forge netting 1: dismantling history

He stuck that long tongue of a needle into the vein which had jumped to the surface almost immediately that he had tied off his arm. Memory rejig commence – those single function nanites hardwired with his internal map, knowing exactly which site in his brain to aim for, going straight for the right string of neural peptides to erase that day forever. He had a little pressure nosebleed, let it run down over the curve of his lip and into his mouth – it made the experience more sensual for him and he needed something to offset the excruciating pain.

The elective amnesia was leeching into other memories, ones he wanted to keep, but the fact that there were some genuine memories that were irritatingly persistent that he wanted to eradicate meant he had to keep injecting. He wasn’t sure how long he could keep doing what he was doing – the treatment was eating into what little money he had managed to save before he was made redundant and there was no way that the Breadline Money Fund was going to indulge him. He might have to consider more drastic measures – a Lethe Tap maybe; a one off payment for a self-sustaining memory suppresant factory built into the backbrain using gengineered mutant brain parts.

He would pass people in the street that he had known his whole life and stare at them indignantly if they tried to communicate with him. Most of them had given him up as a lost cause; some of them had taken to bursting each other with friend-or-foe signals so that this awkwardness could be avoided. James wasn’t an anomaly – he was the symptom of an age where technology had provided people with a big black hole to dump all the things they didn’t ant to have deal with into. The singularity destroying the human race? Forgetfulness: embraced amnesia.

He sat in the cafe, the same place he sat in everyday, and found that this morning his favourite breakfast choice was eluding him. It was a new guy serving, at least he thought it was, so that was no help. Odd that you could remember where you ate all the time but not what. Breakfast roulette – no problem; they were all much of a muchness and he could leave anything he didn’t want. Someone smiled at him and he smiled back, or was it that they snarled at him and he snarled back?

Recent events should not become instantly sketchy as if they were written on water; doomed to evaporate. How did you stop that kind of thing though? How did you effect retention when it was the opposite of what you wanted for the rest of your life? They had told all of them that they could choose what they remembered and wipe the rest – that the nanites, once they had done the job they were programmed for would be reabsorbed and not do any further damage. It was starting to become apparent that the jobs the nanites were doing could not be expected to be site specific – that eradication of the structures encoding one memory affected other chains. The brain was closer to an ecosystem than they had ever imagined. It wasn’t a robust system like a rainforest though, where things replenished – it was closer to a coral reef where the damage they were causing was irreparable. Why did it seem that lessons like this were always learned too late?

He ate the meal but it lacked taste. It made him angry, but as he got up to go and complain to the guy behind the counter it was as if a switch were thrown and his mind went into freefall. A cascade of images that bore no relation to each other, other than that he had experienced them were blinked from his eyes like a kaleidoscope shatter of retina spots. He held onto the edge of a table to steady himself, the world appearing to bleed in white from the edges of his vision. He felt sick. This was an effect he had never noticed before. He wondered is the drug were collecting somewhere in his system, pooling like poison, destroying some vital part of his mind. And then the thought washed away. Bleached out of existence. He had to get home.


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