About the author

This is how Dr. Allison looks every day. And night.

BitChIng by Brendan ZaChary AllIson

Dr. Presante lowered her head as she walked up the steps to the ER, but the lead protestor was already running toward her, followed by three acolytes with cell phones drawn.

“That’s her! That’s the brain butcher we’ve been telling you about! Hey! You! Doctor! This website says you all work for the CIA and just put these brain computer interfaces in innocent brains for mind control!”

“No, we put grids on patients’ brains so we can better identify specific regions prior to neurosurgery. Also, that’s not even a BCI. It’s just brain mapping.”

“Well, you’ll never put anything in MY brain!” He faced the cell phones. “I’ll be brain-free forever!”

Dr. Presante tried to walk around the quarrelsome quartet, but they blocked her. “Please, I’m on call-“

She fell backward under a shower of pepper spray. The loud crack when she hit the concrete steps froze the attacking protesters. Dr. Presante screamed and clutched her hip. The lead protestor suddenly broke and ran toward his VW bus parked nearby, followed soon after by his three toadies. Less than a minute later, two nurses ran from the ER towards Dr. Presante with a stretcher.

“No need for the stretcher. My hip’s fine. I landed on my cell phone. The sound got their attention so just I went with it.” She smiled through capsicum tears. “I figured they’re a neuron short of a synapse.”

One of the nurses nodded. “Yeah. Maybe two. Well, Let’s get you to the saline rinse in the ER.” The nurses helped the doctor to the ER. The hospital administrator arrived a few minutes later and agreed she was in no condition to work her shift, but said they got a podiatry resident to cover for her. Ten minutes later, Dr. Presante in a taxi heading home, still rubbing her eyes. Her cell phone’s sensory system was in much worse shape, and thus missed an emergency call:

“Ambulance inbound. Four occupants with severe head trauma from an overturned VW bus.”

Author Commentary

I posted first because it’s the shortest one I’ve written as of March 2022.


I did send this to some relevant experts, including neurologists and neurosurgeons in the BCI field. There are realism holes that I might fix. For example, Dr. Spataro conveyed that ER’s do not have eye-wash saline rinses, so I removed them. There are other ways it’s unrealistic from a medical perspective.

Otherwise, this one scores dangerously high for realism. We get protested, harassed, and threatened quite often by people unconcerned with what we actually do. I’ve been warning for a while that one of us will someday get hurt by one of them. It’ll happen many times in my lifetime.


For this story, I’ll leave this topic to reader interpretation.

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