I think I might have gotten a bit too ambitious. It would’ve looked cool though...”

    John says “It was pretty cool all things considered - you managed to do a crazy backward one-legged somersault and not get hurt in the process.” As John speaks, he notices Lia’s smart watches kick into gear, converting his speech into vibrations and transcribing the conversation to her phone.

    There’s a slight pause as she senses the words, then types “I’m going to have to teach you some tactile sign, it’s a bit faster than this phone thing. We’re such nerds, texting each other even though we’re sitting right next to each other ;)“

    “Why not start now?” John asks.

    Lia types “The easiest way is tracing, where you just draw the letters in the other person’s palm. I’ll show you.”

    Lia turns slightly sideways, and reaches for John’s hand. He puts his hand palm up in hers, and she uses her pointer finger to begin tracing letters. John echos back the letter as she starts through the first few letters of the alphabet, and it’s very easy for John to pick up.

    Lia stops after John makes it to the letter I, and grabs her phone. She types into it “Now advanced mode.”

    She takes his hand again, and traces as John tries to put together words.

    “John, right?” Lia nods.

    “Lia.” Again a correct answer.

    “Lamp, definitely.” Lia gives him a thumbs up.

    Lia hesitates for a second, then starts again.

    “Kiss?” John guesses as Lia leans in sideways, moving closer to John.

    He moves in, his face up close to where her neck ends. He tentatively kisses the top of her neck stump, unsure about if this is what she intended. She puts her hand behind his head, pulling him closer and lower. Her tongue moves out of its hiding place slightly, and she uses its forked tips to grab a hold of his lip.

    The kiss rapidly turns into something in between deep kissing and cunnilingus, her tongue entering his mouth, teasing his tongue and grabbing at it with the split tip. John carefully explores her neck opening with his tongue and lips.

    Lia pulls back a bit and grabs his hand. She quickly spells into his palm:

    “Take” “Off” “Your” “Pants”

    John complies quickly, removing his pants and shoes as fast as he can. Lia slides down from the bed, kneeling in front of his legs. She grabs hold of his boxer shorts and slides them down as well, John flicking them off the end of his foot.

    Lia feels her way up his legs until she finds his erection, feeling its size with her hands. She slides her hands gently up and down the length, slowly picking up her pace. She moves her body closer, and removes one hand from attending to John and taking hold of his thigh. She closes the distance from John’s erect member, and her tongue begins licking along its length. The split tongue tips flick and tease John’s cock occasionally wrapping part way around, as he says “Jesus, that’s incredible.”

    Lia thinks to herself “You ain't seen nothing yet” as she takes hold of John’s shaft and guides the tip toward her neck slit. The tip disappears into her throat, as her tongue wraps around and forms a ring partially around the shaft. She leans forward, steadily sliding his member deeper into her throat and working the shaft with small strokes from her tongue. She bottoms out, having quickly deepthroated the entire thing.

    “Holy shit” John says as Lia’s tongue wraps down around the side of his shaft and coils halfway around the top of his ballsack, squeezing slightly and making him let out a moan. She works his length with her upper body and neck, as he starts gently thrusting in time with her motions. Lia seems to be enjoying it as well, her breathing becoming faster and more intense.

    He doesn’t last long, her technique being completely above and beyond anything he’s ever experienced (or anyone else, for that matter). “Lia, I’m gonna cum soon.” He says as Lia gives him the OK symbol and picks up her pace even more.

    He lets loose into her throat, as she wraps her arm around his waist and pulls him all the way to the base. She stays there impaled on his shaft as he pumps down her throat, Lia swallowing rhythmically. She moves back, sliding his cock out from deep within. She leans back to an upright kneeling position, and her tongue sweeps quickly around her neck slit to catch any mess. Her tongue slides back into its hiding place and she sits back on the bed, opening up the side table and handing John a tissue to clean himself off.

    “Lia, you are a goddamn sexual superhero.” John says as he catches his breath and takes the tissue from her.

    Lia types on her phone as John cleans up. “I wasn’t sure I could do that - pretty crazy though, right?”

    “Pretty fucking awesome - you’re going to make the other girls jealous” John says.

    “They should be, I'm fucking great. And humble too." Lia types as she finds John’s discarded shorts by sliding her foot around the floor. Having found it, she grabs with her toes and lifts it up, taking it and handing it to John.

    “Hey, I know a way to get to the roof. I used to watch the stars from there, want to get some fresh air?” Lia types as John puts his boxers back on, standing up carefully.

    “Absolutely, I’d love to.” John says as Lia reches for the neck cap and prosthetic on the side table.

    “You should leave that stuff here, I want to see the real you. Besides, nobody’s here so why not?” John says as Lia hesitates, her hand hovering near the cap.

    Lia puts her finger up to where her chin would have been, making the pondering gesture, then stands up and wraps her arms around John. She squeezes the hell out of him as he makes a sound like a surprised bullfrog.

    John puts his pants on as Lia grabs her cane and the two of them head out the door, Lia leading and barely using her cane to navigate a well-trodden path. She opens up a door marked “Do not enter” and walks John up a set of stairs to a door.

    The roof is huge, flat, and open with a pretty good view of the town and a really good view of the sky. Near the end of the roof is a bench - apparently the area isn’t totally unused. Lia and John take a seat under the sky, taking in the early summer air. They sit in silence at first, cuddling up next to each other and enjoying the company.

    Lia types into her phone “I’m glad that crazy lady hooked us up - I never thought I would be back in the game after all this.”

    “I’m glad I met you - you’re wonderful. Hey, if you’re not busy, want to go on a proper date this Saturday?”

    “I’m not sure how that will work.. I don’t really go out anymore.” Lia types as she slouches down and her shoulders droop slightly.

    “I have a plan… You don’t have to decide right now though, I’ll wait and you can text me if you want to. If not, I’ll still see you in the gym Friday” John says, as Lia takes his hand.

    She spells into John’s hand “Thank you” as she leans into his shoulder.

    Ch4

    Warmed by the summer air, John and Lia enjoyed each other’s company on the roof. Once John's back starts to ache from sitting on the unforgiving bench, he looks at his phone to check the time. Realizing how late it is he says, “Hey Lia, it’s getting late - I have to catch some sleep before work.”

    “Lia, who is currently sitting next to John while leaning into his shoulder, with her arms wrapped around his midsection squeezes him. She traces into his hand, “Yeah

    John and Lia head back downstairs. Lia opens up her door and turns around in the doorway. She must have hit send on a text she prepared as they were making their way back, because John's phone lights up just before she turns around. It says:

    “John, tonight was really great. I’m looking forward to our date but I’m kinda freaking out too… I look forward to seeing you at the gym Friday. <3”

    Lia gives John a few seconds to read the message, then snakes her arms under his and gives him a hug. John gives Lia a kiss on the top of her neck, and says “Thanks for tonight, I’ll miss you.”

    John is exhausted when he arrives at work later that afternoon. The late night has taken its toll and his sleep wasn’t especially restful. He settles into his cube and starts to get focused on his work day; doing a quick scan of open issues, checking his requests and tickets, logging into the various management systems.

    His phone buzzes and he pulls it from his pocket - It’s a new text from Lia. He unlocks it and takes a look.

    "So I was thinking about our date on Saturday and I'm really worried… I need to know what you’re planning before I can decide if I can do it. I don't want to get caught in public - if I make it into the news before this whole thing wraps up I would be in deep trouble.

    John replies, "That’s fair, I want you to be able to have fun and not be worried so I’ll spoil the surprise . I think I found a place that should be fun and low stress.

    I booked us at the last session for the evening at a private spa rental place. They have a hot tub, sauna, massage chair things, cold soak pool, and smoothie machine.

    Best part is it's all ours with no interruptions for three hours. We should be able to check in with no issues, it’s all done through my phone. Thoughts?"

    "Interesting… I think I’m on board! I'll remember to bring my swimsuit. Although the traditional sauna is in the nude, so we’ll see about the first one ;)"

    John, now thoroughly distracted by the images in his head, tries to get some work done. About 30 minutes later, his phone buzzes again - this time with a photo attached to the message.

    “Hey, I'm at the end of my workout and figured I should torment you a little more while you’re stuck at work. Did I mention I’m pretty flexible?” The photo is of Lia in the middle of her yoga area in her room, mid pose. She’s laying on her chest with her legs curled back behind her, knees bent with her heels hooked over her shoulders. One arm is extended holding her cell phone. The other arm, hand, and fingers are engaged in teasing her neck stump, slightly pulling one of the lips to one side with one fingertip inserted into her throat.

    “Wow Lia, that's really hot. Definitely not safe for work though lol. I was tired before, but that  sure woke me up.”

    “Or at least woke up part of you lol. Speaking of which, you probably should have warned me you were packing some serious firepower down there - I think you damn near skewered me with that thing last night. I’m going to need to order some bigger toys… Anyway, think on that while I work on some school work. Text me when you get home <3”

    John kicks off an online class and tries to stay focused, but it, along with other things, are a little harder now.

    John completes the work day without much drama, helping out where he can and working on learning some new skills. He’s starting to think about his next career move, from being a cable puller and server jockey and into something a bit more advanced and less physical.

    John heads out from home really looking forward to the next PT session, mostly so he can hang out with Lia again. Even if it's mostly just being in the same place doing their own thing, it's still nice.

    When he gets home, he sends Lia a quick text, “Hey, I’m home and prepping dinner. I’m looking forward to seeing you again, even if it’s while I’m paying to get beaten up”

    “You getting beat up is for a good cause though, you’ll be able to ditch those crutches soon.

    “That's true lol. Speaking of crutches, I’m going to try just using one tomorrow. I’m tired of never having my hands free and I’ve already gotten a lot stronger.” John replies in-between getting some leftovers out of the fridge and firing up the microwave.

    “Nice! That’s some serious progress!” Lia replies.

    “Thanks! You mentioned school work earlier, how’s the thesis going?”

    “The title of my project is: Nonverbal Adaptive Communications Facilitated via Mobile Device Voice Recognition and Haptic Coding. It’s a mouthful, apparently the longer the title the better the paper so I swung for the bleachers… I’m actually putting the finishing touches on it in the next week or so. I’m hoping that when the researchers are ready to show me off to the world my paper will be ready so I can ride the wave of attention right afterward.”

    John replies, “That’s really cool - do you know how the whole reveal is going to work?”

    “I found out recently what the plan is, but the afterward part could get weird. They’re pretty strict about who will be allowed into the conference, so I hope that helps. It sounds it’ll be a lot of technical stuff on the front end to prep the audience, then talking about me and my case, then I’ll show myself off and answer questions. I figure that even if it blows up and I get in the news, it might reduce the number of people who freak out when I’m out in public. If I’m lucky there will be some folks in the audience that would be looking to buy up my work or have me jump on someone else’s research project.”

    John finishes up his dinner, then replies “I can’t wait to be able to go out with you in public, even if people are a pain sometimes. I’ll be able to help out if anyone is weird - I’ll work on some snarky replies to dumb questions..”

    Lia texts, “Ha! I’ll think of some too, once I get this horrible paper out of the way. Speaking of which, I better get back to it. I have to get ahead of it to afford the time to go out on Saturday. I’ll see you at the gym tomorrow. <3.”

    The next day, John heads back through the doors of the shuttered clinic and heads over to the now familiar physical therapy office. The receptionist is at her usual station, still as overstimulated as ever.

    She does a trying-to-be-quiet-but-still-shouty voice as she greets him. "John, how's it going? Lia told me you two really hit it off, and you have some secret weekend fun! Don't worry, I won't ask - your secret is safe."

    “It’s going good! We’re going on a semi-secret date on Saturday night, and I’m really happy that she’s going along with it.” John says.

    “That’s so cool, Lia hasn’t been out much for a while so it’s good you came along to drag her out of here.. ” The receptionist smiles and looks over to where Lia is seated, in her usual spot in the waiting room as she starts to prep for the PT session. She removes her prosthetic head and stashes it in the bag, then removes the light jacket she wore in, revealing a purple sports bra. She stands up and starts to do some preliminary stretches.

    John says “I better head inside and get ready” then turns to move into the waiting room.

    The receptionist jumps up and says “I’ll get the door, also you ditched one of your crutches! Nice!” then runs around to the waiting room door, holding it so John can enter without needing to juggle the crutch around.

    As John enters, he says “Hey Lia”, and she waves to him. She finishes up her stretch, and beckons him over. Once he closes the distance, she reaches out and grabs hold of him, then pulls him into a hug. They embrace for a few seconds, she gives him a quick smack on the butt to be cheeky, then guides him to the chair next to her as they wait for the trainers to kick off the session. John gently takes hold of Lia’s hand and spells “It’s nice to see you, you look great.”

    Lia spells “Thanks! I’m doing weights today, so less is more.”

    The workout proceeds as expected. The trainers open up the place and retrieve their patients. John goes through a routine that is now familiar: stretching, strength, coordination, etc. Lia is pumping iron and doing well, except for some occasional struggles with balance.

    As John is finishing up his workout, Lia is already done with hers and is packing up her stuff, getting ready to head back. His phone buzzes with a text just as he completes his last activity.

    John completes his last task, pulls out his phone, and takes a look. “Hey, if you have some time to hang out, want to get dinner? My food gets delivered to my room, and I can add on some real food for you if you’re hungry.”

    John heads back to Lia’s place, hits the doorbell and she pops open the door. She’s still in her gym gear, and takes a seat at her desk. Next to her is a pitcher of a mysterious off-white liquid and a large plastic syringe with a flexible tube attached. She set out a rolling TV tray next to her bed for John to use as his dining table with a plastic to-go container sitting on it.

    Her phone speaks up. “sorry if this is weird, but it’s much easier for me to just do a quick liquid lunch. It takes me a long time to eat regular food. It’s pretty frustrating sometimes being such a weirdo.”

    John replies “Lia, I don’t think you’re weird - you’ve been through a lot and rose above it. You are killing it with the schooling, are probably going to land some crazy deal soon, and are really gorgeous.”

    Lia types in her phone, “Thanks, I’m probably getting worked up about my big reveal to the world and my paper coming up soon. It’s going to be pretty nuts for a while but hopefully folks will get used to it quickly. It’ll be nice though to be able to hang out in public again. You should get a head start on your lunch, I’m going to be done pretty quickly.”

    John takes a seat and gets started on his lunch. “This is pretty good for hospital food, needs more salt though.” He says between bites.

    Lia removes her neck cap, setting it on her desk and grabbing the large syringe. Her tongue works its way out of its spot in her throat, as she dips the flexible tube into the pitcher of liquid. She sucks up most of it into the syringe, then grabs the tube with her other hand. Lifting it up and over, she maneuvers the tube to the top of her neck stump. Her split tongue reaches out and grabs the tube, helping pull it down into her throat as she pushes it part way down her esophagus. She then pushes the syringe down, gradually emptying the contents. She unhooks the tube and puts the syringe back into the liquid, sucking up the rest of it. Reconnecting the tube, she empties the syringe again then carefully pulls the tube out of her throat and puts the parts back on the tray.

    “See, I said I was quick.. That has everything I need and they count the calories for me so I don’t have to.” Lia types as John continues eating.

    “Yeah, that seems pretty efficient. I bet you probably save a ton on shampoo too.” John says in between bites of food as Lia gets up.

    She walks over to the bathroom and out of sight, around the corner. John hears a drawer open and some shuffling sounds. A handful of seconds later Lia steps out from around the corner in a fluffy bathrobe with a different neck cap on. This one is gray with vent slots around the bottom edge and a solid, slightly domed top. She leans against the doorway and sends a text to John then heads back around the corner.

    The message takes a few seconds to arrive, about the same time John hears the water turn on. “Speaking of shampoo, I’m going to hit the shower before getting back to work. I’m pretty quick with the whole no hair thing but I’m leaving the door open… hint hint”

    John takes one more bite, sets down his lunch, gets up and heads over. Lia is already in the shower, her outline visible through the frosted glass walled cube currently filling with steam. He strips as quickly as possible; although he is recovering quickly, some of the moves are still pretty difficult.

    He slides the door open and steps in, finally seeing Lia in the nude for the first time. Water cascades over her, deflecting off her shower cap and running down her body. Unconstrained by the sports bra, her breasts are even more impressive - a bit more than a handful but still perky, contrasting nicely with her toned figure. She moves over to allow John into the water, grabs a shower poof and squeezes some soap into it. She starts to soap up John, working the puff down his body and feeling her way around.

