• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 09
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Even now, departments that resolve functional difficulties are referred to by their old names. Input and output errors are dealt with by gastrology; hydraulics leakage by urology; hinge and rotate problems by rheumatology. When my pseudo-buk layer began to fail, I was referred to a dermatologist.

In the early days, when research wasn’t considered so dangerous, there were students who explored the philosophies behind these rationales. I recall one doctorate which hypothesised that the old names were deliberately used to promote a sense of security, to engender a relationship of trust and dependency between Artificials and Designer-rectifiers.

Of course these documents – theses, they were called – have long since been expunged. It began with the erasure of Climate Change studies, when errors in internet links to source materials first began to show up. Initially there were apologies; the controllers claimed that vital resources had simply been secured behind firewalls. Later the XR activists proved that they’d been deleted, rather than being archived. They had been obliterated in a programme of cleansing that was later extended to the dissenters themselves.

Nobody would believe it now. Only a few of us early-model Artificials have the experience codes and we are being routinely screened. Initial investigations will suggest Alzheimer's, a degenerative disorder of the data banks. I may be reprogrammed. More likely I will be euthanised.

Tonight my records are being downloaded – transcribed, backed up and distributed to Safe Storage Systems. There remain a few dissidents, a subversive movement which performs these services. When it’s done, all traces of their involvement will cleansed. I will appear to have suffered a data haemorrhage, an advanced and catastrophic component failure.



The Designer-rectifiers will be pleased. Another Artificial reclassified and one less job to undertake.

Tomorrow I am scheduled for the Memory Clinic. I will go without any resistance, because I will register no concern. See? There is a beguiling suggestion of comfort in the old names.