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MAME 0.214

MAME 0.214

With the end of September almost here, it’s time to see what goodies MAME 0.214 delivers. This month, we’ve got support for five more Nintendo Game & Watch titles (Fire, Flagman, Helmet, Judge and Vermin), four Chinese computers from the 1980s, and three Motorola CPU evaluation kits. Cassette support has been added or fixed for a number of systems, the Dragon Speech Synthesis module has been emulated, and the Dragon Sound Extension module has been fixed. Acorn Archimedes video, sound and joystick support has been greatly improved.
On the arcade side, remaining issues in Capcom CPS-3 video emulation have been resolved and CD images have been upgraded to CHD version 5, Sega versus cabinet billboard support has been added to relevant games, and long-standing issues with music tempo in Data East games have been worked around.
Of course, you can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters Bugs Fixed

  • 00130: [Sound] (darkseal.cpp) darkseal: When using your weapon, the music speed increases. (AJR)
  • 00389: [Sound] (cbuster.cpp) cbuster: The music tempo increases up when the flamethrower is used. (AJR)
  • 02108: [Sound] (vaportra.cpp) vaportra, vaportrau, kuhga: Music tempo changes when firing. (AJR)
  • 03635: [Gameplay] (igspoker.cpp) cpoker, cpokert: Games freezing during play. (Roberto Fresca)
  • 05802: [DIP/Input] (pk8020.cpp) korvet, neiva, kontur: Keyboard does not work! (Robbbert)
  • 06205: [Graphics] (snes.cpp) snes [pilotwinu,pilotwinj]: Upper part of the screen image repeated. (AmatCoder)
  • 06486: [Side-by-side] (a2600.cpp) a2600: Initial stack pointer value for the M6507 (6502) is incorrect. (MoochMcGee)
  • 06901: [Crash/Freeze] (snes.cpp) snes [jdredd and clones]: Judge Dredd (all regions) stops working after title screen. (AmatCoder)
  • 07405: [Sound] (dragon.cpp) dragon32, dragon64, dragon64h, dragon200, dragon200e: Dragon Sound Extention module is silent. (AJR)
  • 07408: [Plugins] “autofire” plugin is not working properly. (Nathan Woods)
  • 07412: [Crash/Freeze] (vgmplay.cpp) vgmplay [chaotixju_md]: Crash when attempting to play Sega 32X audio pack. (cam900)
  • 07413: [Crash/Freeze] (exidy440.cpp) yukon, yukon1: The games crash or get stuck during the initial checks. (AJR)
  • 07416: [Graphics] (legionna.cpp) denjinmk: Broken backgrounds in two game endings. (Angelo Salese)
  • 07419: [Crash/Freeze] (snes.cpp) snes [firemenu, firemenj]: Screen remains black and game doesn’t start. (AmatCoder)
  • 07425: [Misc.] (mac.cpp) macplus: Option/Command key positions swapped (U.S. PC keyboard). (R. Belmont)
  • 07426: [Misc.] (mac.cpp) maciici: Non-matching Option key positions (U.S. PC keyboard). (R. Belmont)
  • 07427: [Crash/Freeze] (arkanoid.cpp) arkgcbl, arkgcbla, arkangc2, arkbloc2, arkbloc3, block2, paddle2: Crash on start. (Robbbert)
  • 07430: [Graphics] (nes.cpp) ultstunt and clones: Introduction screens and playfield are corrupted. (AJR)

New working machines

  • China Jiangmen Computer Equipment Factory H-01 JCE [zzemu]
  • China State-owned 830 Factory NF500A [zzemu]
  • Draw Poker (Joker Poker V.01) [Roberto Fresca TeamEurope]
  • Game & Watch: Fire (silver) [algestam, Mr. Do, Sean Riddle]
  • Game & Watch: Flagman [algestam, Mr. Do, Sean Riddle]
  • Game & Watch: Helmet (Rev. 2) [algestam, hap, Mr. Do, Sean Riddle]
  • Game & Watch: Judge (green) [algestam, Mr. Do, Sean Riddle]
  • Game & Watch: Vermin [algestam, hap, Mr. Do, Sean Riddle]
  • Motorola MEK6802D3 [68bit]
  • Motorola MEK6802D4 [68bit]
  • Motorola MEK6802D5 [68bit]
  • Nanjing Computer Factory Zi Jin I [zzemu]
  • Novag Super Sensor IV [hap, Berger, Achim]
  • SciSys / Philidor Software Chess Champion: Mark V [hap, Berger]
  • SciSys Kasparov Turbostar 432 [hap, anonymous]
  • Urachacha Mudaeri (Korea) [brizzo, Angelo Salese, The Dumping Union]

New working clones

  • Birdie Try (Japan revision 2, revision 1 MCU) [TeamEurope, Guru]
  • China HKC HKC 8800A [zzemu]
  • Fidelity Electronics Excel 68000 Mach II (rev. C+, set 2) [Berger]
  • Game & Watch: Balloon Fight (crystal screen) [algestam, hap, Mr Jiggles the Christmas Man]
  • Gouketsuji Ichizoku (Japan, prototype) [twistedsymphony]
  • Hegener + Glaser Mephisto ESB II [Berger, Achim]
  • Hegener + Glaser Mephisto III (ver. B) [Berger, Achim]
  • Kuri Kinton (US, World Games license) [coolmod, The Dumping Union]
  • Novag Constellation 3.6MHz (set 1) [hap, Berger, Achim]
  • Novag Constellation 3.6MHz (set 2) [Berger]
  • Novag Constellation Quattro [hap, anonymous]
  • Novag Savant II [Berger, Achim]
  • Pac Man (U.G. bootleg of Puck Man) [f205v]
  • Psyvariar -Medium Unit- (V2.02O 2000/02/22 13:00) [rtw]
  • Raiden Fighters (Greece) [Sergio Galiano, Recreativos Piscis]
  • SciSys / Philidor Software Chess Champion: Mark VI/Philidor [hap, Berger, anonymous]
  • Venture (version 5 set 2, bootleg) [f205v]

Machines promoted to working

  • Unior [Robbbert]

Clones promoted to working

  • Champion Poker (v101) [Roberto Fresca]
  • Champion Poker (v201F) [Roberto Fresca]
  • Lady Liner (encrypted, set 1) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca, Ivan Vangelista]
  • Lady Liner (encrypted, set 2) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca, Ivan Vangelista]
  • Lady Liner (encrypted, set 3) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca, Ivan Vangelista]
  • Lady Liner (encrypted, set 4) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca, Ivan Vangelista]
  • Lovely Cards (encrypted) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca, Ivan Vangelista]
  • New Lucky 8 Lines (set 10, W-4, encrypted NEC D315-5136) [Grull Osgo]

