Danielle Elisha F. Ching
[Individual Project- Science Fiction About Memories Transmitted Down To Human Generations]
What if memories can be transmitted down to generations through human genome? What could the future human society be like?
It’s already mid-day, and Regan barely had rest since last night. She is still cleaning the machines in the distillery. Well, her everyday life had already been like this ever since she was two; Regan is now 15 years old, and she’s still a state slave. She has yet to gain her ancestral memory. In case she never acquires it before her 16th birthday, her whole life will forever be spent in that distillery as a help slave.
In the nation of Mnemos, a person’s ancestral memory is the sole decisive factor of a person’s life. Ever since the government researchers found out about the ability of human genome to carry memories down to generations, the feudalistic government used “ancestral memory” to categorize its citizens in the social ladder. This is because the government believes that a Mnemonian’s skill is affected by ancestral genes, and the familial memory is the key to trace back a person’s history. When Regan was still a baby, she was deposited in the government’s baby bank, where she was subjected to the memory scanner machine. Her initial record held no signs of any ancestral memory; therefore, she was placed under the slave category like all other babies who didn’t have initial familial memory. Regan’s only hope to change her destiny would be the annual Memory Test for under-aged Mnemonians.
However, there’s only one year left before Regan comes of legal age, and she’s slowly becoming pissed off and impatient. She often argues with her friends:
“Regan, you should be careful towards befriending our steward, Haxen. He might have other intentions towards you.”
“Lavilia, don’t worry. You know why I’ve been befriending him, right? The Memory Test is coming up in a few days and I can’t risk my chances anymore. I want to get out of this stupid life.”
“Oh, so you’re calling us stupid now? And what do you call yourself, master?”
“Baymond, that’s not what I meant okay? You know what, just let me be. I don’t interfere with your personal matters, so don’t interfere with mine. Did I ever criticize you for stealing extra food during dinner? And Lavinia, you, you were always talking about how handsome Geron is, yet I never complained about it.”
“Yes, we know that. But we’re only concerned about what Haxen may do to you. And how could you be so sure that he can help you out? He’s only a steward.”
“Lavinia’s right, Regan. We’ve heard stories about him doing inhumane stuff to other slaves.”
“He’s not like that, I know him. He’s the only person who could help me register twice for this year’s Memory Test. Then, I’ll have double chances.”
“But Regan, having double chances won’t change anything. You can’t just force your ancestral memories to come out. Having your head placed in the same memory scanner twice will only produce the same result. ”
“Oh please, can’t you just be happy for me? Just because the two of you are already past 16 and are still slaves, doesn’t mean I don’t stand a chance. I won’t be like you, okay? I won’t be a slave forever! I’m sure my ancestors were more than just slaves.”
“Okay, that’s it. Lavinia, come on. Regan says she doesn’t want to be friends with slaves anymore. She doesn’t need us. She needs her dear friend, Haxen.”
Regan never wanted to fight with her friends. The pressure’s just too much, and she’s willing to try out anything just so she could achieve her lifelong dream—to be with Julirio. Julirio’s the heir to being the lord of the lords in Mnemos. He’s the most eligible bachelor of the land, but only those belonging to the first class could be his bride. Regan never wanted to love someone as unreachable as Julirio, but she couldn’t help it. When Julirio once visited their distillery for an inspection, Regan’s heart fell for the young lad. Aside from being gorgeously handsome, he’s also gentle and kind towards all Mnemonians of any class. And until this day, Regan never gave up on her hopes of being one of the elite so she could be someone of worth for Julirio.
“If this Memory Test is my last hope, then I’m willing to give up anything just to succeed.”
After three days, that day came. Regan is ready, and she’s positive she’ll gain her ancestral memories. Besides, if she fails this Memory Test, she’ll have another chance since she was able to register twice with Haxen’s help.
“Ms. Regan of Rowlitch’s Distillery, 15”
She is called out and she bravely goes up to the testing room. As she is walking up the stairs, she trips and is about to fall, when… someone catches her from behind. She looks up and saw Haxen winking at her. She immediately gets up.
“Thank you, steward Haxen.”
“Good luck Regan.”
