Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Stasis Machine

On the planet Zombius, a special stasis machine has just been invented. With this machine, doctors can zap a patient and render him in a state of stasis. Effectively, time stops for the zapped patient. This state of stasis can be reversed by using the same machine on the 'reverse' setting.

With the invention of the stasis machine, death has been averted (and in fact that was the advertising tagline of the stasis machine). Nobody rushed alive to a medical facility dies- if a patient cannot be saved using current medical technology, he is zapped with the stasis machine and stored in a 'temporary housing facility' to await a time where a cure has been discovered.

Everything goes smoothly. One day, however, doctors discover that they are unable to activate the reverse setting of any stasis machine. Zombian scientists research this phenomenon and link it to a permanent change in the frequency of solar flares, but are unable to come up with any solutions to the sudden problem. "It's hopeless", the scientists said.

With the failure of the stasis machines, the ruling body plans to shut down all temporary housing facilities. Arguably, those patients in stasis are little more than bodies incapable of being restored to life. Maintaining the facilities, however, costs a significant amount.

Family members of patients in stasis are displeased with the ruling body's plans. After all, those in stasis are not dead (yet). And there is always a small hope that the strange phenomenon would reverse itself.

Meanwhile, philosophers on another planet are pondering on what to do with brain-dead patients 'living' on life support.

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