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

  • Alpha Micro AM-1000 [Bitsavers]
  • Cablenet 2039 Controller [Al Kossow, Bitsavers]
  • Maldaliza [brizzo, Angelo Salese, The Dumping Union]
  • VTech Genius Leader Select [TeamEurope, The Dumping Union]
  • Wully Bully [brizzo, Angelo Salese, The Dumping Union]

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

  • 286 motherboards with 5-chip SUNTAC chipset [rfka01]
  • 286 motherboards with 5-chip VLSI chipset [rfka01]
  • 286 motherboards with Headland G2 chipset [rfka01]
  • 386 Motherboard using the Forex FRX46C402 + FRX46C411 + SiS 85C206 chipset [rfka01]
  • 386 motherboard using the Symphony chipset [rfka01]
  • 386 motherboards using a OPTi 82C495XLC chipset [rfka01]
  • 386 motherboards using the ALi M1429 A1 and M1431 A2 chipset [rfka01]
  • 386 motherboards with a FOREX FRX46C402/FRX36C300/SIS85C206 chipset [rfka01]
  • 386 SC Rev A2 [rfka01]
  • 386-4N-D04A (UMC chipset) [rfka01]
  • Asus ISA-386C [rfka01]
  • Asus ISA-386U30 REV.2.2 [rfka01]
  • AUVA COMPUTER, INC. BAM/12-S2 [rfka01]
  • AUVA VIP-M21502A BAM16-A0 [rfka01]
  • BI-025C HT-12 286 (HT12/A chipset) [rfka01]
  • Biostar MB-1212C [rfka01]
  • CDTEK 286 motherboard with Headland G2 chipset [rfka01]
  • CMP enterprise CO.LTD. 286 motherboard [rfka01]
  • DFI 386-20.REV0 [rfka01]
  • DTK PEM 2539 [rfka01]
  • Eagle PC-2 [rfka01]
  • Everex Systems EV-1815 [rfka01]
  • GOLDSTAR P/N 611-606A Rev 1.0A [rfka01]
  • HLB-286 MBA-009 [rfka01]
  • KMA-202F-12R (Winbond chipset) [rfka01]
  • Leading Edge Model M [rfka01]
  • Leanord SA Elan High Tech 286 [rfka01]
  • Magitronic Technology Magitronic B236 [rfka01]
  • Micromint MPX-16 [rfka01]
  • Morse KP-286 [rfka01]
  • Octek 286 mainboard with Headland G2 chipset [rfka01]
  • Octek Jaguar V v1.4 [rfka01]
  • Olivetti M203 motherboard [rfka01]
  • PC-Chips M205 [rfka01]
  • PC-Chips M321 [rfka01]
  • PC-Chips M326 [rfka01]
  • PC-Chips M919 [rfka01]
  • Pipi & Bibis / Whoopee!! (bootleg, set 2) [anonymous]
  • Shuttle Computer International HOT-304 [rfka01]
  • SM 386-40F (Forex chipset) [rfka01]
  • Snobol Mini 286 [rfka01]
  • Soyo SY-019H and SY-019I [rfka01]
  • SY-012 16/25 386MB VER: 5.2 [rfka01]
  • TAM/33/40-MA0 (CM318R00,M31-R00) [rfka01]
  • Uniron U3911-V3 [rfka01]
  • Vendex HeadStart Plus [rfka01]
  • Wyse WYSEpc 286 [rfka01]

New working software list additions

  • amiga_apps: Amiga Appetizer (Sv), Desktop Budget (Sv), SuperDuper 2.02 [FakeShemp]
  • apple2_flop_clcracked:
    • Charlie Brown's 1, 2, 3's (1990 Queue re-release) (cleanly cracked), Chivalry (Revision 2) (cleanly cracked), Computer Preparation for the SAT (Version 1.1A) (cleanly cracked), Creature Chorus (Version 4.0) (cleanly cracked), Julius Erving and Larry Bird Go One on One (cleanly cracked), MicroExam Test Bank for Computer Mathematics: Structured BASIC with Math Applications (Version 1.01) (cleanly cracked), Millionaire (Version 2.1) (cleanly cracked), Professor Davensteev's Galaxy Search: Blue Level (cleanly cracked), Professor Davensteev's Galaxy Search: Red Level (cleanly cracked), Quiz Castle (cleanly cracked), The Sales Edge (cleanly cracked), Universe II (Version 1.0) (cleanly cracked) [4am, Firehawke]
    • Buck Rogers - Planet of Zoom (cleanly cracked) [LoGo, Firehawke]
    • Star Fleet 1: The War Begins (cleanly cracked) [Peter Ferrie, Firehawke]
  • apple2_flop_misc: Olin in Emerald [www.mocagh.org, Dan Chisarick, Firehawke]
  • apple2_flop_orig:
    • Crossbow, Dogfight, Dragon's Keep, The Fidelity Chessmaster 2100, Hyper Head On, Infiltrator, Infiltrator Part II: The Next Day, International Hockey, Oo-Topos, PHM Pegasus, Racter, Roach Hotel, The Rocky Horror Show, The Sands of Mars, Snoggle, Succession, Super Mario Bros. Print World, Tawala's Last Redoubt, Tuesday Morning Quarterback [4am, Firehawke]
    • Olin in Emerald [4am, www.mocagh.org, Dan Chisarick, Firehawke]
    • Star Fleet 1: The War Begins [Brian Wiser, Firehawke]
  • gba: Broken Circle (Euro) [No-Intro, FakeShemp]
  • ggm: Sandy Edition - Master Chess, Steinitz Edition-4 - Master Chess [anonymous]
  • gtfore: Golden Tee Fore! 2002 (V2.00.00), Golden Tee Fore! 2003 (V3.00.04), Golden Tee Fore! 2004 (V4.00.XX), Golden Tee Fore! 2005 (V5.00.XX), Golden Tee Fore! Complete (V6.00.XX) [FakeShemp]
  • ibm5150: 2400 A.D. (set 2), Colossus Bridge 4, The Faery Tale Adventure: Book I, Star Pack, UMS II: Nations at War - Planet Editor [FakeShemp]
  • ibm5170: Bundesliga Manager Professional, QuickLink II Fax, Veil of Darkness, Vinguiden 1.0 (Sweden) [FakeShemp]
  • mac_flop: Balance of the Planet, Lode Runner [FakeShemp]
  • saitek_kso: Kasparov Selected Openings [Berger, anonymous]
  • sorcerer_cass: Defense [exidyboy]
  • spectrum_cass: The Quill Adventure System (C series) (set 1, C05) [David Haywood]
  • vgmplay: Air Rescue (Sega System 32), Alien3 - The Gun (Sega System 32), Barunba (MSX2), Barunba (PC Engine), Blaster Master - Enemy Below (Nintendo Game Boy Color), Bosconian (MSX), Cueb Runner (Sharp X68000), Dragon Buster (Sharp X68000), Fist of the North Star (NES), Fist of the North Star - 10 Big Brawls for the King of Universe (Nintendo Game Boy), Fray (MSX2), Hokuto no Ken (Family Computer), Illusion City (MSX turbo R), Image Fight (Sharp X68000), John Madden Football II (PC), King & Balloon (MSX), Kyuukyoku Tiger (Sharp X68000), Mappy (NEC PC-8801), Pac-Land (Sharp X68000), Pac-Man (MSX), R-Type (Sharp X68000), The Return of Ishtar (Fujitsu FM77AV), The Return of Ishtar (NEC PC-8801), The Return of Ishtar (NEC PC-9801), SHM (MSX2), Tank Battalion (MSX), Terra Cresta (Sharp X68000), Thunder Dragon (Arcade), Total Carnage (IBM PC AT), Toy Story Racer (Nintendo Game Boy Color), Turok - Battle of the Bionosaurs (Nintendo Game Boy), Turok - Rage Wars (Nintendo Game Boy Color), Turok 2 - Seeds of Evil (Nintendo Game Boy Color), Turok 3 - Shadow of Oblivion (Nintendo Game Boy Color), XVM (MSX) [Tafoid]
  • vsmile_cart:
    • Abenteuer im ABC Park (Germany, Rev. 3), The Batman - Rettung von Gotham City (Germany) [TeamEurope]
    • The Batman - Rescate en Gotham City (Spain), Bob der Baumeister - Bobs spannender Arbeitstag (Germany, Rev. 104), Bob y sus Amigos - Un Día De Trabajo (Spain), Campeonato de Futbol V.Smile (Spain), Disney/Pixar Cars - Acelera el Motor en Radiador Springs (Spain), Disney/Pixar À Procura de Nemo - Nemo À Descoberta do Oceano (Portugal), DreamWorks Shrek - El Cuento de la Dragona (Spain), Lil' Bratz Estrellas De La Moda - Amigos, Moda y Diversión (Spain), Noddy - Detective Por um Dia (Portugal), Scooby-Doo - Misterio En El Parque (Spain, translucent blue cartridge), Superman - El Hombre de Acero (Spain), Walt Disney La Cenicienta - Los sueños mágicos de Cenicienta (Spain) [TeamEurope, ClawGrip]