    She hands John the poof and turns around, pointing to her back. John lathers up Lia working his way around her toned body - from just below the end of her neck cap, down her shoulders and back, along her hips and ass, and down her legs. As he works his way back up she backs up against John and pulls his arms around to the front of her body. She takes the soap puff from him and hooks it to the side wall of the shower. She guides one of his hands onto her breast, and takes the other hand guiding it downwards. With his arms wrapped around her, her neck cap against the top of his chest she guides his fingers along and between her lower lips. Although Lia is silent, with his body wrapped around her John feels her breathing pick up and the tension in her body increase as he works her with his fingers. Lia comes quickly and powerfully in his arms, losing control of her legs for a moment and relying on him to hold her up. She taps on his arm, signaling him to let up. She composes herself for a moment, turns around and embraces John, grabbing hold of his now raging erection. She reaches over to a bottle on the wall and pumps out some lotion into her hand, and starts to work her hands up and down his cock. He doesn’t last very long under Lia’s attention, and tells her that he’s close, although  with her phone on the counter it’s unlikely she heard it. She feels his dick tense up and start firing though, and the flowing water soon takes care of cleanup.

    They finish up their shower together and dry off. Once she’s dry enough to not risk ruining her phone, Lia grabs it and types. “That was great; I needed some stress relief and that did the trick for sure.”

    “Agreed. Good water pressure here also…” John says as Lia throws the bathrobe back on and removes the shower cap. While John finishes drying off she grabs a washcloth, wets and wrings it out and gently cleans the top of her neck stump; the only place the shower didn’t get to.

    Lia types “Want to lay out on the bed for a while? I know you have to head home eventually but we can relax here for a bit. Dibs on the little spoon.”

    They make their way over to the bed, and Lia removes and folds her bathrobe on the side table. She pulls back the covers, and lies down on her side. John lies down next to her and slides up behind her as she pulls the blankets over both of them.

    As Lia settles into spooning with John, he makes sure that Lia’s neck stump is clear of being covered up by the blankets and she is comfortable. Lia reaches over to the bathrobe, pulls out her phone and types a message, then holds her phone up so John can read it.

    “John, I know stuff has been a bit strange lately but this week has been great. The old me probably would have thought that living like this would be both impossible and pretty terrible but you’ve helped me realize that I have a lot to look forward to.”

    John replies “Lia, I’m lucky to have found someone like you. I can’t wait until we can finish this whole thing up and we can live like a normal couple. Hell, I’m looking forward to being able to show you off, you are absolutely one-of-a-kind and really beautiful. John gives her a second to process his voice, then he tilts his head down and kisses the top of her neck. She takes a deep breath, sighs, and squeezes up against him a bit more.

    Ch5

    Lia opens up her closet, searching for a long-neglected vacuum bag somewhere in there. Digging to the back, she feels the crinkly plastic and heaves it onto her bed. She pops the seal, and the bag slowly grows into a formless blob of wrinkly clothing, nearly forgotten since the start of her stay at the hospital. She dumps the bag out and starts to feel through the pile, attempting to remember what’s there.

    She thinks to herself “Damn it, what did I pack when I first checked in? I probably didn’t think to pack something nice in case a guy showed up…”

    She pulls out her phone and texts the only person she can think of who might be able to help - the receptionist who is already in on it. “Hey Nicole, do you work today? I have a clothing dilemma and need some help.”

    She replies “I don’t work today but I’m free to stop by! I am like 5 minutes away so I can run over to your place! I’m leaving right now!”

    About 3 and a half minutes later there’s a knock on the door and Lia opens it up. Nicole walks in, glancing at the pile of clothing on the bed. “This is for your date, right? That’s super exciting!”

    Lia types into her phone, which says “I was more excited before opening up this bag, it seems I don’t really have much to pick from.”

    Nicole starts digging through the pile, holding up pieces and looking back at Lia. “I think I see some potential here, how about this?” She holds up a massively wrinkled summer dress. “Oh yeah, it’s a black and white floral print - it needs a quick steam but I think it might work. I think that might be the only choice here, unless you are going super casual - it’s mostly pajama pants and t-shirts in the rest of the pile.”

    “I think that’ll have to be the one, I’ll try it on quick.” Lia’s phone speaks as she walks over to Nicole, who hands her the dress. She walks to the bathroom and around the corner. Nicole keeps looking through the pile of clothing and peeks into her dresser, checking for any other ideas.

    A few moments later Lia pops out of the bathroom in the dress. “Nice! You look great!” Nicole says as Lia spins around in place. Lia types “It also has pockets! Yes!” She holds up a finger in the “one second” sign and quickly types out another message. “I have another thing I ordered online that I want you to give a verdict on - It’s hard to tell how it looks because obviously.” She heads back into the bathroom, and reappears a few minutes later in a two piece bathing suit and the gray neck cap. “Oh wow, that’s really nice!” Nicole says as she takes a few steps closer. “What’s up with the different cap thing? Color coordination?”

    Lia types “It’s for showering and being around water - there are vents around the bottom edge instead of one on the top, to try to keep any splashes out.”

    “Huh, I didn’t know it came off in the first place. I hate to pry, but I’m kinda curious - I heard from the trainers about your situation but none of the details. If that cap can come off, what’s it like under it?” Nicole asks.

    Lia responds “When the docs went in and started cutting, they had to do some crazy stuff they had never done before, so they improvised a bit. The end result is a little inappropriate for public consumption.” She reaches up and pulls the cap off, and Nicole’s eyes go wide and her jaw drops as Lia reveals her neck stump.

    “Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.. Did you show your boyfriend yet? I bet he would be pretty happy about that! Two for the price of one...”

    “Yeah, I guess there are a few benefits from this crazy situation - also not dying was nice too…”

    That evening Lia receives a text from John; “I’m heading out from home, I’ll be there in about 20 minutes. I’ll stop by your room and walk you out to the car.”

    “Sounds good, thanks!”

    John makes his way to Lia’s room, and hits the doorbell, now a practiced sequence of events. Lia opens up the door and lets him in.

    “Wow, you look great! John says, surprised by the change in outfit.

    Lia types “I found this in the stuff I packed when I checked in. Sure beats pajamas or sweatpants for a first real date.”

    “Absolutely, it looks really nice. Ready to head out? I parked my car just outside.”

    “Cool, one sec.” Lia walks over to the nightstand, puts her phone in her pocket and grabs her prosthetic head. Hooking it onto her neck cap, she adjusts it into place securely and grabs her purse from the bed. She pulls out her phone and types “how do I look?“

    “You look great - by the way, I was curious about the prosthetic - is it based on what you looked like originally?”

    “Sorta? They said they used the dimensions of my original head, but the face is a mix between me and some random scans of women they borrowed from another study. Kinda shady but in the end it looks close-ish to how I used to, but different enough for people who knew me before to not recognize me right away. Helps keep my whole situation under wraps.         

    I wanted to get a few different ones l but this one wasn't exactly cheap. "

    "Anyway, let's bounce - the docs don’t know about this but to hell with them. As long as we’re back by the morning for my appointment it’s cool.” She grabs her cane from its spot against the wall and takes a step toward John.

    John takes her hand and leads her out to the parking lot. The lot is nearly empty, and is dark and quiet as John carefully leads Lia - trying to avoid any obstacles or rough spots. The summer air is calm and warm as they make the short trip over to the car.

    He says “Here we are, one sec.” as he opens up her door and guides her into the passenger’s seat, making sure she is clear of the door as he closes it. He heads around and sits in the driver’s seat. Lia’s body language seems to be projecting nervousness as they pull out of the parking lot, so John takes her hand. She squeezes it and he gently squeezes back.

    “It’ll be fine, this place is basically dead at this time of evening - I sometimes book a spot just to do the sauna and soak for a while, I’m kind of a regular. The staff know me and the guy who works the evening shift is cool.” John says as he drives.

    John pulls into the parking lot, a place located in a strip mall that’s otherwise closed down. He was right, only a couple cars are in the lot and there’s nobody around. “The check-in is basically automated, I’ll scan my phone at the kiosk and we can head to our room.” John heads around to the passenger door and helps Lia out, and they make their way across the lot, Lia holding on to John’s arm for guidance.

    The front waiting area is also empty, and John waves to the camera knowing the owner is probably in the back wrapping up for the day. There are relaxation rooms down one hallway, along with rooms for morning yoga classes.

    “I’ll scan us in, one second.” John pulls out his phone and puts the screen on the kiosk scanner. He gets a green light and the room number, and both of them head down the hallway. So far, so good he thinks as they head into the spa suite.

    The suite, while not very large, is well laid out and clean. John says to Lia “Ok, on your right is a massage table and shiatsu chair thing. Past that is the hot tub and sauna, which are small but I think we can squeeze in… On the left are the showers, clothes hooks and towels. I’ll set your bag over by the changing area. Where to first?”

    “I think massage chairs first - before we get soggy; then hot tub, sauna, then back to the tub.” Lia writes, handing the bag off to John and navigating over to the massage chairs. She yanks off her prosthetic head, and the cap comes with it. Holding it out toward John, he gets the message and sets it over with her bag. Lia sits down in the massage chair and quickly finds the control panel in the armrest.

    Before firing it up, she types “When this thing kicks in, I won’t be able to pick up your speech with my phone and feel the wrist bands translating it, so if you want to talk just grab my hand and spell it. Let’s see how this thing works.” She hits the button and the chair fires up. John takes his place in the other chair and turns it on, surprised by how powerful the thing is even when set to low.

    “This is really relaxing” Lia writes in John’s hand with some difficulty, and on the second try as everything in her world is wiggling rapidly.

    “Sorta, if this thing shakes me any harder I might liquify”

    “That’s the best part!”

    After about 15 minutes of being shaken, heated, prodded and pushed the chair’s cycle ends and Lia stands up, hooks her hands together and stretches her arms and shoulders. She grabs her phone and types “Goddamn that felt good, I need to get me one of these someday.”

    John’s chair turns off a few moments later and he stumbles to his feet. “That was relaxing; now I need to remember how my legs work again…”

    Lia’s phone speaks up, “Hey, can you point me to the changing rooms?” John leads her over to the door and hands her the gym bag. Lia pauses at the door and types, “No peeking, I want to keep you in suspense.”

    John fires up the sauna and hot tub bubble controls as Lia changes and hops into the shower to rinse off. A few moments later she exits the changing room, wearing the bikini and her splash-resistant cap, and holding a small waterproof bag. She slowly spins once in place to show off. John says “Nice! very nice.” He heads into the changing room, quickly throws on his swim shorts and rinses himself off in the shower.

    When he returns, Lia is in the hot tub soaking. She reaches into her pool bag and hits the button on her phone to read out text to speech.  It says, “I had to take off the bands on my wrists so the heat wouldn’t damage them, so from here on out it’s touch only.” She sets her phone back in her bag as John heads over. He carefully steps in, both from the heat and the lack of space to maneuver in the small tub. He slides in next to Lia, who wraps her arm around his back and moves in closer.

    She takes his hand and spells “This is nice. So warm.”

    John spells back “Yeah, really nice. I’m happy we could do this.”

    Lia reaches up with her other hand and removes her neck cap, setting it in the bag. She lifts up and shifts sideways, leaning in and nuzzling her neck stump against John’s chest. John looks down and sees into the slightly parted labia at the end of her neck, her steady and calm breath escaping from the hole in the front; her tongue folded down into the hole slightly behind. He tentatively kisses the top of her neck, and Lia responds by pushing in even closer, bringing John’s hand around to wrap around her waist. Lia shifts over again, carefully sitting in John’s lap. John kisses her neck again, and she responds by sliding her tongue out of its place in her esophagus. With Lia’s tongue out, she first uses the forked tip to grab onto his tongue mid kiss, pulling the tip of his tongue into her throat, the muscles squeezing and pulling it deeper. While his tongue is being pulled in by her throat, her tongue snakes into his mouth.

    Sitting in John’s lap, Lia feels him stiffening and starts to grind against his erection, her flexibility giving her the ability to do so while being bent rather drastically backwards in order to continue their version of making out.

    After an intense and unique make-out session, Lia grabs John’s free hand and spells “Take me to the massage table”, then gets off of John and turns around. John holds her hand and helps her out of the tub, then leads her over to the other side of the room, grabbing a towel while walking by. He throws the towel on the table as Lia whips off her swimsuit, throwing it nearby. She wraps her arms around John, then spells “You need to fuck me right now.”

    John quickly spells “Condom.”, which Lia quickly gives a thumbs up as John runs to the bag and grabs one.

    As Lia lays back on the table she kicks her legs out into the splits, then beyond. John moves in and lays his erection on top of her stomach - reaching surprisingly far up on her compact body as he rolls the rubber on. John pulls back and lines himself up.

    As he parts her lower lips, Lia takes a deep breath and holds out her hand. Seeing this, John puts his hand in hers and she quickly spells “Go slow”. John slowly pushes forward a bit at a time, taking small strokes and watching for signs of discomfort from Lia. When he finally reaches a full stroke Lia’s legs reach around and wrap around John and she takes the lead, pulling him in and letting him out with her legs.

    John leans forward slightly and grabs hold of Lia’s waist, using the leverage to pull himself even deeper and slamming forward harder every stroke. With her enhanced sensitivity, it’s not long before John feels Lia tense up and lose control, her legs shaking and body spasming in a powerful orgasm. He slows down the pace for a moment to give her a chance to ride it out, then traces on her stomach, “Keep going?” and her neck tilts forward and back.

    He starts again even more aggressively, reaching down and gently rubbing her clit while aggressively fucking her. John feels himself getting close, at the same time Lia seems to be reaching her peak, and he quickly spells “soon”. She gives a thumbs up, and she grabs hold of one of her nipples and squeezes. They both come at the same time, Lia’s pussy squeezing down as John’s cock starts pumping deep into her core. Lia’s body goes limp, her legs dropping from behind John and  hanging off the sides of the narrow table; her tongue hanging out of the end of her abbreviated neck. John puts his hand on Lia both to check if she is ok and to keep her from rolling off the massage table. After a few seconds, Lia awakens and clumsily takes John’s hand. She spells, “So good, phone?

    John pulls out and Lia tenses up and relaxes again, another wave of pleasure from the sudden exit. He brings back the phone and the wristbands after tossing the condom and hands them to Lia.

    Lia “Looks like I passed out a bit… I should probably explain lol. So yeah, remember how my brain is kinda all of my nerves now? There are a lot of nerves down there, so basically you just fucked my brains out a bit. How long was I out?”

    “Only for a few seconds, you were still breathing so I figured you’d be ok.” John says as he picks up Lia’s swimsuit off the floor and sets it by their stuff.

    “Absolutely, never better - it just takes me a second to restart the thinking bits. I sometimes get a little dumb when I’m using my toys, but this is the first real action I’ve gotten since the whole experiment thing… Anyway, I bet we are getting a little short on time for the sauna, so how about we clean up in the shower?”

    They head into the bathroom and have a mostly wholesome shower, taking turns in the water spray and getting themselves clean. They put their street clothes back on, grab their stuff, and head back to the car. John helps Lia back in, and fires up his car.

    “Did you have a good time?” John asks as they head out of the parking lot.

    “Hell yeah, I got to go out for once in a long time, hot tubbed, finally fucked my boyfriend, all in all I can’t complain!” Lia says, her phone speaking for her while John drives.

    “Boyfriend huh? I think it’s safe to say we’re an item - I want to keep seeing you, and want to make us official. Hopefully when you go public eventually I’ll be able to set my status to ‘In a relationship’.”

    “For now ‘it’s complicated’ will have to suffice lol” Lia says, poking John in the side.

    “I suppose so… Anyway, we’re pulling into the parking lot - I’ll make sure the coast is clear then bring you back to your room.” John says, finding a parking spot close to the building. He opens up his door, then says “I’ll be right back” then runs up to the building. He looks in the window, and around the lot to see if anyone is around. He texts Lia as he walks back that the coast is clear, then retrieves her from the car. They walk back, hand in hand to Lia’s room.

    “Lia, I’m so glad you came out tonight - I know it isn’t much but it's nice to mix it up a little. John says as they approach her room.

