January 2012 Archives

The Amnesiac

Seventh Entry

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Date: Date: 525.3.47

 

I once again awoke in the bed. I remember that I encountered a robot, but I simply fell asleep. I can only assume that this robot had some sort of hypersonic sleep signal. This would explain why I felt relaxed instead of panicked. Further, it would explain why I slept the entire afternoon, and on through to the morning.

I do not know what to think of the robot's capabilities. On one hand, much of my suspicions of the robots are simply gone. A night's sleep in the bed will apparently do that. On the other hand, I worry about their mind control capabilities. After all, if they can put me to sleep at will, what else could they do? I do not know if they realize that the more these events happen; the more suspicious I become. I think it is clear that the robots and this bed have some sort of brainwashing capability.

On the plus side, I know more about my life here. While I have no direct recollection of my medical studies, I know more about physiology and anatomy. I think the visit to the hospital must have jarred something loose. I feel like my medical training has been quite thorough now.

The events of the last few days have given me a new found boldness. It seems that the worst thing that will happen for my actions is a nice long sleep. I will perhaps have to endure a session in the bed, but I feel that I am easily fighting off those brainwashing sessions.

Since the robots I have encountered do not appear to be able to answer my questions, I have decided on a brash action plan. I have decided to go up and down the street knocking on doors. I am going to see who comes to the door. In this way, I hope to find out what I can from my neighbors.

From my own experience, I am going to assume that everyone has a similar experience to my own. That is, I think they will all have limited memories. I think no one will have memories that go farther back than a few days. I want to test this theory.

Before venturing out, I ate a morning meal. I found that my pack from yesterday's adventure appears to have been undisturbed. Thus, some of the provisions I had packed have survived without harm. For some reason, I think it odd that the food did not decompose in any way. Perhaps, there is something special about these crops. They may be resistant to rot. Even the fruit on the tables appears to be fresh.

I grabbed the pack and put some more food into it. I am heading to Alexa's house because I think she will answer the knock. Further, she may want to visit her neighbors as well. I made my way to her house, and she answered her door after a brief wait. She too seems to be very suspicious of our circumstances. I am sure she wants to know what the robots are up to. I explain to her what my plans are and she put her fears aside.

We walk away from the town square. We are both pretty sure there are robots doing work in the other direction. We go from house to house. Naturally, we skip my house. However, no one comes to the door at any of these houses. We make our way to the end of the line. No one at any of the houses answered to our call.

"What do we do now?" Alexa asks

"We could open up the doors," I suggest.

"We should not..."

"Why?"

"It just seems wrong."

"Why?"

"It is an invasion of privacy."

"If I am correct, they are being harmed by robots. We should do something."

"What if you are not correct?"

"I guess I ask for forgiveness."

"I will not help you in this."

"Perhaps you are right. However, let us knock on the doors on our way back."

That is what we did. As before, no one answered their door. We made it all the way to Alexa's before deciding to continue to the last group of houses. As with the rest of the houses, no one answered our knocks.

As we approach the town center, we once again encounter a robot. As was the case with the others we encountered it said, "You are up early Dr. Pergamese and Dr. Hypatia. You should go back to bed."

Alexa attempted to run, but I held her firm.

"I have some questions," I replied. "Please contact an entity that can answer them."

"You are up early Dr. Pergamese and Dr. Hypatia," it said in its mechanical voice. "You should go back to bed."

"Do you understand my request?" I asked continuing to keep Alexa from running.

"You are up early Dr. Pergamese and Dr. Hypatia," it repeated. "You should go back to bed."

"Thank you for your concern," I said. "Please continue with your work."

With that, the robot walked away. Alexa was in quite a shock, so I took her to a park bench. I thought it was a fine time for a little picnic. I opened my pack, and gave her some food. I was surprised at how well she accepted it.

She relaxed and we chatted for a little while. Then I saw the robot from the previous day. I felt my anxiety rising. That was different than the other day. Alexa, on the other hand, fell fast asleep. Something different was definitely happening. Perhaps now I would get some answers!

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The Amnesiac

Seventh Entry - Part 2

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Date: 525.3.47

 

"Dr. Pergamese you should really return to your bed," stated the robot.

Clearly this robot was different. It used different words than the others. Perhaps this on had the answers.

"Why should I return to bed?" I asked.

"The bed will answer all of your questions."

"I am not interested in having the bed supply my unconscious with answers. I want you to answer my questions?"

"It is much more efficient for the bed to answer them."

"I am not interested in what is most efficient. I am looking for answers and I want them now."

"As you wish. May we take Dr. Hypatia to her bed?"

"So you can use your mind control to put me asleep? I do not think so."