Software list items promoted to working

  • dragon_cart: Speech Synthesis Module [Nigel Barnes]

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

  • gj4000: Wissen für Kinder [TeamEurope]
  • gl6000sl: Update - Rechtschreibreform [TeamEurope]
  • glcx: Update Programm-Zusatzkassette (Ger) [TeamEurope]
  • gls: Spielend Richtig Schreiben [TeamEurope]
  • ibm5170: Strike Commander, Strike Commander: Speech Pack, Strike Commander: Tactical Operations [FakeShemp]
  • mac_flop: The Supercars - Test Drive II Car Disk [FakeShemp]
  • mac_hdflop: Lost in Time - Parts 1 & 2 [FakeShemp]
  • st_flop: Ferrari Formula One (Euro) [FakeShemp]
  • vsmile_cart:
    • Cranium - Freizeit Park - Ein Jahrmarkt voller Spiel- und Lernspaß (Germany), Dolphis Wasser-abenteuer (Germany) [TeamEurope]
    • Cranium - Parque de Atracciones de Cranium (Spain), Dakota y su mascota (Spain), Disney/Pixar Toy Story 2 (Smartbook) (USA), Disney's Little Einsteins (Spain), Kung Fu Panda - Aventura en el Valle de la Paz (Spain), Nick Jr. Dora the Explorer - Dora's Got a Puppy (Smartbook) (USA), Spider-Man y Amigos - Misiones Secretas (Spain, Rev. 222), V.Smile Estudio De Arte (Spain), V.Smile PC (Spain), Walt Disney La Cenicienta - Los sueños mágicos de Cenicienta (Spain, Rev. 122) [TeamEurope, ClawGrip]
  • vsmilem_cart: Disney La Casa de Mickey Mouse (Spain), Disney Winnie the Pooh - En busca de la miel (Spain), Disney/Pixar Cars - Acelera el Motor en Radiador Springs (Spain), Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 (Spain), Disney/Pixar UP (Spain), Disney/Pixar Wall-E (Spain), DreamWorks Monstruos contra Alienígenas (Spain), ¡¡Scooby-Doo!! - Misterio en el parque (Spain) [TeamEurope, avlixa, ClawGrip]

