Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Doctor Spake slipped the needle into the fatty flesh of the rat and depressed the plunger, then withdrew and watched.

“This rat is almost three years old,” the Doctor addressed the Senator standing opposite him, “virtually at the end of its lifespan as you can see by its appearance.

The Senator regarded the withered rat with distaste. The benefits of this science appealed to him, but the specifics and the dirty work was for others; he had no interest and little patience.

In the cage, the rat began to become noticeably more agitated, its sparse and flat fur visibly thickening, taking on a healthy looking sheen.

This the Senator took interest in.

“What’s happening to the rat? It looks like it’s getting…”

“Younger.” Spake cut him off. “The injected nano-tech has reverted the rat to roughly a third of its expired life.”

Senator Thrush looked back and forth between Spake and the rat, which was now feeding aggressively.

“You’re sure about this? Sure that this will work? I know what you said, but this…” Thrush regarded the Doctor as though seeing him for the first time. “Why haven’t you used this on yourself? You still look to be…” he paused, “sixty?”

“Eighty two, actually. Thank you. I installed an earlier version of the nano myself before I’d perfected the regression capabilities, and I’m afraid my installed version is incompatible with this one. It does have its benefits, for example I’m better at developing connections, if you know what I mean.” Spake smiled, a practiced, reassuring smile.

It took forty five more minutes to convince the Senator, and by morning Thrush left feeling and looking like a man half his age.

Months later Senator Thrush had achieved all but the most lofty of his personal goals, taking his party’s nomination from the incumbent in a landslide, his sights set firmly on The White House.

As he sat in his office late one evening, a warm summer breeze stirring the leaves of the tree outside, a fifteen year old bottle of Macallan disappearing one glass at a time, he found himself thinking of the Doctor. There had been messages that he’d been too busy to return, and he wondered if he should contract someone to keep an eye on the good Doctor, lest he forget his place.

Thrush suddenly felt ill, the room swimming around him. He pushed his glass away on the desk, trying without success to steady himself against the dark heavy expanse of mahogany.

“Senator Thrush. You’ve been negligent in fulfilling your end of our agreement.”

Thrush vomited on his desk, the voice coming from everywhere and nowhere, his head pounding.

“I told you my nano advantage was dependent on connections? Do you remember that Senator?”

Blood dripped from Thrush’s sinus, spattering on the desk.

“Specifically those connections are what you may know as quantum entanglements. They tie two distinct and different things together, like atoms, at a quantum level.”

Thrush felt his legs go numb, heavy and no longer under his control. Pins and needles itching his fingertips, crawling up his arms to his shoulders.

“While the good Doctor will have died of an apparent heart failure this evening in his lab, it wouldn’t be fair for a politician to never grow old, to benefit from the Doctor’s life work without having ever contributed anything himself. Would it?”

Thrush blinked, for a moment he could swear there were steel benches surrounding him, cool white tile against his cheek. Then blackness overtook him.

Spake flexed his limbs, massaging the numbness from his forearms and fingers.

Then he sat, removed a tissue from a box on the desktop and wiped absently at the blood on his upper lip.

“Senator ‘Spake’ Thrush, PhD.” The Doctor formed the words with his new mouth. As he poured himself another glass of Scotch he added “I rather like the sound of that.”

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