In a clandestine laboratory operating in the abandoned sub-basement of a city hospital, a girl lay dreaming. In this dream she was being examined by a man in a white coat. The girl was strapped down on a metal table and dressed in a blue hospital gown that provided some protection from the chill. She couldn’t remember who she was or what she was supposed to be doing, nor could she move a muscle. Otherwise, she felt surprisingly alert.
“Is it awake now?” a voice asked from the side. The man in the lab coat grunted and casually slapped the prone figure’s face, making her head turn to the side.
“In a receptive state for the procedure but not in control of its muscles”, said the lab technician.
From her new perspective the girl could see the other speaker. He was of short and muscular build, but was carrying a lot of extra weight. The fat man had an axe-like nose and cruel eyes: clearly not a person to take lightly. He went on to ask a series of questions about the procedure under way.
The technician explained that the mapping of sites in the neocortex associated with old memories had been completed the previous day. These sites had been selectively overloaded using a targeted microwave treatment.
“In this technique the language centres and the soft brain areas related to mobility, muscle skills and so on are left untouched”, the technician added.
The fat man asked about the unit’s hard memories.The technician replied that they had electronically wiped them and they would be replaced later with a new download to the software/hardware interface or soha.
“So, it’s effectively a blank at this stage?” asked the fat man.
The lab-coated man came back into the girl’s view and waved his hand in front of her eyes which were frozen open.
“You specified an mDNA or meme load from a human donor and a re-training package that includes overwriting the hardware memory with recordings taken from the original. This procedure is problematic on a fully formed Synthetic. We blank as much as we can but there is always the chance of bleedback from the soft brain.”
The technician refrained from mentioning one further complication: the only stock meeting the requirements was a captured Gaian Synthetic. The unit had been scheduled for destruction after the research programme it was being used in was proscribed in the Peace Accords.
The fat man sneered: “Don’t give me that bleedback crap, Doctor fucking Feelgood. Can you meet the order or not?”
The Synthetic known as Dr Feelgood sighed. “The hardware can be overwritten, but memory and personality is tricky. Much of that is held not just in the soft brain, but also in the mDNA so there will be some cross-over … some ancestral memory from previous meme loads."
“But the new meme and replacement memories will dominate?” insisted the fat man.
“One last thing”, said the fat man. “Can you make it more obedient?”
Copyright David Mark
This is an extract from a novel. At present there is a plot outline and around 10,000 words have been written.