Monday, October 2, 2017

Microstory 681: A Lost Man Made to Remember

Few illnesses in the modern day are incurable. Fate—or The Darkness, if you prefer—seemed to think that this was an unfortunate condition, and so it came up with an entirely new class of medical issues. We call them quantum diseases, and they only inflict people who have, to varying degrees, merged themselves with technology. Any standard human can be treated to near a hundred percent health using medical techniques that we’ve had for centuries. It would be hard to find out which was the last disease medical science has cured. We keep encountering new ones, like when we travel to new worlds, but we even make quick work of those. Quantum diseases are different, however, in that they are the blending of biological pathogens, and computer viruses. There is treatment for some of these conditions, but not many have been cured, because no machine built yet is capable of calculating curative scenarios. Even if such technology did exist, the data necessary to rebuild whatever has been lost from any given disease may be long gone. One man, named Meliton Rete recently experienced an extremely rare disorder called episodic quantum amnesia, also known as EQUA. Doctors first discovered EQUA two decades ago when the first case presented itself on a transhuman-run asteroid orbiting Arithmi called Feulon, after its founding family. Data is often corrupted when attempting to transfer a subject’s consciousness into some other substrate, which is something often done on Feulon. Most of the time, this data can be recovered, and the process can be restarted. In other cases, there is not so much a corruption as the data simply disappears without a trace. Now, this sort of thing happens in the natural world all the time. Particles blink in and out of existence periodically, and we still don’t really know how, or why. Since consciousness transference is only practical using quantum computers, however, this phenomenon can sometimes have an effect on consciousness uploading, which is just one danger of such practices. Meliton Rete was faced with this truth while trying to upgrade to a new body. He was left the shell of a man, with no memory of who he was, or what he had been through. Like most quantum diseases, there is no cure for EQUA, because no one knows where the information disappears to. Even if its path could somehow be found, it will have by then lost its cohesion, and become randomly spread across spacetime. As a miracle, nonetheless, this is what happened, on its own. As if by magnets, Meliton’s memories suddenly returned to his original substrate, which he had been stuck with in a care facility for the last several years. He could remember everything that ever happened to him, with even greater accuracy than he ever had before. No one knows how the memories came back to him, or where they had been this whole time. Some believe they were never really gone, but instead skipped through the timestream, returning to their origin as if they had never left. With these memories came his ideas and notions, some of which would help us find the best ways of achieving the next taikon in the list.

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