tagSci-Fi & FantasyRemembrances Denied

Remembrances Denied


His was the mind that conceived of an Empire. Hers was the hand that forged it.

* * * * *

"Are you ready?" The soft, modulated female voice seemed to come from the walls.

"Uh huh."

"It is required that you answer yes or no. The pleasant, even voice pushed him towards clarity.

"Yes, yes, I'm ready." The circlet he was wearing around his temple seemed to grow warm.

"Have you set any Reminders?"


"We will proceed."

* * * * *

There was a momentary disorientation before he settled in for the game. He let the smells of the popcorn and other archaic foods wash over him. The aroma joined the rising and falling of the noise of the crowd to fully pull him into the experience. It was only the bottom of the first. He had a vague sense of having just arrived.

"I'm sorry, I believe that this is my seat?" He stood on the stadium steps adjacent to a familiar and beautiful woman. Had he seen her at the ceremony? Rarely forgetting a face, he tried to place her. If she was here, she wasn't a dignitary, of that he was sure.

It had been a ridiculous waste of time, but he did his part. The youngest person ever to be named a tri-planet delegate, he was the guest of honor. He had thought about nothing but this game as he shook countless hands and tried to look engaged.

Apologizing again to the woman who had to move out of his seat and into the one adjacent to her companion, he shifted around, looking for a vendor. When one was spotted, he caught his attention and held up two fingers. The dowgs were brought over to him, affixed with his favorite toppings. With a slightly embarrassed smile, he extended one to the woman he had displaced.

"Please. As an apology. You can't enjoy the game without a dowg."

She smiled back as they were both evidently amused by the retro fun of the baseball game and all of its anachronistic trappings. Where he was slight, tall and elegant, she appeared solid, beautiful and with a certain unidentified sense of purpose.

"That's three apologies. You must really be sorry. Thank you. I'll get the next one." Passing her the food, he felt his pulse quicken as her hands touched his fingers.

As they sat and enjoyed the game they could each sense the other taking sidelong glances when they thought they weren't observed. An inning passed before he finally said something.

"I'm sorry, it's driving me crazy. I'm usually good with faces. Have we met?"

"No, this is the first I've been on-planet in years, but I know who you are. Rumor has it that you're going to be the new Architect. You arranged that treaty that ended the famine. Some of the men and women I serve with would like to buy you a drink."

"You're in the military?"

"I am." She smiled. "I have a ship that's stationed on the fringe."

"That's where I know you from! You were involved with finding the artifacts! I thought I was losing it for a while."

She unconsciously squared off in her seat, facing him almost full on. What had been friendly a moment ago, now seemed guarded and suspicious.

"How did you know about that? Do you have any idea how few people are aware of... of what you just mentioned?" She quickly looked around at the people near them. None seemed to be paying them any attention.

Her change in demeanor was a little off-putting.

"You're right, I shouldn't have mentioned it but I promise you that I'm allowed to know. I was brought in early so we could do some preliminary planning. But you're right. Sorry."

"No, I shouldn't have presumed." She slowly relaxed into her seat.

He remembered her brief bio now. She was a commander well on her way to being a captain. The text of her bio and that of the others involved with the artifacts clearly show that she is well respected. Reading between the lines, she was also feared. Far more intelligent than most of her superiors, they knew that they would likely be retired or serving under her fairly soon.

There was silence between them for two innings. After the exultation of the crowd following a home run, she turned to him.

"Listen, I'm sorry I jumped the gun. That's part of the reason I'm here. I need to decompress a bit and, well, that wasn't called for."

"No, you were absolutely right. I tend to get excited and open my mouth. No harm done. Let's enjoy the game."

After two more batters got on base, he leaned over. "How often do you get back here? Is it always years before you return? Do you think that, well, we could get dinner sometime? I mean, a few years is enough time for you to come up with an excuse if you want to cancel." He offered a lopsided grin as he tried to use humor to defuse any tension.

She smiled and touched his arm. "I'd like that. I've been told that things are changing and I'll be coming back every month or so for debriefings. Dinner sounds..."

