The presenter is a woman in her late forties. Old enough to convey gravitas and command respect. Youthful-looking enough that appearance-oriented audience members will not read her as “old,” and tune out.
Her dark brown hair is pulled into a loose bun. Her make-up is subtle. Her pearl necklace and diamond-stud earrings are the epitome of taste
She is wearing a red sheath dress with a lab coat – a perfectly tailored lab coat – over it. Her black pumps have a conservative heel.
When she speaks, it is in a low-pitched soothing voice, halfway between a flight attendant and a psychotherapist.
The projected images on the screens to either side of her change to mirror her topic.
“TSR – Total Spine Replacement. For decades our orthopedists and neurologists have been working together to refine this process.”
“As so many projects did, it began with a spark. Our chief of R&D nearly lost his son in a car accident – that was before ground-cars were banned and replaced by CTG flitters. Cloud-to-ground vehicles are one life-saving mechanism.“
“TSR is another. “
“No longer will survivors of devastating accidents be relegated to years of pain management, rehab, braces, and mobility devices. No more will children born with severe spinal defects have to live with diminished capabilities and physical therapy.”
“With TSR we can replace the entire human spinal column, first replacing the main neural connections with retractable synthetics, which allow us to remove the spine as one unit.”
She continues, walking her audience through a procedure that looks awfully realistic for a computer model. (It is a computer model, right?)
“Finally, we complete the procedure with our Bio-Orthopedic Reintegration Geometrics machine. How many of you are Star Trek fans? Well, we are, too, but we promise: this BORG has nothing to do with assimilation.”
She holds for the expected laughter. “Clinical trials – human trials – are set to begin in two weeks, on rigorously vetted volunteer subjects. Thanks to TSR our patients will be walking, running, climbing – or just picking up their children – by Christmas.”
The lights come up. She favors the audience with a pleasant smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “Thank you for coming today. I’ll take your questions now.”
Later, behind the curtains, she faces her superior. “It went well,” she says. “I think we’ll see increased numbers of volunteers. This group of physicians specializes in severe spinal trauma.”
“Excellent,” her superior responds. “I require nourishment. Join me for dinner; we will discuss the launch of phase two.”
The woman in red gives a nod, but her neck locks and she must lift her hands to straighten her head.
Her superior stares at her through slitted eyes. “Get that servo checked out. We can’t have you glitching during a presentation.”
The presenter’s eyes widen ever so slightly. But she gives the appropriate response: “By your command.”