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The Memory Bank

The Memory Bank

“The Lower Nu-Manhattan Memory Bank is a proud subsidiary of Cortex. Cortex: We don’t just preserve your memories, we cherish them!” The slogan boomed out across the street as the building’s massive screen illuminated all of the passers-by walking past. Rain cascaded down between the neon lights of the city square, scattering the neon light from the billboard in a haze all around the denizens of the city.

Antonio stood firmly among the pedestrians, glaring up at the illuminating logo casting the evening sprawl in a blue and white glow.

“Hmph. We’ll see about that.” He said to himself, then marched forward toward the front doors of the bank. Antonio was a large, well-built man, easily able to see over the heads of most of the crowd around him. His cybernetic armaments only supplied little to the bulk of his body mass.

“Excuse me?” Antonio stopped and turned to see a much shorter man, probably no older than 20, looking up at him with a nervous smile on his face. He wore a camo denim jacket and a deep blue baseball cap patterned with silver stars.

“Sorry to bother you, but… you’re not from the Space Armada, are you?” Antonio resisted the temptation to brush him aside and just walk into the bank, but he didn’t want to be rude. “Yes. I was- am.” Antonio told him. The shorter man’s eyes widened with admiration.

“Wow! Which campaign did you get back from?”

“Uh…” Antonio tried to come up with something to say to him, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to get away with lying, so he admitted, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t… know- Oh! Right! You don’t knoooow!” The man winked as he overly-enunciated the last word, “Right, Gotcha! Well, I’m gonna be an Armada Officer too someday! Maybe someday we’ll see eachother again and you can… fill me in…” Again, he overly enunciated the last word, which really annoyed Antonio. He thought about telling him that there wasn’t anything worth leaving the planet for out there, but this wasn’t the place to make a scene, so instead he said,

“Right. Take care of yourself.” Antonio turned and walked back towards the bank, behind him he just faintly heard the man shout “You bet! Just you wait until I’ve got my own cybernetic plating installed onto me! I’ll be so badass!” Antonio did his best to let the encounter slip out of his mind, and just focused on what he was here to do.

Walking into the bank, he was blinded again by a barrage of brilliant lights glowing from nearly every surface. Bright screens along the walls flashed different colors depending on whether they were idle or being used by a customer for deposit. From what he could see, one younger person appeared to be recalling a lecture from a teacher at the front of a classroom, while another woman was watching a recording of a baby awkwardly walking for the first time.

One man was watching footage of a television set playing an episode of what appeared to be an old sitcom, and another man looked at footage of a woman in a dress sitting at the end of a table. Antonio looked away from the screens back to his path in front of him. From above, lights dangled down in criss-crossing lines and wires from the ceiling. The brightness began to give him a migraine, Antonio rubbed his left temple, carefully avoiding the wound where a shredded scrap of metal jutted out from his head.

“Hi! How can I help you!” The chipper voice of a woman sitting at a ceramic desk in the center of the lobby pierced his ears.

She was seated low enough that only her upper body was visible, the rest of her concealed by the ceramic tabletop that resembled polished porcelain. On the table in front of her, another screen displayed the Cortex logo. Antonio graciously walked up to her and introduced himself.

“Hi, My name’s Antonio Rayer. I… think I have an account here, I’d like to see if I have anything deposited.” He explained.

“Okay, no problem. That’s easy to confirm, are you employed, Mr Rayer?”

“Uh, I’m a… former Space Armada Officer.”

The attendant looked up curiously, “Former?” She asked.

“Yeah, I don’t know if you can tell but I’m… recuperating from a battle injury…” He awkwardly stated, noticing how the woman tried not to look like she was staring at his wound.

“Okay, well, your complimentary Armada-issued account should still be in effect. Just one quick retinal scan should locate your identity in our records! Look down please and hold perfectly still.” She motioned down to the screen on her desk, which started displaying several white circles revolving around each other with the text “look into center, don’t blink” above them. Hastily, Antonio leaned over and looked into the middle of the swirling collection of circles. He felt like he was about to drop to his hands and knees from how low he had to bend down just to get to eye level with the screen, he placed his hands against the desk to keep himself from falling forward. After a few seconds, a deep “beep” was heard and the screen flashed red.