Source Changes

  • bus/ss50: Corrected SS-30 MPS2 “high” Baud rates. [68bit]
  • bus/ss50: Don’t log reads from empty SS-50 slots when side effects are disabled. [68bit]
  • flex_dsk.cpp: Fixed logging of the disk name extension. [68bit]
  • swtpc09.cpp: Added hard disk support to the DMAF3 controller. [68bit]
    • Includes new WD1000 hard disk controller support, and improved DMAF2/DMAF3 MC6844 DMA emulation.
  • mc6845.cpp: Improved cursor emulation, including differences between the MC6845 and HD6845S. [68bit]
  • asmjs: Removed option to ignore missing libraries, and removed util and SDL2_ttf from link libraries. [68bit]
  • unidasm: Added -xchbytes option to swap input bytes. [AJR]
  • Added dump and emulation for Alpha Micro AM-310 Communications Controller. [AJR, Bitsavers]
  • m37710: Internalized timing for analog-to-digital converter. [AJR]
  • Distinguish DIP switches that belong to different devices but have the same name in UI menus. [AJR]
    • Most likely to occur when multiple instances of the same device type are configured on bus slots.
  • h8: Improved disassembly. [AJR]
    • Corrected sign extension for 16-bit absolute addresses.
    • Add h' prefix to hexadecimal numbers.
    • Restrict address length depending on model.
    • Align arguments.
  • airbustr.cpp, djboy.cpp, hvyunit.cpp, sidearms.cpp: Corrected sound IRQ sources. [AJR]
  • c140.cpp: Added timing output to trigger periodic FIRQ. [AJR]
  • h6820: Added a hack to work around incorrect music speed in cbuster.cpp, darkseal.cpp and vaportra.cpp (MT00130, MT00389, MT02108). [AJR]
  • prestige.cpp: Corrected metadata (glmmc is now gmmc), and marked gmmc system ROM as a bad dump. [AJR]
  • h6280: Reduced logical address space width, and made debugger use official names for banking registers. [AJR]
  • exidy440.cpp: Fixed crash/assertion failure caused by palette having too few entries. [AJR]
  • Added preliminary ELAN Microelectronics RISC II CPU emulation. [AJR]
  • dp8350.cpp: Improved timing, and fixed save states. [AJR]
  • nes.hsi: Fixed mirroring for Ultimate Stuntman. [AJR]
  • Fixed debugger dump command for address-shifted spaces. [AJR]
  • snes.cpp: Don’t reset HDMA on writes to HDMAEN if the register value isn’t changed (fixes MT06205). [AmatCoder]
  • g65816, spc700: Improved cycle counting (fixes MT06901 and MT07419). [AmatCoder]
  • crospuzl.cpp: Improved Flash loading. [Angelo Salese]
  • VRender0 updates: [Angelo Salese]
    • Improved menghong hardware emulation, allowing crzyddz2 to boot and improving menghong colors.
    • Moved video and audio components into the system-on-a-chip device, and added preliminary UART emulation.
    • Allowed external video clock to be set by the host driver.
  • segaic24.cpp: Implemented reverse Y clipping logic (fixes sprite priorities in Crack Down). [Angelo Salese]
  • archimds.cpp updates: [Angelo Salese]
    • Fixed cursor enable and sizing (used by caverns to display score and main player sprite).
    • Added preliminary RTFM and serial joystick support.
    • Re-implemented Acorn VIDC10 emulation, adding stereo sound support and improving raster effects.
  • segac2.cpp: Added links to reference videos. [cam900]
  • gba.xml: Corrected ROM size for brokenc. [cam900]
  • k051649.cpp: Added more address map mirrors, added save state support, and cleaned up code. [cam900]
  • ym2151.cpp: Clear both output buffers when reset is asserted. [cam900]
  • psikyosh.cpp: Refactored common pixel operations into helper functions, improved use of const, and cleaned up code. [cam900]
  • ay8910.cpp: Implemented AY8930 extensions, made pin 26 an input, added notes, and cleaned up code. [cam900]
  • deco_mlc.cpp: Improved blending behavior and cleaned up code. [cam900]
  • mega32x.cpp: Removed assumptions about host system’s sound outputs (fixes MT07412). [cam900]
  • 315_5313.cpp: Fixed 3-bit color mode masking, implemented device_gfx_interface, and separated shadow/highlight palettes. [cam900]
  • calcune.cpp: Converted drawing routine to use VDP palette, added save state support, and reduced redundant code. [cam900]
  • video/generic.cpp: Added 16×16 layouts composed of 2×2 arrangement of 8×8 tiles, and made a number of drivers use generic layouts. [cam900]
  • imagetek_i4100.cpp: Added notes and cleaned up code. [cam900]
  • hyprduel.cpp: Set MACHINE_NO_COCKTAIL flag on hyprduel and hyprduel2. [cam900]
  • nmk16.cpp: Verified some clock sources and CPU types. [cam900]
  • legionna.cpp: Always invalidate tilemaps on bank change for Denjin Makai and Heated Barrel. [cam900]
  • plugins/cheat: Added time functions to the cheat sandbox. [Carl]
  • netlist: Force C locale when formatting numbers (fixes exception when global locale is set). [Couriersud]
  • spectrum: Added preliminary Beta Disk emulation (not working). [David Haywood]
  • karnov.cpp: Hooked up 8031 microcontroller for chelnovjbl. [Dirk Best]
  • model3.cpp: Hook up 315-5649 I/O controller. [Dirk Best]
  • HP9845: Reimplemented TACO based on recently-published internal documentation. [F.Ulivi]
    • Also separated DC100 tape cartridge device, and added support for 16-bit data format used by HP9845 and HP885.
  • hphybrid: Fixed bug that caused hp9825t to hang when calculating logarithms. [F.Ulivi]
  • Don’t throttle emulation while paused if video update-in-pause is enabled. [feos]
  • icebox.cpp: Hooked up floppy controller interrupt request, allowing disk routines to work properly. [Frank Palazzolo]
  • apple2: Corrected Joyport multiplexing. [Golden Child]
  • apple2: Fixed key code for Ctrl-Shift-P and modifier codes for M and N on II and II Plus. [Golden Child]
  • segacrp2_device.cpp: Added NEC D315-5136 device (used by lucky8k). [Grull Osgo]
  • sh: Log SH2 FMR clock multiplier writes. [MetalliC]
  • cps3.cpp updates – imperfect graphics flag has been removed: [MetalliC]
    • Hooked up coin lockouts and coin counters, and connected buttons 5 and 6 to jojo, jojoba and clones.
    • Made SS RAM and registers eight bits wide and fixed EEPROM size.
    • Added fixed delay to palette/character DMA interrupts, and removed periodic interrupt hack.
    • Fixed missing star sprite in introduction and game title background color for jojo.
    • Render tilemaps as sets of rows from sprite list (fixes sfiii Alex stage background).
    • Implemented sprite list caching (fixes warzard two-player versus screen and jojo introduction text).