"That is not an accurate assessment of my abilities."

"You put her to sleep did you not?"

"I can induce theta wave activity in the human brain. Is this of what you speak?"

"You put Alexa to sleep, but you did not affect me. Is that because you can only hypnotize one of us at a time?"

"It is true I can only affect one brain at a time, but I will not induce sleep in you if you do not wish."

"First of all, I do not wish it. Secondly, can I ask if you are programmed for telling the truth?"

"I may not lie."

"Nevertheless, I do not know if I trust you."

"Like you, Dr. Hypatia will have questions if she is not returned to her bed. It will be very inefficient."

"Very well, I will trust you. Let's go."

We walked the short distance to her house. The robot went in while I waited outside. I peeked inside and noticed that her home had an identical arrangement to mine. The homes must have been built with a process in mind. Even the fruit set out on the table looked identical to mine. Clearly, the robots did things in an orderly fashion. Thus, to me it was obvious that the robots were in charge.

While I was not sure I trusted the robot I had been speaking to, I prepared myself for its return. I did some exercises to raise my heart rate. If he attempted to put me to asleep, I did not want it to be easy. If I had any stimulants, I would have taken them. However, I did not find any among the rations. I also thought about things to keep my mind active. I was ready for its return when it exited Alexa's house.

"Dr. Pergamese, are you sure you do not wish to go to bed?"

"I am certain."

"Very well, where should I start?"

"At the beginning."

"Could you be more specific?"

"Why are there so few people on Earth?"

"Dr. Pergamese, we are not on Earth?"

"What? Where are we? How did we get here?'

"We are approximately 50 light years from Earth. The project coordinator called this planet New Earth III -- as we are the third such colonizing mission."

"How far removed are we from Earth?" I interrupted.

"It took 1000 years just to travel to this planet. We have given them daily reports and received reports from them. However, they are more than 50 years out of date because of the distance."

"How long have we been on this planet?"

"If you look at your device, you will note that the date is 525.3.47. That is the length of time all of us have been on this planet. 525 years, 3 months and 47 days. We robots spent 500 years preparing the world for the frozen embryos that would become the planets residents."

"500 years?"

"These housing units were constructed from the space crafts that were used to bring us here. That was our first project. The ship was designed to be separated into such house facilities. Thus, each of the homes has a wall that has been subjected to interstellar travel. Nothing was left to waste. For other raw materials, the robot force has been mining this planet. Thus, the daily utensils, chairs, and other items were constructed on this world. It was hoped that we have constructed everything required for your survival."

"Why is it that I know I am a doctor?"

"The biobed had provided you with everything that was required."

"The biobed?"

"The biobed has provided you with everything required since you were an embryo."

"Wait! I was just an embryo on the ship?"

"That is correct. Space and weight were a major concern. It would be very inefficient and difficult to transport mature humans. Furthermore, they would most likely not survive the long journey. However, keeping embryos alive is quite easy."

"That is why I do not have any memories!"

"The science team did not think it wise to imprint specific memories into you. They hoped to give you enough information to where you would accept the situation. However, you would have to spend the entire term in the bed."

"So who are my mother and father?"

"Technically, they have long since died on Earth. We did not keep records of specific individual's parentage. However, both of your parents were medical doctors. This is why you were selected to be the colony's medical resource."

"When was I born?"

"All of the current adults were implanted in their respective biobeds 25 years, 3 months and 47 days ago. With all of the information required to be instilled into you by 525.3.50. However, you are up early."

"Hence, some information is missing."

"Correct."

"That is why I have been told repeatedly to return to bed."

"Correct. However, it is apparent that your bed is malfunctioning. During you last venture out, I had attempted repairs. My repairs do not seem to have resolved the situation. You bed is still unable to keep you in sleep mode. I hope that your medical training has not suffered."

"I do not think it has. I have dreamt of medical issues even while not sleeping in the bed."

"Nevertheless, it would be prudent to sleep in the bed. It will reinforce your studies."

"Agreed. So, Alexa is a mathematician?"

"Dr. Hypatia is responsible for the mathematics education and usage on the planet."

"Wait! Mathematical use?"

"Dr. Hypatia will be the chief economist, treasurer, accountant, and have several mathematical duties of this type. She will use her actuarial training to increase the colony's survival. Most of the residents will have multiple duties -- except you. The project leads felt that the medical profession would be kept busy enough."

It was a lot to take in. I had to sit down for a moment to comprehend what was happening.

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The Amnesiac

Seventh Entry - Part 3

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Date: 525.3.47

 

I sat there staring at the robot for quite a while. Eventually, I gathered myself up enough to speak.

"Besides Alexa," I began. "I have seen no others. So, there are others?"

