Los Angeles--The Present Time
Braxton Thorpe lay dying. Nothing he could do about it. Cancer in his prostate had spread to his lymph nodes and then metastasized throughout his core. His eyes sought the red laser-projected time on the ceiling: 8:04 PM. Perhaps two hours remained. His mind was still clear, but he had no idea for how long. He rechecked the time: 8:22. No memory of those eighteen minutes. His organs were shutting down; his brain was next; he was losing control. His last fleeting thought was of his younger self and a pretty girl with flowing golden curls riding bikes through a meadow of fragrant wildflowers. It was time.
A man dressed in a white smock stood quietly near the foot of Thorpe’s bed. He looked like a doctor. He was schooled like a doctor who had specialized in neurosurgery and, indeed, had physician’s credentials, but he also carried advanced degrees in neurochemistry, physiology, physics, and electronics. His team waited patiently in the room next door.
The man watched Thorpe’s life monitors intently. Thorpe’s vitals had been weak most of the afternoon. Now they were barely detectable. Minutes remained. He signaled his team. The door opened. A young man and woman dressed in nondescript scrubs wheeled a seven-foot stainless steel box through the door to Thorpe’s bed. The moment the monitors flatlined, they quickly picked Thorpe up and placed him face down into the open container. Silently, with practiced hands, the young woman inserted two large hypodermic needles into vessels servicing Thorpe’s brain—an artery and a vein. The young man activated a quiet pump that circulated a vitrifying fluid throughout Thorpe’s brain, cooling it rapidly while preventing water in the brain cells and blood from crystallizing.
The two young people sealed the stainless-steel box and rolled it into a waiting ambulance-like carrier while the man in the white smock signed necessary papers and handed them to the hospice supervisor.
A thirty-minute high-speed drive through nighttime Miracle Mile, lights flashing, siren wailing, then a Beverly Hills side street without the siren, and then through gates that opened upon their approach and closed behind them, to a subdued Beverly Hills estate, an unobtrusive two-story sandstone building that housed, Cryogenic Partners LLC.
The young man and woman rolled the stainless-steel box into the cryogenic operating theater and left to prepare for surgery. They returned shortly with the cryogenic surgeon, the man in the white smock, who was also prepped for surgery.
“Move the Icicle to the operating table,” he told them.
They did and then draped Thorpe with sterile covers, leaving only his neck exposed.
With sure, expert scalpel strokes, the surgeon removed Thorpe’s head from his torso while retaining the cryo-fluid pump connections. Then he gently placed Thorpe’s severed head into an insulated box and shifted the pump connectors. The young man and woman carried the box into the cryovault at one end of the theater, attached it to cryo-fluid lines, and secured it to a shelf. The surgeon personally checked the fittings and the container labels, and then he sealed the vault.
Cryogenic Partners staff cremated Thorpe’s remains and filed necessary paperwork.