Second Sight can be found in Magazine Entry

Second Sight

by Alan Nourse

(Note: The following excerpts from Amy Ballantine's journal have never actually been written down at any time before. Her account of impressions and events has been kept in organized fashion in her mind for at least nine years (even she is not certain when she started), but it must be understood that certain inaccuracies in transcription could not possibly have been avoided in the excerpting attempted here. The Editor.)

Tuesday, 16 May. Lambertson got back from Boston about two this afternoon. He was tired; I don't think I've ever seen Lambertson so tired. It was more than just exhaustion, too. Maybe anger? Frustration? I couldn't be sure. It seemed more like defeat than anything else, and he went straight from the 'copter to his office without even stopping off at the lab at all.

It's good to have him back, though! Not that I haven't had a nice enough rest. With Lambertson gone, Dakin took over the reins for the week, but Dakin doesn't really count, poor man. It's such a temptation to twist him up and get him all confused that I didn't do any real work all week. With Lambertson back I'll have to get down to the grind again, but I'm still glad he's here. I never thought I'd miss him so, for such a short time away.

But I wish he'd gotten a rest, if he ever rests! And I wish I knew why he went to Boston in the first place. Certainly he didn't want to go. I wanted to read him and find out, but I don't think I'm supposed to know yet. Lambertson didn't want to talk. He didn't even tell me he was back, even though he knew I'd catch him five miles down the road. (I can do that now, with Lambertson. Distance doesn't seem to make so much difference any more if I just ignore it.)

So all I got was bits and snatches on the surface of his mind. Something about me, and Dr. Custer; and a nasty little man called Aarons or Barrons or something. I've heard of him somewhere, but I can't pin it down right now. I'll have to dig that out later, I guess.

But if he saw Dr. Custer, why doesn't he tell me about it?

Wednesday, 17 May. It was Aarons that he saw in Boston, and now I'm sure that something's going wrong. I know that man. I remember him from a long time ago, back when I was still at Bairdsley, long before I came here to the Study Center. He was the consulting psychiatrist, and I don't think I could ever forget him, even if I tried!

That's why I'm sure something very unpleasant is going on.

Lambertson saw Dr. Custer, too, but the directors sent him to Boston because Aarons wanted to talk to him. I wasn't supposed to know anything about it, but Lambertson came down to dinner last night. He wouldn't even look at me, the skunk. I fixed him. I told him I was going to peek, and then I read him in a flash, before he could shift his mind to Boston traffic or something. (He knows I can't stand traffic.)

I only picked up a little, but it was enough. There was something very unpleasant that Aarons had said that I couldn't quite get. They were in his office. Lambertson had said, "I don't think she's ready for it, and I'd never try to talk her into it, at this point. Why can't you people get it through your heads that she's a child, and a human being, not some kind of laboratory animal? That's been the trouble all along. Everybody has been so eager to grab, and nobody has given her a wretched thing in return."

Aarons was smooth. Very sad and reproachful. I got a clear picture of him—short, balding, mean little eyes in a smug, self-righteous little face. "Michael, after all she's twenty-three years old. She's certainly out of diapers by now."

"But she's only had two years of training aimed at teaching her anything."

"Well, there's no reason that that should stop, is there?...

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