“We all knew he was going to set himself on fire one day.”
“It was a logical step,” Jack agreed. “Tilman had already demonstrated that the basic process worked, starting with tiny flesh wounds and working up through serious injuries, amputations, even a major spinal injury.”
“The problem was the startup going public,” Jamael explained. “We had this process with fascinating implications, and we realized that we were about to change the world of medicine forever. To Tilman, that meant a Big Splash IPO with a show for the press, bread and circuses for the politicians, and a miracle for the public.”
“Right, he wanted something to rival the latest iPhone or the next Windows release. So he set up the Immolation Trap.”
“Drew some inspiration from Houdini, it was brilliant and creepy and shocking. And my god was it everything Tilman had imagined.”
“One of those ‘where were you’ moments; everyone remembers exactly where they were when that flaming thermite rained down in that armorglass tube on live television.”
“Tilman was burned to ash within minutes.”
“Then he was rebuilt from basic elements by the Elijah nanotech system.”
“You know the rest. Ten minutes later, he did it all over again; rain of fire, immolation death and destruction, complete resurrection and restoration from backups. Cameras caught it all, twice. Tilman proved the Elijah System could keep multiple backups current with a transcription lag of only seconds.”
“If only he knew,” Jack looked haunted.
“Tilman thought we’d invented a workable replacement for the entire field of medicine. He couldn’t guess how it would be perverted.”
“We hear the rumors about political prisoners, enemies of the State, torture that never ends. Execution and resurrection, pain recorded and looped.”
Jamael nodded. “We didn’t invent miracles. What we invented was Hell.”
298 words, for this week’s Cracked Flash (Y1W36).