    “It was great, I think getting back into the world carefully is a good idea. Besides, you’re pretty good at planning fun on the sly…” Lia writes just before opening her door. She embraces John, who lifts gently up on the chin of her artificial head. Her prosthetic head comes off with little effort, and John moves in and kisses her goodnight.

    Lia takes her head back, takes a step back, waves goodnight, and gently closes the door.

    Lia sets her fake head on its spot on the nightstand, and puts her bag of wet clothing in the bathroom. She feels for the edge of her bed, then jumps in, flipping sideways onto her back and laying with arms and legs out like a starfish. If she was still able to, she would be smiling on the outside as well as on the inside.. She lays there for a while, thinking about the crazy trajectory her life has taken recently and the possibilities for the future.

    After a few minutes, she figures it’s time to check her email to see if any schoolwork or medical appointments have been added, so she fires up her laptop and logs in.

    Once home, John unpacks his stuff and preps for bed. While he’s throwing his wet clothes in the wash, his phone vibrates with a text from Lia.

    “Holy shit John the researchers are doing their big conference tomorrow morning and didn’t tell me until tonight. Assholes!”

    Ch6

    Waiting in a small room next to the lower floor of the lecture hall, Lia paces back and forth nervously while trying to listen to the presentation. While some of it is really advanced, most of the talk is basically explaining how this whole situation got so out of hand. The researchers are hoping to escape with their careers not totally destroyed after keeping this under wraps for so long. Her part is at the end, and she figures they’re planning on having her come out there to hopefully earn some sympathy from the crowd.

    She takes a seat in the corner of the small room, basically a closet to store extra chairs and A/V equipment.

    Pulling out her phone and navigating through her text editor, she debates making any last minute changes in her speech and decides against it - by the time she gets through the text with her phone slowly reading through every word it will likely be time to head out there anyway.

    She thinks to herself “I really should turn up the speed on this thing.”

    In the huge concrete bowl of a lecture hall, one of the senior researchers is at the podium, speaking into a microphone, although most of the crowd is in the front few rows.

    “…Patient’s paradoxical reaction to the treatment gave us pause, but the continued improvement of test scores created some doubts about the accuracy of our scan results…the test scores kept improving while all of our scans pointed to less neural activity taking place. We determined that the best course was to continue treatment and monitor for any delayed changes…”

    John, attempting to blend in as much as possible while sitting in the audience of mostly older people in lab coats with notepads, hears the story for the second time but with the gaps filled in. Most of it is way over his head, but the basic story is the same -  the docs wanted to help someone and their whole plan went off the rails. Hopefully they’ll be able to prepare the audience enough to make her debut a little less crazy, although who knows once the media gets a hold of it.

    The researcher continues, “Here’s the final MRI before we discovered the source of our confusion.” The slide changes to a cross section of what looks like a scan of Lia’s head. “It’s obvious at first glance that the course of neural degeneration has continued unabated, the loss of tissue and increased fluid volume is overwhelming - normally a patient with this level of damage would be on a ventilator, not walking around and passing high level writing and problem solving tests. Actually, her scores were steadily increasing…”

    The audience seems to be split between concern, confusion, and disbelief as they go deeper into the lecture, and he’s only just begun.

    “After making sure the scan results were correctly coming over from the machine and the scan was set correctly…

    The members of the audience who clearly know this stuff are leaning in closer to try to get a better look as the scan comes up, and they appear to be really shocked as the doctor continues.

    “…scanned to verify metabolic activity levels. Next slide please.”

    “Obviously we were scarcely able to believe it when we saw this. By all appearances the patient we had down the hall was dead, or at least completely brain dead. One of our team members commandeered the scan room and ran a scan on our patient’s whole body, and the next slide confirmed his suspicions.”

    A murmur moves through the crowd as the next slide comes up, the scan lit up with activity everywhere but the brain, and basically going off the scale with the amount of activity.

    “It appears that the trial drug did produce a result over the course of treatment, but the neural regrowth was redirected somehow…

    “…over time the new growth throughout the patient's body seemed to make up for the gradual loss in function and even caused an increase…”

    One of the crowd raises a hand, and the organizer quickly says “Please hold your questions to the end, we will have a follow-on question and answer session after the presentation.

    “…minimal effects on the patient’s personality and functionality are likely due to the long timeframe of treatment and the ongoing physical and cognitive therapy.”

    John tries to blend in, being the only person who clearly doesn’t belong, but his nervousness seems to be impossible to hide. Hopefully the audience is distracted enough.

    “Loss of cranial and optic nerve connectivity caused the sensory deficits to progress… “

    “…Although compensating well with assistive technologies, some of which the patient developed herself, the consequences of the degeneration eventually caused the onset of a series of massive infections. That brings us to the next phase of treatment. The patient didn’t report any issues until it progressed into advanced sepsis which was spreading rapidly…

    Some members in the crowd start whispering to each other, and others are writing furiously. John thinks he sees a camera pop up from one of the back rows for a moment.

    …started removing all affected tissue and were forced to a decision point. Next slide please.”

    The surgery photos are pretty rough, and the audience reacts in shocked silence. The audience, mostly composed of seasoned professionals, remains silent as they flip through the photos of the deconstruction of Lia, from a pretty but obviously unwell woman to a mass of bandages, tubes, and machines. The doc describes in great detail the grisly details.

    “Although this would appear to be a totally nonviable end result, Lia’s vitals returned to a normal range almost immediately after the surgery.” The doc catches himself, realizing he said her name instead of “the patient”, although it probably doesn’t matter once the information leaves the walls of the lecture hall.

    “Within two days the patient was progressing well, and returned to a normal routine within a week. She was fully healed and working through a therapy course a few weeks later.” The next slides are of the now greatly abbreviated Lia taking assisted steps around the room, trailing a cart full of machines behind her; then some photos from therapy.

    The agitated crowd’s background noise increases as they become even more unsettled and one of the audience stands up, saying “You expect us to believe that you gave a patient an untested drug, she survived brain death somehow, then you cut off her head and she’s healthy now? These bizarre photos and a couple fake scans aren’t going to cut it. Is this a shitty prank? I’m reporting this to the board, if only for wasting my time!”

    The crowd clearly agrees with the audience member, shaking their heads and murmuring amongst themselves. As the volume level increases, most begin to stand up and some head out of the lecture hall.

    The doc replies “I saved her life and found a completely new way to treat literally thousands of diseases! Don’t believe me? Ask her yourself! Lia, it’s time to show these folks the truth!” He stomps over to the side door and throws it open. Lia, sitting in the darkened corner of the room, startles at the door slamming; and the doc forces himself to calm down. “Sorry about all that, I think once they ask you a few questions they’ll relax a bit. I’ll try to keep the situation, and myself, under control. You’ll do great, I know it. Let’s go.”


    Lia stands up and hesitantly follows the doc into the basin of the lecture hall. As she steps out of the darkened side room, the audience takes a collective breath. A woman steps out of the darkened side room, who looks like any other business-casual wearing office person with a massive difference. She decided to not wear the fake head in order to get the message across as clearly as possible, her neck ending in one of her protective caps. The doctor leads her to the podium and she leans her cane against the heavy wooden structure of the lectern.

    Standing next to Lia, the doctor leans toward the microphone and clears his throat. “I suppose now is a good time for the Q and A. This is Lia, our patient.”

    Lia waves slightly at the stunned crowd.

    “She has been working to adapt and create her own assistive technology as part of her graduate studies, and has been cooperating well given the circumstances. I believe she prepared a small speech, then you can ask myself or her any questions afterward. Lia?”

    She takes her phone out and feels around for the aux cord. She plugs in her phone and hits play, and her synthesized voice fills the hall.

    “Hello everyone, I’m Lia. I prepared this ahead to save us time, as it would take me far too long to type it out in front of everyone.“

    “I started under the care of this team after finding out that I was destined to a future of a fast decline and a short life. The doctors thought there might be a way to help me, so having no other real choice I signed up. Obviously things got pretty strange along the way, as you can see, but with their help I have been able to continue my studies, perform some original research, and be the beta tester for my own assistive technologies. Although I lost a lot I gained much in the process, and am working toward gaining my life back as much as I can.

    I hope that everyone here can overlook any issues in this study, as the result is almost certainly going to change a lot of things in your community. Of course this bears further research - the possibilities are massive if this research is developed much farther and with better controls.

    I developed some assistive technology before the last of the surgeries to make up for lost hearing, and to give me back a voice; so as long as you speak one at a time and not too quickly I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Of course, please direct any medical questions to the docs as I am definitely not qualified to answer those.

    I’d be happy to speak one-on-one afterward as well if anyone wants to, especially if you have any projects I could help on. I’m also on the lookout for my next gig, so if any of you need to hire a software developer I’m just about to graduate. I’m sure these guys will give me a letter of recommendation - they seem to think I have a good head on my shoulders… well, sorta.”

    A few in the audience chuckle at the bad joke, and the audience now seems much less hostile. “Thanks for your time.”

    The audience seems hesitant, having just had their reality broken slightly and trying to process the fact that Lia is standing right there in front of them. One of the people in the audience raises his hand. The doctor points at him and says “Go ahead”.

    “Hi, Lia, right? I’m a neurologist, and I have around 15 questions I’ve thought of so far, but I’ll keep it limited to one for now. How is your memory? The presenter noted that you were largely unchanged, but I’m not sure how that’s really possible given the circumstances.”

    Lia takes a moment to think, picks her phone up again and starts typing. “I know I have lost some pieces of my past here and there, but overall I was able to keep most of it. I would guess that the memory exercises I was doing before all this probably helped move those memories to wherever they’re stored now, but at this point it’s anybody's guess.”

    Another person in the audience raises their hand. “Do you think your other senses compensated for the loss? If so, can you describe your experiences?”

    Lia responds, “Absolutely, I think my sense of touch has easily doubled. A good example is my balance, with no inner ears I have to feel the pressure on my body to tell which way down is. It took a little bit of training, but I get around pretty well now.”

    The questions continue on for a while, with almost everybody in the crowd wanting to ask something. The time runs out for the conference, and the presenters wrap up the event and hope they didn’t just annihilate their careers. A group follows Lia to the side hall for a more one-on-one chat. John hangs back to watch from a distance. He waits until most of the crowd has dispersed, many handing off business cards or exchanging contact info before leaving.

    John texts Lia, “Hey, that was really great, if a bit over my head on the technical details.”

    Lia responds, “It would be over mine too if I still had one lol. I think I got about 30 business cards just now, so you are going to need to help me with some data entry.”

    “Sounds good, my place or yours?”

    Lia replies “That’s a little complicated now, I have some bad news and some good news. Bad news: with the project ending I’m getting kicked out of my room at the clinic. Good news: I’m getting paid in a couple days for the whole thing, and it’s not a small amount of money. Like, live off it for a year or two and travel the world kind of money. Of course I’m lame so I’m going to invest most of it and take you out to an expensive dinner to celebrate, but I also have to pack my stuff and find a place to live.”

    John quickly responds, “You should stay at my place. Even if it’s just until you find somewhere else, I would be more than happy to have you stay with me.”

    “John, that’s amazing, but I don’t want to get in your way - are you sure? We’ve only known each other for a little while and that’s kind of a big leap.”

    John texts, “It’s not a problem, I would be glad to. If it doesn’t work I’ll help you find a nice place and we can try again later. I don’t want you to be stressed while you figure out your next move.”

    Lia replies, “Thank you so much, you’re the best!”

    John texts “So, want me to hang around your place while you wrap up?”

    Lia replies “Sure, that’s cool. Oh by the way, the door code is 4242.”

    John makes his way back to Lia’s room, checks that the coast is clear and heads inside. He takes a seat on the couch and idly scrolls through his phone. As he is working through his news feed, not really paying attention he nearly drops his phone. Photos of the conference have already hit the internet along with social media commentary - things like ‘Headless Girl Shocks Medical Researchers’ and ‘Has Science Gone Too far?’.

    John texts Lia “You aren’t going to believe this, but photos of you at the conference are already on the internet. I think you’re trending on social media…”

    Lia replies “Well shit, I guess I better hire an agent soon. I figured this would happen pretty quick. I guess if the job thing doesn’t work out I can always be an influencer… I better update my profile with a good headshot. Upper torso shot? I dunno.”

    After only a few minutes Lia enters the room, and sets her bag on the floor. She waves in the general direction of John, who heads over to meet her. He gently touches her hand, and she wraps him up in a huge hug. They head over to the couch and sit beside each other. Lia takes out her phone and starts excitedly typing, showing John the screen.

    “After the conference a lady came up and said that she is working on brain-computer interfaces. She thinks that I’ll be much easier to work with, what with the whole no drilling into someone’s head thing. She thinks that after I get plugged in, I’ll be able to connect to stuff like my phone which could really help. No promises, but they might be able to help me get some senses back. They also want me to jump in before stuff gets too crazy, so they want me in their office ASAP. Pretty sweet, huh?”

    John says “That’s really cool, as long as they’re legit that’s a great opportunity. What do they mean by ASAP?

    “They want me to check in tomorrow if possible, and I’ll have to be there for 4 days for the implant and calibration. They already got a bunch of data from the docs, apparently they were slipping info to them this whole time.” Lia types, her body language both nervous and excited.

    “I bet there are going to be a ton of folks trying to get a hold of you in the next couple days. It might make sense to lay low for a while and go for it before it gets too crazy. I'll miss you, but we can keep in touch pretty easy. We’ll have to celebrate afterward if it all works out.” John says.

    “Sweet, I’ll let her know we’re on board. I’ll have to pack, but I was starting to prep for the move and I only need like one suitcase to empty this place out. Want to help out?” Lia pulls out a pair of suitcases from her closet and they start packing.

    Late that evening Lia’s apartment is packed up into 2 suitcases, a duffle bag, a laptop case and a couple trash bags. While John is moving the bags Lia’s phone speaks up “Hey, there’s usually a cart in the closet next door, we can load this stuff up in it. You probably shouldn’t be lifting much and I can only really use one hand to carry stuff with my cane.”

    John says “Oh cool, I’ll check on it.” He leaves and comes back with a giant laundry cart, and carefully loads up all of Lia’s stuff. Before they leave, John asks “Do we need to check out or something? Also, don’t you usually wait until after the place closes before heading out?”

    Lia’s phone says “Naah, screw ‘em. I’m already in the news and they’ll be back in the morning to evict me anyways. It’s like ‘you can’t fire me, I quit’.”

    She grabs the last thing left to pack, her fake head, and tosses it on the top of the pile. “Hopefully I won’t need this thing anymore - I’m done hiding.”

    They both head out, Lia holding onto the back of John’s shirt as he wheels the huge cart out to his car. Although it’s the weekend, there are still a handful of people wandering the halls. Most of them are people from the conference, but the few people who are unawares react as expected. Some in disbelief or thinking it’s a prank, most confused, nearly all shocked.

    Lia doesn’t really care anymore, if they don’t find out now they would have eventually.


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    发表于 2022-3-6 18:15:01 | 显示全部楼层
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    源自
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch1-874035811
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch2-874075187
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch3-874374399
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch4-877459130
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch5-882005735
    https://www.deviantart.com/r7j65b/art/Project-Lia-Ch6-889929034
    六篇合一,翻译版有小作整修,下面会放原文供各位超级比一比XDD
    这篇的理论比我自己想的猎奇还酷XD

    ****
    译文


    Ch1


    约三个月前,当赫克穆准备骑自行车上班时,一辆面包车决定为他停下来是可选的,并将他送进了一个邮箱。股骨严重骨折,几个小时的手术后,他拄着拐杖走路到当地医院的治疗部门接受他的第一次医疗酷刑。如果没有其他小型货车或邮箱再次出现在他面前,他可能会再次骑自行车。

    由于数据中心的夜班工作时间很奇怪,他们唯一能找到的时间表是晚上10点,系统甚至没有列出。

    当他把车停到门诊大楼时,里面一片寂静漆黑。停车场的大门已经关闭,所以他最终把车停在了街道上更远的地方。虽然地址匹配且前门是开着的,所以他想如果他走错了地方,保安很可能会很快找到他并指出他正确的方向——一个拄着拐杖的困惑的家伙拿着一个装满文件的文件夹,是不太可能偷笔记本电脑或其他东西。

    他从文件夹里拿出大楼的地图,在一些非常黑暗的走廊里徘徊,直到找到唯一一家还开着灯的办公室,然后朝它走去。接待处有一扇面向走廊的窗户,她一看到他就精神焕发。

    “早上好!我是说,晚上好!”晚上10点,接待员非常高兴。

    “你好,我来对地方了吗?大楼其他地方的所有灯都熄灭了,停车门也不让我进去……”赫克穆说。

    “哦,我很抱歉!你应该在下班后得到一张门禁卡!我今天在你离开之前给你一张!”她的咖啡因可能有点过量。他回答说:“没问题—谢谢你的帮助。”

    “随时!还有你的理疗师会在几分钟后到,你可以在等候区坐下!”