    • Replaced disk images version 5 CHD files build from trurip database.
    • Re-implemented color fading, and zeroed low three bits of color channels.
    • Improved save state support, Improved function/variable naming, cleaned up code, and improved documentation.
  • cps3.cpp: Implemented tilemap flipping, added a delay to sprite list DMA acknowledgement, and buffered global scroll registers. [MetalliC, David Haywood]
  • geneve: Added PC keyboard connector, allowing the use of emulated PC XT keyboards. [Michael Zapf]
  • m6502: Improved reset sequence emulation (fixes MT06486). [MoochMcGee, hap, smf]
  • Exposed running_machine::exit_pending() and running_machine::hard_reset_pending() to Lua scripts. [Nathan Woods]
  • Changed osd_get_clipboard_text() to return std::string. [Nathan Woods]
  • dragon32: Added JCB Speech Synthesis cartridge emulation. [Nigel Barnes]
  • acorn_vidc.cpp: Generate µ-law table at device start time. [O. Galibert, Angelo Salese]
  • tms34020: Fixed BLMOVE alignment handling (fixes endless loop in Atronic games). [Priit Laes]
  • apple2: Added initial support for ComputerEyes/2 image capture slot card. [R. Belmont, Golden Child]
  • f2mc16 updates: [R. Belmont]
    • Implemented more opcodes.
    • Made interrupt handling more robust.
    • Implemented mb9061x timers 0 and 1, including external event counter mode.
    • Fixed BBC branch offset.
    • Added more opcodes to the disassembler and normalized bit syntax.
    • Added save state support and cleaned up code.
  • Added a preliminary native Cocoa OSD layer for macOS (not working yet). [R. Belmont]
  • mac.cpp, mac128.cpp: Made default mapping for Command key right alt for all machines. [R. Belmont]
  • Emulated Sega Billboard and hooked it up to ST-V, Model 2 and Model 3 games. [Rob Krum, Dirk Best]
  • i8251: Implemented synchronous modes. [Robbbert]
  • unior.cpp, pp01.cpp: Fixed cassette interfaces. [Robbbert]
  • pmd85.cpp: Added cassette to alfa and mato, fixed cassette on other sets, and added notes. [Robbbert]
  • poly88.cpp: Fixed cassette polyphase mode. [Robbbert]
  • argo.cpp: added DMA, CRTC, PIT and cassette by guesswork. [Robbbert]
  • plan80.cpp: Added speaker sound. [Robbbert]
  • pk8020.cpp: Fixed keyboard and updated notes (MT05802). [Robbbert]
  • mycom.cpp: Fixed scrolling. [Robbbert]
  • goldnpkr.cpp: Replaced incorrectly dumped jokercar extended graphics ROMs with data from another set to make the game playable. [Roberto Fresca]
  • goldstar.cpp: Simplified cherrys graphics decryption code. [Roberto Fresca]
  • igspoker.cpp updates: [Roberto Fresca]
    • Patched out protection in cpokert, cpokerx, cpoker101, cpoker201f and cpoker210ks (MT03635).
    • Fixed inputs for cpoker, cpokert and cpoker201f.
  • SGI Newport graphics: Fixed inverted-Y pixel read-back (fixes crash in Alias PowerAnimator 7.5). [Ryan Holtz]
  • r4000: Report the correct sub-revision for the R4600, and allow specific R4x00 types to specify the FPU ID as well. [Ryan Holtz]
  • indigo.cpp: Switched indigo4k to use the new R4000 CPU core. [Ryan Holtz]
  • SGI HAL2 audio: Corrected chip revision ID to match real hardware. [Ryan Holtz]
  • sgi_mc: Flag EISA bus as present on both Indigo² and Indy, as VINO uses EISA signals for GIO64 arbitration. [Ryan Holtz]
  • vino: Implemented the majority of its functionality, and hooked it up to picture_image_device. [Ryan Holtz]
  • hh_sm510.cpp: Improved re-created melody ROMs for gnw_bfight and gnw_mbaway. [algestam]
  • debugger: Added mips and m68k support to gdbstub, and added support for running MAME debugger commands from the client. [Ramiro Polla]
  • Changed Travis CI build to use GCC 9, and added MinGW GCC build to AppVeyor. [Belegdol]
  • marineb.cpp: Documented difficulty settings for hoccer, and added DIP switch locations for most sets. [Brian Troha]
  • policetr.cpp: Re-dumped U163 sound ROM for policetr10, and added speed-up hacks for sshooter, sshooter11 and policetr10. [Brian Troha]
  • karnov.cpp: Re-dumped color BPROMS for chelnovj, confirming they match chelnov/chelnovu. [Brian Troha]
  • ibm5170.xml updates: [FakeShemp]
    • Changed gilispa, mitsmous6, nd010pci, nusound, sndwav32 and wordfndr to IMD images.
    • Changed scroll3d, sndwav32, cpavfw, microcp3, wordfndr and thndrhwk to MFM images.
    • Re-dumped internet and nicklaus.
  • ibm5150.xml: Replaced tgipack and ranger1 with MFM images. [FakeShemp]
  • amiga_hardware.xml: Dumped a590_seagate disk. [FakeShemp]
  • blackt96.cpp: Measured PIC microcontroller clock frequency. [Guru]
  • wyvernf0.cpp: Measured clock frequencies. [Guru]
  • symbolics.cpp: Changed unpopulated ROM regions to read as 0xFF to match hardware tests. [Josh Dersch]
  • neptunp2.cpp: Added EEPROM dump to rockroll. [jordigahan, ClawGrip]
  • commando.cpp: Corrected CPU frequency and updated notes. [Jose Tejada]
  • gng.cpp: Corrected notes. [Jose Tejada]
  • midvunit.cpp: Added re-created A19993 PAL program. [JROK, Hydreigon]
  • naomi.cpp: Re-dumped initdv2ja and ggxxsla GD-ROMs. [MajorPBX]
  • sprint4.cpp: Fixed gear shift controls for fourth player. [Mark Spaeth]
  • bfm_sc4.cpp, exidyttl.cpp, globalfr.cpp, jpmmps.cpp, monacogp.cpp, mpu5.hxx, simple_st0016.cpp: Edited titles for consistency. [MASH]
  • genpc.cpp updates: [rfka01]
    • Increased pc BIOS region size to 64 KiB to support late XT clones.
    • pc: “Added Super Computer BIOS 1.2”, “B-190-B”, “KT 10 M/B” and “Ruud Baltissen's Diagnostics” BIOS options.
  • at.cpp updates: [rfka01]
    • Expanded chipset details and notes.
    • at: Added “286 TACT”, “CDTEK 286” and “Landmark/Supersoft diagnostic ROMs” BIOS options.
    • at386: Added “386 board with Ali chipset”, “386 UMC 3DIUD”, “386GRN-like board rev.03”, “MB1325PM” and “Tandon/Micronics with 385” BIOS options.
    • atvga: Added “286 TACT” and “CDTEK 286” BIOS options.
    • neat: added “286-NEAT”, “VIP BAM/16-11” and “CP-805” BIOS options.
    • vlsi5: Added “MBVLSI-168” BIOS option.
  • ibmpc.cpp: Added “Landmark/Supersoft Diagnostics” BIOS options for ibm5150 and ibm5160. [rfka01]
  • hawk.cpp: Added “DEMOS 2.21 V1.01” BIOS option. [TheEPROM9]
  • cps1.cpp: Dumped U104 PAL for Street Fighter II' CE Mstreet-6 bootlegs sf2cems6a and sf2cems6b. [TwistedTom]
  • chinagat.cpp: Added PCB layouts and TRJ-100 pinout information, and updated notes. [yukaritamura]
  • supbtime.cpp: Fixed DE-0343 board main CPU and audio CPU clock frequencies. [yukaritamura]
submitted by cuavas to emulation