Fragments of her skull knicked and lacerated his face as her head exploded. Viscera arced behind her and to her sides. He stared without comprehension as a seemingly omnipresent voice boomed in the stadium. He couldn't make out what was said, but he was sure if he could concentrate for a moment, he would understand. When the voice finished speaking everyone that he could see slumped in their seat or to the ground.

"What? What? What..."

He was incoherently repeating the same word as he felt a hand on his shoulder. As he turned to look at the hand's owner, he saw a figure fleeing up the right-field bleachers, past the array of unconscious humanity.

"Sir. Sir! Please come with me."

* * * * *

"What the hell happened?"

"We're still looking into it, sir. Somehow, she just, I guess, exploded."

Dr. Umberto looked at the functionary.

"You're an idiot. BioMacs don't just explode and certainly not just their heads. He turned to address the rest of the room. Do any of you understand how important this is? Do you have any idea of what will happen if he remembers any of that?"

Dr. Mendoza stepped to his side to speak to him. Her mellifluous voice hid something she was trying to disguise. Was it schadenfreude? If he went down, she would replace him.

"Where do we stand, Umberto? What's next?"

"Next? We proceed as planned and revisit this Walk at the end. We can readjust the sequence in his mind before we pull him out."

* * * * *

Theirs was a sybaritic society and they felt no shame in their indulgences. Countless generations of humanity had toiled to bring them to a point where life's hallmark wasn't constant struggle. They were a people of leisure and self-indulgence. Where their predecessors would have been embarrassed to live without purpose and dedication, they reveled in it.

When the poorest amongst you live to be six-hundred and in a style befitting an emperor, your biggest concern eventually becomes boredom and ennui. That's when firsts become more valuable than almost any possession. The novelty of the first time for anything was sought after and treasured. It was also richly rewarded.

Nearly thirty-two decades earlier, scientists had discovered how to safely mind tape humans. Memories could be recorded periodically and reinstalled in case of catastrophic injury. It took another two hundred years and countless lives before they figured out how to suppress memories and then restore them at will.

Want to re-experience your wedding? No problem. Through genetic remodeling, you and your wife look the same and feel the same. We'll just suppress your memories, reenact your wedding, and let you experience it again, flush with the passion and novelty. Best of all, you can carry both memories with you when those that were suppressed are released.

BioMachines are used as actors in the fictions created for the clients. Technically they aren't human, so their participation isn't solicited as much as demanded via remapping cerebral architecture. Unless needed again for the same client, they are recycled after every job.

While suppressed, the clients have no idea that they are in a fiction of their own design.

* * * * *

"Comfortable, Architect?"

Hirako lay upon the slate gray table, a thin pliable strip wrapped around his head near his temples. His head was held in place but his eyes could track the technicians walking about the monochromatic room.

"Fine, thank you, Doctor. You enjoyed the festivities last night? I wouldn't want a dissatisfied guest rummaging about in my brain," he said with a smile.

Umberto didn't tell him that the party wasn't yesterday. The Architect would get his sense of chronological order back after they were done.

"It was an amazing evening. Thank you. We're about ready to get started. You'll need to answer a few rote questions from the system, the Sorting and Suppressing will begin and you'll be transported to the on-site Setting when it's done. Ready?"

For decades Hirako had been mentally weak. There were no more challenges, no more goals to reach. There were just endless orgies of excess. That was going to end. He was going to change who he had become.

"For a long time now, Doctor. Let's get started."

"Are you ready?" The omnipresent female voice intoned again. Laying on the comfortable table, he remembered to use short, clear, binary statements.


"Have you set any Reminders?"


"We will proceed."

He slipped from the present as memories were sorted and stacked. His body was transported to the Setting and he was prepared for the Awakening.

* * * * *

It was oddly ordered for such a huge crowd at what should have been a celebratory event. He had thought that there would be more carousing during dinner. Sadly, it seemed that there would be no drunken speeches to liven up the evening. Maybe things would pick up when the dancing started. A part of him regretted seeing to it that the high ranking military were invited. It was likely their presence that dampened the hoped-for debauchery.