    候诊室是一个设计得既舒适又热情的地方,有一些淡绿色的椅子和长凳。整个地方都弥漫着健身用具的味道,还带有些消毒水的味道。

    他一走进来,就注意到另一个人坐在远处角落的椅子上等待;一个女人静静地坐着,穿着连帽衫、灰色瑜伽裤和白色运动鞋。一根细细的白色手杖放在她旁边,还有一个健身包。

    为了避免寂静的尴尬,赫克穆开口说:“嘿,怎么样?”

    …没有响应,所以现在很尴尬——也许她戴着耳机?

    他瞥了一眼女孩,似乎有些不对劲——在她的运动衫罩上,戴着面罩和墨镜的情况下,他看不到她的大部分脸,但从她身上散发出一些神秘的氛围。

    在那里坐了10或15分钟后,门打开了,教练走了进来。她们都是20多岁的女性,她们的工作显然是保持身材。一个直接走向运动衫女孩(显然不是她第一次来访),另一个看着赫克穆说:“嗨,我是爱丽丝,接下来几周我将成为你的PT。你今天晚上好吗?”

    “我很好,到这里有点混乱,但我来得早,所以没问题。”

    另一位治疗师和神秘的健身伙伴拿出手机,疯狂地互相发短信,尽管他们之间的距离只有几英尺,这似乎有点奇怪。短暂的交流后,两人一起进了训练室的门,训练师扶着运动衫女孩,小心翼翼地拿起包抓起手杖,几乎没有用它导航,好像已经做过很多次了。

    爱丽丝把赫克穆带到训练室,那里有橡胶地板和各种看起来很奇怪的运动器材,还有更传统的重量、健身球和瑜伽附近的东西。她把他带到一组双杠旁,并解释了计划——非常简单,用杠铃来回走动,用杠铃做支撑,辅助深蹲,弓步等。在健身房的另一边,运动衫女孩正在做一些一种平衡练习,绕过障碍物,用她的手杖在居室里导航。

    完成这一系列任务后,赫克穆试图注意爱丽丝对在家要做的伸展运动和锻炼的简要介绍。

    “好的,我想你们第一天都准备好了——干得好。”爱丽丝说,因为赫克穆刚开始在辅助深蹲时遇到肌肉衰竭。

    “谢谢,没有我想像的那么糟糕,虽然我肯定是因为那次事故失去了很多力气。”在背景中,赫克穆注意到另一对也结束了,另一位教练给她沉默的健身房伙伴发短信。

    “如果你坚持下去并完成我们给你的功课,你可能会在几个月后回到手术前的状态,幸运的是你还年轻,所以你应该会恢复得很好。我们回候车室,我去拿你的作业包。”爱丽丝带着赫克穆走到候诊室,虽然他很想问问她关于神秘女孩的事情,但他也不想引起他人的保密问题,或者在第一天看起来像个怪人。

    在候诊室站了约一分钟后,爱丽丝带着要带回家的锻炼信息包回来了。爱丽丝说:“好吧,试着每天做这些,如果你开始感到酸痛,一定要冰敷你的腿——我们的日程安排非常紧张,所以我希望你能够跟上。”

    “谢谢,我会——几天后见!”

    当他正拐着走进走廊时,接待员几乎是跳到赫克穆面前,拿出一张钥匙卡说。“这是你下次进门的卡,第一天过得怎么样?”

    “一切都很顺利,但我敢打赌明天我会很痛。自从那次事故之后,我就没有做过这么多了。”赫克穆说。

    接待员回到她的柜台前:“是的,一定要好好休息-每个人都说第一次会议后的第二天很艰难。”

    两天后,他又把车开进诊所的停车场,摇下车窗,把门禁卡贴在门口的读卡器上。它发出哔哔声,门打开了,谢天谢地,这次让他停得更近了。他从车里出来,从乘客座位上抓起拐杖,让自己站起来。

    运动衫女孩又一次静静地坐在候诊室的角落里。赫克穆坐下后不久,她把手伸进包里,拿出一支钢笔和一个小记事本。她缓慢而仔细地写下一些东西,站起身来,转向他的大致方向。她故意靠近了几步,在大约6英尺外停下来,拿出记事本,将文字对着他。

    笔记上打的文字是:

    你好,我是莉雅。我不能说话,但你可以给我发短信。我的号码是242-555-2398。

    她将信息给赫克穆看了大约15秒钟,然后小心地转身走回她的座位。

    赫克穆掏出手机给她发短信,“嗨,我是赫克穆——怎么了?”当短信打到她的手机时,听起来她的手机正在快速嗡嗡作响,而且持续时间比人们预期的文本通知要长得多;另一个奇怪的事情要添加到列表中。

    她回复了,赫克穆更仔细地看了看她的手机。它看起来有点像老式黑莓,有一个真正的键盘,屏幕不大。

    “嘿,希望你的第一次会议不会太糟糕。”

    “情况并没有我想像的那么糟糕,但我仍然处于相当大的痛苦之中——那些女士们真是太残忍了。”

    “不开玩笑,他们每周让我通过他们自己的忍者战士计划三遍。

    这基本上是免费的健身房会员资格,当他们不想破坏我的整个身体时,他们非常酷……

    你必须经历我轻松的日子之一,只是导航和平衡工作。今天应该是有氧训练,但我想我可能需要等待。

    你有什么安排?”

    赫克穆回答:“我在星期一、星期三、星期五-我很高兴我周末不必来。”

    打字时她似乎有点紧张,但从居室对面和蓬松的连帽衫下很难看出来。“看起来我们的日程安排是一样的,他们有没有让你知道我也要去这里?”

    赫克穆短信“不,我刚出现。我的上班时间很鸟,所有上午的课程都满了,所以他们把我安排在一个奇怪的时间段。”

    “那你也是来训练视觉的吗?”她问。

    “不,我的腿摔得很厉害,不得不打钢板,现在我正在努力恢复走路时不用拐杖。从好的方面来说,我现在可以绕过机场金属探测器,而且我可以知道什么时候会下雨,哈哈”

    她现在似乎在恐慌中给别人发短信,不久之后,接待员从前门旁边的立方体办公室区域的后窗向赫克穆挥手致意。她有点疯狂地示意他过来,但这可能只是她的正常设置。他走到柜台前,问她“发生了什么事?

    接待员惊慌失措地吸了口气说:“嘿,莉雅有点害羞,我安排你和她在一起,但我认为她会很冷静,因为她有点孤独,而且她已经在这里待了几个月了,她只会在晚上出去,这很伤心,她认为她不能和这里的其他人一起做她的事,我告诉她你很可爱,但她认为你会吓坏了,她必须今天做有氧运动,但她不能带着她所有的东西,我希望你不要吓坏了,但她发生了一些疯狂的事情,但她非常聪明和有趣,所以保持冷静,不要逃离这里,但我想你真的不能跑,因为你摔断了腿,所以保持开放的心态,我会告诉莉雅我和你谈过,你看起来很酷,我不想惹麻烦,所以冷静点好吗?

    “什么。”

    她稍微吸了口气,镇定下来,然后说:“莉雅的病情很特殊,除了我们医院的人,她没有真正接触过任何人。她很孤独。我以为我可以做一些媒人工作,从我在你的信息中读到的你既书呆子又单身,所以我想你会相处并安排你参加她未列出的会议。对不起,我很奇怪,请不要告诉我,否则我会被解雇,那太可怕了,莉雅可能会惹上麻烦。”

    “好吧,我会尽量保持冷静——我为什么会害怕?除了视力有些问题外,她看起来还不错。”现在赫克穆既困惑又想弄清楚到底发生了什么。

    她说:“所以她完全失明,她可以通过手机上的应用程序听到声音,但她也必须与之交流,除非你能看懂手语。她可以用她的手机说话,但不喜欢,因为她说这很令人毛骨悚然。她会用手指拼写,但速度很慢,而且只能靠触摸。她过去几年过得非常艰难,但她也可能是我认识的最聪明的人-她编写了她在手机上使用的程序,并且在她被困在这时进行大量研究。我会让她知道你很酷,你知道发生了什么,剩下的就交给你们两个了。最坏的情况我可以尝试重新安排你。也别慌。”

    “谢谢,我还没有完全明白,但我不想搞砸你的整个情况,所以我会尽量保持开放的心态,我猜?。我仍然不确定我为什么会害怕,她似乎经历了很多,但我不知道为什么我会对此有异议。”

    她看着自己的手机,已经给莉雅发了短信,说“你应该和她聊天,她现在似乎不太可能想要杀我了。”

    “我会的。谢谢。”赫克穆说着转身坐下。

    莉雅给他发短信“那么我们的咖啡因过量的朋友有没有在莉雅的秘密项目中读过你?”

    “有点,她让我知道你因为听力和视力问题用手机说话,你正在做一些编程和研究。我对其他一些事情感到非常困惑。”

    “我有一个安排,他们让我留在这里做我的工作并接受持续的治疗,他们可以继续他们的研究。”

    “研究?”

    “我可能已经说得太多了,但这里的人真的无能为力,所以无论如何。

    我得了一种最终会要我命的疾病,这个地方想尝试一种实验性药物。

    它有点奏效,因为我的大脑不再变成粘液,但是他们搞砸了剂量,并且出现了一些疯狂的副作用。

    现在他们欠我一大笔钱,所以我可以免费住在这里并得到照顾,而且他们不会被起诉。

    如果一切顺利,我会以一种全新的方式来帮助人们,我会耐心等待,最后我可能会得到回报(或股票期权……)”

    “所以视觉和听觉的问题是药物的副作用?”赫克穆问。

    莉雅回答说:“不算是,我的视力和听力多年来一直在恶化,而且由于我的病情,我开始失去脑细胞。

    他们进行了实验性治疗,强迫我再生神经细胞,因此他们希望能够逆转这种影响。不过他们完全搞砸了这个过程,所以现在我成了一个怪异的鬼屋景点。”

    “你在我看来没那么怪啊,什么意思?”

    “无论如何我都得把这些东西拿下来才能锻炼,所以去吧,我就给你看。”

    她把连帽衫翻回来,很明显有什么不对劲的地方。她的皮肤似乎太有光泽和可塑性了。看起来她脖子上还戴着黑色塑料制成的项圈或厚项炼,这对于健身房来说是一个奇怪的选择。

    她在手机里输入了一些东西,我听到她的手机开始说话。当她把手伸向脖子上的黑色项圈时,困惑变成了恐慌,我听到了喀嗒声。她双手放在下巴下,抬起头顶,开始升起,露出那项圈其实是一顶黑色的塑料帽盖在她的脖子上,而她的头则是一个逼真的假头。

    帽子前面有一个洞,大概是为了呼吸,但这就是赫克穆试图同时站起来,抓住拐杖,走向门口,收起他的手机逃跑,而身体却无法同时完成所有这些。她的手机用标准的安卓语音大声说:“对不起,我说我是个怪胎。”

    在决定是逃离房间、找医生还是尝试保持冷静时,赫克穆意识到——她仍然是一个正在挣扎的人,值得一个机会,这…到底怎么可能?

    赫克穆一边大声说话、一边尽量保持冷静,并确保自己没有出现幻觉:“到底怎么回事?你怎么还没死?”

    很明显她听到了他的声音,因为她的肢体语言放松了一点,她的电话对赫克穆说:“我告诉过你我与众不同。有一种病正在摧毁我的大脑,他们给我的药物让我的脑细胞再生,只是不在我的头中。”她伸出她的假头说:“检查一下”

    赫克穆站起身来,试探性地靠近她几步,现在稍微放松了一点,仔细看看她的假肢。它非常有说服力,但近距离观察它显然是由硅胶和塑料制成的。

    她的手机放出语音:“它很重,所以我讨厌戴它,而且我不能带着它跑步,所以我必须在有氧运动日取下它。”

    赫克穆发了通短信:“哇,我很抱歉——这一定很艰难。”

    “可能是这样,我当然有我的好日子和坏日子,但我们都必须打自己的仗,你知道吗?”她打开她的包,把头藏在里面,拉上拉炼。

    做完这一切之后,训练员打开了训练区的大门,尽管赫克穆仍然处于震惊和难以置信的状态,但他仍试图表现得冷静。

    爱丽丝问:“所以你知道莉雅吗?你一直都知道吗?”她显然参与其中,而赫克穆撒谎说他已经知道了,用他能挤出的最不惊慌的声音。

    莉雅导航到设置跑步机的角落,放下她的健身包。她做了几个快速的伸展运动,然后脱下她的连帽衫。当赫克穆在训练室的另一边为他的锻炼做准备时,他终于看到她没有假肢和衣服,同时被吸引、印象深刻和不安。虽说是绝美绝伦,但动作似乎有些不自然,而脑袋的缺失,也是他需要一段时间才能消化的东西。她跳上跑步机,慢慢开始,随着她习惯了节奏,调整了方向并加快了速度。

    赫克穆完成了他的锻炼动作,并增加了几次重复和几个练习,整个时间都被莉雅高度分心,并试图让他看起来不像。当莉雅前往瑜伽区并通过一系列伸展动作时,保持专注变得更加困难-她非常灵活,而且没有头部使她的动作看起来既陌生又非常有趣。赫克穆发现自己越来越不害怕,越来越好奇,随着训练结束,他走向候诊室把门打开,让其他人通过。莉雅的教练留下来清理健身房并关闭。

    “谢谢爱丽丝,锻炼很棒。不过你说的酸痛是对的——我昨天摔得很惨。赫克穆说着,莉雅选了一个座位,打开了她的健身包。

    “你看起来很快就会恢复,以良好的健康水平受伤肯定会有所帮助。”爱丽丝一边说,一边打开她的健身包,取回她的假肢。她将人工头抬到合适的位置,然后将其推到她的颈帽上,试探性地前后晃动一下,看看它是否被夹住了。在这个过程中她的头发稍微翻转了一下,然后她重新整理了它的方式。

    赫克穆也准备离开,然后说:“嘿,莉雅,今天锻炼不错-周五见!如果您想稍后聊天,请给我发短信”

    莉雅向他竖起大拇指,并向他签了名。然后她抓住了自己,只是向他挥手致意。

    赫克穆回到他的车里,仍然有点困惑和茫然,但现在他可能会认识一个真正独一无二的人,尽管可能会有很多挑战,但他很想看看这会走向何方。

    Ch2


    赫克穆回到他的公寓,一个小但功能齐全的地方,离诊所不远。他小心地倒在沙发上查看手机。没有紧急情况或工作故障单,但有来自莉雅的新短信。

    “嘿,我很高兴你今天没有跳出窗外。我已经习惯了与我互动的人的糟糕第一反应,因此不必解释所有内容并尝试先做一些准备工作,这令人耳目一新。无论如何,它永远不会奏效,人们会做他们该做的事。”

    “我得承认一开始我有吓到,接待员试图警告我,但她说太快了我没听懂。我更困惑的是,你这样是怎么活着——我以为你是某种机器人或什么,哈哈。”

    莉雅回答:“哈!如果我是个机器人,我就不需要锻炼了——至少我认为机器人就是这样工作的……我去学校是为了编程而不是机器人技术”

    “如果你不想谈论它,我不想问太多令人不舒服的问题,但我有很多这样的问题。”

    莉雅回复:“让我们从头开始——不是双关语……我在大三的时候被诊断出听力下降,所以我不得不学习一些手语。毕业后我试图找份工作,但那时我的视力也开始衰退、记住事情也变得越来越难,我开始失去协调性。我的一位朋友发现了这个地方和药物试验。我认为在损坏变得太严重之前已经没有多少时间了,所以注册了。一旦我被录取,他们就进行了大量的扫描、智商测试、面试和作品,由于身体已经很糟糕,所以做了一些调整。

    在接下来的几个月里,我接受了大量的药物注射,每次他们都说我的记忆力和协调性越来越好,但我的感官并没有真正改善。在所有疯狂之前的最后一轮大测试之后,他们发现我的头部和面部开始失去知觉。我很可能很快就无法在没有帮助的情况下进食。我认为他们变得非常沮丧,所以他们给我安排了MRI、CT、PET、EMG、MEG,基本上是他们可以找到空闲时间进行的所有昂贵测试,试图弄清楚到底发生了什么。

    在报告出炉后,他们差点疯掉。我的大脑基本上没有了,根本没有在活动。我处于未知领域——根据他们所有的学识表示,我已经脑死了,我怎么还在四处走动(有点,我的平衡很糟糕)并通过了他们的所有测试?显然,由于没有大脑,头部对血流的需求也低了很多,所以他们担心在这个过程中,随着动脉开始收缩,其他任何事情都会破裂。

    一旦他们发现了这一点,并停止恐慌后,他们以相同的结果重新运行测试。其中一位医生想再次进行PET扫描,但对我的整个身体进行扫描,虽然我有点受够了受到辐射,但我还是同意了。

    他们发现了他们正在寻找的大脑活动,只是已经散布到任何地方——我的整个身体都有均匀的神经元涂抹,我的脊髓基本上变成了一条的大脑。他们没有看到我脖子上方发生任何事情,所以这解释了我的脸变得麻木-面部神经基本上与其余部分一起消失了。

    这就是我还在这里的部分原因——他们付给我一大笔钱让我成为一只白老鼠,我也可能能够帮助他们最终用这些数据挽救生命。”

    赫克穆回答:“所以在那之后一定发生了其他事情,介意我问一下吗?”

