“Good morning, Ms. Hart”
Clarisse sighed inside and closed the AR display as Dr. Cassoway walked in. Not much reason to keep the commlink running anyway. AR was a poor substitute for full immersion and the crippled ‘link they allowed her to use couldn’t do much in the way of interesting stuff. At least they gave her some matrix access.
“Hi Doc. Can I go home now?”, she asked, as she always did.
Dr. Cassoway gave her the same noncommittal smile and shrug that she always got in reply. “How are you feeling with the new dose?”, he asked.
“The drug’s okay, I guess. Less dizzy than yesterday.”
“And the worries?”
She looked him directly in the eyes. “You mean the paranoia? No, I don’t think the government is trying to kill me today, if that’s what you mean.”
“Have the thoughts gone away completely?”
Clarisse considered lying, but he was always able to tell anyway. "A little bit left. I was thinking one of the nurses was up to something."
“I read that in the notes. And what are you thinking about that now?”
“Probably wasn’t real.”
Cassoway nodded. "Sounds like it is working pretty well. How about we give it a few more days and see how things go before we decide on any more changes?"
The girl shrugged, “Whatever.”
There was a long silence before he spoke again. "Tell me about Grace."
She felt her shoulders slump. She’d hoped he wouldn’t ask.
“What about her?”
“Paul tells me you thought you saw her yesterday. "
Clarisse sighed, “Yeah. Someone that looks like her anyway. Didn’t get a good look. Paul told me there’s nobody by that name here. Besides, Grace is dead. I saw her body myself.”
“Was it the same time of day that you were worried about what Paul was up to?”
Clarisse thought about that for a while. "Actually, now that you mention is, that was in the afternoon both times. When it happened I thought Paul was lying to me. Maybe that’s why I thought he was up to something."
Cassoway nodded. “That’s also the time of day when the medication is at its lowest point. I’ll look at tweaking the release profile to give you a better blood level at that time of day. That should help.”
Clarisse shrugged again, “Whatever.”
“One more question. How are the headaches?”, he said, nodding at the commlink.
She couldn’t resist lying about something so important. "Better. I don’t get any problems with AR. Can I try some VR?"
Cassoway gave that same smile he always did whenever Clarisse tried to lie to him. “Let’s just stick to the plan for now.”
As he left the room, she had to suppress the urge to throw the commlink at his head, but that was just going to earn her more medication.
And she needed to keep the dose as low as possible so that she could stay aware of what was really going on.