Interactive: Summer Internship (Part 4)

Jimmy found his way to the new lab, still trying to shake off what he had seen in lab #76, when he’d arrived at his new home, now that his prior project was being reclassified. The massive blob, the sense that it had somehow been a person–it had to have been a person, right? And that other, smaller one, which was…more of a person, but no longer one entirely. The fact that he knew, right now, those things were being kept alive, and not being sent to the incinerator–it made him want to run screaming from the complex–but he knew, if he did, he’d be in violation of his NDA, and executed. Now he understood why security here was so tight–the science happening here…shouldn’t be happening here. But he was too deep now–what did it matter? He got to the new lab, entered, and found a researcher waiting for him, excited to give him the breakdown of what they were working on here, in lab #146. Jimmy hoped it would be more sane–but he was unsurprised to find this project just as ethically nightmarish as the last.

It had started as a simple question–could memories be converted into chemical form, such that they could be replicated, and spread between people? The answer, it turned out, was yes–though it has been years for the project to advance to this level, and the researcher skipped over, well, a good amount of history, and he was sure, a good amount of mistakes as well. This lab, he had noticed, was more tightly controlled than the last–though apparently the last one had not been controlled enough. Getting in was easy–of course, but getting out again required, well, he saw another researcher leave, after his shift, and it took a while–blood and sweat samples, questions about key memories, a thorough chemical scrub. The researcher told him, when he asked about it, that most of them slept in the bunks here, within the containment area–they only left when really necessary. 

The reason for such tight controls was this–building on some other work, they were able to discover the neurological sequencing of memories–how to build them, really. It was relatively easy, in fact–if you realigned some of the subjects neurons to the proper path, the subject would create a memory to match them on their own–with minimal effort required on the researcher’s part. But there were two wrinkles. First, the mind seemed…incapable of making a new memory without also warping the body itself–and the larger the memory, the more the body would warp. If you made someone believe that they had been a boxer in college, and they remembered losing a tooth, that tooth would fall out of their head–and they would be more muscular, and scar tissue would develop, and, and, and. No one understood how it happened–it should be impossible, but, well, it wasn’t. 

But the bigger problem was the fact that the only carrier they had managed to find to deliver these memories to the brain, was viral–a heavily warped virus that would force the neurons into their new alignment–but what that meant, was the state was…contagious. The individuals would become enslaved to the virus’ need to replicate and spread–and the body would change in a few key ways. This virus was…sexually transmitted, and so, the subject would become incredibly horny, and sexually flexible. The subject’s body would also emit a pheromone, which smelled like–in the words of those who had caught wind of it and escaped contamination–liquid sex. 

Jimmy found all of this, well, hard to believe. But the videos showing previous memory injections were, well, convincing. The researcher told him that, at this point, the study was two pronged. The most important part, was trying to reduce the virality of the injections, or at least find a way to reduce it and turn it off. If they could do that, the military and civilian options were obvious–a way to give a recruit boot camp in one shot, both mentally and physically. A way to rehabilitate prisoners and criminals in moments. But with the viral component lessened, the serum could also become a potent biological weapon, warping a whole cell of terrorists into something harmless over a matter of weeks.

So Jimmy was put to work. He decided to sleep in the lab, rather than deal with the trial of leaving the quarantine area. Mostly, he was working on trying to isolate the viral component of the virus, without rendering it less effective, but as with all things, violating the natural order of things, in was only so long before something went wrong–and that wrong thing, was this. Jimmy was in the storage vault. Here, all of the memories that had been sequenced were stored–some of them waiting to be tested, some of them from prior experiments, trying to understand how the serums even functioned. Even these old vials couldn’t be destroyed–it was worried that fire and incineration wouldn’t be able to deal with this virus–since nothing else seemed to destroy it easily. So here they were kept–and mostly well maintained, but one of them had been sealed inappropriately, and Jimmy had been lax with his PPE, and inhaled some of the serum on the air.

Injection was fastest, taking hold in minutes. Sexual intercorse required an hour or two. Inhalation also worked, but took six to eight hours to incubate. Jimmy continued his work, but began to feel a bit woozy–it was just about the end of his shift, though, and so he went into the bunk room to lay down for a rest. He was asleep almost immediately–and he dreamed–and the dream was so much more vivid than should have been possible…because it was a memory, too. He was in boot camp–that much he knew. He had been…recruited? Or had be volunteered? The memory was corrupted, and old, and there were so many gaps to fill, so many…things he needed to remember. What sort of memory does he recall?

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