Monday, February 22, 2016

Story Seed - Tabula Rasa

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I woke up in a dark room that smelled of filth and worse. I was lying on a stained mattress that lay directly on the floor. Horizontal shafts of electric blue light stabbed into the darkness through a boarded over window. I sat up and the room spun violently, so I decided to wait that out. Once things were stable I rose and moved to the window.

I could tell I was in the slums on the west side of the city from the view. Realizing that fact brought with it another shock, I couldn't recall how I knew that. Or my name. Or who I was. I couldn't recall a damned thing before I woke up on that disgusting mattress. Behind me a door opened and sickly yellow light bloomed into the darkness. I turned and regarded the silhouette before me with trepidation. Was this a friend or a foe?

"You're awake. That's good. Maybe you can explain yourself." The figure's voice told me it was an older man. Probably a smoker. Again I couldn't understand how I knew, I just knew these things to be true. "Well?"

"I ... I don't think I can help you. I don't remember anything."

"Damn." The shadowed stepped backward into the hall. I could see now he was older, maybe in his fifties. An old model cybereye made his lined face look damaged. The dead black lens was stark contrast to the warm blue one next to it. "Come on then. I'll tell you what we were able to figure."

He led me down a hall to a cluttered room. Clearly a black doc's shop, the place was littered with old tech cybernetics, vats of organ blanks, and a great deal of other items. "Somebody spiked you," he said as we entered. "Your bio-comp is still in self repair mode, but the diagnostics were easy enough to read. You've got some high end tech in your head girl. I can only assume you were a data courier. Why else would you need a zettabyte holodrive cortex implant?"

I looked at him blankly. I had no idea why else I would need a cortex holodrive, let alone a zettabyte drive. You could download entire databases with room to spare in one of those. I frowned at the fact that I knew that, but not why I had one in my skull, or what had happened to me, or my name.

"Yeah, ok. So, I checked while you were out. It's blank; recently reformatted, and it looks like they hit you with a neural wipe, since you don't remember anything. Bright side is you can walk and talk so they opted not to format your grey matter at the same time."

Yay, I thought, taking no pleasure from that small victory. Or maybe favor. I stuffed my hands into my pockets to keep him from seeing them shake. My left hand touched something small. I withdrew it and peered at it in the flickering light. It was a chip. a centimeter square, and maybe two millimeters thick. "What's this?" I asked.

The doc came over and looked at it. "Data chip. I didn't see that when I found ya. Maybe it'll answer some questions." He looked at me, and I wondered if I should even trust this man. "You have a chip slot, or I can throw it onto the holo. Your choice."

I slotted the chip then frowned. I ejected it and put it into his holo. The chip was nearly blank. Only an address, a time, and a weird image. "An engram key, an address, and a time. Not much help."

"More than you may realize," he replied. "Without that key whoever blanked you has a zettabyte of useless data. I'd also wager that you might find help at that address and time. Probably your client pickup."

I didn't know why, but I could tell that things were going to get worse before they got better.