“You’re not going to change my mind, but I’ll cooperate. Send your lecture. I’ll tell the Chief the same thing, though.”
“Well, right now, get some sleep,” Atland said, turning out the light and motioning Jack to leave.
Hours later, listening closely, Walsh did almost change his mind. Normally he was pretty pragmatic, but for some reason he just couldn’t get his head around a false eye. Or allow a false eye to get surrounded by his head. He held firm in a long conversation with Lopez. Tiring of her gentle persuasions, he said, “I understand the risks, Chief, but I’ve made my decision. I have full confidence in you and Dr. Atland. You’re the best surgeons in the world, after all.”
“We’ll make preparations then,” Lopez said. “I should warn you that you will have to wear med goggles for four weeks after surgery. Also, no flying until further notice. I’ll write this up for you for after surgery, but I want to make sure you know not place left eye into telescope viewer until recovery. Also, no strenuous activities, including sim swimming. Are you sure you’re up for the longer recovery period necessary with the organic?
Walsh sounded resigned as he said, “I’m ready, doctor. Let’s get on with it.”
She nodded abruptly and left his bedside briskly. “Atland!” she called. “Let’s get to work!”
The doctors worked late into the evening thawing and prepping the Captain’s cloned eye. Finally Lopez carefully pulled the end of the optic nerve out of a nanite solution and inspected it under a photon microscope.
“What do you think, Atland?”
Atland studied it. “I think It’s ready.”
“We’re in agreement, then. Let’s get some sleep. We have an important surgery to do in the morning.”
* * * * * *
In the dark lab, hands shone a light to look at Walsh’s doctored eye. The lamp was then hung to spotlight the organ, and with manually applied sterile gloves, work began. Nanites that no one else knew existed were very carefully injected into the eye’s vitreous humor. After giving time for inspection, the hands slipped away, bringing all evidence with them.
* * * * * *
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