Monday, July 15, 2019

Memory Aether (Memory Aether, Book 1) by R.J. Rugroden

 Release date: June 12, 2019
Subgenre: Cyberpunk

About Memory Aether:


Earth is at war, and a secret mission depends on Alexia modifying her boyfriend Michael’s memory, erasing herself completely from his mind. She holds onto his memories in the hope that someday she can reinstate them. But something goes wrong and Michael is captured as a prisoner of war, held on a distant moon. Alexia must work with old friends to decode the memories she extracted. A government agent with his own agenda shows up at just the right time, equipping them with what they need. Alexia doesn’t trust him, but working with him is the only way she can save Michael.



Alexia shook so badly that the holo interface struggled to register her movements. Michael’s life depended on her command inputs being precise, so she buried her emotions and tried to think of him as just another patient.
Every time she looked at him, sedated in the operating chair, while her fingers maneuvered through the air, she thought of how much she would miss him. Erasing her boyfriend’s memory was not how she thought her day was going to go.
Michael had showed up in her operating room an hour ago, and, at first, she thought it might be a surprise romantic visit. It was not. His shoulders arched ever slightly upward, and his face sagged.
“What happened?” she asked. Scenarios sparked to life in her head: someone close had died, Earth had been dealt a serious blow in the war with Bayama, Michael was leaving on a dangerous mission.
Michael’s eyes wandered around the room for a few seconds until he finally looked at her.
“I can’t tell you.” The spark she usually saw in him was replaced with regret. “How much would you have to erase to get rid of this frame?”
He showed her a sequence of numbers on his com-watch: memory frame references. She couldn’t imagine where he acquired them or learned what they even meant. Bewildered, she studied them and ran quick calculations in her head.
“Total removal or partial recall?” she asked.
“Total. I need them completely removed. Please.” The tension in his voice caused her adrenaline to spike. She knew that tone: the same desperation she heard when he lost his brother or as he waited for his name to be cleared of treason charges. The carefully measured cadence with which he delivered the news that her mother had passed.
“Umm,” she stalled for time trying to think, “the time frame—, this is yesterday you want erased?”
Under normal circumstances, a memory consultant would put together a plan, and the procedure would stretch over half-hour sessions once a week. The plan would include reference numbers of specific memories causing the patient problems, and the consultant would gradually shift those frames back in time. The patient would remember their troubling incidents as happening a year ago, then five years, then twenty, further back until the effects of the memories gradually diminished. In severe cases where total removal was necessary, a whole collection of frames surrounding the event would be moved back before the patient’s memory had even formed, then one-hundred blank memory frames would be inserted between the incident and the patient’s earliest memory.
Then there was the complication of associated threads: anything the brain had chosen to relate to the displaced memory. Every thought was connected, like threads in a spider’s web, and modifying a memory wasn’t as simple as doing some neurological photoshopping. She would have to place sirens around each modification, encouraging the patient’s brain to ignore any external references to the erased memory. Michael may have been able to come up with the memory frame numbers, but what he didn’t understand was how expansive a procedure this was. It required hundreds of frame removals, and the risk for developing personality disorders later on would be high. Michael had asked her to do it in a single afternoon.


About R.J. Rugroden:

Reesha Rugroden is an administrator by day and a writer by night, with a side of technical writing and being a virtual assistant for authors. She never sleeps. She has an extreme case of optimism and suspension of disbelief. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, two children, and a cat. Her interests are varied and esoteric, from RPGs and video games to Origami, Scherenschnitte, and Kickboxing.

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