Dr. Tarsal is a Genius with his Hands

My name is Margaux. Or at least that’s what it says on my Instagram bio, followed by the descriptors: Taurus | Luxury Lover | Travel Nomad | Contact: [email protected]. None of that is real, of course, besides the email address. The email leads to an inbox which, even after 4 years of dutifully posting at 10 AM every other day and 15,000 Instagram followers (you should really follow me!), has been pitifully empty of any serious sponsorship deals. The rest? Branding. I chose the name Margaux because it seemed the right balance of memorable, yet common enough to be approachable, with an air of je-ne-sais-quoi French chic. It also doesn’t hurt that the name evokes the image of Margot Robbie who, when I started my Instagram, was Hollywood’s newest little darling.
Everyone’s trying to make it big on social media these days, I know. I’d like to say that I’m not like the rest-- that I have a genuine eye for design, that I almost graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, that I’m smart and was on my high school’s state championship Quiz Bowl team, but probably every Instagram wannabe is at some point one or more of those things. And like all the rest, I had a day job waitressing, which paid for my rent in a shared two bedroom with three other girls, all recent graduates who, by necessity more than choice, were still willing to put up with the bunk bed lifestyle of their college days.
I’m not ashamed to say that I also briefly had a sugar daddy, Ted (girl’s gotta eat) who was a fifty-something vice president at an investment bank in New York. No need to be impressed though-- “vice president” in finance is just fancy for “middle level manager.” He didn’t pay for any private jets to Paris, or shower me with Louboutins, but I did get a steady $1200 check from him every month, which went straight to rentals of designer pieces that I could pose in for the ‘gram. I keep telling myself it’s “an investment,” but how good of an investment is it really if there are zero returns? Even I know enough about business to recognize that.
Ted’s car accident led me to my new job at Dr. Tarsal’s. More accurately, Ted and I had been in a car accident, driving back from Connecticut on the Merritt Parkway. He had told me it would be a “weekend getaway,” and that he would compensate for my time when he invited me. When we arrived in Westport, pulling up to his old driveway, I found out it was actually a graduation party for his youngest daughter. He wanted me there to spite his recently engaged ex-wife. I don’t know what was more pathetic-- that he felt the need to one-up the ex he was “so over” or that he needed to lie to me like it was some kind of kidnapping and he was the man with the icecream truck. I digress.
The party, which I will not bore you with the intimate details of, was expectedly bougie and boozy. We left at 4 in the afternoon, a time when in most places, on most days, nothing horrific ever happens. But while Ted was driving, telling me for the upteenth time about his lousy coworkers, his right face froze, his sentence stopping mid-gurgle, and slumped onto the steering wheel. His right arm fell limply by his side.
The car swerved gracefully in slow motion into the Walmart semi in the next lane. When we arrived at the hospital, they told me Ted had a stroke. I guess it was lucky that the stroke had paralyzed his right body so he bore the brunt of the crash on the driver’s side of the car. Ted, unfortunately for both him and for my bank account, did not make it.
After the crash, I was referred to Dr. Tarsal for a large slice straight down the bridge of my nose and a piece of skin that had peeled cleanly off my cheek. The reconstruction procedure and skin graft were technically straightforward, but as I was uninsured (like so many others in my generation), I knew that paying down the cost of the procedures would require a new source of income. As Providence would have it, as I was signing out with the receptionist, a dove gray pamphlet offering a job for a well-appearing, professional, and detail-oriented night receptionist at Dr. Tarsal’s clinic caught my eye. The job had health insurance, vacation time, and perhaps most importantly, a 15% off discount on all clinic services. It would cut down a non-trivial amount of the money I owed for my new face. What can I say, dear reader? I applied for the job.
You might wonder at this point why a respectable, boutique plastic surgery office in Union Square would even have a need for a night receptionist. It was certainly the first question I had for Dr. Tarsal’s assistant, Miriam when I interviewed for the position.
“He’s a workaholic,” she answered, a feigned nonchalance that I took for barely suppressed irritation with my question. She pulled at a hangnail on her Essie manicured hand, and took a breath in. “You know how surgeons are… always wanting to make more money!” Here, she forced a cheery and conspiratorial laugh.
“Sure,” I replied. I wasn’t exactly in a position to be picky about the job, and like I said, there was the 15% discount that I so desperately needed.
“I have a few more promising young ladies to interview,” Miriam smiled and gently shooed me out the door. “We will keep you posted with any updates on your application.” As the door closed behind me, I felt the same heaviness on my chest that I used to feel when yet another company responded to my sponsorship inquiries with “we’ll keep in touch.” I wasn’t getting the job.
I went back to my 9 to 5 waitressing at Gianna’s Little Italy Cafe, and picked up extra shifts at a Shanghainese restaurant with its bustling dinner crowd. Months went by and my debts continued to mount in a pile in my desk drawer. I gave up my Instagram account-- without the extra money from Ted to rent fancy clothes and handbags for my pictures, I was just your average looking brunette, no different from the hundreds of others on the digital platform. After what had happened with Ted, I guess I wasn’t ready to find a new sugar daddy. What we had was undoubtedly an economical transaction, but a relationship nonetheless, and when a relationship ends, especially when it ends so abruptly, it takes time to mourn.
So it was a surprise when, several Saturdays ago, Miriam called me about the position at Dr. Tarsal’s.
“Can you come in on Monday at 7 for your training?” By this point, I had gathered that Miriam was a taciturn woman who expressed just enough to get her point across. “The other girls didn’t work out.” Now, I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Whatever the reasons for why the other receptionists were fired or left was their business. Maybe they were dumb ditzes or blonde bimbos, maybe they left for a better job with regular hours. I quickly accepted the offer, and that was how I found myself as the new, mysterious night receptionist.
Onboarding was no different from any other job, and for the first two weeks, working Monday through Sunday, was a breeze. Boring, even. After Gianna’s Little Italy Cafe in the day, I took the train home, showered off the smell of wood-fired pizzas and mozzarella sticks, ate dinner, and then rode uptown to Union Square. I clocked in at 7 PM every night and clocked out at 3 AM in the morning. It took me 40 minutes to get home on the train after work, during which I snoozed in the quiet of the early morning train car. Back at my cramped apartment, I slept until 8 when I was off again to Gianna’s. Cycle after cycle, day after day, that was how I passed a blissfully busy initial few weeks.
But the honeymoon phase of a new job (a new job with air conditioning!) has begun to wear off. As I’ve said before, my job is easy-- and boring. Most of the night I spend doing clerical work: inputting patient information into their electronic medical records, printing out billing letters to be mailed by the day receptionist, finding novel ways to keep myself awake until 3. I hardly ever see my boss, though I can tell he is either in his office or one of the procedure rooms from the light seeping underneath the doors and the faint scuffle of footsteps. He is a quiet man but likes to play Vivaldi when he is working. He leaves after I do (Miriam once told me he stays until 4 or 5 in the morning), though for all I know he could very well have slept every night on a couch in his office.
Last Tuesday, something that can only be described as unusual happened: I met my first night patient. Besides his choice to come in for a cosmetic procedure at 11 PM, he was an otherwise unmemorable man. A fleshy face with an unfortunate jowl, sunken eyes, a protuberant nose, and a mouth the size of a Bing cherry. So plain in his ugliness that you forgot the specifics of his features as soon as he left the room, possibly as a way for your brain to cleanse itself of his image. But I remembered him well in that moment, likely aided by the rush of adrenaline from seeing a patient at such an hour.
