May 6th 2022
I step into the doctor’s office and the chair in the center of the room is reminiscent of the dentist’s. I sit and the chair automatically adjusts and leans me back. I take a deep breath in a vain attempt to calm my nerves. Eighteen years of doctors making me nervous culminate in this moment, the moment every clone learns about from the moment we were grown. Download Day.
Doctor Javion strolls into the room, holding a small, cylindrical case that glows with swirling blue fluid. Memory bots.
“Good morning, Sashi,” he says with a warm smile. “How are you feeling this morning?”
I let out a slight laugh. “Nervous.”
He grins. “That’s a perfectly normal response. Download Day is a big deal, and not just because it’s your eighteenth birthday,” he says. “You’re doing your part to support the continued existence of society.”
I nod. I can appreciate his attempt to make me feel better, but Download Day is drilled into us from a young age. I feel like I know everything about it. A previous Sashi cloned herself before death and stored an upload of her memories for me, the new sterilized body, to receive on my 18th birthday. The mandated option has kept the population from getting further out of control, but it also makes everyone, for all intents and purposes, immortal.
Dr. Javion looks like he can tell I’m not calmed by his rehashing of information. He preps a syringe that sucks the memory bots out of the cylindrical case and sits on a stool with wheels that he scoots next to me. “Is there anything you’d like to know about the procedure that might make things more comfortable for you?”
“Yes, there is something I’ve never understood,” I lick my dry lips. “Is there an adjustment period for my memories to integrate with the previous generation’s memories, like will I have headaches or something like that or feel outside of myself?”
Dr. Javion frowns. “The procedure itself is relatively painless. You will experience headaches for a day or two after the procedure and some complain of a sore throat, but there won’t be any issues with memories integrating, that’s not really a thing.”
It feels like someone shot ice into my veins. “What do you mean? The memories will integrate, right?”
“No. That is a fabrication of the media. If we allowed your personality to exist alongside others in the same brain you would be clinically insane by the end of a week.”
I feel like I’m gonna puke. It’s all a lie. The government, the media, they’re pushing population control at the price of clones being a canvas for a memory override. It’s all a cover up. My mind reels.
I push myself up to get out of the chair but restraints fold out and strap over my arms and legs.
“What the hell!?” I pull on the restraints, fighting them for all I’m worth, but the harder I pull the more they tighten until I can’t move at all.
“You can’t do this,” I shout. “It’s murder!”
He laughs, a deep chuckle. “Murder? Oh my dear girl. Sashi walked into my office and Sashi will walk out, resurrected no less. Sounds more like savior than murderer to me.”
“But it’s my body,” I say through gritted teeth. I’m surprised no one has spoken out about this, but I realize with horror that no one remembers. No wonder he’s been so open about what happens in here. A moment after the memory bots flood my mind I won’t remember either. He must enjoy that part.
Dr. Javion smiles thinly. “Actually, it’s not your body.” He waves the syringe of memory bots in front of my face. “It’s hers.”
He leans closer with the needle and I shake my head as hard as I can. Restraints come out of the chair and clamp around my skull. I scream until my throat is raw and the needle punctures my temple.
I scream and scream, but my throat is sore, my head aches, and I’m starting to forget why.
Author Bio: Eric Fomley’s stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Galaxy’s Edge, and Daily Science Fiction. His stories can be found on ericfomley.com.
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