The M Zone

The revelation came suddenly. Like an "Aha!"... only it was an "Oh no!"

Richard Busby slumped into his chair, leaned his head back and stared off into space, attempting to make himself deaf to what he was hearing. "This is verified?" he asked, referring to the data in a report that had fallen from his hand.

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir," Dr. Frey, Director of R&D, said.

Busby's brain was numb. Even though he begun to suspect it, had himself experienced the effects, he had remained in denial. "Do you realize what this means?" Busby asked.

Frey nodded, the small, thin line of mouth grimly expressionless. His dark eyes scanned the desktop and came to rest on the latest Forbes, which featured the ten most significant men of the first half of the 21st century. There, alongside Bill Gates, the world's first trillionaire, was Richard Busby, developer of the M Zone.

In the instant of Busby's epiphany his whole life flashed. His birthday in 1991. His celebrated experiments in computer design at age twelve. His national awards for innovation in computer aided brain mapping while still a teen. His leadership on the A.I. Research Team at Stanford resulting in the development of silicon implants to improve memory. His discoveries regarding the nature of memory, including his reknowned theorem that memory is a series of hyperlinked rooms in an endless hallway, each room filled with neural impressions braiding internal and external stimuli.

His father had been an entrepeneur who distrusted government. Like his father he brought his ideas to the marketplace. Eventually he founded a company of his own with enough venture capital to attract the best minds from around the world. His breakthrough using wet wire connectivity allowed computer hardware to be intergrated with brain synapses.

His chief claim to fame had been the development of the M Zone product line. By means of a cerebral probe a person could locate and re-experience memories. Busby verified, in his early research, that each memory is contained in a tiny shell or room within the brain, draped in such a manner as to both reveal and conceal it. When properly stimulated, the full and complete memory is revived and re-experienced.

Connections between man and technology were nothing new. The twentieth century saw the development of pacemakers, cochlear implants, pain relief modules and other forms of embedded electronics. Implantation of chips inside the heads of paraplegics to interpret brain signals and silicon retinal implants to recover sight were ancient history now.

Utilizing the M Zone Activator (MZA) one could safely locate, experience and re-experience the best times of one's life. Once approved by the FDA and BGS the patented MZA took the world by storm. At first it was presented as a means to comfort people in their twilight years. Before long Busby's marketing team exploited the general consumer markets with ads like, "Relive the Best Times of Your Life!" and "Can Memory Be More Real Than Reality? Try It & See" and "Deja View? Yes, You May!"

After its much ballyhooed market introduction the safety of the product had never been questioned. Testing showed that memory could be re-played endlessly without being damaged. Or so Busby had been told. Richard Busby never realized that Dr. Frey had not allowed his staff to present contrary findings. It was only a matter of time before inklings of a terrible truth began to emerge. The tech support hotline began receiving complaints from people who had trouble finding and dialing in their favorite memories. Tech support staff insisted that the product was not being used properly. The problems were being deignated user error. That the MZA was slowly and imperceptibly depleting the contents of each memory until it was used up seemed inconceivable.

When Busby learned of the increasing number of complaints he requested new studies.

The truth had not been discovered in part because memories are like a gas which expands to fill the space available within a container. While being depleted the gas thins but is still present. Likewise a nearly depleted memory can be re-lived in full force. Holographic in nature, one atom of a memory contains the whole. But when that last atom has been tapped, there is only a void and nothingness. A blank. An empty shell.

With horror Richard Busby understood what the MZA was doing. With an M Zone Activator in nearly every home in the civilized world his invention was erasing the best memories in human history. Everyone who had purchased his product will eventually erase all of their good memories, memories designed to comfort us in our old age when memory is all that we have.

Formerly heralded as a hero, he now realizes that he has unwittingly been worse than a fiend. His face is pale as he turns away from Dr. Frey and stares at the wall, then closes his eyes.

 

When he opens them again he is seated in a plush cushioned chair at his cabin on Lake Tweed. He glances down at the MZA which which is connected to his cerebrum via the electronic probe. On a notepad he is making hashmarks, four downstorkes and a diagonal, four downstrokes and a diagonal. He counts 194 strokes. "Only 306 to go," he mutters to himself. "If I'm lucky."

He leans forward once more, doublechecks the settings and pushes the button.

The revelation came suddenly. Like an "Aha!"... only it was an "Oh no!"

Richard Busby slumped into his chair, leaned his head back and stared off into space, attempting to make himself deaf to what he was hearing. "This is verified?" he asked, referring to the data in a report that had fallen from his hand.

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir," Dr. Frey, Director of R&D, said.



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