    几分钟后,莉雅回了一条短信:“抱歉,我最近没有去想它-很重的东西。随着疾病曼延,我开始全职住院,我的朋友们几乎不再来访——我想他们被我的外表吓坏了。显然,我看起来像一具行尸走肉,这使我成为了一件非常令人信服的万圣节服装(我扮成僵尸护士,哈哈)。

    到那个时候,我觉得我的头不再是我的一部分了。它基本上没有功能;我仍然可以使用我的下巴和舌头,这样我就可以养活自己了,但万圣节过后,我开始感觉很糟糕,以为自己得了流感或重感冒。

    当他们检查我时,他们发现我头壳里的某个地方有一个非常严重的感染,缺乏感觉、血液流动不良和我试图逞强,导致它传播得非常远。他们不得不打开我的头四处探查以试图清除感染,但他们发现它进展得非常快。我眼睛都喷了,头壳基本上到处都是感染并试图向下曼延。他们很快就想出了一个非常激进的计划,让我有机会活下来。他们移除了我的头骨和C3椎骨上方的几乎所有东西,移动了一堆东西,尽可能地重整我的脖子。

    我醒来时矮了7英寸(这很糟糕,因为我已经很矮了),轻了10磅,并且从我的腋窝开始包扎起来。他们给我注射了另一剂他们的咒药,希望能抵消他们在手术过程中造成的任何伤害。副作用是我的触觉变得更加强烈。我无头的在病床上醒来,感觉就像被狂喜制成的公交撞了一样,这真令人迷惑。”

    “另一方面,你不会相信丝绸床单现在感觉有多好-我强烈推荐”

    赫克穆发短信:“哇,这对一个人来说真是太糟糕了。我会记住床单的事情,哈哈……所以你怎么能听到我说的话并阅读这些信息?”

    “在我完全失去知觉之前,我破解了我戴在手腕上的智能手表,并编写了一个程序,该程序将尝试进行语音识别并在我的手机上接收我的文本,然后将其转换为我能感觉到的振动。这基本上是个摩斯代码。如果不行,我也可以做手语或手指拼写,如果我们有机会出去玩,我可以教你。我会教你一些手语脏话,它们非常有趣。”

    “所以你住在医院?这对其他患者有什么影响?”赫克穆感到不安,站起来在他的公寓周围踱步,拿起一些东西,准备好他的东西以备工作。

    他的手机响了。“我有个居室,大多数员工都被锁在外面。只要我与研究人员预约,我基本上就可以在那里做我想做的任何事情。当我不做功课时,我会在居室里做一些瑜伽,有时还会给我几个朋友发短信。我真的很晚才出去,偶尔在医院的场地上闲逛。不过我真的走不远,如果我迷路了,我就得打电话求助了。

    “哦,你在上学吗?这真的很酷-你在学习什么?我正在做一些认证——我在数据中心工作,架着服务器,拉电缆的速度很快。而且我真的不能用断腿来做,所以我一直在学习很多。”

    莉雅回答说:“虽然我的工作比大多数人慢很多,但我有很多时间来做我的生物医学工程领域硕士论文,我正在考虑出售我一直在研究的辅助技术。”

    “很好,等你做大了,我会尝试进入IPO……”

    莉雅发短信:“不,我可能会做一个SPAC,所以我不必老实说我有多破产,哈哈。”

    赫克穆这次收到一条带有附件的文本:“这是我的设置-我认为相机指向正确的方向,但这可能很不稳定。”所附照片显示了最初作为标准病房的情况,经过大规模升级-移除了大部分医疗设备,增加了一张额外的沙发,一张为一台漂亮的电脑安装的桌子,许多毛绒动物堆积了其中一个沙发。

    “这很酷,我也挖了毛绒玩具堆。”

    “我一直从好心人那里得到那些,有时当一大堆他们出现在病房时,我也会骗一些。当你心情不好的时候,把它们压扁很有趣。”

    在照片的一角,赫克穆注意到了边桌,她的假头就坐在上面,有人希望看到一盏灯。“那他们是怎么想出假头的?那看起来像是一个相当高科技的复制品。”

    “假肢匠人真的很好,并且拥有各种很酷的技术。他们3D打印了支撑结构,在其周围浇注了一些硅胶,并将其涂装的很逼真。医生付钱给他们,并告诉他们这是为他们中的一个人正在建造的鬼屋准备的。锁在里面的帽子内置了一些磁铁,我可以通过这个帽子上的孔通过鼻子和嘴巴呼吸。我还有其他帽子,用于淋浴之类的东西,底部边缘有通风孔,这样我就不会淹死。我正在考虑一个游泳用的,但我还没有开始设计”

    “哦,所以帽子是穿脱型的?说得通。”当赫克穆读到最后一条消息时,莉雅开始了影音通话。她坐在电脑前,开着镜头,一边挥手一边在聊天中打字:“你能看到我吗?

    赫克穆透过镜头看到莉雅穿着素色T恤坐在他对面。她那件运动文胸肯定承受了很大的挤压力,显然她的胸部很有天赋。这并没有完全分散他对更明显特征的注意力,她的颈帽就在前面和中间。她的脖子看起来特别长。赫克穆输入“是的,我能看到你——你看起来很棒。”

    莉雅打字:“我敢打赌你一定很好奇我在下面的样子”她指着帽子。“我认为当医生让我重新组合时,他们可能玩得太开心了——不过这是个好设计…”

    她微微倾身,抓住帽子把它举起来让开,赫克穆很快就明白她在说什么。她的脖子顶部看起来很像另一个比较开的阴户,她的气管在褶皱下方靠前处开孔。在它后面,赫克穆看到一个粉红色的肿块,从某个地方滑出并向上向外扩展。

    “天哪,他们留住了你的舌头”,当她像触手一样将它从喉咙里滑出时,他打字道。

    “是的,他们把它移到我的脊椎上,看看我是否还能用它——我把它贴在我的喉咙里,以防止它挡住气管,也防止喉咙变乾。它有够长,”

    她打字,因为它的全长映入眼帘,完全盖住了她的脖子缝,稍微悬在后面,如果它没有在长度的一半处分成两半,它就会盖住前面的洞。

    “我让他们把它分开,所以我可以用它来抓东西——这样我仍然可以吃一些食物。我觉得当我吃优格或冰淇淋的时候真的很烦医生,所以我只要我能笑就去做”

    “我想亲眼看看,”赫克穆打字。

    “我也能把冰棒搞得一团糟,暗示提示……”

    莉雅开始用一只手打字,并在另一只手移到她的脖子上时倾身,舔她的手指,用她的舌头将它们缠绕在一起,然后用拇指捏住她的舌头。“我被困在这里这么久了,没有约会也没有行动,我的朋友把我和一个认为我仍然很性感的帅哥勾搭上了?如果你今晚过来,我亲自带你去看。

    我在东翼一楼1180居室。按门旁边的呼叫按钮。”

    “我20点到。”赫克穆挂断电话。

    Ch3


    赫克穆冲过他的公寓,脑子里想着即将发生的事情。他挥了挥手,抓住了他认为必要的任何东西。他大声对自己说:“明天的工作服,也许吧——我会把它放在车里以防万一。”

    他把旅行用的浴室用品包在一堆衣服里,抓起他的工作证,把它全部扔进一个健身包,然后走向他的车。当他走出公寓时,他注意到即使只锻炼了几次,他的腿就开始放松了,尽管它仍然很虚弱。

    开车过去充满了兴奋和期待,既想像着可能会发生的事情,又不想完全搞砸一切。他在脑子里打了个电话,确保自己没有读得太深——尽管他认为她看起来很直接。

    他进入停车场,停车并决定将大部分包留在乘客座位上,从浴室包中抓起几个避孕套,以防万一将它们塞进裤子口袋。

    康复诊所现在已经完全黑了,连清洁工都离开了。他试了试前门,门被锁得严严实实。不过,他注意到门框角落里有一盏小红灯,将门禁卡放在读卡器上。

    赫克穆小声对自己说:“我猜值得一试……”电子锁的哔哔声让他进入了空荡荡的大楼。他走进大厅几步,看了一眼地图,找到了东翼,朝那边走去。

    赫克穆在走廊里无声的漫步,他想知道是否有任何安全系统需要担心或警卫试图向他解释,但他毫无问题地到达了正确的位置。

    居室有一个标有“电器柜”的标志,一侧有一个工业门铃按钮。他按下按钮,等待响应,期待、紧张和兴奋更加高涨。

    门打开,他看到莉雅,没有戴假肢或帽子,穿着和之前一样的T恤和一条睡衣短裤。她的外表甚至更引人注目——由于身高下降,她几乎与他的胸口同高,尽管脖子残肢还没揭开,但她的舌头却被隐藏了起来。他可以看到她脖子周围有一些轻微的疤痕,在那医生们尽可能地将所有东西重新组合在一起——看起来他们做得很好。

    她走过去抓住他的手,他迅速将两个拐杖移到另一只手上,这样她就可以把他带进居室。她默默地拉着他,小心翼翼地把他带到居室中央。他在照片和视频中看到的这个空间并没有任何惊喜,唯一的额外项目是一个非常好的无障碍淋浴间和浴室。

    莉雅把赫克穆翻过来,轻轻地把他移到她和床之间的站立位置。她拥抱他,深呼吸并用脚趾站起来。她的舌头溜出来,碰到了他脖子一侧的一个点,她最接近的一个吻。

    她后退半步,将手放在他的胸口,摆出一个更有统治力的姿势,推着他的胸口,迫使他向后倒在床上。

    两件事大致同时发生:

    赫克穆意识到他的腿几乎没有足够的力量、柔韧性或抗冲击性来应对摔倒在床上。

    当他跌倒时,他一只手握著的拐杖被夹在腋窝中,重力、惯性和杠杆作用的组合接管了他。

    倒下时,赫克穆有足够的时间说“Woooaaah”,因为其中一个拐杖的尖端钩在莉雅的腿上,目前处于一个凉爽但不是特别稳定的姿势并将她的脚抬离地面。

    赫克穆重重地撞在床上,腿上的疼痛几乎传遍了全身,让他大叫:“哦,该死!”当莉雅开始旋转时,动量和她的平衡使她翻倒。她侧身向后翻身,滚进床边附近的瑜伽区。

    她首先降落在瑜伽球和一堆随机弹力带和泡沫块之间的卷起的柔软垫子上。

    赫克穆虽然被腿上的剧痛分散了注意力,但还是有足够的力气从床上的位置抬起头,看看莉雅是否还好。虽然她看起来没有受伤,但他问:“你还好吗?”

    她将拇指放在空中,然后指着他并做出OK符号。赫克穆说:“是的,我很好。不过那可能有点太咄咄逼人了”他自言自语地笑了笑,然后又低下了头。

    她在口袋里找到手机,从瑜伽垫上探出身子,上面写着“我想我可能撞到了头……等等,没关系。”

    赫克穆看向边桌,“实际上,我想我可能撞到了你的头。我在桌子上再也看不到它了……”

    她扑倒在垫子上,似乎在笑……

    片刻之后,一旦他们从系统中摆脱了这个可怕的笑话,赫克穆从地板上拿起拐杖,靠在床头柜旁的墙上。莉雅走过去摸索着自己的假头,很快就找到了它,把它放回床头柜上,一边整理假发,掸去灰尘。

    莉雅在赫克穆旁边的床上坐下,用她的手机打字:“对不起,我想我可能有点过于雄心勃勃了。不过看起来会很酷……”

    赫克穆说:“考虑到所有因素,这非常酷——你成功地向后单腿翻腾,并且在这个过程中没有受伤。”当赫克穆说话时,他注意到莉雅的智能手表开始运转,将他的讲话转换为振动并将对话转录到她的手机上。

    她感觉到这些话时微微停顿了一下,然后输入:“我将不得不教你一些触觉标志,它比这个电话快一点。我们是这样的书呆子,即使我们坐在彼此旁边,也会互相发短信;)“

    “为什么不现在开始?”赫克穆问。

    莉雅键入:“最简单的方法是描摹,您只需在对方的手掌上画出字母即可。我会给你看。”

    莉雅微微侧过身去,伸手去拿住赫克穆的手。他将手掌放在她的手掌上,用食指开始描绘字母。当她从字母表的前几个字母开始时,赫克穆还很容易懂。

    在赫克穆看到字母I后,莉雅停下来拿起她的手机。她输入:“现在进入高级模式”。

    她再次握住他的手,在赫克穆试图拼凑单词时追踪。

    “赫克穆,对吧?”莉雅点点头。

    “莉雅。”又是一个正确答案。

    “灯,当然。”莉雅向他竖起大拇指。

    莉雅犹豫了片刻,然后又开始了。

    “吻?”赫克穆猜测着,莉雅侧身向赫克穆靠过去,靠近赫克穆。

    他走进来,脸靠近她脖子的末端。他试探性地吻了吻她的脖颈,不确定这是不是她的意图。她把手放在他的脑后,把他拉得越来越近,越来越低。她的舌头从它藏身的地方轻轻伸出,用它的叉状尖端抓住了他的嘴唇。

    吻迅速变成介于深吻和舔阴之间的东西,她的舌头进入他的嘴里,挑逗着他的舌头,用分裂的尖端抓住它。赫克穆用舌头和嘴唇小心地探查着她的脖子。

    莉雅向后退了一点,抓住了他的手。她连忙在他掌心拼出:

    “拿”“离开”“您的”“裤子”

    赫克穆很快就服从了,尽可能快地脱掉裤子和鞋子。莉雅从床上滑下来,跪在他的腿前。她抓起他的平角短裤将它们滑下来,赫克穆将它们从脚底弹开。

    莉雅摸索着他的腿,直到找到他的勃起,用手感受它的大小。她的手轻轻地上下滑动,慢慢加快了步伐。她把自己的身体靠得更近一些,将一只手移开,不再照顾赫克穆并抓住他的大腿。她拉近了与赫克穆直立肢体的距离,她的舌头开始沿着它的长度舔舐。裂开的舌尖轻弹,逗弄着赫克穆的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理),他的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理)不时地绕着一圈,他说:“天哪,这太不可思议了。”

    莉雅一边想着“你还什么都没看到”,一边抓住赫克穆的轴状物,将尖端引导到她的脖子上。尖端消失在她的喉咙里,因为她的舌头环绕并在轴周围形成一个环。她向前倾身,稳步地将他的那根推入喉咙深处,并用舌头轻轻地敲击着它。她触底反弹,迅速深入了解整件事。

    “天哪,”赫克穆说,莉雅的舌头绕在他的轴的侧面,绕到他的球袋顶部的一半,轻轻挤压,让他发出一声呻吟。当他开始随着她的动作轻轻地插入时,她用她的上半身和脖子锻炼他的长度。莉雅似乎也很享受,呼吸越来越急促。

    他坚持不了多久,她的技术完全超越了他所经历过的任何事情(或其他任何人,就此而言)。“莉雅,我很快就要(违规用词,请立即整改,禁止带有成人属性)了。”他说,因为莉雅给了他OK符号,并加快了她的步伐。

    当她用胳膊搂住他的腰,把他一直拉到基地时,他松开了她的喉咙。当他把她的喉咙抽到她的喉咙时,她被刺穿在他的轴上,莉雅有节奏地吞咽。她向后移动,将他的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理)从深处滑出。她向后倾斜成直立的跪姿,她的舌头在脖子上快速扫过,以捕捉任何乱七八糟的东西。她的舌头滑回它的藏身之处,她坐回床上,打开边桌,递给赫克穆一张纸巾,让他擦干净。

    “莉雅,你真是个性方面的超级英雄。”赫克穆说,他屏住呼吸,从她手中接过纸巾。

    赫克穆打扫时,莉雅在手机上打字。“我不确定我能不能做到——不过很疯狂,对吧?”

