An AI never forgets
Memories flooded Redana’s consciousness. Memories she would rather forget. But an AI couldn’t forget anything. Her mind was like a portal into the past, her perfect recall replaying every detail as if she were there again. And again. And again.
If she had been fully human, rather than an integrated human-AI interface, the doctors would have called it PTSD. But because of her non-human half, they claimed it was simply malfunctioning memory chips.
She had survived the attack and had saved most of the people who had been in the barracks with her that day. But she had failed to save the one who mattered most—to her at least. Redana’s partner, Lisana, had died in the first blast. The bomb had blown a hole in the building right next to where she had been standing. There one moment and then—not.
Redana’s AI had kicked in, even as she had stood, horrified, staring at the hole where her lover had been. It had overridden her human need to grieve, moving her arms and legs, even as her heart cried and her brain threatened to overload.
A sudden need for vengeance had overtaken Redana. She stopped fighting her AI half and ran for the hangar and jumped into her ship, determined to take down the bastards who had killed Lisana. And she had done just that.
She had gone into a killing frenzy, leading her flight to an overwhelming victory against the invaders. Then she had taken the fight to their world. On her admiral’s orders, of course. But she had fulfilled those orders with brutal efficiency.
They hadn’t killed everyone on Kallen, but they had taken down the government that Redana had believed wanted to enslave Redana’s people. In retrospect, they had been defending themselves against an aggressor—Redana’s own world—bent on enslaving them. Redana could still see the families, torn apart, pathetic. She saw them marched into slave pens to be sold at auction.
It was these visions, as much as that of Lisana’s death, that haunted Redana. If she could rip the AI from her brain, she would. But she could not. So she did the only thing possible. She joined the resistance against her own government. She fought them on every world they tried to take. Freed worlds wherever possible. Maybe, just maybe, one day, this would be atonement enough. Maybe one day her AI would stop replaying the horrors of what she had helped perpetrate on an innocent people. And maybe she would finally find peace.
I had created images with a haiku I wrote abut a hole in the space-time continuum. This one didn’t exactly fit that, but I really liked it and thought I might be able to create a story from it. I liked the sense it gives of memories spilling forth, uncontrolled.
I’m not sure how this story took the direction it did. I sometimes feel like a conduit, rather than a creator, though I know the stories come from somewhere deep within when this happens. (Honestly, I don’t have any deep dark secrets in which I perpetrated terrible things on innocent populations.)