Suspension by Jack Reyn

Suspension by Jack Reyn

Author:Jack Reyn
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: medical thriller, genetic engineering, techno thriller, epidemic, biotech, mind powers, future thriller, virus outbreak, philosophical fiction, brain alteration

3 years, 4 months, 19 days after breach

‘Proof,’ said David, his voice dripping with satisfaction, as he stepped triumphantly into Liz’s office. He slapped an open copy of Nature onto her desk.

‘There’s been a reduction in health expenditure, per person in the US, of at least 20% over the past twelve months,’ said David. He jabbed his finger at the article. ‘They’ve analysed everything. It’s adjusted for disparities in wealth, changes in lifestyle and diet, everything they can think of. For every five people who used to get ill, now only four do, and there’s no obvious explanation.’

‘You call that proof?’

‘The effect became statistically significant a year ago. Just a few months after suspension became public knowledge.’

‘You mean after you leaked state secrets.’

‘I’m not having this argument,’ said David with an air of finality.

Liz said nothing, but she could feel the resentment building within her again. Irene had seen to it that her son had been given only a formal reprimand for passing on details of the doxaphage and its effect to the media. In Irene’s eyes, it seemed David could do no wrong.

But his actions had triggered a government panic, culminating in an official statement by the prime minister trying to spin the release of the virus as an altruistic act designed to enhance freedom and happiness.

The world had not, at first, been convinced.

Yet as the months had worn on after the revelations, people had adjusted. The Gift and other self-help movements of the same kind had become even more popular. Peter Paley had seized on the doxaphage and the changes it had made to the brain as scientific confirmation of his teachings. Even beyond the self-help world, the effects of the virus were becoming increasingly apparent. It was true: to be happy, or content, or fulfilled, or however people wanted to feel, all they had to do was want to believe that they already felt that way. Now that it was public knowledge that this was possible, it was almost impossible not to do it. You’d have to want not to be happy.

The changes were slow to spread and take effect, but quite perceptible. The most obvious sign was the sudden crisis in the psychotherapy industry. With happiness just a wish away, there was no need to pay someone else to help you try to find it. Within a year of the revelations, the number of people seeking counselling of any kind had fallen by nearly a half.

A slower, but still significant, effect was a drop in some mental illnesses. New forms of cognitive behavioural therapy quickly emerged in which patients made systematic efforts to believe that they did not have certain conditions. Severe depression was resistant to this treatment, but milder depression and some forms of chronic dysphoria and anhedonia could be entirely dispelled relatively quickly. Phobias and anxiety disorders, too, were extremely amenable to the new treatment.

‘People are happier than they used to be,’ said David. ‘Less stressed. That’s having measurable effects on their physical health.


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