This is a part of Mr. Stolyarov’s play, Implied Consent. To navigate through the various parts of the play, go here.
(This scene takes place in the main operating room of the Grummond Laboratory Complex. The body of QUINTUS GRUMMOND is mounted on an operating table, and several ASSISTANTS are at work examining it and running experiments at nearby tables. On and near the body, several machines and devices are placed to represent the life support apparatus. At the front of the stage, MARK and WALTONFORD are seated in armchairs, conversing.)
WALTONFORD: This is a most disturbing turn of events. I knew that Roberts had influence, but even I had not suspected he would have it in this form.
MARK: And he likely has enough of it to conceal the fact that he has it.
WALTONFORD: Yes, proving your suspicion in a manner that would withstand a trial is difficult at best. The most we might have on Roberts’ involvement in this surprise visit is circumstantial evidence. I will say, however, that Mr. Neville is far more familiar with the intricacies of legal procedure than I. He might find a way to resolve this matter peacefully and keep the IRS at bay for some time, but you must wait until he comes here in the evening. He will be sure to arrive, as I have told him that he should bear witness to a most pleasant surprise.
MARK: A surprise? Of what nature?
WALTONFORD (pointing at the body of GRUMMOND): This. After thoroughly examining the data and blueprints we had obtained from the purchase of your company, we have managed to incorporate even more time-saving methods for Mr. Grummond’s revival. Presently, I have shortened the expected timeframe required for the project’s completion to no more than two or three days.
MARK: Then, has the Estate essentially won the suit?
WALTONFORD: Remember, Mr. Mark, the verdict could come today, if Roberts keeps using procedure to prevent Mr. Neville from responding to his claims. And you are in no position to attend the trial where your service as a witness would have been our surest chance at a swift victory. And besides, it remains my task to make certain that the revival project remains concealed after Mr. Grummond’s recovery, and the latter be made to seem as if it happened from natural causes.
MARK (pondering): If Victoria continues to serve as a witness for the prosecution, Roberts might have his victory sooner. After all, Victoria’s presence is needed to make the suit seem as if it were anything other than a crude attempt by Oswald to grab his father’s wealth. Perhaps I could assist you by summoning her here instead, and revealing to her the information that could change her mind.
WALTONFORD: You are welcome to do so, as the Estate has approved the disclosure.
(Presently the spotlight illuminates a fraction of the stage hitherto left in the dark; that part of the stage is set up as a portion of the interior of VICTORIA’s house. She is within it, ready to exit, when she receives a call on her visual image transmitter from MARK.)
VICTORIA: Edward, where are you? I have tried calling you at your house and received an answer from an IRS agent stating that you are a fugitive from the law and requesting, no, demanding information on where to find you. I hung up immediately, of course, but I am quite worried nonetheless. What has happened to you?
MARK: One of the consequences of Roberts’ non-rational approach to his lawsuits.
VICTORIA: Are you suggesting that-
MARK: Yes. Join me where I am presently, and you shall find out the secret which I have said will make you change your mind.
VICTORIA: But where are you?
MARK: The Grummond Center for Botanical Studies, as it is generally known. It is easy enough to locate.
VICTORIA: How could one ever hide in there? Very well, I shall be there as soon as I can.
(The stage could darken momentarily and then light up again to indicate a break in time. When the lighting resumes, VICTORIA is already beside MARK and WALTONFORD in the laboratory.)
VICTORIA: Artificial restoration of the brain? With all of its memories, connections, and individual peculiarities intact?
WALTONFORD: And why not? Given our rate of progress in electronics and bioengineering, it was only a matter of time before we were able to discover how to artificially recreate matters of this degree of complexity and specificity. Of course, this is still a highly experimental and time-consuming process, needing immense work to render it compatible with the brain of a given individual, and requiring an extremely fortunate situation, like a sustainable coma, during the time period it is applied. Nevertheless, this is the first step toward even greater things, if barriers are not set on our path.
VICTORIA: This is… amazing! Edward and I have argued about whether or not the minute chance of my uncle recovering from his coma could qualify him as being alive, but, truly, the magnitude of this chance is wholly dependent on our technological capacities. Now, a coma has the possibility of becoming a mere curable affliction, like cancer, diabetes, or the flu, and there is no reason for treating those within it as dead.
Yet, if a coma can be said to be akin to an illness or injury, then, since we do not treat ill or injured people as dead, even if their afflictions are fatal, how can we legitimately treat comatose individuals as dead, even if their chances of recovery are minute?
MARK: Victoria, dearest, have you changed your mind?
VICTORIA: What can I say? You were absolutely, entirely, irrefutably correct. So long as even a single organ in a person’s body continues to function, he cannot be considered dead. And, so long as he is not dead, we ought to do our best to hope that he may continue to remain alive as long as his natural endurance, technology, or the combination of the two, can manage it. If he explicitly wishes to refuse treatment, that is his right, but, if he explicitly wishes to be sustained indefinitely, especially through his own funds, there is nothing our wishes, whims, or pretenses at compassion can offer to logically resist him.
MARK: Very well said, dearest. Now, have you decided against testifying for the prosecution?
VICTORIA: Yes, though I fear it might not help you, as your future is currently in as much danger as Quintus Grummond’s, if not more.
WALTONFORD: If we hold out until the evening, there may yet be hope. In the meantime, Mr. Mark, with your expertise in your field, I am sure you will be of assistance to us in the final stages of the revival project. Come, I shall familiarize you and Miss Grummond with its closer workings.
VICTORIA: Might there be some task I can also do to contribute to it?
WALTONFORD: Certainly, we can always find a job for a woman of your intelligence. And, at this point, your help would be greatly and urgently appreciated. It might cut our timeframe even further.
(WALTONFORD leads MARK and VICTORIA toward the operating table and begins to gesture toward certain parts of the experimental setup. The lights are dimmed.)
To read other parts of Implied Consent, go here.