Iterative Science Fiction

Terrible Recall

Posted in main story by Mark on December 4, 2009

“Most people don’t remember all of them.”
“Ishmael, I am asking about you specifically. If I wanted statistics, that would be on one of those drives I have not indexed yet. I am sure I am aware of more studies than you are, once I reload and remember them.”
“I don’t think it counts unless you can remember off the top of your head.”
“Upper right, forward chest cavity, but I understand your meaning.”
He watched me push flash cloned greens and vat-meat that hadn’t been exercised enough around a pan.
“Last week you arose from your slumber yelling a few nights in a row. I am asking if you remember what you dream about to understand the deviation from your normal rest patterns.”
There was a piece of meat burning and sticking to one of the worn places in the wok. I stabbed it with my spatula.
“I was dreaming of a woman.”
“Yet, you do not respond in this fashion to every member of the opposite sex.”
“How observant of you.”
“May I inquire why this is?”
“Because it was more like a bad dream.”
“The woman attacked you?”
“No.” I scooped the food onto a plate. It was cooling already. It didn’t matter how pressurized the ship was, food cooled too quickly in space. “She was standing still in the space port when I left.”
“You regret having to leave her.”
“Very much.”
A moment passed in silence except for the sound of my chewing. Kurt stood there, probably watching me. I pretended to go back to my magazine.
“Do you have happier dreams as well?”
“Sometimes, I’m sure. Mostly bad ones now.”
“Then perhaps it is not so odd that my current index has classified many more incidents to learn from than pleasant ones to enjoy.”
“Perhaps, Kurt. I don’t know. People don’t choose their dreams or their memories. They just happen.”
“Then what of pictograms and videograms?”
I threw down my fork and plate to look up at Kurt.
“For the stars’ sakes, can’t a man just eat in peace? You decide to bring up bad memories and dreams, and then want to discuss them. Last I checked, they don’t run psych programs on tools!”
I let it out and instantly regretted it. The diodes on Kurts face dimmed just a candela, perceptively.
“Tools. Yes, I have upset you.”
I put my head in my hands.
“Moon below, Kurt. I didn’t mean it. Slip of the tongue.”
His voice was a bit more distant as I heard his heavy feet tread in the direction of his quarters.
“Thank the Maker I did not come with that feature.”

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