Trust the process. It only works if you allow it to. Trust the process, and the pain you feel now will be a distant memory. Trust the process. Adam had to keep reminding himself that beyond the automated doors in front of him, there was a chance he’d get to be normal. He couldn’t help but fidget with the clear band around his wrist with his name in bright holographic letters. He’d given every dime to his name and waited his turn on the ever expanding wait list for this. Tomorrow, he would be Sgt Harfield and the memory he held so close would disappear.Trust the process, he thought.
The blinking LED screen warned him he had less than 5 minutes before his appointment. He’d only heard rumors about the process and very few people who experienced it ever spoke of it again. Adam wanted to worry about the repercussions of his his mind kept picking at the same scar he’d gone into poverty trying to heal.
“Mr. Harfield?” he looked up at the attendant, a bit disgruntled.
“Ma’am,” he said
“I will see you now.”
He took a deep breath and rose to his feet. The bouncing red ringlets springing up and down the attendant’s back kept his senses occupied as the two passed a narrow passageway. At the end of the hall was a small room spilling over its brim in white lights. The space was only occupied by an all white recliner chair and a small table with a glass of cobalt blue liquid.
The nausea rolled through his stomach as Adam recognized the glass. Those brave enough to speak of the procedure always mentioned the blue glass that changed everything for them.
“Please have a seat,” the attendant said, forcing Adam to pry his stare away from the crisp glass. He sank into the frigid board of a chair he was given and awaited instructions. After a few moments of scribbling notes in her clipboard, the attendant spoke.
“My name is Penelope. I am version 9.2 of the NXJ android model and I am here to transition you through the process as efficiently as possible.” Adam blinked rapidly. He’d heard stories from his great grandfather about these beings and all of his great war stories defeating them, but he’d never come across one in his life.
“The process,” she continued, “ lasts approximately 45 seconds and is 9 times safer than automobile travel, 11 times safer than most dental procedures and almost as safe as conventional oven use.” The droid paused, smiling at him with a blank expression in her eyes as if waiting for something.
Adam let out a sharp breath behind his half smile.
“That’s very funny ma’am,” he managed.
I guess they added a humor feature to make her seem more human- IT more human, he corrected, internally hating himself for the slip.
Penelope reached over to his wrist and took his vitals.
“Are you certain you would like to continue?” He’d heard the questions before. At each stage of the procedure you had the option to change your mind. Adam clenched his jaw and responded, “ Yes, Ma’am”
“Vitals are within the normal anxiety level for specimen.” Penelope stuck two small patches to his temples. “We will proceed to phase one on the procedure. Please consume the liquid,” she gestured to the glass. Adam hesitated but took the icy drink in his hands. It tasted like nothing going down his throat and he felt no different afterwards.
“The following procedure,” the droid continued, “ will delete all emotional attachment to the selected memory. As previously discussed, 3 emotionally charged memories will also be extracted from the specimen to reach optimal psychological, emotional, and neurological equilibrium.”
“Yes Ma’am. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I think I know which ones I am willing to trade.”
The fine white skin of her forehead wrinkled.
“Confusion detected. The memories extracted are not the choice of the specimen, rather a choice of the algorithm. The algorithm programmed will select the memories to be extracted as it’s design is flawless, its coding unmatched by any technology in the field. After this point, all decisions will be made final and the procedure will begin. Do you wish to continue?”
Adam went stiff in his chair, his heart began to race deep beneath his ribs. Without any permission of his consciousness, his eyes gravitated to the glass on his left.. The beads of sweat across his brow rolled in cool strokes down his temples. His limbs went limp with the weight a a freight train. A flood of images overwhelmed him. Every Christmas and New Years in his memory raced past his very eyes. He thought of his very first time going hunting with his father and how excited he was to finally be old enough to tag along. He could see every trip to the valleys his family took every year. The meeting of his wife…. The green blouse she wore on their first date at the ice rink wrapped itself over her milky skin. Her wine red curls lost themselves in the silk fabric…. The birth of his daughter…. Every gap-toothed giggle… every swear word uttered behind the pout of her pink mouth.. Every breath…. Every counted breath….
“Stress levels above normal,” Penelope said, somewhere distant from Adam. “Do you wish to proceed?”
Adam had made his choice.