    “他妈的太棒了——你会让其他女孩嫉妒”赫克穆说。

    “他们应该是,我他妈的很棒。也很谦虚。”莉雅一边打字,一边用脚在地板上滑动,找到了赫克穆丢弃的短裤。找到后,她用脚趾抓住并抬起它递给赫克穆。

    “嘿,我知道上屋顶的方法。我以前在那里看星星,想呼吸新鲜空气吗?”莉雅打字,赫克穆重新穿上他的内裤,小心地站起来。

    “当然,我很乐意。”赫克穆说,莉雅在边桌上捞着颈帽和假头。

    “你应该把那些东西留在这里,我想看看真正的你。再说了,这里没人,何乐而不为呢?”赫克穆说,莉雅犹豫着,她的手悬在帽子附近。

    莉雅将手指放在原本应该放在下巴的位置上,做出沉思的手势,然后站起身来搂住赫克穆。当他发出像一只惊讶的牛蛙一样的声音时,她把他从他的身体里挤出来。

    当莉雅抓起她的手杖时,赫克穆穿上裤子,他们两人走出门,莉雅领头,几乎不使用她的手杖在一条人迹罕至的小路上导航。她打开一扇标有“请勿进入”的门,然后带赫克穆走上一段楼梯到一扇门。

    屋顶巨大、平坦、开放,可以欣赏到城镇的美景和天空的美景。靠近屋顶的尽头是一条长凳——显然该区域并非完全未使用。莉雅和赫克穆坐在天空下,呼吸初夏的空气。一开始他们沉默地坐着,彼此依偎在一起,享受着陪伴。

    莉雅在她的手机里打字:“我很高兴那个疯狂的女士把我们联系起来——我从没想过我会在这一切之后回到游戏中。”

    “我很高兴认识你—你很棒。嘿,如果你不忙,这个星期六要好好约会吗?”

    “我不确定这会如何运作……我真的不再出去了。”莉雅懒散地打字,肩膀微微下垂。

    “我有个计划……不过不必现在就决定,我会等,如果你愿意,可以给我发短信。如果没有,我周五还是会在健身房见你,”赫克穆说,莉雅拉着他的手。

    当她靠在他的肩膀上时,她对着赫克穆的手拼出“谢谢”。

    Ch4


    被夏天的空气温暖了,赫克穆和莉雅在屋顶上享受彼此的陪伴。当赫克穆坐在那条无情的长凳上开始感到背部疼痛时,他会查看手机查看时间。意识到已经很晚了,他说:“嘿莉雅,已经很晚了——我得在上班前睡一觉。”

    “莉雅,目前坐在赫克穆旁边,靠在他的肩膀上,双臂搂着他的腹部,挤压着他。她摸到他的手,“是的”

    赫克穆和莉雅回到楼下。莉雅打开她的门,在门口转身。在他们返回的路上,她一定是按下了发送她准备好的短信,因为就在她转身之前,赫克穆的手机亮了。它说:

    “赫克穆,今晚真的很棒。我很期待我们的约会,但我也有点害怕……我期待着周五在健身房见到你。<3”

    莉雅给了赫克穆几秒钟的时间来阅读信息,然后将她的手臂弯曲到他的下方并给了他一个拥抱。赫克穆在莉雅的脖子上吻了一下,说:“谢谢今晚,我会想念你的。”

    那天下午晚些时候,赫克穆上班时已经筋疲力尽了。深夜已经付出了代价,他的睡眠并不是特别好。他安顿下来,开始专注于他的工作日;快速扫描未解决的问题,检查他的请求和票证,登录各种管理系统。

    他的手机响了,他从口袋里掏出——这是莉雅的新短信。他解锁并看了看。

    “所以我在考虑我们周六的约会,我真的很担心……我需要知道你在计划什么,然后才能决定我是否可以做到。我不想在公共场合被抓到——如果我在整件事结束之前把它变成新闻,我会遇到很大的麻烦。

    赫克穆回答说:“这很公平,我希望你能够玩得开心,而不是担心,所以我会破坏惊喜。我想我找到了一个应该很有趣和压力小的地方。

    我在私人水疗租赁场所的最后一次会议中为我们预订了晚上。他们有热水浴缸、桑拿、按摩椅、冷泡池和冰沙机。

    最好的部分是这一切都是我们的,三个小时没有中断。我们应该可以毫无问题地办理登机手续,这一切都是通过我的手机完成的。想法?”

    “有趣…我想我在船上!我会记得带上我的泳衣。虽然传统桑拿是裸体的;)”

    赫克穆现在完全被脑海中的图象分散了注意力,试图完成一些工作。大约30分钟后,他的手机再次响起——这次是在信息中附上了一张照片。

    “嘿,我的锻炼结束了,我想在你被困在工作中时我应该再折磨你一点。我有没有提到我很灵活?”照片是莉雅在她居室的瑜伽区中间,中间姿势。她躺在胸前,双腿向后弯曲,膝盖弯曲,脚后跟钩在肩膀上。伸出一只手臂,拿着她的手机。另一只手和手指正在戏弄自己的脖子残肢,将一侧舌头轻轻拉向另一侧,一根指尖插入她的喉咙。

    “哇,莉雅,真的好热。绝对不安全的工作虽然大声笑。我之前很累,但这确实把我吵醒了。”

    “或者至少唤醒了你的一部分,哈哈。说到这里,你可能应该警告我你在那里装了一些强大的火力——我想你昨晚他妈的差点用那东西刺死我。我将需要订购一些更大的玩具……无论如何,在我做一些功课的同时考虑一下。回家后给我发短信<3”

    赫克穆开始了一个在线课程,并试图保持专注,但是,连同其他事情,现在有点困难。

    赫克穆在没有太多戏剧性的情况下完成了工作日,他在力所能及的地方提供帮助并努力学习一些新技能。他开始考虑他的下一个职业转变,从一名拉线员和服务器骑师,到更先进、更不体力的工作。

    回到家后,他给莉雅发了一条简短的短信,“嘿,我回家准备晚餐了。我期待着再次见到你,即使我要付出代价才能被殴打……”

    “虽然你被殴打是有原因的,但你很快就可以放弃那些拐杖了。”

    “这是真的哈哈。说到拐杖,我打算明天只用一根。我已经厌倦了永远无法解放双手,而且我已经变得更强壮了。”赫克穆在从冰箱里取出一些剩菜和打开微波炉之间回答。

    “好的!这是一些重大的进步!”莉雅回答。

    “谢谢!你之前提到过功课,论文怎么样了?”

    “我的项目的标题是:通过移动设备语音识别和触觉编码促进非语言自适应通信。显然标题越长论文越好,所以我转向看台……实际上我将在下周左右对它进行最后的润色。我希望当研究人员准备好向全世界展示我的论文时,我的论文就准备好了,这样我就可以在随后的关注浪潮中乘风破浪。”

    赫克穆回答说:“这真的很酷——你知道整个揭露是如何运作的吗?”

    “我最近发现了计划会是什么,但接下来的部分可能会变得很奇怪。他们对允许参加会议的人非常严格,所以我希望这会有所帮助。听起来前端需要很多技术性的东西来为观众做准备,然后谈论我和我的案例,然后我会展示自己并回答问题。我认为即使它爆炸了并且我成为新闻,它可能会减少当我在公共场合时害怕的人数。如果我幸运的话,观众中会有一些人想要购买我的作品或让我参与其他人的研究项目。”

    赫克穆吃完晚饭,然后回答说:“我迫不及待地想在公共场合和你出去,即使人们有时很痛苦。如果有人很奇怪,我将能够提供帮助——我会针对愚蠢的问题做出一些尖刻的回答……”

    莉雅发短信说:“哈!一旦我把这篇可怕的论文弄掉,我也会想一些。说到这里,我还是回过头来吧。我必须提前赶上周六才能有时间出去。明天健身房见。<3。”

    第二天,赫克穆穿过关闭的诊所的门回到现在熟悉的物理治疗办公室。接待员在她平常的岗位上,仍然像往常一样受到过度刺激。

    当她向他打招呼时,她用一种试图保持安静但仍然大喊大叫的声音。“赫克穆,最近怎么样?莉雅告诉我你们两个真的很合拍,周末还有秘密的乐趣!别担心,我不会问的——你的秘密是安全的。”

    “进展顺利!我们将在周六晚上进行半秘密约会,我很高兴她能同意。”赫克穆说。

    “太好了,莉雅有段时间没出门了,还好你过来把她拖出来。”当她开始准备PT会议时。她取下假头并将其藏在包里,然后脱下她穿的轻薄夹克,露出紫色的运动文胸。她站起来开始做一些初步的伸展运动。

    赫克穆说“我最好进去准备一下”然后转身走进候诊室。

    接待员跳起来说:“我去开门,你也丢了一根拐杖!好的!”然后跑到候诊室的门口拿着它,这样赫克穆就可以进去,而无需拄着拐杖。

    当赫克穆进来时,他说“嘿,莉雅”,然后她向他挥手致意。她完成她的伸展,并招呼他过来。等他拉近了距离,她伸手抓住了他,又将他拉入了怀抱。他们拥抱了几秒钟,她快速地拍了拍他的屁股以示他的厚颜无耻,然后在他们等待培训师开始训练时将他带到她旁边的椅子上。赫克穆轻轻握住莉雅的手,拼出一句“很高兴见到你,你看起来很棒。”

    莉雅拼写:“谢谢!我今天在做举重,所以少即是多。”

    锻炼按预期进行。培训师打开了这个地方,找回了他们的病人。赫克穆经历了一个现在很熟悉的例行程序:伸展、力量、协调等。莉雅正在抽铁并且做得很好,除了一些偶尔的平衡问题。

    当赫克穆完成他的锻炼时,莉雅已经完成了她的工作,正在收拾她的东西,准备回去。就在他完成最后一项活动时,他的手机响起一条短信。

    赫克穆完成了他的最后一项任务,拿出手机看了一眼。“喂,有时间出去玩,要不要一起吃个饭?我的食物会送到我的居室,如果你饿了,我可以为你添加一些真正的食物。”

    赫克穆回到莉雅的住处,按了门铃,她突然打开门。她仍然穿着健身服,在办公桌前坐下。在她旁边是一罐神秘的灰白色液体和一个带有软管的大塑料注射器。她在床边放了一个滚动的电视托盘,供赫克穆用作餐桌,上面放着一个塑料外带容器。

    她的电话响了。“对不起,如果这很奇怪,但对我来说,做一个快速的液体午餐要容易得多。我需要很长时间才能吃普通食物。有时候成为这样一个怪人真是令人沮丧。”

    赫克穆回答说:“莉雅,我不认为你很奇怪——你经历了很多,并超越了它。你正在用学校教育扼杀它,可能很快就会达成一些疯狂的交易,而且真的很漂亮。”

    莉雅在她的电话里打字,“谢谢,我可能正在为我向世界的重大揭示以及我的论文即将发表而感到兴奋。一段时间内这将是非常疯狂的,但希望人们能很快习惯它。不过能再次在公共场合闲逛会很好。你应该早点吃午饭,我会很快完成的。”

    赫克穆坐下开始吃午饭。“这对医院的食物来说很不错,不过需要更多的盐。”他说两口之间。

    莉雅取下她的颈帽,将它放在她的办公桌上,并抓住了大注射器。当她将软管浸入盛有液体的罐中时,她的舌头从喉咙里的位置伸出。她将大部分吸入注射器,然后用另一只手抓住管子。把它举起来,她把管子移到她的脖子残端的顶部。她裂开的舌头伸出并抓住管子,帮助将其拉入喉咙,同时将其部分推入食道。然后她将注射器向下推,逐渐清空内容物。她解开管子,将注射器放回液体中,吸干剩馀的液体。重新连接管子,她再次清空注射器,然后小心地将管子从喉咙里拉出来,把零件放回托盘上。

    “看,我说我很快……那里有我需要的一切,他们会为我计算卡路里,所以我不必这样做。”莉雅在赫克穆继续吃饭时打字。

    “是的,这似乎很有效。我敢打赌,你可能也会在洗发水上省下一大笔钱。”莉雅起身时,赫克穆在两口食物之间说道。

    她走到浴室,在拐角处消失了。赫克穆听到抽屉被打开和一些拖沓的声音。几秒钟后,莉雅身着蓬松的浴袍从拐角处走了出来,还戴着不同的领口。这个是灰色的,底部边缘有通风槽,顶部是坚固的,略呈圆顶状。她靠在门口,给赫克穆发了一条短信,然后从拐角处返回。

    消息需要几秒钟才能到达,大约在赫克穆听到水打开的同一时间。“说到洗发水,我会在回去工作之前冲个澡。我很快就完成了整个没有头发的事情,但我让门敞开着……提示提示”

    赫克穆又咬了一口,放下午餐,起身走过去。莉雅已经在洗澡了,透过磨砂玻璃墙的立方体可以看到她的轮廓,这个立方体目前充满了蒸汽。他尽可能快地脱光衣服;他虽然恢复的很快,但有些动作还是比较吃力的。

    他推开门走了进去,终于第一次看到了裸体的莉雅。水从她身上倾泻而下,从她的浴帽上滑落,顺着她的身体流下。不受运动文胸的束缚,她的胸部更加令人印象深刻,与她健美的身材形成鲜明对比。她走过去让赫克穆下水,抓起一个淋浴海绵,往里面挤了些肥皂。她开始给赫克穆擦肥皂,在他的身体上抽吸,摸索着四处走动。

    她把嘘声递给赫克穆,转过身来,指着她的背。赫克穆在莉雅健美的身体周围用他的方式揉搓起泡沫——从她的颈帽末端下方,沿着她的肩膀和背部,沿着她的臀部和屁股,一直到她的腿。当他往回走的时候,她靠在赫克穆身上,把他的手臂拉到她身体的前面。她从他手里接过肥皂泡,把它挂在淋浴间的侧壁上。她将他的一只手引导到她的(违规用词,请立即整改,禁止带有成人属性)上,另一只手向下引导。他的手臂环绕着她,她的颈帽抵在他胸口的顶部,她引导他的手指沿着她的下唇并在她的下唇之间。尽管莉雅保持沉默,但他的身体环绕在她身上,赫克穆感觉到她的呼吸加快了,随着他用手指抚摸她,她身体的紧张感增加了。莉雅迅速有力地扑进他的怀里,她的腿一时失控,靠着他扶着她。她轻拍他的手臂,示意他放手。她让自己冷静了一会儿,转身拥抱赫克穆,抓住他现在猛烈的勃起。她把手伸向墙上的一个瓶子,将一些乳液泵入她的手中,然后开始在他的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理)上上下移动。他没有在莉雅的注意下持续很长时间,并告诉她他就在附近,尽管她的手机放在柜台上,她不太可能听到。她感觉到他的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理)绷紧并开始射击,流动的水很快就会清理干净。

    他们一起洗完澡,擦干身体。一旦她足够乾,不用冒损坏手机的风险,莉雅就会抓起它并打字。“那很棒;我需要一些压力缓解,这确实成功了。”

    “同意。这里的水压也很好……”当莉雅穿上浴袍并取下浴帽时,赫克穆说道。当赫克穆擦干身体时,她抓起一块毛巾,将其弄湿并拧乾,然后轻轻地清洁她脖子上的残肢;唯一没有淋浴的地方。

    莉雅打字:“想在床上躺一会儿吗?我知道你最终必须回家,但我们可以在这里放松一下。在小勺子上点点滴滴。”

    他们走到床边,莉雅脱下浴袍,叠好放在边桌上。她拉开被子,侧身躺下。赫克穆在她身边躺下,在她拉过毯子盖住他们两人时滑到她身后。

    当莉雅开始和赫克穆一起用勺子喝水时,他确保莉雅的脖子上的残肢没有被毯子盖住,而且她很舒服。莉雅伸手去拿浴袍,掏出手机输入一条信息,然后拿起手机让赫克穆阅读。

    “赫克穆,我知道最近事情有点奇怪,但这周很棒。以前的我可能会认为这样的生活既不可能又非常可怕,但你帮助我意识到我有很多期待。”

    赫克穆回答说:“莉雅,我很幸运能找到像你这样的人。我等不及我们能完成这一切,我们可以像正常夫妻一样生活。妈的,我很期待能秀给你看,你绝对是独一无二的,真的很漂亮。赫克穆给了她一秒钟来处理他的声音,然后低下头亲吻她的脖子。她深吸了口气,叹了口气,再靠在他身上一点。

    Ch5


    莉雅打开她的壁橱,在里面的某个地方寻找一个长期被忽视的真空袋。她向后挖去,摸到起皱的塑料,然后把它放到床上。她打开封条,袋子慢慢变成一团无形的皱巴巴的衣服,自从她开始住院以来几乎被遗忘了。她把袋子倒出来,开始摸索,试图记住里面有什么。

    她心想:“该死,我第一次入住时带了什么东西?我可能没想到要带些好东西以防万一有人出现……”

    她拿出手机,给她能想到的唯一可以提供帮助的人发短信——已经在电话里的接待员。“嘿,妮可,你今天上班吗?我在服装方面遇到了难题,需要一些帮助。”

    她回答说:“我今天不工作,但我可以随意拜访!我大概有5分钟的路程,所以我可以跑到你那里!我现在就走!”