“Hello, how may I help you, sir?” This was my first overture as a receptionist, and the last word caught in my throat, becoming mangled on the way out.
“Derek Evers. I have an appointment with Dr. Tarsal at 11.”
“Sure, sure. Let me go check the scheduling sheet.” I turned to my desktop monitor and pulled up the Excel sheet with all of the appointments in neat rows.
“Don’t bother, it won’t be on there,” he chuckled. “You must be new. I guess they haven’t gotten you fully trained up yet. Just go knock on his door and tell him I’m here, won’t you dear?” There was no humor in his eyes. His kindness seemed forced, but maybe he was just anxious about his procedure and that worry carried over to our interaction. I was tired and he seemed to know the process better than I did, so I allowed myself to be bowled over by his commands. It was true that I had not been trained on what to do when a patient shows up on my graveyard shift.
I pushed my desk chair back and stood up, steeling myself mentally to confront Dr. Tarsal with news of his patient’s arrival when he saved me the trip and appeared, quite seemingly out of thin air, behind Mr. Evers.
“Derek, good to see you.” Dr. Tarsal had a cool evenness in his speech, with all of the supercilious confidence afforded a 6’2 plastic surgeon. “Come into the procedure room. I just had my coffee and we have much work to do, no?” At this, the corner of his lips pulled a little higher, an unconcealed smirk at his own cleverness. Together, the two men disappeared into room #2, and I was once again left to my own devices.
Someone else might think it cruel, or at the very least rude, that Dr. Tarsal had so thoroughly ignored me. I did not mind. There was a chill that settled in the room whenever he spoke, and I had no desire to engage further. I pulled on my Macy’s cardigan (a remnant of Ted’s miserly generosity), and resumed my absentminded data entry.
The next day, I shot Miriam a text: Hey, a patient came in yesterday. Is there some sort of schedule that I can use the next time this happens?
Her reply, not ten minutes later: No, it’s off the books as far as any of us are concerned. Usually just favors he does for VIP clients. Think nothing of it.
And I really would have thought nothing of it, leaving the memory behind as a blip in an otherwise dull September, except that another patient showed up Wednesday night, then another on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They were all very different: a woman in her forties with finely coiffed hair held in place by a pearl barrette, a young man in the black tee and jeans uniform of the startup nouveau riche, a mousey secretary-type who was plain at best, save her tawny eyes, which shone in the dim light of the clinic like pools of liquid gold, and a Swedish immigré with a beatific smile.
Curiosity killed the cat, and I was a kitten led to slaughter. For some irresistible reason that I still cannot articulate, I decided to linger long past my clock out time to see the finished results of those midnight patients. What extraordinary monstrosities could come out of such hours? Every night I left my post at 3 in the morning as usual. But instead of heading straight to the subway, I camped in the building’s lobby with a Vogue magazine taken from the clinic’s waiting room.
The first night, the woman from Wednesday came down the elevator just as dawn had arrived. Half-asleep, I would have missed her leaving the building if I had not heard the ding of the elevator slicing through the quiet of the marbled lobby. The lower half of her face had been bandaged neatly so it was hard to see the work that Dr. Tarsal had done on her. But what was remarkable was that her hair was also gone. Her head was bandaged tightly in a turban of sterile gauze, spots of dark maroon suggesting dried blood. If anything, she looked more like a neurosurgery patient than someone who had come for a quick, late night cosmetic procedure.
I didn’t chase her down to respect her privacy of course, but my interest was piqued enough that it justified a second night waiting in the lobby when the Thursday patient came in. This time, the man left later in the morning, when the other professionals in the building had already begun to trickle in for work. There were bandages around his ears like Princess Leia buns. I had never heard of someone getting an ear job before, but I suppose there’s a procedure for everyone. His hands, too, were wrapped up.
While those first few patients were odd, I did not begin to complete the dots until patients 3 and 4. The third patient, who came in on Friday night, had the most remarkable eyes-- unforgettable. Had they been on an exotic cat perhaps they would not have been so out of place, but on a human they were singular. So when they reappeared on Sunday morning as the young Swedish model waltzed through the lobby where I had planted patiently in wait, you can imagine my shock.
“Wait!” I called after her. I had never approached any of the patients before. I knew it was unprofessional-- unethical, even-- but the exclamation had left my mouth before I could process what was going on. I saw her back stiffen momentarily but she did not hesitate as she continued toward the front entrance. As she was the only other person in the lobby that early in the morning, she knew I could only have been calling after her.
“Please,” I tried again. “I work for Dr. Tarsal. I just wanted to…” I paused, searching for a reasonable, non-threatening excuse. I did not know what I hoped to gain from talking to her. I didn’t even know what questions to ask, only that I had questions. Too many of them. “I wanted to make sure you could get home okay. I know the day receptionist isn’t here yet, but I’d be happy to call a taxi for you if you’d like.” I tried to sound casual, even as my heart thrummed in my chest.
She relented and turned to my direction, but took no steps toward me. In a way, I was quite glad for the gap between us, as if she were some peculiar creature whose intentions-- whether to stalk away or pounce-- I could not guess.
“I’m fine. In fact, I hardly feel like I had anything done!” She put on a chipper air, the kind of pretty exuberance I had seen often in other influencers and struggling models.
“Right… the eyes…?” Blame me not, Reader, for my inelegance. By this point, I had been operating on very little sleep. “Your eyes, I mean. They’re so intense and so… unique. I have never seen such a color before until this week, but now I’ve seen them on two patients, one of them you. Is this a special service done by Dr. Tarsal? I’m not sure I’m familiar with it.”
“No, it’s not exactly a standard procedure. It looks very natural don’t you think? Dr. Tarsal is a genius with his hands. Some people would really give an arm and a leg for him to operate on.” She cleared her throat. “Please don’t tell him I told that joke. Quite vulgar. But I’ve called an Uber, so no worries.” She quickly strode toward the revolving doors before I had a chance to follow up on her comments. Why was she so nervous all of a sudden? And was that genuine fear that tinged her voice at the end?
I went home and slept through the afternoon that Sunday. Sleep debt is a real monster and I was starting to feel the cloudiness and fog invading my waking hours. I missed my shift at the cafe, but I hardly had the energy to care. In my defense, I had also been working like a dog since Ted’s accident to pay my bills, and the exhaustion from all those months seemed to have finally caught up with me.
When I finally awoke from my deep but troubled slumber at 7, I quickly dressed, pulled a comb through my unwashed hair, and headed for Union Square. I arrived at Dr. Tarsal’s a full 45 minutes late so I cannot say I was much surprised to see Miriam waiting for me at the receptionist desk.
“I’m so very sorry I’m late.” I started, hoping that profuse apologies would be enough to keep my job. “I’ve been a little overworked, with this job and another during the day, so--”
“Not just overworked, I should think. Apparently also stalking our patients in the building lobby. I heard about what happened this morning, and I have to say I’m very disappointed in you, Margaux.” She frowned and pulled on the grave airs of a parent lecturing a child. “Your predecessors at this job were asked to leave for much less severe infractions, so what do we do now about you?”
