Written in 365 Parts: 75: My History is Hokum

“What the hell does ‘your past may be a fiction’ mean? My past may not be real? What? I am not from the past? So, I just don’t understand, so where am I from then?”

“Drink?”

“I can drink in here?”

“You can pretty much do anything in here, Marsh. Though you will not actually be imbibing alcohol your mind will respond as if you have. Remember the construct program instructs your brain to help it replicate the experience. It’s a near perfect representation. Enough for your brain to accept it as truth.”

“That sounds like it could be fun.”

“Well I did say that some organics spend their entire lives in a construct. Many of them have very specific requirements but others allow for the randomness of existence. It is controlled by machine intelligences, but it basically amounts to as much an abstract reality as the apparent real one.”

“I’ll take that drink. Do I just summon it from the air?”

“It works best if things don’t just appear. It is why you have an operator helping the program. Usually it is just a machine learning how to work with your brain but we have Rodero. If things just appeared you’d have that issue of truth again.”

“But surely I will have that all the time now?”

“In this particular case it is how far from the truth that we wander that is the issue. You now know that the whole of this is a construct, but if almost magical elements are added it will become more dislocated in experience. The brain likes regularity, it is more comfortable if the narrative is consistent. Remember we need it to be complicit in fooling itself. So no fantastic physics. We extrapolate along a line. Which is why we will have to work within a story.”

Drick walked over to a wall panel and passed a finger over a sensor. Immediately it spoke, “how may I assist?”. Drick ordered two whiskies with soda and asked that the bottles be brought as well and then flicked the intercom off.

“We know it is a hotel, so let’s just use room service. Narrative consistency.”

“So what about my history?”

“Well it is a real problem. They restricted the safeguards. They had no reason to do that. They had already built disabling elements onto your system. They could create worlds and experiences, and they could control your access to the extended, higher, functions of the system. The only reason one would remove a safeguard is to prevent it kicking in if the system were causing harm. That could be physical, or mental torturing, or if someone wanted to rewrite memories, change what you know or understand.”

“Maybe they were just getting rid of the memories of what they were doing to me?”

“That could be it. In fact that is likely to be a major part of why they had done this. But they could do most of that by keeping you in a drugged state. There are plenty of narcotics that stop you being cogent or coherent. There are drugs that can target the areas of the brain that form long-term memories or remove short-term capabilities. This is a difficult and dangerous procedure for them to just do that. Undoubtedly that is part of the reason they took out the safeguards, but it is unlikely to be all of the reason.”

“You think that the real reason has to be my history?”

“Possibly, look it isn’t that simple. I think that it made it compelling that they had to do it. Not the reason but the method that was the determining factor.” Drick paused as there was a chime from the door. Drick called for the door to open and a young organic brought through a trolley with a selection of drinks on it. The organic was dressed in a revealing maid’s outfit and clearly displaying as female in both body shape and tattoos. 

Drick rolled their eyes as the maid smiled warmly and bent to pass Marsh a drink. “Stop drooling, Marsh, this is Rodero. It is their idea of humour.”

Rodero turned towards Drick and bent over further to allow a skirt to rise in Marsh’s direction. Rodero blew Drick a kiss and turned their head towards Marsh, “you don’t object to the view, do you sweetie?”

“Yeah, I really do,” said Marsh, “what makes you think I find this tawdry display remotely attractive?”

“Well because I read up on a little history and the transcripts of your conversations. I know that you present as a heterosexual male, and the people of your time period predominantly used visual attraction for sexual signalling. I am also looking at your stats, mostly your biometric responses, and you are showing signs of interest and arousal.” Rodero grinned, “so it is no use in lying.”

“Despite what you said, the people of my time also considered what you are doing to be a crass display. It is juvenile. Although I might be wired to respond it is mostly unwilling. I might be attracted to whatever form you have currently taken. I might be aroused by the image. But I would refuse any kind of relationship with you. This is just a bad mistake.”

The female stood and straightened the skirt, “hmmm, not so primitive as I thought,” they turned to Drick, “well the arousal responses to stimulus are within an expectation, so if they are falsely written, they are well written.”

Drick stared, “don’t try to fob off your puerile humour as a useful experiment. We could have achieved the same information without this cheap trick. You did this because you like to mess with people.”

“A girl has got to have some fun.”

“Is that how you are choosing to present?”

“In this simulation, yes. You know me, I like to be very fluid. A different proclivity for every separate challenge.”

“Get out.”

Rodero walked towards the door and turned to blow a kiss at them just before leaving. “Well that was rude,” said Marsh.

“Shut up, part of you liked her.”

“Not any part being a primitive man allows me to control.”

“Well, I could cut you a break. Almost all sexual display is a social construct, you are a product of a different society. But even still, you are a big dumb idiot.”

“Fair enough. Are they in any way right, though? Can you write that level of basic response. Even if everything is a part of your history, and the environment that builds on, whatever framework, is organically in existence. Can you write in those automated responses that a lifetime of experiences has made you create?” How much can you really change what has become nature? Sure you can make appearance changes, but rewiring the underneath. Surely that is a major remapping of the brain?”

“The brain can be remapped, so to speak. It takes considerable effort but organics do it all the time. That is how we combat biases and perceptions. We have the capacity to form new pathways and we have the capacity to unlearn. Sure when you are in a world that immerses and reinforces attitudes, beliefs and behaviours it is significantly harder to change. But if the brain is removed from that, either by allowing it to be as objectively critical as possible, or by building a neutral construct, then change can be drawn on a deeper level.”

“So what Rodero was attempting to prove?”

“Was bullshit, yes. Rodero was messing with you. It is in their nature. They have been around for a while but they are basically just an adolescent. It is the period of their life where they grew the most and they stayed there.”

“So you think my history is hokum?”

“I think there is a good possibility that you are old. I think it is highly likely that you may have been used for some illegal, or deeply unethical, purpose for some considerable time. But I don’t buy that you are a soldier from some backwater century who was frozen and then revived in distant space. There is something else going on. For some reason they created a false history, which means your real history needs to be hidden, even from you. Why is that?”

“I have no idea.”

“Me neither. Look we are not going to get any more from this discussion. Let me show you how to use your implant.

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