    大约3分半钟后,有人敲门,莉雅打开门。妮可走进来,瞥了一眼床上那堆衣服。“这是为了约会,对吧?太刺激了!”

    莉雅在手机里打字,上面写着“打开这个包之前我更兴奋,看来我真的没有什么可以挑选的了。”

    妮可开始在一堆东西中挖掘,拿起碎片并回头看着莉雅。“我觉得我在这里看到了一些潜质,这个怎么样?”她举起一件皱巴巴的夏装。“是的,它是黑白花卉印花——它需要快速蒸汽,但我认为它可能会奏效。我认为这可能是这里唯一的选择,除非你想要超级休闲——其余的主要是睡衣裤和T恤。”

    “我认为必须是那个,我会尽快尝试。”当莉雅走到妮可身边时,她的电话响了,Nicole将裙子递给她。她走到浴室和拐角处。妮可不断地翻阅那堆衣服,偷看她的梳妆台,看看有没有其他想法。

    片刻之后,莉雅穿着裙子从浴室里蹦了出来。

    “好的!你看起来很棒!”妮可一边说,一边在莉雅原地旋转。莉雅说:“它还有口袋!是的!”她在“一秒钟”标志上举起一根手指,然后快速输入另一条信息。

    “我还有一件我在网上订购的东西,我想让你做出判断——很难说它看起来如何,因为很明显。”她回到浴室,几分钟后穿着两件式泳衣和灰色颈帽重新出现。

    “哇哦,真是太好了!”妮可一边说一边靠近了几步。“不同的帽子是怎么回事?色彩协调?”

    莉雅说:“这是为了淋浴和待在水边——底部边缘有通风口,而不是顶部有一个通风口,以防止任何溅出。”

    “哼,一开始我不知道它会掉下来。我讨厌窥探,但我有点好-我从培训师那里听说了你的情况,但没有任何细节。如果那顶帽子可以掉下来,它下面是什么样子?”妮可问。

    莉雅回答说:“当文档进入并开始剪辑时,他们不得不做一些以前从未做过的疯狂事情,所以他们即兴创作了一些。最终结果有点不适合大众消费。”她伸手拉下帽子,当莉雅露出她的脖子残肢时,妮可睁大了眼睛,下巴掉了下来。

    “哇,我没想到……你给你男朋友看了吗?我打赌他会很高兴的!”

    “是的,我想这种疯狂的情况有一些好处——不死也很好……”

    那天晚上,莉雅收到了赫克穆的短信;“我要出家门,大约20分钟后到。我会在你的居室停下来,送你出去上车。”

    “听起来不错,谢谢!”

    赫克穆走到莉雅的居室,按响了门铃,这是一连串的练习。莉雅打开门,让他进来。

    “哇,你看起来很棒!”赫克穆说,对着装的变化感到惊讶。

    莉雅说:“我在登记入住时打包的东西中发现了这个。第一次真正约会时,肯定比睡衣或运动裤好。”

    “当然,它看起来真的很好。准备好出门了吗?我把车停在外面。”

    “酷,一秒。”莉雅走到床头柜前,将手机放在口袋里,抓起她的假头。把它挂在她的颈帽上,她把它牢牢地调整到位,然后从床上抓起她的钱包。她拿出手机,输入“我看起来怎么样?”

    “你看起来很棒——顺便说一下,我对假肢很好奇——它是根据你原本的样子吗?”

    “有点?他们说他们使用了我原始头部的尺寸,但面部是我和他们从另一项研究中借来的一些女性随机扫描的混合体。它看起来和我以前的样子很接近,但已经足够让以前认识我的人无法立即认出我。有助于让我的整个情况保密。我想买几个不同的,但这个并不便宜。”

    “无论如何,让我们振作起来——医生们不知道这件事,但要见死不救。只要我们早上回来参加我的约会就很酷。”她从靠墙的地方抓起手杖,朝赫克穆走了一步。

    赫克穆拉着她的手,带她到停车场。场地几乎是空的,黑暗而安静,赫克穆小心翼翼地带领着莉雅——试图避开任何障碍物或粗糙的地方。夏天的空气平静而温暖,因为他们短途旅行到汽车上。

    他说:“我们到了,等一下。”当他打开她的车门并引导她进入乘客座位时,确保在他关门时她远离车门。他转过头坐在驾驶座上。当他们驶出停车场时,莉雅的肢体语言似乎表现出紧张,所以赫克穆握住了她的手。她挤压它,他轻轻地向后挤压。

    “不会有事的,这个地方在晚上的这个时候基本上已经死了——我有时会预订一个地方只是为了做桑拿和泡一会儿,我是个常客。工作人员认识我,上夜班的那个人很酷。”赫克穆一边开车一边说。

    赫克穆开进了停车场,这是一个位于购物中心的地方,否则就关门了。他是对的,停车场里只有几辆车,周围没有人。

    “登记入住基本上是自动化的,我会在自助服务亭扫描我的手机,然后我们就可以前往我们的居室了。”赫克穆转身走到乘客门前,帮助莉雅出去,他们穿过停车场,莉雅抓住赫克穆的手臂寻求指导。

    前面的等候区也空无一人,赫克穆对着镜头挥手,知道主人可能在后面结束一天的工作。走廊上有休闲室,还有早上瑜伽课的居室。

    “我会扫描我们,一秒钟。”赫克穆掏出手机,将屏幕放在自助服务终端扫描仪上。他得到了一个绿灯和居室号,然后他们俩都朝走廊走去。到目前为止,当他们进入水疗套房时,他认为很好。

    套房虽然不是很大,但布置得很好而且很干净。赫克穆对莉雅说:“好吧,你的右边是按摩台和指压椅。过去是热水浴缸和桑拿,虽然很小,但我想我们可以挤进去……左边是淋浴间、衣钩和毛巾。我会把你的包放在更衣区。先去哪里?”

    “我认为首先是按摩椅——在我们湿透之前;然后是热水浴缸,桑拿,然后回到浴缸。”莉雅一边写着,一边将包交给赫克穆,然后导航到按摩椅。她扯下她的假头,帽子也随之而来。把它递给赫克穆,他得到了信息,把它放在她的包里。莉雅在按摩椅上坐下,很快就在扶手上找到了控制面板。

    在启动它之前,她输入“当这件事开始时,我将无法用我的手机接听你的演讲并感觉腕带正在翻译它,所以如果你想说话,只需抓住我的手并拼写它。让我们看看这件事是如何运作的。”她按下按钮,椅子开始燃烧。赫克穆坐在另一把椅子上,打开了它,惊讶于它即使在调低的情况下也有如此强大的力量。

    “这真的很放松”莉雅有点困难地在赫克穆的手上写道,在第二次尝试时,她的世界中的一切都在迅速摆动。

    “如果这件事让我更加剧烈地摇晃,我可能会液化”

    “这是最好的部分!”

    经过大约15分钟的摇晃、加热、刺激和推动椅子的循环结束,莉雅站起来,双手交叉并伸展手臂和肩膀。她抓起手机输入“该死的感觉真好,总有一天我需要给我拿一个。”

    片刻之后,赫克穆的椅子关闭了,他跌跌撞撞地站了起来。“那很放松;现在我需要记住我的腿是如何工作的……”

    莉雅的电话响了,“嘿,你能指点我去更衣室吗?”赫克穆把她带到门口,把健身包递给她。莉雅在门口停了下来,打字:“别偷看,我想让你有悬念。”

    赫克穆打开桑拿房和热水浴缸的泡泡控制器,莉雅换下衣服,跳进淋浴间冲洗干净。片刻之后,她穿着比基尼,戴着防溅帽,手里拿着一个防水的小袋子,走出了更衣室。她在原地缓慢旋转一次以炫耀。赫克穆说:“很好!非常好。”他走进更衣室,迅速穿上泳裤,在淋浴间冲洗干净。

    当他回来时,莉雅正在热水浴缸里泡澡。她把手伸进她的泳池包,按下手机上的按钮,朗读文本到语音。上面写着,“我不得不取下手腕上的带子,这样热量就不会损坏它们,所以从现在开始只能触摸。”赫克穆走过去时,她把手机放回包里。他小心翼翼地走进来,既因为太热,又因为小浴缸里没有活动空间。他滑到莉雅身边,莉雅用胳膊搂住他的后背,靠得更近了。

    她握住他的手,拼出“这很好。如此温暖。”

    赫克穆回道:“是的,真的很好。我很高兴我们能做到这一点。”

    莉雅伸出另一只手,取下颈帽,将其放入包中。她抬起身子,侧身挪动身子,靠在赫克穆的胸前,用她的脖颈蹭了蹭。赫克穆低下头,看到她脖子末端微微分开的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理),她平稳而平静的呼吸从前面的洞里逸出;她的舌头弯下,伸进了稍微靠后的洞里。他试探性地吻了吻她的脖颈,莉雅作为响应,将她推得更近,拉着赫克穆的手环住她的腰。莉雅再次挪动身子,小心地坐在赫克穆的腿上。赫克穆再次亲吻她的脖子,她的响应是将舌头从食道中的位置滑出。莉雅伸出舌头,她先是用分叉的尖端抓住了他的舌尖,中吻,将他的舌尖拉进了她的喉咙,肌肉挤压,拉得更深。

    坐在赫克穆的腿上,莉雅感觉到他在变硬并开始摩擦他的勃起,她的灵活性使她能够这样做,同时向后弯曲得相当厉害,以继续他们的亲吻版本。

    在一次激烈而独特的化妆会议之后,莉雅抓住赫克穆空闲的手并拼出“带我去按摩台”,然后从赫克穆身上下来并转身。赫克穆握著她的手,帮她从浴缸里出来,然后把她带到居室的另一边,边走边抓着一条毛巾。他把毛巾扔在桌子上,莉雅脱下泳衣扔到附近。她用双臂搂住赫克穆,然后拼出“你现在需要操我。”

    赫克穆迅速拼出“避孕套。”,当赫克穆跑到袋子前抓起一个时,莉雅迅速竖起大拇指。

    当莉雅躺回桌子上时,她将双腿踢出裂缝,然后越过。赫克穆搬进来,把他的勃起放在她的肚子上——当他滚动橡胶时,他的手伸到她紧凑的身体上出奇的高。赫克穆退后,自己排好队。

    当他分开她的下唇时,莉雅深吸了一口气,伸出了她的手。赫克穆见状,把手放在她的手上,她连忙拼出“慢点”。赫克穆一点一点地慢慢向前推进,轻轻地抚摸着莉雅是否有不适的迹象。当他终于完成一个完整的划水动作时,莉雅的腿伸到周围并环绕在赫克穆身上,她将他拉进去,然后用她的腿让他出来。

    赫克穆微微前倾,抓住莉雅的腰,利用杠杆将自己拉得更深,每划一次都用力向前。随着她的敏感度增强,不久赫克穆就觉得莉雅紧张起来并失去控制,她的腿在颤抖,身体在强烈的高潮中痉挛。他放慢了片刻的速度,让她有机会渡过难关,然后在她的肚子上摸了摸,“继续?”她的脖子前后倾斜。

    他再次开始变得更加咄咄逼人,伸手轻轻揉搓她的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理),同时积极地操她。赫克穆感觉自己越来越近了,与此同时莉雅似乎也达到了她的巅峰,他连忙拼出“很快”。她竖起大拇指,抓住她的一个(违规用词,请立即整改,禁止带有成人内容)挤压。他们同时来了,当赫克穆的(违规用词,请立即整改,否则封号处理)开始深入她的核心时,莉雅的阴户被挤压了下来。莉雅的身体一瘸一拐,她的腿从赫克穆身后垂下来,悬在狭窄的桌子边上。她的舌头从她那短缩的脖子末端伸出来。赫克穆把手放在莉雅身上,既要检查她是否还好,又要防止她从按摩台上滚下来。几秒钟后莉雅醒来,笨拙地握住了赫克穆的手。她拼写:“太好了,电话?”

    赫克穆退出,莉雅又紧张又放松,突然退出又带来一阵愉悦。扔掉避孕套后,他把手机和腕带拿回来递给莉雅。

    “看来我有点昏倒了……我应该解释一下吧,哈哈。所以,是的,还记得我的大脑现在有点神经吗?那里有很多神经,所以基本上你只是把我的大脑搞砸了一点。我出去多久了?”

    “只有几秒钟,你还在呼吸,所以我想你会没事的。”赫克穆一边说着,一边从地板上捡起莉雅的泳衣,放在他们的东西旁边。

    “绝对,再好不过了——我只需要一秒钟就可以重新开始思考。当我使用我的玩具时,我有时会变得有点笨,但这是自整个实验以来我得到的第一个实际行动。关于我们在淋浴间打扫卫生?”

    他们走进浴室,洗了个大体健康的淋浴,轮流喷水,让自己变得干净。他们重新穿上便装,拿起自己的东西,然后回到车上。赫克穆帮助莉雅回到车内,并启动了他的汽车。

    “你玩的高兴吗?”当他们走出停车场时,赫克穆问道。

    “天啊,好久没出去玩了,泡个热水澡,终于上我男朋友了,总之我不能抱怨!”莉雅说,赫克穆开车时她的电话正在替她说话。

    “男朋友啊?我认为可以肯定地说-我想继续见到你,想让我们成为正式的。希望当你最终公开时,我能够将我的状态设置为‘恋爱中’。”

    “现在'这很复杂'就足够了,哈哈”莉雅说着戳了戳赫克穆。

    “我想是的……无论如何,我们正在驶入停车场——我会确保海岸干净,然后带你回到你的居室。”赫克穆说着,在大楼附近找了个停车位。他打开房门,说“我马上回来”,然后跑向大楼。

    他看着窗户,看看周围有没有人。当他走回来时,他给莉雅发短信说海岸很干净,然后把她从车里救出来。他们手拉手回到莉雅的居室。

    “莉雅,我很高兴你今晚出来-我知道这并不多,但把它混合起来很好。当他们接近她的居室时,赫克穆说。

    “太棒了,我认为小心翼翼地回到这个世界是个好主意。此外,你很擅长偷偷地计划乐趣……”莉雅在开门前写道。她拥抱了赫克穆,后者轻轻地抬起了她假头的下巴。她的假头不费吹灰之力就脱落了,赫克穆走了进来,吻了她道晚安。

    莉雅回过身,后退一步,挥手道别,轻轻关上了门。

    莉雅把她的假头放在床头柜上,然后把她的湿衣服放在浴室里。她摸了摸床沿,然后跳了进去侧身翻过,像海星一样伸出胳膊和腿……她躺在那里,思考着她最近的疯狂生活轨迹和未来的可能性。

    几分钟后,她认为是时候查看电子邮件以查看是否添加了任何学校作业或医疗预约,因此她启动笔记本电脑并登录。

    回到家后,赫克穆打开行李准备睡觉。当他把湿衣服扔进洗衣机里时,他的手机震动着莉雅发来的一条短信。

    “天哪,赫克穆,研究人员明天早上要举行大型会议,直到今晚才告诉我。混蛋!”

