Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 413
Dr. Dmitri Erland, the lead doctor for plague research in New Beijing, sighs with annoyance. His latest plague research subject is a man in his thirties who is only 6.4 percent cybernetic. This is not the sort of subject Dr. Erland is looking for—but he cannot admit that to anyone. He tells his assistant, a young woman whose name he cannot remember, to send the man home. He is too old to be a research subject.
Dr. Erland’s assistant is clearly angry about this. Thirty-two is not old at all, and she thinks Dr. Erland should use the resources he has. The cyborg draft is a good program. After all, cyborgs are not human, and the government pays large sums of money to the families of the subjects who die.
The assistant shakes her head in impatience and her black braid jiggles. Dr. Erland has a sudden hallucination that it is a snake about to bite him. He closes his eyes for a moment, and the “vision” disappears—but he reflects that these hallucinations are worsening. He cannot explain this to anyone, either.
At that moment, another assistant, a man named Li, steps into the room. Li says that a new plague research volunteer has just arrived, a teenage girl from right here in New Beijing. Dr. Erland is obviously thrilled.
Again Dr. Erland's female assistant seems angry. She points out that he keeps releasing male subjects, but he is always thrilled to work on the young females. He is clearly surprised by the conclusion she seems to have drawn about his sexism. He stammers lamely...
(The entire section contains 413 words.)
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