Catatonia By: Steve Bolin


By: Steve Bolin

Monday, October 29th

Dear Diary,

Working at the Indianapolis Brain Science Foundation (IBSF) is a dream come true. A combination of good grades, references and an internship at Genetic Research Center helped to land this enviable position.

This is a very exciting field. We study the mysteries of the human brain, trying to unlock the secrets of how and why it works as it does. IBSF uses cutting edge technology to diagnose and treat a wide variety of psychiatric disorders, developing new therapies in the process.

I’m working with Professor Paul Valken. He and I couldn’t be more different. He’s a tall, middle-aged man with sandy brown hair and a short, stubbly beard. He always speaks professionally, sometimes at a rapid fire pace. His face is kind and his eyes soft.

In comparison, I’m a young, energetic woman, recently graduated from IU. My brown eyes match my brunette hair. I’m rather skinny, but I wear loose clothing to hide it.

I feel fortunate to be Professor Valken’s new assistant. I liked him the moment we met. He reminds me of my father. He even calls me Cara instead of Miss Morris. He’s asked me several times to call him Paul but, still being new around here, I don’t feel comfortable doing that quite yet. I want to learn my job well and display a bit of competency before I fall back on informalities.

Our new equipment became fully functional today. As I mentioned in this journal last week, there were a plague of bugs discovered in the software. One of the technicians, a computer genius, solved most of them over the weekend. He’s a red-haired kid who claims to be 28, but looks 10 years younger. He’s kind of cute in a geeky sort of way. He’s so into his job that I don’t think he even notices me.

Anyway, Professor Valken taught me how to run the new machine and explained its purpose. I don’t understand its technology – I’m a psychology major, not an electrical engineer – but I understood what it did, if not how. Much of the equipment is packed with computers designed to read, interpret, process and translate mental information generated from alpha waves.

The equipment looks similar to an MRI machine in appearance, except our device fills up all of one room. Basically, the patient lies on a bed-like platform and is moved into place so that the entire cranium fits into the scanning machine. Unlike asylums, IBSF isn’t staffed to house patients overnight. This keeps overhead costs low, but limits our time to diagnose or treat patients.

This machine just blows me away. Somehow, it scans brain wave patterns then translates them into visual images, which can be both recorded and played on plasma screen monitors. To date, the machine has only been tested on sane individuals exhibiting no abnormal behavior.

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About the Author

A life long resident of Indiana and full time writer, Steve Bolin has previously published poetry and short stories in, "Black Petals," and "Dark Moon Rising." His first fantasy novel is scheduled for release in early 2006.
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