Memory – #atozchallenge
“You missed Memory again today. That makes two in a row on this tour. This is your second sanction, soldier! One more and you will be placed in the hole! Now get your ass to Memory! Double time, soldier!”
“Sir, yes, sir!” He remained at attention until Captain Krutchner moved on down the corridor. He exhaled and hunched his shoulders. He didn’t want to end up in the hole. That endless, black vortex.
Jaxon Fulbright was on his third tour of duty aboard the Earth Force Britannia. He’d worked his way up from a scrub, the name given to basic space cadets, all the way to Lieutenant in just a matter of a few eons. He longed for home, but there was little of home left. Earth had been mostly destroyed in the last war with the Amok N’tal. Operations were based on Titan now. He didn’t like Titan. It was a cold moon. He didn’t like Memory either. It a waste of time. He could be running drills or patrolling.
Jaxon made his way down to Sector Six. He passed rooms filled with soldiers, all strapped into Memory. He hated their blank expressions. He hated the way he felt during each session. A mindless zombie. He went to the lab and checked in with Dr. Nickelson.
“You will be in room ten today, Lt. Fulbright,” the doctor told him as he administered a drug into Jaxon’s arm.
The drug, much like LSD of the 20th Century, expanded their minds. Jaxon hated the way it made him feel. He’d seen the vid-feeds of the 1960s psychedelic era. There was no spiritual awakening or way-out there “trips” on this new version of the drug. Only the vortex. That winding, circular spin in the mind that chased him down a rabbit hole to the past.
Dr. Nickelson led Jaxon down the corridor to room ten. Jaxon sat down in the lounger and leaned back. The doctor placed the visor over his eyes and turned on the machine. Jaxon disliked this Memory the most. He didn’t want to remember her. After eons and light years of travel, there was nowhere far enough that her memory didn’t follow him. Earth Force saw to that, every quarter age.
Jaxon kept his eyes closed for several minutes, but the drug took effect and his eyes sprang open on their own. The spiral began. It twisted and turned in bright colors as flashes of scenes sped by. And then there she was. Mira, his wife. He felt tears stream down his cheeks, but his arms were paralyzed from the drug. He couldn’t even brush them away. And then he was there with her again. Held her in his arms. Played with his children. The entire life he’d lived with her before the first war with the Amok N’tal in 2110 played out before him. Soon, he forgot about the first war, the second war and the last. He forgot about the EF Britannia. He forgot he was a Lieutenant. He even forgot about time itself. He was merely a husband and a father.
“Do you think this really helps us, doctor?” Captain Krutchner asked from inside the lab as he monitored his soldiers.
“You remember what it was like before Memory, Captain. Years spent in suspended animation with only darkness to keep you company. Your soldiers return in better moods from being with friends and family during their deep sleep. You return in a better mood!”
Captain Krutchner nodded and held out his arm. “Room ten, this time, doctor. I want to see my wife again too,” he sighed as the doctor injected him with the drug.
©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.
The Prompt via Mandy Wallace: “After eons and light years of travel, I’ve learned only one thing of any consequence: there’s nowhere far enough that her memory doesn’t follow.”
Each day for the A to Z Challenge I will be writing a 500-1000 word Science Fiction story. I hope you will enjoy them.