Letters from Oxford – Letter 2

Dear Victoria,

I have returned to Oxford for the remainder of my regeneration since the neural communication progress to my new limb can be monitored here. The exterior layer of the arm is now fully formed, but the internal structure is still in process. The temptation to use my new acquisition is unbearable, but the surgeon has warned me of the repercussions of doing so. I will have to refrain from this urge and keep the static brace in place. There was a failure by the prep team to mention any hint concerning the maddening vibrations produced during this stage of the process. I have been vocal about the absence of this point in their instructions.

The doctor has reluctantly allowed me to resume my work at the college on a limited basis. I am only given permission to conduct two lectures a week, but this will at least curbs some of my tedium. During the first of these lectures I met a fascinating young woman. The moment I met her I felt an instant connection without at first realizing why. I frequently glanced in her direction during my presentation, trying to place what I found so endearing. After the lecture she came up to the podium to ask a short clarification on my neural scan results from my previous research project. It occurred to me at that moment that although she looked vaguely like you, her expressions and mannerisms were so similar I am afraid I lost track of what she was asking. This was so out of character for me, since I am usually completely focused on my subject when I lecture, that I stood in front of the enquiring group unable to collect my thoughts. I do not know whether it is my physical state or your absence, but I will give myself a bit off leeway for this pause in cognition. I eventually pulled myself away from my musing to answer her question, finally seeing the actual young woman in front of me and not your spectral shadow.

I returned my mind to the present situation and pushed aside the emotional response the encounter evoked in me. It was ideal to elaborate on my past work, since it pulled my thoughts away from you and the work we are currently involved in. There have been so many questions over the past few weeks since your departure pertaining to your status. I had to be vague on these occasions because of the strictures laid out in the Louvre contract. I could see our backstory of you “expanding your artistic horizons” was not satisfying the curiosity of the masses. I have given the rehearsed statement, as agreed, on several occasions, but always with the same dissatisfied response from the recipient. I only hope I will be able to keep up this facade until my own departure next year. The logic within me fights against the deception at every turn.

I hope you are able to study at least part of the data I have sent with you before your long sleep begins. My conversations with the Flynn foundation here on Earth, has been very non-committal. It seems more like speaking to a corporate giant than a scientific community. I gave up after several weeks of runaround. Having been transferred and redirected to just about every division within their headquarters. We will just have to hope you have more success on New London. I will continue to monitor their PR site, but I see less and less benefit to this line of inquiry. Instead I will concentrate on the neural scan process documentation you will need once you arrive in the Alpha Centauri system. I have some new ideas for you to attempt once you are in the vicinity of the Anomaly and I want to update the instruction I have already provided you. I will complete the new procedure before you leave our solar system so you will have them at the end of your journey.

At times like this I so regret the accident that created this delay in my departure. Although my designs for the experiment were sound and the eventual results phenomenal, I have paid the price. I was fortunate that only my body was damaged and not the equipment. Even the data collected during my traumatic reaction to the event, survived the torrent. Adding to the already incredible data collected up to that point. My arm did not. I still cannot find words to express my gratitude to the native tribe members who discovered me before I bleed to death, lying alone on the floor of the flooded ravine. At my request, the Louvre has arranged a new science center for their village added to the scope of my planned research station. It seemed a small price to pay for my life, but the village elders seemed pleased with the offering. It was a simple thing to convince the Louvre since the area has already proven itself paramount for my neural study. I only hope once I am fully healed, I will be able to return to the village in New Zealand to thank the people myself and finalize my findings with the newly constructed research station.

Write soon,

Annalis