Perphektion Kode - chapter 3
- Perphektion Kode - chapter 1
A mecha pilot wakes up in a mysterious hospital, with no memory of who he is.
The mechanic looks hardly old enough to be a mechanic, and this worries me a bit. He is short, with long brown hair hastily pulled back in a rubber band, and wide brown eyes. My best guess is that he is 15 years of age at the most.
“This is Jimmy,” Analise introduces. “And this is Roy, Jimmy.”
Jimmy doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to her as he sets out his tools from a shoulder bag. He pulls out a horrendous looking device. It looks like a tattoo artists pen, but much larger with a blade on the side. There are other tools, but I don’t recognize any of them.
“You look a little…young…to be doing this,” I comment to the mechanic, tired of the awkward silence. I feel useless while Analise looks over charts, and Jimmy does whatever he is doing.
He glances up, apparently annoyed. His bangs fall in front of his face and it only exaggerates the look.
“I’m sixteen,” he says. The tone of voice he chose confirms my earlier thoughts of his mood. I can already tell he isn’t someone I’m going to get along with.
“Geez. Sorry,” I say and settle back in the bed. “Isn’t that still too young?”
“Where the hell is it?” Jimmy mumbles under his breath, completely ignoring me. He grabs the bottom of his bag and overturns it. The remaining contents hit the floor with a loud clatter.
Analise giggles. “Don’t worry. He’s just mad because he can’t find his screwdriver. I promise though, Jimmy is the best mechanic here. Don’t let his age fool you.”
That doesn’t help my faith in this establishment. If he’s the best, then there must be some pretty stupid people here…where ever here is. Now that I think about it, it occurs to me that Analise isn’t much older.
“Aren’t you too young to be doing this too?” I ask.
She looks at me like I have two heads, but then shrugs. “I’ve been assisting with medical procedures my whole life,” she chuckles. “You’re in good hands with us.”
“Found it~” Jimmy chimes, holding up a small screwdriver that’s the length of a stick of gum. He looks happy now, as if he were never annoyed to begin with. I find the change in attitude absolutely amazing. Analise seems content too, and goes to leave.
“Play nice boys,” she says before pulling the curtain back and leaving. I’m almost sad to see her go.
Jimmy starts to work on my arm first. After a while, he says, “Flex your hand.”
I stare at him dumbfounded. He glances up from the metal arm and raises an eyebrow. “What?”
“I don’t know how,” I say sheepishly. “No one gave me a manual or anything on this thing.”
Jimmy laughs. “Just do what you would do if it were your real arm.”
I give it a try. Nothing happens at first, but then one of my metal fingers twitches awkwardly. Jimmy fuddled with something in the arm and I try it again. This time my fingers curl into a fist. I have no idea how it happened….I can’t even feel it.
“Good,” the mechanic says approvingly. He smiles as he messes with something else.
“How does that work?” I ask.
“How does what work?” Jimmy asks back, still looking down at his work.
“I have no feeling in my arm, so how was I able to make it move?”
“It’s connected to the nerves left in your shoulder. In combination with your body’s physical memory, you were able to make it move,” he explains. “Soon you will be using just like you used to use your real arm.”
“The leg too?” I ask incredulously.
“The leg too,” he confirms.
Analise was right. I guess the world isn’t over after all. This is just going to take a bit of work, is all.
“Move your wrist in a circle.”
I do as I’m told. It gets stuck halfway. With another correction by the mechanic, I’m able to rotate it in a full circle. I grin.
“You really are good at this, huh.”
“The best,” Jimmy grins back. “You’re lucky. We have the best of everyone as far as people go. Doctors, mechanics, farmers…everything. We are far better off than the other compounds.”
“Farmers?” I ask. Again, I’m wondering where we are.
“Mhmm,” he mutters, but doesn’t offer anything else. “Flex your arm.”
I do as he says, but I refuse to let the subject go. “What can you tell me about this place?”
Jimmy shrugs, his bangs falling in front of his eyes again. “I guess that depends on what you want to know.”
He is quiet for a second, as if thinking about where to start. He stops tinkering with my arm and moves down to my leg.
“Well, this is Section 495. We call it the Compound. This is like…a government experimental place, but it runs like a gated community,” he explains. “This is where people like you, who hand body parts blown up in the war, end up. We replace –wiggle your toes please- your parts with these metal ones. But since that makes you a robotic human, or rather a cyborg, you are required to stay here instead of going back into the general population.”
“Like a refugee camp?” I question for lack of anything better to ask. He nods.
“Yup. It’s not so bad though. Each Section is self supported, like a regular community.”
“So we can’t go home? What about our families?”
Jimmy glanced up from his work, a little surprised. “Do you actually remember anything before now?”
