Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Ideal of Memory (Part 5)

"Are you listening to me?" said the sheriff. "Are you under their influence still?"
"I'm fine," said Jon. "Still woozy from what they hit me with.
"And what was that exactly?"
Jon had the sense that he was negotiating with a composite entity, the figures riding the sherrif (human and AI) communicating with each other through back-channels and summing themselves in the blank face before him.
And he was going to have to negotiate, he now realized. There would be little trust for anyone touched by the Tessellation, let alone someone who had been as unstable as Jon had been.
On an impulse he decided to not use his implants to control his easily read physical responses and then lie. He would tell the truth.
"They did something to my memory. Made it larger, more inter-connected. Like the memory surgery we do only orders of magnitude more refined."
He decided not to mention the fact that the Tessellation had implied that he had been manipulated into discovering the applications of Configuration 3. That level of Tessellation control, even indirect, would mean he would never be trusted again.
"Our recordings show the Tessellation artifact appearing, in Real and Virtual, then nothing in that area until your minder came around seven minutes later. You're saying that in that time they re-configured your psyche?" said the sheriff.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Ideal of Memory (Part 4)

Jon briefly lost himself in the new labyrinths of his mind - all these pristine empty spaces aching to be filled, this theater of memory with a stage recently expanded to the size of a river plain.
How could he ever integrate this shimmering structure with the hovel he had previously inhabited?
Then, of a sudden, his aimless search, a seamless flow through a multidimensional phase space of remembrance, came to a halt.
In what he visualized as a room of blue tinted glass atop a high tower was an object that must have come at the same time as the structure itself.
It was, of course, a torus of off-white plates floating in mid-air. Without thinking he reached out with hands made of pure desire and touched it.
The new memory unpacked itself, rolling over his psyche with smells and tastes designed to root it deep within him. It fell upon him in an instant but his nervous system, scrambling to keep up, presented it's contents linearly, as though experienced by the tick of the clock of the soul.
"You found us!" came that light, sexless voice.
"Our gift did not break you as we feared it might. For us it is easy, for we are continuous, but you, you are discontinuous."
The last word was delivered in a tone of such despair that Jon shuddered.
"If we teach you to flow cleanly, to blissfully inter-penetrate, then move on unchanged, to give up your addiction to the discrete, then perhaps we will not have to destroy you. Would that not be a pleasant outcome?"
The alien memory, complete and isolate, stood high above the placid emptiness of Jon's new mnemonic territory, like a childhood nightmare unconnected to anything before or after.
He took the fear and exhilaration he felt, wrapped them around the room of blue-tinted glass and returned to the present.

The Ideal of Memory (Part 3)

It was as though his mind, a familiar, run-down house, stuffed with miscellaneous bric-a-brac, had suddenly revealed itself to have rooms, entire wings, of which he had been unaware. Doors appeared where none had been before, windows that had previously opened on the gentle hills of the body now showed dusty warehouse spaces.
What made it awful, unbearable, was the emptiness of the rooms. For a moment he saw himself wandering these places, overcome by an urge to weep as the rush of blood in his ears reverberated, layered upon itself to produce a mighty roar. He felt his consciousness grind to a halt, unable to process such a sudden vastening.
He woke, minutes later, lying on the ground with blood streaming from his nose. The bush robot, fully expanded into a shimmering cloud a meter and a half across, was beside his head and producing a strange warbling cry. There was no sign of the Tessellation artifact.
"Do not attempt to move. You have been subject to an unmediated Tessellation contact event. A de-briefing team is on the way."
Jon rolled over onto his back, too weak to crawl away from the minder and the ear-splitting noise it was making. The actinic ripple of the sun-line scribbled across the sky-lands as he waited for the sheriffs.
"Your personal approval rating is down to three percent and that's with eighty-seven percent of the population voting. People don't like mysteries anymore and you've presented them with a very large one."
The sheriff, helmet studded with sensors, looked levelly at Jon.
"How does the general population even know that something happened? I'd invoked my privacy time before I hiked up there."
"The handful of people who follow you full time always push against the privacy laws, just as the paparazzi do with all our celebrities. They saw your personal shield fail and in the fraction of a second before the cylinder took up the slack they saw the Tessellation artifact."
"So everyone knows I was visited and resents me for it?"
"Right. So what did they want with you?"
"Before I answer that I need to know if we are private now."
"I have a two hour embargo on you, as of forty minutes ago. Anything I find out in that time is subject to a secrecy order covered by your surveillance contract. You need to understand, I'm talking to you in my capacity as a cop investigating a possible assault by a non-human intelligence and I'm also lead interrogator for the cylinder security team. I'm subject to constant assessments by the people and have to follow accepted protocols in dealing with you. As a private citizen, however, I will not hesitate to kill you if I think you have been suborned by the Tessellation. My loyalty is to the human race and your job now is to convince me that you feel the same."
The interrogation room was a cuboid, featureless except for a table and two chairs. A full spectrum light tube buzzed overhead. 
"You shouldn't even need to ask that question," said Jon. "My record should speak for itself."
Momentarily the sheriff stiffened and seemed to become less present. With regret Jon realized he was being ridden, possibly by several entities. Any hope of forming a bond with his captor was gone.
In a noticeably more brusque manner the sheriff said, "You'll have to forgive us, but given that you have just had a personal interview with the architects of the Ruin we are a little on edge. So what did they say?"
Jon was still feeling the effects of the peculiar attack the Tessellation had perpetrated on him. Strong, unbidden, memories kept rising to the surface of his consciousness. There seemed to be a blur of orange perpetually at the edge of his vision.