Regan enters the room, and a lady grabs her wrist. The lady brings her to a metallic chair, with a metallic headpiece attached to the transmitter, which is then connected to the scanner. Then there’s the wide screen which interprets the memory being scanned in video form. Regan’s already been here in this room for 15 years of her life, but every time she sits on that chair, she feels different. And this time is not an exception.
“You know the drill, Ms. Regan.”
Regan gulps as she puts on the headpiece. This is it. Then, she closes her eyes and hopes for the best. For the first few minutes, nothing came up. Then, after 30 minutes, a vision pops up. But this vision, is not an ancestral memory but a mere fraction of her childhood. Several minutes passed, and the hour was up. Regan’s never been devastated her whole life.
“Ms. Regan, I’m sorry but you seem not to have any ancestral memory. This year marks your last year before you turn 16, so starting next year, you can’t come here anymore.”
Regan doesn’t want anyone to know about what happened to her, especially her friends and co-slaves. So, she smiles as she goes out of the room. When everyone asks her about what happened, she does not answer. Even her friends whom she had a fight with just a few days earlier were concerned about what occurred to her, but Regan shuts her mouth tight. Instead, she goes straight to Haxen.
“You will keep your promise right? You registered me twice? Please, you’re my only hope.”
“Of course. The next run of Memory Test would be two days after. By then, meet me at the distillery’s storehouse, room number 2, same time.”
“Okay, thanks so much Haxen.”
Knowing she has a second chance, Regan regains all her lost hope. For the few nights of waiting, she’s restless. After two days, she goes to the testing site first before she goes to the store house. She just wants to feel the new hope surrounding her, keeping in mind that a few hours later, she’ll be in that room again. As she is being crammed in by the crowd of excited testers, she overhears two girls talking and chuckling:
“Oh my gosh! Lord Julirio is coming today!”
“Really? He’s going to our distillery? I’m so excited to see his goddess face and stature!”
It’s as if this day is Regan’s day. She feels happy and excited, yet she’s also scared of what might happen, especially of rejection and failure. Her heart just starts beating fast. But since the meet-up time she and Haxen talked about is not far from a few minutes, she rushes to the storehouse.
“Haxeeeeeen! Haxen! I’m here, Regan is here.”
No answer. So, she sat first on one of the barrels, thinking about Lord Julirio. Several minutes passed, and Haxen’s still nowhere to be seen around. So Regan decides to take a nap. Suddenly, the large metallic entrance door to the distillery’s storehouse closes. Regan opens her eyes, and sees a large masculine figure coming towards her, as if it’s going to devour her. It’s Haxen. He abruptly holds on to Regan’s wrists, and pins them down to the floor. Then, he lies on top of her. Regan is struggling, but she can’t do anything. Haxen’s too strong for her. Haxen started kissing her neck, and then her chin. She is so disgusted and terrified.
“Help! Heeeeeelp! Help!”
Regan is literally crying, but since the store house is sound proof, no one can hear her. She suddenly feels weak and hopeless. She’s alone and afraid. Suddenly, flashes of light pops through her vision. Then, it becomes fractions of memories in her mind. She is seeing a lot of segmented memories in her vision:
A guy being shot by a hundred soldiers, A woman holding out a baby girl, A friend betraying his friend, Someone calling out the president, People cheering for the first family, A whole nation set out in a political war…
The distillery’s storehouse door opens, four guards come in, and take Haxen off of Regan. Then behind the guards comes in another figure, which is Lord Julirio. There is fighting between Haxen and the guards. Several people rush in the storehouse. It’s a commotion. Lord Julirio goes directly to the poor slave girl on the floor.
“Are you okay, miss?”
But Regan could not answer. Even though her lifelong love is in front of her, she doesn’t react to anything. Everything’s blurry to her vision. She just stares blankly into nowhere. However, the visions just keep coming in through her mind. They are all she can see and care about at the moment.
Then, Regan shuts her eyes as if she’s reorganizing her thoughts, as if she’s about to come up with the greatest idea in centuries. She closes her eyes for a few moments. And when she re-opens her eyes, her two blue eyes scream enlightenment…
(The main concept in the fiction story is INSPIRED by the new scientific discovery written in the journal article cited below)
Dias, Brian & Ressler, Kerry. 2013. Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature.com. Nature Neuroscience. 17, 89-96. http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n1/full/nn.3594.html. March 5, 2014.