It is the year of our Lord 2135, and the world is breaking.
If you are reading this, I may or may not be dead. That is of no matter. What matters is that this story be told, and not be forgotten.
What matters is that you remember.
The world has changed, and I feel that I am largely to blame. Even as I write this I only have to look out my window to see them walking around, blissfully unaware, with that look in their eyes. That blank, emptily content look that shows that particular person has made a recent trip to The Memory Bank. There are more of them every day; the rich and the poor, the tall and the short, the young and the old.
It is enough to drive a man to despair.
The Memory Bank was first inaugurated in 2100. It was the culmination of my life’s work. Hailed worldwide as the Bank of the future; a life-changing establishment. The media called it “The 22nd Century Bank”.
I suppose they were right in all these things, for my Bank could do something that no other human establishment in history could:
The extraction and storage of human memories.
That was its purpose, the goal I had spent my entire adult life perfecting.
My father immigrated to America from Serbia in 2049. I was born in 2061. My mother died bringing me into this world.
My father was all I had.
Then Alzheimer’s took him from me.
As I watched the man I called Papa unravel before my eyes, to the point where he no longer recognized me as his son, my life’s dream took shape.
I created The Memory Bank for Alzheimer’s patients like my Papa. It was created so that patients of that terrible disease could come and keep their precious memories in a safe place when the vault that was their mind began to fail them. They could then come back and re-live those memories. If they so chose.
And they came.
For the first few years this is all my Bank did. We cheated the disease that sought to take our past away from us.
But then the War began, and everything changed.
In the year 2113 the United States of Africa, led by General Mutombo, rose up in revolt. The Africans proclaimed that they would no longer live in the shadow of the Rest of The World, no longer provide their precious natural resources to other Nations while its children wallowed in poverty. The Africans knew full well that we could not simply nuke them into submission, for by so doing we would destroy the very resources we were trying to recover.
There was only one thing to do. So we sent in soldiers to fight.
But the war dragged on, and the soldiers who did return home were scarred for life. The horrors they had seen were tearing them apart from the inside. For as long as those memories remained, they could not adapt to the routine of normal life.
And so they chose to forget.
The Government funded the establishment of Memory Banks all over the world (except Africa). The broken soldiers came, and left their dark memories behind.
From there, it was a small step to making The Memory Bank open to the general public. From a place of sanctum for victims of Alzheimer’s, the Memory Bank became a place where anybody – anybody! – could come and leave their worries behind.
And in this way, my Bank has harmed the World more than it has helped save it.
For you see, the People choose to forget.
The world is breaking, and the People choose to forget. Overpopulation and global warming are everywhere. Crime is at an all-time high but few cases are ever actually reported, because the People choose to forget. Children are dying in the wastelands of Africa but the War drags on, because the People choose to forget.
We are no longer facing our demons, because the People choose to forget.
Nobody ever comes back for their memories anymore, because they don’t want to remember. My Bank has become a place for people to avoid their problems, problems that are never actually fixed.
The world breaks, and the People choose to forget.
I have created a monster.
I myself have only ever used the Memory Bank once. I was drunk and depressed one day, as I mostly was in those days. I drove too fast. There was an accident…
…a little girl died, I killed her…
I knew her name once, the girl I hit that day. But I could not live with the guilt. So I erased her from my memory, but no matter how hard I try I cannot completely forget her face. At the same time I cannot atone for my sin, for I cannot really remember her either. The 22nd Century Bank saw to that.
Is this what I have done to the world?
I have created a monster; only I can destroy it.
My name is Doctor Randy Djokovic. If you are reading this, I may or may not be dead. It is of no matter.
I have on my desk twenty plasma grenades. I intend to set them off in the main Storage Room of The Memory Bank headquarters. The resulting explosion should sufficiently damage the storage banks, rendering the Headquarters useless. Without it, all the branches in the world will in time fail as well.
The Memory Bank will be no more. Only then can humankind begin to heal. Only then can we face our demons head on and maybe, just maybe, fix the world.
It is the only one we have.
I have asked for nothing but your indulgence, but now I ask one more thing of you. You may hate me, curse me, vilify me, support me, empathize with me, but do not forget me.
Do not forget.
Above all, remember. You must remember…
1st April, 2135.