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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Implanted Recollection: A Science Fiction Story

Implanted Recollection: A Science Fiction Story In the year 2028 beautiful young Vanessa, age 23, awoke in a hospital bed with a bad headache. She asked herself immediately: how on earth did I get here? She tried hard to remember, but couldn't recall.

A doctor came into the hospital room, and gave an explanation.

“You had a bad fall down a stairway, and your skull split open,” said Dr. Pearson. “We had to do some surgery to patch you up. According to your chart, you were brought in by a friend of yours by the name of Jane Forsythe.”

Vanessa tried hard to remember. Finally there started to slowly come into her mind some memories of Jane Forsythe. She remembered that Jane was a college friend of hers, and that they had both gone to Georgetown University. She remembered that Jane had an apartment in Washington D.C. Vanessa remembered having tea up in Jane's apartment, and exchanging gossip.

Vanessa was released from the hospital, and went back to her apartment on Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C. One day when she was bored, she said to yourself: why don't I go see my old friend Jane?

Vanessa checked through her smartphone, and found lots of phone numbers, but none of them listed a name of Jane. Thinking that was strange, Vanessa did a computer search for all of the Jane Forsythe names in Washington D.C. She found no one with that name in Washington D.C.

Now that is very strange, thought Vanessa. I'm quite sure that Jane lives here in Washington.

Vanessa got in touch with an alumni association of Georgetown University. She had done this before to get the current phone numbers of people she had gone to college with. The alumni association said that there was no record of a Jane Forsythe having attended Georgetown University.

Giving up on trying to find Jane's phone number, Vanessa thought to herself: I'll just walk to her place, and surprise her. She tried to recall how to get to Jane's apartment. She couldn't remember how to get there.

Vanessa asked herself: could I just be imagining that I had a friend named Jane? No, that wasn't possible, she thought. She remembered visiting Jane several times in her apartment, where they drank tea and chatted.

Probing her memories of Jane more deeply, Vanessa found that she actually had only one memory of Jane at college: a memory of the two of them sitting on the steps of the school library. Vanessa tried hard to remember any other colleges memories of Jane. She could not recall anything else.

It was as if, Vanessa thought, Jane had never really existed and the memory of her had just been planted in her head – not a deep memory richly entangled with other events of her life, but just a superficial memory consisting of only an image of Vanessa and Jane at the university library, and memories of Jane and Vanessa chatting at Jane's apartment while they sipped tea.

Her suspicions raised, Vanessa went back to the hospital. She demanded to see her medical records. After some delays, she finally got a copy of the records.

Looking through the pages of the records, she saw shocking details. Patient brought in on stretcher by agents of the US Secret Service. No signs of initial external injury. Memory replacement procedure. The details were buried within a thick forest of medical details that Vanessa couldn't understand.

Vanessa stormed into the office of Dr. Pearson, the doctor she had seen in her hospital room. She demanded an explanation. He confessed that she had not been injured when admitted, and that the operation done was an advanced neurological procedure on part of her brain.

“This was done on orders from the White House,” admitted Dr. Pearson. “The guy who ordered it was Sam Masonero.”

Vanessa contracted the office of Sam Masonero at the White House. He agreed to meet Vanessa outside of the White House. When the two met in front of the White House, Sam waved an electronic device to make sure that Vanessa didn't have a voice recorder.

“So, Sam, tell me what the hell is going on,” said Vanessa.

“Let's make a deal,” said Sam. “I'll tell you all about what happened if you promise not to tell anyone about what I tell you.”

Vanessa thought for a moment, and then said, “OK, it's a deal.”

“You were the mistress of the President of the United States,” said Sam. “You had sex with the President many times. But then things started to get really twisted and ugly between you and the President. He did some outrageous things that would ruin him politically if the story got out, things straight out of a novel by the Marquis de Sade. So we fixed the problem by arranging for you to have a memory alteration operation.”

Vanessa stared at Sam with an incredulous expression.

“And Jane – she never existed, right?” asked Vanessa.

“Correct,” said Sam. “We removed all your memories of having kinky sex with the President, and replaced them with pleasant memories of you having tea with Jane in her apartment.”

“When I promised not to tell anyone, I was just fooling,” said Vanessa, seething with anger.

“Better not risk that,” said Sam with a threatening expression. “Don't forget about that suspicious death of Marilyn Monroe.”