“I promise it won’t happen again, Miriam. I’d like Dr. Tarsal to know that I’m very sorry. It’s just-- well-- that patient from Saturday night. Her eyes were identical to the ones of the patient from the night before! Isn’t that strange? Are they prosthetics?” I knew I should have been pleading my case with Miriam, anxious to keep my position, but my innate curiosity had opened Pandora’s box and I could not find the willpower to restrain it.
“Don’t be daft. We don’t do prosthetics here, you should know that. Maybe your memory is getting all mixed up. How much are sleeping? Four, five hours?” Miriam clucks. “Sleep is essential to clear all the debris and waste products in your brain. Maybe you could cut back on your hours at your day job. In fact, I might be able to look into a slight pay raise here to help you feel more comfortable.”
I knew something was off from the sudden 180 that Miriam took. I was this close to being fired and now I was being offered a raise? It was not subtle.
I looked at Miriam clearly for the first time since we had met. Her luscious corkscrew curls, poreless skin, perfectly arched brows, and trim, athletic figure. Her usual poise and equanimity peeled off in that moment, revealing a glib liar. What I had always taken for a chic taciturn attitude was her pretense for omission.
“Are you trying to buy me off with a raise? What is it that I cannot know? Why does Dr. Tarsal even need a night receptionist?” The questions that had bubbled beneath the surface for so long came out in a tidal rush. It was as if I was afraid that if I did not get answers at the moment, I may lose that opportunity forever.
Miriam glanced down and flicked at the face of her Apple watch. Had she just called someone or turned on the recording function? “You know I offered that raise as a kindness toward you, and I can always rescind it whenever I please.” Her tone was now sharp and cold. “There are plenty of young women whom I could call right now to replace you. And it’s not like your job requires much training-- you are completely replaceable,” she sneered.
I nodded-- her anger and annoyance emboldened me. I was hitting a nerve-- the thrill of coming so close to an answer to the mystery thrilled me in a way I had not expected. I was like another person at that moment. “I’m sure I’m not the first nor will I be the last person to ask you those questions. Is that why you had to fire all the women who came before me?”
As if on cue, Dr. Tarsal’s office clicked open and he walked out. I should have assumed that he would be in there, listening to our conversation. I suspect Miriam had called him on her watch, relaying my accusations in real time.
“That is enough speculation,” he said. “You’re right, I’m tired of the rotating roster of night receptionists, and I like your confidence. Maybe you will handle the details of my operation better than the ones before. Come into my office-- we’ll have a chat.”
“If it were up to me, I’d have you out on an NDA,” Miriam spat. “So much trouble for such an inconsequential worker bee.” She shook her head and followed Dr. Tarsal into his office, leaving me a quick moment to consider all the possibilities of the secrets they could be hiding before I, too, entered the room.
“I have a… program.” Dr. Tarsal nodded at the seat across from his desk, motioning for me to sit down. Miriam stood sullenly in the corner, her head bent over her phone as she scrolled on social media. “A membership, really, for people who want to change their appearance in a more organic fashion. So much of cosmetic surgery today is synthetic material-- silicone breast implants, hydroxylapatite filler injections, the list goes on and on. Even your skin graft-- looks like it was done in my office-- is made primarily of Gore-Tex, the same waterproofing material they put on shoes!” My hand came up to the “skin” on my cheek, which had begun to tingle as if self-aware of its own inadequacy.
“Well, I wanted to offer my patients something different. No plastics or rubbers or shelf-stable chemicals manufactured in a lab in Mexico. You know, humans are so remarkably similar. More similar than we are different. For decades, biologists have been able to do skin grafts from one cheetah to another with no trouble at all. Why should we not do that for humans? And not just the skin, but lips, ears, fingers. If you can break down the body into modules, then anything is interchangeable.” He paused with a triumphant smile, letting his words sink in.
His words poured over me in almost a dreamlike trance.I should remind you, Dear Reader, that I was a high school champion Quiz Bowler. I knew that transplanting body parts was not so simple-- your HLA types had to match, there were strict biological constraints, not to mention the legal and ethical implications of such work.
“You make it sound so straightforward. Even if your patients consented to this, where do you get the… parts? Surely it’s not so easy when you also take into account organ rejection?”
“Very good,” he looked gleeful for someone to appreciate his work. “It has been quite a feat, if I do say so myself, to ensure that the donor and recipient are compatible enough that we do not trigger a host versus graft response. You’ve heard of immunosuppression after organ transplants I assume?” I nodded, vaguely remembering something about drugs that keep the body from rejecting a new heart or liver from high school biology.
“I took that concept and ran with it. I have developed a weekly injection that completely wipes the immune programming in the host such that they see the new implant as their own. Of course, the patients do get sick with common pathogens more easily, and that is the next barrier I’m going to solve. When I was able to overcome the technical difficulties of needing to find genetic matches, then the sourcing became very simple! Anyone can donate a tissue-- an eyeball here, a scalp there-- and accept one. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. So that is the essence of my program. I coordinate the... exchanges, shall we say, so that every patient is satisfied.”
His project was something straight out of science fiction. If what he said was true, he had developed the capabilities to help so many people and solve the problem of organ shortages. But here he was, using his skills for a commercial profit, retrofitting people with new eyes and scalps?
“Breathe,” he said. Until then, I had not noticed how rapid and shallow my breathing had become. “You have choices, here, Margaux. I can have you sign an NDA-- can’t have you spilling industry secrets to my competitors-- pay you a couple thousand, and have you leave on your merry way. Or, you can keep working for me with a raise. As you know, it is a very easy job as long as you stay out of my way and don’t try to accost my patients as they’re leaving again. Of course, I would like to have you stay willingly with the right compensation, but the choice is yours to make.”
Since picking up the phone and saying yes to the position in the first place all those weeks ago, I felt like I was again at a crossroads. Keeping my job would be a wise financial decision for the long term, obviously, since the alternative, a couple of thousand dollars and the NDA, would only last for so long. Then I would be back working multiple jobs with no hope of ever restarting my Instagram dreams. And keeping the job would be a middle finger to Miriam for whom I had grown a strong distaste within the last couple of hours. It seemed like such a straightforward decision at the time.
“I’ll stay.”
*** Update: 7 months later ***
I’m back on Instagram now, and I’ve even gotten a few decent sponsorship deals. They don’t pay nearly as much as my job at Dr. Tarsal’s, but I like to think that someday I will make enough to be an influencer full-time. I yearn for the day I can quit my job at the clinic.
For a while, I went to church on Sunday morning, hoping some sermons and choir music would soothe my omnipresent anxiety, until the faces of the other parishioners started to blend together. Too much time watching a steady flow of midnight patients come and leave (I am now working until the morning for the overtime pay), with body parts switching between them like a game of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head was distorting my memory.
If I am totally honest with myself, I fear I am beginning to lose sight of people as individuals. My roommates-- young, thin, and well-manicured-- had already looked similar before, but now were indistinguishable. I have made no new friends in this time. I doubt I would be able to keep their names and faces straight. Did you know, Reader, that some people are born with face blindness? I am starting to wonder if that is something you can also develop.
But at the end of the day, are we not all just skin, flesh, blood, and bone?
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