He knew it was necessary and was a first step in forming alliances and traditions that would maintain and strengthen the status quo. It also meant that she would likely be there. He would sacrifice a great deal to see her again.

In her own way, her rise through the military ranks was as quick and as noteworthy as his was through the government. He didn't have great wealth and his only power was implied. What he had was clout. He had the exceptional ability to see connections and outcomes that others didn't. This allowed him to make allies and he borrowed their power to get what he needed done.

He had spoken to a Governor who owed her position to some advice he offered at a party. She assured him that General Boshin would be invited and Hirako arranged things so that it would be too large of a social faux pas for him not to attend. The General would bring her. The stories may be told about him but without her, there would be no stories to tell. Boshin made sure she was close by as often as possible. The General foolishly considered her his creation.

Vying for the attention of eligible women while the event was swarming with handsome men in uniform wasn't a thrilling idea, but he wasn't too concerned. His burgeoning power and accompanying fame seemed to attract enough attention from the opposite sex. There were fun dalliances, but he would give up every other possibility if he could dance with her just once.

He enjoyed his meal on the raised platform, sitting with the other official hosts of the evening. As they exchanged mindless chatter, he kept his eye on the room, searching and scanning for her. He didn't see her as much as the moving gap in the crowd that indicated her attendance. Her presence demanded attention. Her aura of repressed danger demanded that attention is from a distance. She simultaneously drew people to herself and kept them at a distance.

Keeping track of her throughout the evening, he was watching as she stood away from him, arms behind her back, as she spoke to a group of admirers. Lost in his own thoughts as he enjoyed the lines of her body from across the huge and crowded hall, he was shocked when she turned around and looked directly at him. She tilted her head in a quizzical fashion, smiled and then turned back to her recently acquired entourage. It was as if she had a hunters sense of when she was being observed.

Dinners enjoyed and then forgotten, the crowd relaxed, some dancing to the live band and others congregating to discuss the matters of the day. Approaching her from an angle, he waited for a natural pause in her conversation with admirers. He extended a hand.

"Commander? Would you care to dance?"

"Ahhh, the Visionary of Lahxbah. How have you been, Delegate?" She took his hand and they moved towards the dance floor. "Seriously, how are you, Hirako?"

"Much better now."

After a few drinks and half a dozen songs, he engineered their escape through a servants door. Managing to slip down the hallways unseen, they entered a room that he had secured earlier. "Delegate Hirako, Lahxbah Province, security four," he called out to the rooms sensors. The doors locked and the room's lights offered limited luminescence and a wonderful ambiance. She pulled him into a deep, familiar but passionate kiss, her tongue dominating his.

Separating, he got them each a drink. Speaking for some time, they reconnected after being apart for so long. She rarely got to spend time here and he almost never left. Spending her time suppressing revolutions, securing strongholds and defending against scavengers left her little opportunity to indulge in what others took for granted. He was a piece of her life that she guarded zealously. She had never felt an attraction like this. It was if they were two sides of the same coin. As the minutes clicked by, their sexual tension mounted.

They made their way to the railing as they looked at the streets below and the taxis floating at the third, fourth and fifth floors. He stood to her side and slightly behind her as they enjoyed the view, his arms around her, her arms over his. She reached down with her left hand and found his crotch. Stroking him over his clothing, he soon became erect. She used her right hand to unbuckle her anachronistic belt and slid her uniform pants to the floor, stepping out of one of the legs and spreading her feet. She leaned over the railing.

"Now, Hirako."

His heart rate quickened as he moved directly behind her. Hirako had grown used to her abrupt nature and fearless demands. Pulling his cock loose and dropping his pants to the ground, he lowered his hips and ran his fingers over her slit before slipping a finger into her hot, velvety channel. He felt her moistening as she pushed her hips back towards him. Biting her lower lip, she looked back over her shoulder at him as he stared down at her ass.

