William P Thomson

One Who Would a Writer Be.

‘PROMETHEUS ASCENDING’

G’day Good People!

‘PROMETHEUS ASCENDING’

We’ll be continuing our troll through ‘PROM’ today, but before that, some information.

I have informed the Marketing Manager of AUSTIN MACAULEY as to what I’m about. She thinks it’s a great idea and will link this blog site up to my press release site. All gist to the mill.

And now ….. back into ‘PROM’ ….. remembering that all that follows in the context of that story.

* * * *

This time, it’s down to questions and answers. William John Baltimore had set everything up. The operation, eventually to be referred to as ‘The Carvel Experiment’, was Baltimore’s idea, his dream, his driving ambition, for someone to transplant his still clear, highly functioning brain into a new vehicle (body) in which to move, live and DO! He found the man. And it didn’t stop there. He wanted the whole thing chronicled, a written record presented to the world, so others could see and believe that nothing was impossible. For this, Baltimore found the American freelance journalist, ALVIN GAVAERT, to witness and to chronicle everything, from beginning to end; whatever that end was to be. For his part, Gavaert decided early on that there should be a very particular common denominator, a set Q&A session with each of the four who made up the team who would do the deed, and with the man at the heart of it all, and for whom all was being done: WILLIAM JOHN BALTIMORE. This was actually achieved, more or less. However, where Carvel and Baltimore were concerned, there were unscheduled meetings, when such interviewing was not scheduled. The two most telling, even profound, involved Carvel with Baltimore, and Carvel with Gavaert.

With the first, Carvel had asked his patient why he was taking such an extreme gamble. Baltimore’s answer was succinct and devastating. He had informed the great neurosurgeon that he decided it was time for him to meet the world once more, face-to-face. However, in order to do that he first had to have a face, which he barely had at the time!

With the second, it was when Gavaert met Carvel in the CRE (The Cryogenics Research Establishment in Kingston Upon Thames), where the monumental event would take place. In the first instance, Carvel had asked a one-word question: ‘Why?’ Carvel’s immediate, ice-old, challenging reply was ‘WHY NOT?’ Then, the man had explained, and the explanation was not altogether without heart and reason. He had told Gavaert that is was as the mountaineer to an unconquered mountain. It had to be challenged and conquered, simply because it was there, and he was a mountaineer! Gavaert half expected Carvel to burst into song: ‘Climb every mountain!’ The journalist was not himself without a certain humour macabre.

The set, uniformed questions were easy enough to present; face-to-face, direct Q&A. Gavaert wouldn’t engage in any manner of dialogue in respect of the answers given. All interviews taped – for the record. There was one exception: Baltimore. Once in the CRE, and the pre-op induction started, the man was out of bounds. Even so, with an arrangement with Carvel, Gavaert had put the questions in a sealed envelope. Alone and face-to-face (so to speak), Carvel put the questions and recorded the remarkable man’s answers on a small hand-held Dictophone. And so, to the Q&As. I’ve edited to some degree. Hold on to your hats, hearts and souls.

BALTIMORE’s Q&As

Q: Will the ‘Experiment’ succeed?’

A: ‘I hope I’m around to find out’.

Q: ‘Does Carvel think he’ll succeed?’

A: ‘Ask him’.

Q: ‘Do you think Carvel believes himself to be right in what he’s doing?’

A: ‘Bit late to ask now.’

Q: ‘Do you think you’ll come out of this quite literally a new man?’

A: ‘That’s why I’m here.’

Q: ‘Do you feel any responsibility for your actions, to friends, colleagues?’

A: ‘No.’

Q: ‘If you come out of this successfully, where will you go?’

A: ‘Back to work.’

Q: ‘How far do you think Medical progress will go?’

A: ‘Who knows, who can tell? Ask those that dare to do.’

Q: ‘Finally, sir, do you believe in God?’

A: ‘If I don’t, God help me!’

* * * *

Right, that’s it. I’ll be back later today to deal with the Team, and what each had to say, via their own turn in front of the Q&A grilling. Don’t stray far!

PT

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