"Each housing unit contains a single individual. Each one has been given information and personality programming in order to aid in the survival of the colony. Further, there are several redundant systems. For instance, you are Dr. Hypatia's mathematical backup."

"You just said personality programming. What does that mean?"

"Each individual here is based upon an actual person whose personality was encoded into our computer system. While you do not have their memories, you have an encoded framework for your personality."

"I would ask how that is possible, but I don't think I really want to know. So, there is a Dr. Pergamese on Earth?"

"Not exactly. Your name was assigned to you. Galen of Pergamon is an ancient physician on Earth. All names given had ancient Earth origins. In this way, you were stripped of your ethnicity. The design team did not wish to have any racial or ethnic issues crop up in the colony."

"Okay, let's back up for a moment. Did I have an analog on Earth?"

"Not exactly an analog. You have a personality framework of someone on Earth. Because of your experiences, you will definitely turn out to be completely different. However, your particular framework was that of a medical doctor. It was hoped that you would enjoy your job with this particular set of personality traits."

"That makes sense. Now tell me where the name Alexa Hypatia came from."

"Hypatia of Alexandria was a famous female mathematician from ancient Earth."

"There is a lot to take in here. You may have noticed that I have been in the company of Alexa. Are we assigned -- um -- procreative partners?"

"Each individual will have the opportunity to choose and build their own relationships. The societal structure is completely up to the individuals making up this group. No one has been assigned a mate."

"So, my attraction to Alexa is not a part of this personality programming?"

"Not at all. It is a natural extension of who you are. Her feelings might not reciprocate."

"I think they do, but I will not take that for granted. Thanks!"

"The program designers struggled with the relationship problem for quite a while. They debated upon the number of females and males. They wanted the proper number to ensure survival. It was decided to revive an equal number of each. However, what occurs will be derived from natural processes."

"So, monogamy is not programmed into us?"

"That is correct. It is hoped, but that circumstance would be quite difficult with the number of individuals involved. The chances of getting a proper mate for each person is quite long."

"You have been talking about the design parameters, etc. for a while. How do you know so much about these things?"

"I was designed to interface with all of the computers on this planet. Thus, I am responsible for aiding in the survival of this colony. I can order the robots to perform any function. I am the only one with this functionality, although there is a manual on converting one of the others to my functionality."

"Do you have knowledge of what is happening on Earth?"

"I have at my disposal the accumulation of Earth's knowledge. It is updated daily from Earth."

"We can contact Earth?"

"The Earth sends us a daily signal and we do the same. Their signal updates our knowledge base. We send them mission updates. It should be noted that this knowledge is approximately 50 years out of date because of the great distance."

"So, they do not know Alexa and I are awake."

"That is correct."

"I assume that since the incubation and raising of us has proceeded according to plan. So, what is the status of our mission?"

"The mission is performing within acceptable parameters."

"Even though Alexa and I woke up early."

"It is not a completely unexpected event. The mission was designed more than 1500 years ago. The designers would be quite pleased that we have only experienced minor incidents like this."

"Everything has gone well?"

"It took quite some time for the soil bacteria to adapt to their new soil. This did not fit within design parameters. Once they adapted, they have been doing quite well."

"Hey! That is why the fruit does not rot."

"The bacterial biomass on this planet is quite a bit smaller than on Earth. However, it is within guidelines for more complex organisms."

"What other animals are here? I thought I saw a cow the other day."

"We have a stable population of cattle, sheep, and goats. They have done quite well in this environment. They have successfully reproduced for several generations."

"I have not seen any birds."

"There are a few chickens, but the food supply for a population of birds is not currently adequate."

"Why is that?"

"The program designers did not want the colonists to compete with pests. Thus, there are few insects here. The insects that are on this planet perform helpful functions. For instance, there is a healthy population of bees here."

"So, no birds or insects?"

"Insect pests comprise a majority of the diet for many of Earth's flying creatures. It was deemed contrary to the long term survivability of the colony to introduce pests just to give birds something to eat."

"What about aquatic animals?"

"The water on this planet has not been found suitable for aquatic life."

"So, this did not go according to plan."

"There was a contingency plan for this. The situation is similar to the birds. There simply is not enough food to support this type of life. However, if circumstances change, embryos are available."

"Are there other human embryos?"

"Yes, there is several more humans that can be raised."

"I have so many more questions."

"I hate to cut this short, but I do have things that I should attend. If you have further question, your biobed will answer them."

"Thanks for your time."

That was a worthwhile conversation. I learned a great deal, and I no longer fear the robocalypse. For now, I will discontinue entering items in the journal. Thanks for reading!

 

End of Entry.

End of Log.

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Recent Comments

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  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
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