Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Microstory 157: Cambrio Yates

There are a few different kinds of memory. Semantic memory includes the things you know about the world around you, regardless of the means you took to learn them. This helps you recognize what a car is, or what planet we’re on, or that you’re a human. Episodic memory refers to everything that you have experienced; all the events in your life. Cases of amnesia are usually portrayed as affecting episodic memory (i.e. memories) but leave semantic memory alone, so that you’re not freaked out by the “first time” you see an airplane. Finally, procedural memory handles task that you are familiar with performing. It’s commonly known as muscle memory. You don’t actively concentrate on driving a vehicle. You’ve done it so much that it’s become second nature, and your body handles it on its own. Whereas Dathan Shapiro simply had a more robust memory system, Cambrio Yates had the ability to manipulate the functions of his own brain; primarily, but not limited to, memory. He was born with a sort of second brain that he likes to call the governor. It maintains control over the rest of his brain, and will revert his mind to its standard settings as needed. Though Cambrio is capable of having 100% recall of everything he’s ever experienced or learned, he can also delete information and suppress function at will. He’s been known to play around with his own brain, making himself blind, or temporarily hiding all semantic memory, so that everything he encounters feels completely unfamiliar. He’s watched movies for the first time multiple times, and even read books with his eyes closed by taking mental photographs of the pages in rapid succession, and then recalling the words gradually. His brother, Fraser could do the same things as him, but with other people. Cambrio encouraged him to experiment and practice his gift, but he was always very reluctant. Still, Fraser listened to his brother, and tried a few things out, and it got him killed. Cambrio blamed himself for his brother’s murder, and so he permanently deleted the traumatic memory from his brain, careful to leave himself with the knowledge that he should never attempt to remember.

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