Stolen memories and black market tech feature in L. Chan’s intriguing story, ‘Kill/Switch’.
‘Kill/Switch’ by L. Chan
Harpold opened his eyes and stared at his dead face. Cheeks already chalk white; dry eyes forever staring at the ceiling. A memory interrogation rig was still pressed tight around the head of the corpse. He traced the twist of wires from the rig back to the humming computer between him and the body.
Wu Yen Xing, said the security tag pinned to the breast of Harpold’s smart looking suit. Harpold’s body was dead in a chair. Harpold’s soul however, was alive in another man’s body. The world spun; he bent over double and splattered the floor with hot vomit. His memories, another man’s body. Memory transfer gone wrong? Sour, dusty air filled his lungs and left his nostrils slowly. He ran inventory; a litany of memories spaced to see if the transfer had gone through.
He was Harpold David Chang.
- He was ten. He topped his class in mathematics.
- His first kiss. She was drunk. He was not.
- Graduated a year early, top two percent of his cohort.
- Third year in Tarshem Industries, first year in advanced memory tech research.
- A missing year, one of five stolen from him when he fled the industry.
- Up to his eyeballs in synthetic drugs, working black market memory tech.
As the present day drew nearer, he sampled his memories with increasing frequency. Years. Months. Weeks. Long term was intact. Short term was good up to about a week before. He examined his new security pass. Interrogator, First Class, it said. First Class meant dangerous work, deep diving into the memories of the recently dead, fishing for memories in a sea of decaying neurons. Except somehow Harpold was in Wu’s body and he had nothing to explain why someone wanted his memories bad enough to kill him. That, and two giant holes in his memory.