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Past Selves
By J. L. Young
“Good morning, Earth.” The announcer said after the TV automatically turned on as a young woman entered the room. “The scientists at Miescher-Kossel Laboratory have done more than breaking the code written in our DNA. They delved deeper and what they found will shock you. That and more in this morning’s Good Morning, Earth.”
As she prepared for work, the program played. A scientist was being interviewed. “We now have a fundamental understanding of where we came from. We have known for many years that our DNA carries with it a massive amount of information. 215 petabytes per gram of information to be exact We know it contains our instruction booklet on how to build and repair our bodies and our lineage. But we now know how to extract who we were. Every person we ever were. Have you experienced a talent you never knew you had? It’s highly likely someone in your past learned that skill and you now carry it with you and you will pass it on to your future selves. Coupled with the time lensing and DNA targeting technology, we can determine exactly who you were and what dormant talents you possess. We’re looking for volunteers to dive into their past selves. If you’re interested, contact us.”
A couple of days later, the young woman sat a wineglass down among other wineglasses and leaned back on her friend’s couch. “Have you seen that interview with Doctor Johanssen on GME?” she said to her friends.
“I don’t know why you watch that drivel every morning, Nash.” A tall blonde man replied as he poured more wine.
“It got me thinking.”
“Intrigued, that’s the word you’re looking for. They’re searching for volunteers to test their theories.”
“Yes, it intrigues me. There is so much I never knew about myself. This can give me insight into who I am.”
“You’re Nashira Sherrah, editor, friend, provider of bad wine, and all-around pain in my ass. If you were a guy, I’d be dating you.”
“Acadia, you only limit yourself.”
“I will not dissuade you from doing this. I want to know how it goes.”
“Thanks, Eamon.”
Nashira found a door with Meischer-Kossel Laboratory etched into the glass. The interior was nicely appointed, and the light gleamed off every surface. She approached a counter with a man sitting behind a glowing computer screen. He looked up from the screen. “Hello and welcome.”
“I have an appointment. The name’s Nashira Sherrah.”
“I have you signed in. You may have a seat in the waiting room. Doctor Reisel will see you in a moment.”
“I thought I’d be seeing Doctor Johanssen.”
“You will, but Doctor Reisel is in charge of the volunteers.”
“I see. And where is the waiting room?”
The secretary stood and pointed down a hallway adjacent to large glass windows.
As she located the waiting area, a woman wearing a lab coat opened a door. She was petite and had a shaggy platinum white pixie cut that accentuated her large eyes. She directed them over her glasses. “Nashira Sherrah?” she asked nicely and professionally.
“That’s me.” Nash gave a sheepish smile.
“Come with me, please.”
Doctor Reisel directed her down a well-lit hallway to a strange vault-like door. She pushed her hand into a bio-scanner. When that step was complete, she removed her glasses and angled her eyes toward a camera. A third security step was necessary, a code. Reisel glanced toward Nashira, who averted her eyes almost instinctively. The cylinders in the door retracted with a hiss, and Reisel pulled it open.
Nashira saw the man she saw in the interview standing at a desk in a glass office on a mezzanine. He glanced up as he was closing a call. The man moved toward a door and down the stairs, shuffling something in his lab coat pocket. He retracted his hand from the coat and extended it. “Hello, I’m Doctor Johanssen. You must be Nashira Sherrah. Welcome to our laboratory. Are you prepared to learn who you are?”
“That’s why I’m here.”
“The initial procedure is painless. However, reinitializing past skills can be painful as they may contain traumas your previous selves faced while obtaining them. You can opt-out of the reinitialization anytime prior to the procedure. Once it has begun, there’s no stopping it. I require verbal and signed consent to continue. Do I have it?”
Doctor Reisel presented a consent form listing the procedure and reinitialization protocols. After reading them, Nashira replied, “I, Nashira Cleopatra Sherrah, consent to all procedures contained in this document to be carried out by Doctors Anders Johanssen and Eirian Reisel.”
“We only have the quantum computer for two hours, Anders. You know the physics department doesn’t like when we go over our time.”
“Plenty of time,” he reassured his colleague as he swabbed the patient’s cheek several times.
After preparing the sample, the doctors sent the data to the quantum computer. Reisel stood waiting for the computer to analyze the sample. The two hours were almost up. The physics department arrived. “Your early, Edwin,” Reisel said.
“You’re wasting University resources on your little pseudoscience project, Eirian,” A balding man took a seat at the computer terminal.
“Wasn’t Copernicus thought to be a hack for saying the Earth revolved around the Sun?”
Edwin began to retort, but he thought better of it.
The quantum computer data was saved and sent back to the lab. Reisel looked at the clock. “Look at that, one minute till. Goodbye Edwin.”
Doctor Reisel returned to the lab and found Nashira sleeping on the couch. She sat at her computer and sent a text. “Anders, I have the quantum data. Sending it over to the engramatic synthesizer.”
Johanssen returned and placed a bag of food on the desk beside Reisel. “I take it Edwin was displeased you were in the quantum computer lab.”
“When is he not? I think the guy needs to get a hobby,” she chuckled, “or a girlfriend.”

It wasn’t long until the egg timer on the desk dinged. Reisel and Johanssen put their food down and sterilized their hands before assessing the new engrams. “Prepare the volunteer.” Reisel collected Nashira as Johanssen wheeled a cart into the operating theater.
“Lay on your side and get comfortable. Have you ever had an epidural?”
“No,” Nashira replied.
“I’ll be administering the engrams directly into your cerebral spinal fluid. From there, they will travel to the brain and integrate. Unfortunately, we can’t numb the injection site. It will hurt, but not for long. You can decline now.”
“Go ahead.”
Seconds later, Reisel warned, “Big pinch.” Nashira’s eyes squeezed shut, expressing tears. “They’re in,” the doctor said as she pulled the needle from her patient’s spine. “It may take a moment for the engrams to embed themselves.”
“I’ll be right here.” As soon as Nashira’s words escaped her mouth, memories flooded her consciousness. “Something’s happening.”
Johanssen sprang from his chair and clicked a recorder as the patient began speaking.
“I see something. It’s like a POV movie. Whoever I am, I’m speaking to someone wearing a uniform.”
“Describe the uniform,” Reisel requested.
“It’s green, with a wide red collar. He has leather pouches on a belt around his waist, an ill-fitted mushroom-looking hat with a red stripe, and a black bill.”
Johanssen surmised, “Sounds like a Russian uniform. Keep going.”
“I’m turning my head now. Another man wearing a gray uniform and a black leather coat is on his knees. Oh, my god! I have a handgun! I… I just shot the man in the head!” Nashira covered her mouth and sobbed.

Gohan 7 Sep 30
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