It’s All Temporal


She pulled the lever, pushed the button. The craft picked up speed. The navigator consulted the BPS. They didn’t want to get stuck in the Circle of Willis again. They entered the artery, initiated the external lights. The tunnel’s sides were murky and grey. The deck was quiet except for the whirring machines and the occasional status report from the engine room. Their power was lower than expected at this stage as they had expelled more in the medulla than anticipated.

She replayed the mission instructions for the crew on the intercom. They were to enter the temporal lobe, locate the traumatic memory, destroy the malignancy, and exit the brain. Not usually a problem, but this memory was an anomaly; the nightmare was gaining in size and potency by feeding off the carotid. It was an unprecedented power transfer and her crew was assigned to stop any further spread.

The scientist on board wanted to explore this phenomenon before destroying it, but there was no guarantee there would be time for exploration. As they traveled through the narrowing channel, the Brain Positioning System signaled they were approaching the memory cortex. She pulled the lever all the way back, slowed the craft to a hover, and maneuvered close the mass. Weapons were readied. Everyone prepared for the impact of the trauma breaking apart. Just as they readied to fire, the communications officer reported a signal interfering with communications to the Center. A strange craft appeared from behind the mass. The two captains peered at each other through the shields. They spoke through the intercoms.

“You can’t destroy this memory,” said the newcomer.
“We have to,” she said. “It’s our mission.”
“Think it through,” the opposing captain insisted. “If you take any memory away, even a bad one, you forever alter the person. They need bad to appreciate good or they can’t tell the difference anymore.”
“Move aside,” she said as she aimed some short-range weapons toward the new ship. “This has all been debated before. It’s not our call.”
“Wait! There is an alternative we’ve been working on,” he said. “We’ve found a section of memory cortex that seems to be a holding for dreams and nightmares instead of real event memories. We can relocate the mass there, at least in theory, but the technology’s tricky – new, risky.”
“OK. Let’s try it,” she said. “We’ll follow you. If this doesn’t work…”
He smiled at her through the shield.
“We’ll all just be a memory.”

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