The attendant frowned. “Hmm… That’s odd…”

“What is?” Antonio nervously asked,

“Well, it’s not saying it doesn’t recognize you, it just says… invalid.”

“What does that mean?”

“It- I- I’m not sure. I’ve never encountered this before, I… hold on, I’ll have to contact my supervisor, he’ll be better equipped to sort this out…” She said before placing a finger to her ear and muttering into her earpiece. She nodded to the response she was given from the other end of her piece, then told Antonio, “Okay, he’ll be right out to meet you. Just wait a moment by the employee entrance…”

“O-kay…” Antonio muttered. He stepped away from the desk and made his way to the back of the bank. He looked around at everyone else at the bank, all of whom were keeping to themselves and the memories they’ve deposited. Some of the other staff members seemed to be looking at him nervously, then looking away to try and find someone else to help. “Antonio, yes?” Antonio nearly jumped when he heard someone addressing him. He looked down to see a short man in a gray, pressed suit. He had a trimmed, dark mustache and his hair was slicked flat back across his head.

“Pleased to meet you, I’m the Broker. Come this way, please.” He tapped a code into the keypad on the side of the employee entrance, enabling the doors to slide open. “Down this way, please!” The Broker gestured for Antonio to follow him down a long hallway, where a door at the end was marked “Server Room”.

Inside the server room, Antonio felt like he was inside the brain of a computer. Within its center stood a large, bulbous conduit of swirling colors and images contained in glass. The broker placed his hands on its exterior, massaging the colors with his fingers. “So, Armada huh? Long way away from duty, aren’t you, soldier?”

“Oh, I had to step away due to a- well, an incident.”

“Yeah, I can tell. That shrapnel must cause quite a headache, eh?” The broker said with a slight smirk. Antonio didn’t smile.

“Pain isn’t the issue anymore, it’s the damage it’s done to my cerebral processing. I need to access my account to reset my memory. The injury caused me to forget everything from my life before: training, my comrades, my life before joining the Armada, everything. I at least got my name before going on medical leave, but I need my backup reinstalled!” “Yes, about that…” The Broker trailed off, “Unfortunately, your account has been recalled…”

Antonio stood, stunned, “What?”

“Well, considering your current… condition, you’re no longer a reliable asset to the Armada. So the decision was made to secure your memories and, well, repurpose them for better use.”

“Repurpose?!” Antonio snapped, “What do you mean repurpose?! You mean someone else gets to wander around with all my life experiences that they never did while I’m stuck in the dark?!” His voice shook the metal surfaces of the walls around them.

“N-no, not necessarily…” The Broker started to stammer, “We don’t offer them to simply anyone. You see, our… higher-tier investors are granted special… permissions that allow them access to vacant memories for commercial or recreational purposes.”

“My life is not some program for some rich douchebag’s gain!”

“But can’t you see how the memories of a battle-hardened Armada officer would be so valuable?! I could only dream of the scripts they’d concoct from your memories!” Antonio glowered down at the broker and stomped forward towards him. “Your experiences will inspire the next generation of Space Armada Soldiers!You should consider yourself lucky to have this honor, most clients’ deposits are discarded from the server after they’re incapable of verifying their account-”

“You have no right to withhold my own life from me!” Antonio snarled.

“I’m afraid it’s not my decision to make! As a part of the bank’s partnership with the Space Armada, they have full access to all accounts made under their authorization.” The broker stated bluntly, trying not to let his voice shake too much, “I can offer you a new account made in your name as well as discounted access to select up to ten years of donated memories from the our server here-”

“TO HELL WITH YOUR SERVER!” Antonio shouted,


The broker shrieked and dived to the ground as Antonio undocked his wrist blaster and fired in his direction. The energy soared narrowly over his head and struck the main server in the center of the room, causing it to explode in a shower of sparks, smoke, glass, and metal. The broker looked on in horror. He gawked in horror at Antonio, then the shattered mainframe, then back to Antonio.

“W-W- WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” The broker shrieked, “Our massive library of collected human consciousness, our cultural reserve! Destroyed! How do you expect us to reclaim all that data?!”

Antonio retracted his wrist blaster. “I dunno. Better start remembering.”