"How have you been feeling lately?" Dr. Trescott asked.
Eliza thought back over the last week, the sudden, constant nausea that had been lurking since the Saturday before. "Not as well as usual. Kind of sick," she reported.
The doctor nodded as he jotted a note in her file. "Yes, we expected as much."
"What do you mean?"
"Last week, we took you off the C23, which is one of your usual medications. Its absence most likely the cause of any nausea you're feeling."
"Why did you take me off of it?" Eliza inquired.
"We wanted to see how your body would react."
"Because at this point, it's... well, we just need to experiment at this point in the game."
Eliza felt the burn of annoyance flar inside her. "Experiment? What does that mean?" Eliza had never spoken so sharply to Dr. Trescott, and he looked surprised.
"It means that- that we don't have-" he faltered, and Eliza didn't want to acknowledge the fear that threatened to overtake her.
"You don't know, do you? You don't know how to cure me. None of you- you don't have a clue." She got up from her chair and strode to the other side of the room, away from the window. She couldn't look at the doctor because his eyes would confirm it. Eliza hadn't realised until this moment that she had always had a little bit of hope, a bright thought that people went into a hospital to be cured. Somehow, she'd always managed to ignore the other reality, that the were people who went into these places and stayed there for a long time, people who never got well and who died there. People like her.
She was pacing now, pacing in tight circles as far as she could get from the window and the doctor and the reality of the situation.
"Eliza?" Dr. Trescott said softly through the intercom. Eliza stopped pacing, but she didn't answer him. "Eliza, please look at me."
"No." She was shaking, though with anger or fear, she didn't know. "What has all of this been for, then?" she demanded. "If none of this works, if it was never going to work, why couldn't you let me live my life outside of here?"
"You know why," Dr. Trescott said with irritating patience. "You're highly contagious. We can't take the risk."
"But even in my own house!" Eliza cried. "A place that's not a hospital. A place that's not so... blank. There's no life here!"
"Your parents would have had to live with you wearing protective suits." Dr.Trescott's voice was still calm. "They may have had to quit their jobs. Is that what you would have wanted?"
"I don't know!" Eliza shouted. "I don't know what I would have wanted then or what would have happened by now, but I- I want to get out of here. If I'm going to die, what's the point? What's the point of this?" She gestured with the arm bearing the IV bracelet.
"We're using it to help you-"
"But you're not! It's not helping me. It's worthless!" She tugged at it in frustration, and to her surprise, the IV came out, slid right out of her arm and dangled there by the tubes that wrapped up her forearm and bicep. The sight of this made Eliza cry harder, though she hadn't realised she'd been crying in the first place.
"Eliza, listen to me." Dr. Trescott's voice was kind. "We're trying as hard as we can. You've known from the beginning that a cure was a goal, not a guarantee. Giving you medication is the best we can do today, but we don't know what miracle might present itself tomorrow. Don't give up on us yet, because we haven't given up on you."