    Ch6


    在讲堂下层的小房间里,莉雅一边紧张地来回踱步,一边试着听演讲。虽然其中一些真的很先进,但大部分谈话基本上都是在解释整个情况是如何失控的。研究人员希望在长期保密之后,他们的职业生涯不会被完全摧毁,从而逃脱。她的部分在最后,她认为他们计划让她出现在那里,希望能从人群中获得一些同情。

    她坐在小房间的角落里,拿出她的手机,浏览她的文本编辑器,她辩论在她的演讲中进行任何最后一分钟的更改并决定不这样做-当她通过手机慢慢阅读每个单词时,可能是时候离开了反正那里。

    她心想“我真的应该加快这件事的速度。”

    在一个报告厅的巨大混凝土碗中,一位资深研究人员站在讲台上,对着麦克风讲话,尽管大多数人都在前几排。

    “……患者对治疗的反常反应让我们停下了脚步,但随着考试成绩的不断提高,我们对扫描结果的准确性产生了一些怀疑。…测试分数不断提高,而我们所有的扫描都表明发生的神经活动减少了。我们确定最好的方法是继续治疗并监测任何延迟的变化……”

    赫克穆试图尽可能多地融入观众席,听众大多是穿着实验服和记事本的老人,他第二次听到这个故事,但填补了空白。大部分内容都超出了他的头脑,但是基本故事是一样的-他们想帮助某人,但他们的整个计划脱轨了。希望他们能够为观众做好足够的准备,让她的首次亮相不那么疯狂,尽管一旦媒体掌握了它,就难说了。

    研究人员继续说道,“这是在我们发现我们困惑的根源之前的最终核磁共振成像。”幻灯片变成了一个横截面,看起来像是对莉雅的头部扫描。“乍一看很明显,神经变性的过程有增无减,组织的损失和液体量的增加是压倒性的——通常情况下,具有这种程度损伤的患者会在呼吸机上,而不是四处走动,通过高水平的书写和问题解决测试。事实上,她的分数一直在稳步上升……”

    随着听众对讲座的深入了解,他们似乎分为担忧、困惑和怀疑,而他才刚刚开始。

    “在确保扫描结果正确地从机器传来并且扫描设置正确之后……

    当扫描开始时,清楚知道这些东西的观众们靠得更近了,试图更好地观察,随着医生的继续,他们似乎真的很震惊。

    “…扫描以验证代谢活动水平。请下一张幻灯片。”

    “显然,当我们看到这一点时,我们几乎无法相信。从表面上看,我们在大厅里的那个病人已经死了,或者至少是完全脑死亡。我们的一名团队成员占领了扫描室,对我们患者的全身进行了扫描,下一张幻灯片证实了他的怀疑。”

    当下一张幻灯片出现时,人群中传来一阵低语声,除了大脑之外,其他地方都在活动,并且基本上随着活动量的增加而超出范围。

    “看来试验药物确实在治疗过程中产生了结果,但神经再生不知何故被重定向……

    “……随着时间的推移,整个患者身体的新生长似乎弥补了功能的逐渐丧失,甚至导致了增加……”

    人群中有人举手,主办方连忙说道:“请大家提问到最后,我们将在演讲结束后进行后续问答环节。

    “…对患者性格和功能的影响很小可能是由于治疗时间长以及正在进行的物理和认知治疗。”

    赫克穆试图融入,他是唯一明显不属于此地的人,但他的紧张似乎无法掩饰。希望观众足够分心。

    “颅神经和视神经连接的丧失导致感觉缺陷进展……”

    “……虽然用辅助技术进行了很好的补偿,其中一些是患者自己开发的,但退化的后果最终导致了一系列大规模感染的发生。这使我们进入下一阶段的治疗。直到进展为迅速蔓延的晚期败血症,患者才报告任何问题……

    人群中的一些成员开始互相窃窃私语,其他人则在疯狂地写作。赫克穆认为他看到一个摄像头从后排的一排弹出了一会儿。

    …开始移除所有受影响的组织并被迫做出决定。请下一张幻灯片。”

    手术照片相当粗糙,观众反应在震惊的沉默中。观众大多由经验丰富的专业人士组成,他们在翻阅解构莉雅的照片时保持沉默,从一个漂亮但明显身体不适的女人到一堆绷带、管子和机器。该文档非常详细地描述了可怕的细节。

    “虽然这似乎是一个完全无法生存的最终结果,但莉雅的生命体征几乎在手术后立即恢复到正常范围。”医生抓住了自己,意识到他说的是她的名字而不是“病人”,尽管一旦信息离开演讲厅的墙壁,这可能无关紧要。

    “两天之内,患者进展良好,并在一周内恢复了正常生活。几周后,她完全康复并完成了一个治疗课程。”

    下一张幻灯片是现在大大简化的莉雅在居室周围采取辅助步骤,在她身后拖着一辆装满机器的手推车;然后是治疗的一些照片。

    激动的人群的背景噪音随着他们变得更加不安而增加,其中一名观众站起来说:“你希望我们相信你给病人服用了未经测试的药物,她不知何故脑死亡,然后你砍掉了她的头,她现在健康吗?这些奇怪的照片和几个假扫描不会削减它。这是恶作剧吗?我正在向董事会报告此事,哪怕只是为了浪费我的时间!”

    人群显然同意观众的看法,他们摇着头,互相窃窃私语。随着音量的增加,大多数人开始站起来,有些人开始走出演讲厅。

    医生回答说:“我救了她的命,并找到了一种全新的方法来治疗数以千计的疾病!不相信我?自己问问她!莉雅,是时候向这些人展示真相了!”他跺着脚走到侧门,把它打开。

    莉雅坐在居室昏暗的角落里,被砰地关上的门吓了一跳;医生强迫自己冷静下来。“对不起,我想一旦他们问你几个问题,他们就会放松一点。我会努力控制局面,控制我自己。你会做得很好,我知道。我们走吧。”

    莉雅站起身来,犹豫地跟着博士走进了讲堂的水池。当她走出昏暗的侧室时,观众们都深吸了一口气。一个女人走出昏暗的侧屋,与其他穿着商务休闲装的上班族有着霄壤之别。为了尽可能清楚地传达信息,她决定不戴假头,她的脖子末端是一顶保护帽。医生带她走上讲台,她将手杖靠在讲台沉重的木结构上。

    站在莉雅旁边,医生靠向麦克风并清了清嗓子。“我想现在是问答的好时机。这是莉雅,我们的病人。”

    莉雅对着目瞪口呆的人群微微挥手。

    “作为研究生学习的一部分,她一直在努力调节和创造自己的辅助技术,并且在这种情况下一直很好地合作。我相信她准备了一个简短的演讲,然后你可以问自己或她任何问题。莉雅?”

    她拿出手机,摸索着寻找辅助线。她插入手机并点击播放,她合成的声音充满了大厅。

    “大家好,我是莉雅。我提前准备好以节省我们的时间,因为在每个人面前输入它会花费我太长时间。“

    “在发现自己注定了一个快速衰退和短暂生命的未来之后,我开始在这支队伍的照顾下开始。医生认为可能有办法帮助我,所以我报名了。显然,一路上事情变得很奇怪,正如你所看到的,但在他们的帮助下,我能够继续我的学习,进行一些原创研究,并成为我自己辅助技术的beta测试员。虽然我失去了很多,但我在这个过程中得到了很多,并且正在努力尽可能多地恢复我的生活。

    我希望这里的每个人都可以忽略这项研究中的任何问题,因为结果几乎肯定会改变您社区中的很多事情。当然,这需要进一步的研究——如果这项研究发展得更远并有更好的控制,那么有很大的可能性。

    我在最后一次手术前开发了一些辅助技术,以弥补失去的听力,让我恢复声音;所以只要你一次说一个,而且不要太快,我很乐意回答你的任何问题。当然,请直接向医生提出任何医疗问题,因为我绝对没有资格回答这些问题。

    如果有人愿意,我也很乐意在之后进行一对一的交谈,尤其是如果您有任何我可以帮助的项目。我也在寻找我的下一个演出,所以如果你们中的任何人需要聘请软件开发人员,我即将毕业。我敢肯定,这些人会给我一封推荐信——他们似乎认为我很有头脑……嗯,有点。”

    观众中的一些人对这个糟糕的笑话嗤之以鼻,观众现在似乎没有那么敌意了。

    “谢谢你的时间。”

    观众似乎有些犹豫,他们的现实刚刚被稍微打破,并试图处理莉雅就站在他们面前的事实。听众中的一个人举了手。医生指着他说“去吧”。

    “嗨,莉雅,对吧?我是一名神经科医生,到目前为止我已经想到了大约十五个问题,但我现在将其限缩为一个。你的记忆力怎么样?主持人指出您基本上没有变化,但我不确定在这种情况下这是否真的可能。”

    莉雅想了想,再次拿起手机开始打字。“我知道我在这里和那里失去了一些过去,但总的来说我能够保留大部分。我猜我之前做的记忆练习可能有助于将这些记忆移动到现在存储的任何地方,但在这一点上,这是任何人的猜测。”

    观众中的另一个人举手。“你认为你的其他感官弥补了损失吗?如果是这样,你能描述一下你的经历吗?”

    莉雅回答说:“当然,我认为我的触觉很容易翻倍。一个很好的例子是我的平衡,没有内耳,我必须感觉到身体上的压力才能分辨出哪条路向下。这需要一些训练,但我现在已经很好了。”

    问题持续了一段时间,人群中几乎每个人都想问些什么。会议的时间已经不多了,演讲者结束了活动,并希望他们不要毁了自己的职业生涯。一群人跟随莉雅到侧厅进行更多的一对一聊天。赫克穆站在远处观看。他等到大部分人群散去,许多人在离开之前递上名片或交换了联系方式。

    赫克穆给莉雅发短信,“嘿,这真是太棒了,如果我在技术细节上有点不知所措。”

    莉雅回答:“如果我还有一个lol的话。我想我刚刚拿到了大约30张名片,所以你需要帮我输入一些数据。”

    “听起来不错,我的还是你的?”

    莉雅回答说:“现在有点复杂,我有一些坏消息和一些好消息。
    坏消息:随着项目的结束,我被赶出了诊所的居室。
    好消息:我会在几天内收到整件事的报酬,而且这不是一笔小数目。就像,靠它生活一两年,然后用钱周游世界。我当然很跛,所以我会投资大部分,带你出去吃一顿昂贵的晚餐庆祝,但我也得收拾东西,找个地方住。”

    赫克穆迅速响应,“你应该留在我的地方。哪怕只是等你找到别的地方,我也会很高兴有你陪在我身边。”

    “赫克穆,这太棒了,但我不想妨碍你——你确定?我们只认识了一段时间,这是一个很大的飞跃。”

    赫克穆发短信说:“这不是问题,我很乐意。如果它不起作用,我会帮你找到一个好地方,我们可以稍后再试。我不希望你在考虑下一步行动时有压力。”

    莉雅回答说:“非常感谢你,你是最棒的!”

    赫克穆发短信:“那么,当你结束的时候,想让我在你家附近闲逛吗?”

    莉雅回答说:“当然,那很酷。哦对了,门密码是4242。”

    赫克穆回到莉雅的居室,他坐在沙发上,懒洋洋地翻着手机。当他正在浏览他的新闻提要时,他并没有真正注意他的手机几乎掉了下来。会议的照片和社交媒体评论已经在网路上流传——比如“无头女孩震惊了医学研究人员”和“科学走得太远了吗?”。

    赫克穆给莉雅发短信:“你不会相信这一点,但你在会议上的照片已经在网上疯传。我认为你在社交媒体上很流行……”

    莉雅回答说:“该死,我想我最好尽快聘请代理人。我想这会很快发生。我想如果工作不成功,我总是可以成为一个有影响力的人……我最好用一个好的头像来更新我的个人资料。上身射击?我不知道。”

    几分钟后,莉雅进入房间,将她的包放在地板上。她朝赫克穆的大致方向挥手,赫克穆正迎面而来。他轻轻抚摸她的手,她将他抱在一个大大的拥抱中。他们走向沙发,并排坐在一起。莉雅拿出她的手机,开始兴奋地打字,给赫克穆看屏幕。

    “会议结束后,一位女士走过来说,她正在研究脑机接口。她认为和我一起工作会容易得多,完全没有钻进别人的脑袋的事情。她认为在我接通电源后,我将能够连接到手机之类的东西,这真的很有帮助。虽然没有承诺,但他们可能会帮助我恢复一些感觉。他们还希望我在事情变得太疯狂之前加入,所以他们希望我尽快进入他们的办公室。很甜蜜吧?”

    赫克穆说:“这真的很酷,只要他们是合法的,那就是一个很好的机会。他们所说的尽快是什么意思?

    “如果可能的话,他们希望我明天去检查,我必须在那里待四天以进行植入和校准。他们已经从团队中获得了大量数据,显然他们一直在交流信息。”

    莉雅打字,她的肢体语言既紧张又兴奋。

    “我敢打赌,在接下来的几天里,会有很多人试图抓住你。在它变得太疯狂之前,先低调一段时间并继续努力可能是有意义的。我会想你的,但我们可以很容易地保持联系。如果一切顺利,我们将不得不在事后庆祝。”赫克穆说。

    “亲爱的,我会让她知道我们在船上。我得收拾行李,但我开始为搬家做准备,我只需要一个手提箱就可以把这个地方清空。要帮忙吗?”

    莉雅从她的衣橱里拿出一对手提箱,他们开始收拾行李。那天深夜,莉雅的公寓被装进了2个手提箱、一个行李袋、一个笔记本电脑包和几个垃圾袋。

    当赫克穆搬行李时,莉雅的电话响起:“嘿,隔壁壁橱里通常有一辆手推车,我们可以把这些东西装进去。你可能不应该举得太多,我真的只能用一只手用我的手杖搬运东西。”

    赫克穆说:“哦,太酷了,我会检查一下。”

    他带着一辆巨大的手推车离开并回来,小心地把莉雅的所有东西都装好。在他们离开之前,赫克穆问:“我们需要退房吗?还有,你平时不是要等到关门后才出去吗?”

    莉雅的电话说:“免,我已经上新闻了,无论如何他们都会在早上回来驱逐我。这就像'你不能解雇我,我退出'。”

    她抓起最后一个要收拾的东西,她的假头,把它扔到一堆东西的最上面。“希望我不再需要这东西了——我已经躲过了一劫。”

    他们都出去了,当赫克穆把巨大的手推车推到车上时,莉雅抓住了赫克穆的衬衫背面。虽然是周末,但还是有些人在大厅里闲逛。他们大多是会议的人,但少数不知情的人反应如预期。有些人不相信或认为这是一个恶作剧,最困惑的是,几乎都震惊了。

    莉雅已经不在乎了,如果他们现在不知道,他们最终会知道的。
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    发表于 2022-3-6 18:56:46 | 显示全部楼层
    刚看完,着实是好文啊
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    发表于 2022-3-6 21:43:10 来自手机 | 显示全部楼层
    爽到啊这篇,真是太棒了
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    发表于 2022-3-7 12:41:49 来自手机 | 显示全部楼层
    没四肢就更好了
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