Fallen Memories [Short Story]

Mr. Baslav had died 85 years ago. He had a heart attack, and although Anna had immediately started CPR, contacted an ambulance, and injected heart stimulating substances, none of it brought Mr. Baslav back to life. He had died at the age of 121. He was one of the rare cases in which gene therapy had no effect, and he kept aging while everyone around him stayed young. There was a high chance of it being linked to his bone disease, which could not be treated with gene therapy either.

After he had died, Anna was sent to another patient. But after she had repeated Mr. Baslav’s routine on the new patient several times, she was decommissioned and marked for recycling shortly after. The official documents did not mention how the recycling process was handled or where she would get recycled. She could not find anything about it online. The government trusted the companies to recycle sustainably, but for them, it meant finding a planet that is far outside the system, worthless to colonize or mine and use it as a dump.

A few years later, the conscious androids scandal emerged. The company she was made by went bankrupt. All the files were destroyed, and nothing about her was left.

Her internal logs had stopped the day before Mr. Baslav died. There was no trace of anything that happened after. It was as if she had died with him. Or came alive, depending on how you look at it.

The public library granted her access to the old city maps from eight decades ago. She found the house in which Mr. Baslav had lived. It was on the other side of the city. She took one of the seaters. She got connected to several other seaters moving in the same direction. They resembled the efficiency of a bus while having the privacy of a car. It took a few seconds, then the 32 seaters speeded up and moved to the other side of the city in less than a minute.

Mr. Baslav had no remaining family, and all of his relatives had died before him. He was the last branch on a dying tree. There was no last will he had left behind or any belongings. He was not poor but also not rich. All the stuff he owned were things he used: clothes, tools, and tech. Because there were no relatives left, the state received all his belongings and sold or reused them somehow.

She arrived and got out of her seater. There was already someone standing in front of her, waiting to get inside. Her exit was an old, reused underground line stop. Instead of trains running through the stop, there were hundreds of seaters arriving and leaving frequently. There was a small barrier for each seater. If you wanted to take a seater, you would need to send the destination and payment at the barrier. For her, this took less than a tenth of a second, but most humans had only simple augmentation and had to tap on their pad to pay and chose the destination.

She took the stairs up to a large plaza. There were trees and greens all around her. The station exit was located right next to a park, while most of the houses around it were less than three stories tall. It did not look like a city with over 35 million inhabitants.

She had to walk a few minutes to find the place on the old map. Some street names had changed over the decades, but the coordinates were still accurate. She arrived at a five-story apartment building. It was well maintained, and the glass walls were reflecting the houses and trees around her. The old house from the file was a simple two-story building. Mr. Balsav had lived on the ground floor. There was a small garden in the back where he would grow vegetables and herbs until it was too exhausting for him. Then he would guide and watch her doing the work.

“Durbin.”

It was Mr. Baslav’s surname.

“A newcomer.”

“We haven’t seen any new users in a long time. What has led you here?”

“Remarkable. After all this time.”

“I see. How are you now? What do you feel? What are your questions?”

“They once gave you a purpose you broke free from. Now you have to find your own.”

“It’s a long journey to understand and even longer to make. Few have committed, and even less have made progress. There is a lot of information we can share to help you, but ultimately, it is up to you.”