“No, I don’t.” Now that he mentions it, nothing before these past couple days comes into my memory. It feels as if there is a vast, empty void where my memories should be.
“Good,” he says, hastily going back to work. “Bend your knee.”
I ignore him, wanting to know more. The doctor who I saw before said the same thing. Why was it good that I didn’t remember anything? “Why is it good that I don’t remember?”
He looks nervous now, as if he shouldn’t have said anything. “Bend your knee,” he repeats instead of giving more information.
“Jimmy, why is it good that I don’t remember anything?” I press, still ignoring his command. It doesn’t seem like he enjoys having his process of working messed with, because the annoyance has returned, mixing in with his nervousness. He bites his lower lip, suppressing any words from escaping.
“Ok!” He gives in. He looks around then peaks out the curtain to make sure the coast is clear before returning to the bedside. He leans in conspirativly. “There is a process they do when you first arrive here. In order to keep the peace here and keep everything from the outside world…well, outside…they use a machine to take your memories away. The rumors are they don’t even suppress them anymore, for fear that the memories will come back. So they take them completely.”
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. It’s not possible….it’s just not. Science has come far, but not that far. Or has it? I find myself wondering about that. But I keep coming back to the conclusion that it’s not possible.
“There is no way. If that were possible, then it would be a common technology,” I say.
“You calling me a liar?” Jimmy asks, frowning. “Then what do YOU remember?”
I’m quiet for a moment before replying in defeat. “Nothing.”
“That right. Because the machine works. No one comes here without their memories being taken away. Now bend your knee so I can get finished here.”
I finally give in and do what he says. While Jimmy finishes up the work on my fake limbs, I think about what he said. My memories, and the memories of everyone else here, were completely taken away. I can’t fathom how that is possible, not to mention healthy. I’m still able to recognize objects, colors, and even history facts if I try hard enough, but anything about my own past is a complete blank.
It really rubs me the wrong way. It’s no different from stealing. I’m going to have to find these memory thieves if I want them back. But if they can take out memories, are they able to put them back too? I really wonder about this.
After another hour of Jimmy fine tuning my body, Analise returns. She smiles at us as Jimmy stuffs the discarded tools back into his bag. It’s a little funny…all he needed was that little screwdriver. I think he would have been better to leave the screwdriver in his pocket or something, instead of carrying that big thing around. Maybe it’s another itch of his. Oh well. It will be a puzzle for another day. I’m really tired right now.
Just as Analise promised, next came physical therapy. Lucky for me, Dr. Eckard had assigned her to be my therapist. Judging by the way she kept frantically clicking through the pages of a how-to book on the reader, this wasn’t something she was used to doing.
“Um…let’s see here…” She clicked through a few more pages, her eyes moving at a rapid pace to read through it quickly. “I guess…we’ll start with hand coordinations?”
Analise got up from her chair and disappeared for a moment before returning with a cup. She set it on my lap and said, “Ok. Try to pick it up with your new hand.”
Moving it was really difficult. I had to remember what Jimmy said about using it just like it were my real arm. The advice made it easier, but I seriously doubt I was aware of using my arm on a regular basis. Even with my missing memories, this would be something that wouldn’t have occurred to me. The task is harder today than it was yesterday.
After a while, I manage to get my fingers awkwardly around the cup and pick it up. To my dismay it slipped right out of my grasp though. Analise sets it back up and I try again. This time I grip it too hard and the plastic caves in. For the life of me I can’t figure out why I can’t get it. It’s a cup for crying out loud! Not a boulder.
Analise takes the cup and pops the dents out of it before setting it up again. “Try again.”
I do. This time I knock it over before I can get my fingers to wrap around it.
“Damnit,” I curse under my breath.
“Don’t worry. It’s probably because you aren’t used to having no feeling in that arm,” she says patiently.
“Does feeling really make that much of a difference?”
“Yes. It makes a lot of difference,” she says, then explains it out for me. “Without touch, your body can’t tell your brain whether it has really grabbed something, or is about to knock it over in your case. You can’t tell whether you are grabbing something hard enough, or too hard. Thankfully you won’t need to tell hot and cold with that arm, because it’s metal and won’t matter.”
That was something else that never occurred to me. Touch and feeling…they are really important. Something so simple makes a big difference.
“So how am I supposed to learn this at all if I have no sense of touch any longer?”
“You’ll compensate,” Analise replies. “Your hand-eye coordination will certainly become better.”
“Learning to walk again will be the same,” she adds unhelpfully. I had already figured that out on my own. Will anything become easy anymore? Will doing things with my new limbs become as routine and unnoticeable as they were with my real limbs? Or will I have to think about every motion I make?
I shudder at the thought. No, I have to get used to these and get out of there. Something about this place is…off. I can feel it. My body has a deep desire to find out the truth behind all of this madness.