Forge Netting 25: Project Forget

The perfect sleeper agent – program and reset; then ready to go for the next mission. They retained no memory and their heads were set up with a robust psychological architecture that could have any ready-made personality bolted onto it that needed to be used. It seemed that the original personality didn’t suffer either – that it reasserted itself when appropriate and sufficed as an interface for off-operation communication.

The psychological testing that they carried out was, he believed, unique – looking not for robustness but for a specific kind of weakness; a weakness that would make the subject more versatile and malleable. They never expected to find someone quite so perfect as him – the others were good, but with him it were as if he were designed specifically for the purpose of the operation.

Terence Ensign was an odd individual before anything was done to him. They tried to label him as a dissociative personality but that didn’t quite work to explain him. After analysing him from every angle possible they decided that he was the model subject after which all the others would be patterned.

Holson had fifty men commissioned for the project, labelled Mnemosyne initially, with plans to expand it once it had a production statistic which spoke of its efficacy.

The nature of their remit changed somewhere around the point when it was realised that the tool they used to create these soldiers might be weaponised. They started to mobilise what they called Blank Squads. Blank Squads were used for delivering strategic amnesia packets to designated memory hazard zones. The euphemisms would have been amusing to those carrying out the operations if their operating systems were allowed buffers that could handle the processing necessary for a sense of humour.

Whole groups of important thinkers with ideas that ran counter to the philosophy of the power elite of the day were hit with a whole truckload of customised amnesias – anteriorgrade amnesia, Alzheimer’s, Korsakov’s. All manufactured perfect replicas designed to through trackers off the scent. Ensign was the best at it – a figure so blandly universal that he was invisible in plain sight; he didn’t need to blend because no one noticed him.

It was said that Ensign liked to kill philosophers most because they tried the most labyrinthine ways to convince him that it was wrong. Fatalists were boring. Optimists were humorous. He supposed each memory wipe had its own things to recommend it, but yes, he liked philosophers.

So had he gone off the grid? How had he broken through his programming enough to disappear? Well, it appeared that with him his real personality wasn’t subsumed unless he allowed it to be – it was like he were lucid dreaming and if his intention was there to control the situation he was being put in he could quite happily direct it like a rather forceful backstreet driver. Those early days where they had been testing the architecture and the responsiveness of the agent to the handler he had thought it best to remain hidden and just learn how it all worked.

He waited until Project Forget was well under way – a project so extensive it stretched even his bosses considerable resources, and while someone was turned the other way – namely his handler … he shot him with a restructure dart and walked out of their lives.