Running his thumb over her clit, he moved his straining prick into position. Finding the right angle, he pushed into her waiting pussy. He started to move in and out slowly as she reached between them to gently caress his testicles. Their position made reaching him awkward and she soon gave up and just squeezed his thigh. When even that became cumbersome, she leaned further forward over the railing and spread her arms to grasp it firmly.

Gradually, he increased his pace. He started to groan as the tempo picked up. Her pants echoed his exhortations. Leaning forward, he wrapped an arm around her and grabbed a breast as he lowered his head to kiss her neck.

"Uggghhhh... Leighton, Leighton, I'm... ugghhhh!

Shooting his seed deep inside of her, he grasped the railing and rested, breath slowly returning to normal. She reached between her legs to finish what he had started. He had left her close, so her two fingers manipulating her clit got her the rest of the way.

Standing tall, he stretched his back and smiled. He was in awe of this woman that he had just reconnected with a few hours before. He couldn't remember where they met originally but something in his mind pushed him away from questioning that anomaly. She was incredible.

It's like she grabbed opportunity by the throat and wouldn't let go. Her enthusiasm was infectious and pulled him along in her wake. He had never met anyone else like her and he met and got to know people for a living. She was so alive! So vibrant.

She was graceful, but not like a dancer. She had an uncoiled strength about her that reminded him of the wild animals that had once roamed earth. She held beauty in one hand and danger in the other. Everything and everyone else in his life was a cipher that he eventually solved. She, however, was an enigmatic puzzle as deep as the seas.

She stepped back from the railing and leaned against the wall, smiling at him expectantly. Feeling unusually nervous, he hesitated. He wanted to ask her to spend the night and then the day with him tomorrow. He had to take a flight off-planet the following day but wanted to spend as much time as possible with her.

As he twisted to work the kinks out of his back he saw a shadow rushing towards them from the room. The figure crashed into the woman, propelling her into and over the railing. Half cloaked in the darkness, he saw the demon rise slowly, looking at him with an amused, crooked smile as screams from the plummeting Commander acted as a backdrop. It was hideous.

"No, Hirako. There will be no cheating. No more softness for you. You have let vipers into your nest and they now walk the corridors of power that should be your rightful domain. Your days of slipping away from reality and into a life of decadence are over." It spoke to him with a frightening familiarity, as if it was a nightmare plucked from his own mind.

It tapped something on its wrist, waited a moment and then leaped over the railing. For the second night in a row, but for him the first, he stood aghast and without comprehension as a woman was brutally murdered. The creature rose into view and then flew off on the pod that was obviously there for that purpose.

He could remember little except for the demon's scarred face and her hair blowing wildly in the wind. Her? Yes, he was sure it was a her. Hirako didn't know what to do. People didn't die here. People weren't thrown from buildings. He stumbled to the door and walked down the hallway to the ballroom.

"Hello! Hello? Someone? Help!"

He called, looking for assistance. When he stepped into the cavernous room the omnipresent female voice spoke again. Once more he couldn't quite make out the words, but he felt that he should have been able to. When it stopped speaking, everyone in the room slumped to the floor except for two men and a woman who approached him.

"Sir, please come with us. Everything will be fine."

* * * * *

Hirako's name in the alert set off bells throughout the Empire. Five people were supposed to know about the security breach. Over three hundred found out within an hour. Every security expert, every spy and every high ranking military officer in the known universe would soon have an opinion on what should be done.

Umberto needed to take steps to contain this. He had worked on a few citizens high up in the security apparatus in the past. He could count on them. They were aware of what he knew about them. A communique would be sent out saying that the level of concern was overblown. It was likely a rogue technician and things would be set right quickly.

General Boshin would be informed. The doctor had no choice there. He wielded almost as much power as the entire Senate and Umberto couldn't risk leaving him in the dark about something so potentially important to the military.

In the meantime, the best operatives the Empire had would be put in place to ensure that nothing went wrong on the next Memory Walk. They had to. If their suspicions were right, this was the worst possible scenario. If it was who they suspected, everything was in danger.

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