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Aberrant: In the Beginning - Rich's FAQ


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(This takes place on Rich's airplane ride from the UK back to the USA right after he got out of the clinic.)

Rich got out his pen and started writing. *Might as well try to head this off. Let’s see…*

Richard “Rich” Stevenson’s FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can you really cure anything?

No, I can’t. There are certain conditions that don’t respond at all, mostly birth defects and the like. I can’t make the fat, thin, or make the old, young. I can’t cure Autism, Dyslexia, or alcoholism. Most injuries, and anything involving bacteria or viruses respond well. Disorders and genetic malfunctions much less so. And no, we don’t have a full list.

Even when dealing with things that can be cured, there are limits to how much I can do, and how fast. Some things require several treatments, and for some reason these need to be spread out over several hours.

It’s important to note that this power is just a tool. There are things conditions that science treats better.

Rich thought, *That’s right, stress the negatives. For most of these people the answer is effectively ‘Yes, I can, but no I won't’.*

Are you a real Doctor?

Not yet. I’m still working on it. I have the skills, getting a license is in the works. This means I can’t legally provide medical advice or write prescriptions.

Technically what I do is faith healing and that’s unregulated. If you come to one of the experimental trials at the clinic you’ll notice there are always real doctors around. I make no claims what I do works every single time… especially since I know for a fact it doesn’t.

*And given the ethical rules and legal restrictions that Doctors have, I’ll probably never get a license. Docs have to treat anyone in front of them and that would kill me.*

My Son/Daughter/Father/Mother/Brother/Sister/Friend desperately needs your help.

I feel for you. I turned off life support for my son, I watched my daughter spend years in an un-living state neither fully dead nor alive, I’ve lived with crippling injuries. So I have some clue where you are. But odds are very good I can’t help you.

The math is brutal. Something like 6 million people in the US need me and I’m just one guy. Healing takes lots of energy on my part. On a good day I might cure between one and a couple dozen depending on how hurt they are. There are types of injuries so bad I can only do it once a day, like regrowing limbs. We’re still figuring out the rules for this and trying to maximize output but it’s already clear output isn’t going to be unlimited.

Everyone has a reason why they and theirs should be at the head of the line. Would it be more ethical to spend limited resources to wake people out of comas or to repair damaged spines? Should curing AIDS or Cancer be the priority? 18 people in the US die from not having transplant organs every day. The math is crazy. I could spend every waking moment dealing ONLY with one small sub-group (say six year olds with cancer) and probably STILL not be able to eliminate the category.

The solutions to this ethical mess are as follows. First, recognize that there is no way for one guy to do all this, so the solution is to reverse engineer all this and then mass produce it. So that’s what I’m working on. That’s what modern day doctors/scientists/engineers do. Ideally we’ll end up with a cure for cancer (AIDS, etc) in a pill or a needle. The vast bulk of the healing I do is for the various medical studies I’m involved in.

With a pang of regret Rich thought, *Let’s just not mention that I'm going to cure my daughter but I’m not going to cure yours. Nor that idiot in the air port waiting room. Or that I’m willing to trade favors with other Novus. There are people who can line jump, if you’re reading this you aren’t one of them. I heal people who cross my path and I use my powers to make my life better.*

I’ve heard you once healed dozens in one go…

Most I’ve ever tried was 30 people in one session, doing as little as I could to spread myself out. It was a good experiment, but a failed one. Two big problems kill this idea.

First it was like running the Boston Marathon, not the sort of thing I can do very often. Second most of those people were not cured. 10 got better, 20 did not. I did those 20 later so the problem wasn’t that they were beyond reach. This means two thirds of the energy I used on this experiment was just wasted.

*10 out of 30 Aids patients. My 'hit' rate is a lot better with cancer, but I've no clue why. It's just harder to cure advanced Aids. And if I say that then we’ll be hearing how it’s God’s punishment or something like that. I'm going to have enough trouble avoiding religious entanglements. Organized religion does what's best for organized religion. If Jesus actually came back the people with the nails would be the religious leaders he'd be threatening.*

Someone on TV claimed …

Must be nice to be a TV expert and get paid to talk about things even if you don’t know anything about them.

How do I join one of your studies?

Contact one of the Doctors who are running them. We go through people pretty quick. <Link>

Are you Jesus?

No. *Considering how he ended up, I hope not.* And while we’re on this subject, ‘belief’ doesn’t appear to have an impact on what I can do. Believe in me or not, my power doesn’t care.

Do people ever get worse from what you do?

Not so far. Not everyone gets better; the odds vary depending on what I’m trying to do. So far the worst thing that’s happened is nothing, i.e. no response.

Are there side effects?

Several people have had their tattoos disappear, ditto scars, freckles, moles, and body piercings. We’ve also seen an appendix or two grow back. Once I had another nova’s powers fight my own and I couldn’t heal them fully.

Are you radioactive?

Not when I’m flesh. Healing doesn’t generate radiation. My other powers let me damp down radiation. *Or cause nuclear accidents. I probably can’t kill tens of thousands of people with nuclear weapons, but I probably can kill tens of thousands via radiation poisoning.*


You’re a faith healer, so what do you believe in?

Very sensitive topic. I’m not here to make people question their faith and I don’t see why what I believe should be the answer for other people. If you have religious issues about my existence I suggest you find the answers for yourself. What I will say is IMHO using religion to hurt people or as the justification to hurt people is misusing it.

What about all the other faith healers?

This isn’t a subtle power. If they don’t leave a trail of healed AIDS victims and can’t regrow limbs, then I suggest you don’t give them any money. Ditto if they give complicated explanations on why their powers don’t work in a scientist’s lab, in front of non-believers, or with a magician watching. It’s simple, either they can do it or they can’t. My powers don’t care what others believe, if other people are the real deal then theirs shouldn’t either. If they need the conditions a stage magician would need to do his tricks, then, well, that doesn’t say good things.

Why aren’t you in the hospital 24/7?

Because I have a life. For that matter I even have a job. I’m not getting paid to do this, at least not so far.

*With any luck I'll be getting paid 9 digits to 'cure' radioactive waste.*

I heard that you cured person “X” outside of a clinical trial. That isn’t fair.

I guess the only thing I can say it, fair to whom? Person “X” being cured doesn’t make anyone else unhealthy. I do what I can.

*Probably should skip this question and stress what I do in the clinics and not what I do outside of them.*

How much do you charge?

It varies. For anything research related I charge nothing. Actually I usually charge nothing, but sometimes I trade favors with other novas and I’m thinking of auctioning off some of this to charity. I’m not ethically opposed to charging, we pay doctors after all, but deciding who lives and who dies purely on the basis of money seems a tad crass and unfair so I haven’t decided what to do about this yet.

Rich looked over what he’d wrote and decided, *Now all I need is a hospital to work at and a 9 digit income to pay for my lifestyle.*

*Jesus got by on less.*

*Jesus didn’t have millions of people camped out on his front door. If he was a novus, then he would have had power limits too. How many people did he heal in the Bible? A few dozen? A few score? A few hundred? Less? The world was a lot smaller then, and I have no desire to end up on a cross.*

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