CONTAINMENT PROJECT EVALUATION
DATA LOG 4
Name: Qar’Ek Da’qu
Administrative Ambit: Chief of historic evaluation of Containment Project facilities on SOL-00I
Date: 15th day of the fourth month, year 372 after the founding of the republic
Hello. Excuse me for needing ten days to finish this entry of the last data log. A little ago we made an interesting discovery and therefore this project had to fall behind.
Let’s just start by saying that during the exploration of this planet I’ve come across several experiments the former inhabitants had performed on their kind. Some are quite interesting, others perplexing, other simply abhorrent. This one here… most likely fits all categories mentioned.
Before I close this data log I believe I should say a few things regarding the findings which served as the basis for it. It has now been almost two hundred years since the scrolls and diaries had been written. Upon finding, examining and exploring the CP facilities we found the scrolls and diaries to be in a quite desolate condition. Partially eaten up by organisms, on some pages the ink was all but vanished. We tried our best to retain and transcribe the information as good as possible but since we were missing vital pieces it wasn’t possible for us to reconstruct the entire story of the individuals known as P. S. Tertio and Carlisle McAvin – until we explored the central dome.
This was revealed to be the main control centre and it seems all threads lead back to it. Whether D. CNTRL stands for DOME CENTRAL or DOME control, we can no longer say. What we can say for sure though, is that this was a highly technical facility and was either paid for by a rich private investor or the local government.
But back to the actual data log – the last piece of the puzzle. Apart from transcriptions of the scrolls and diaries we also found one last audio recording. Given the context it made absolutely no sense if one regards its contents and the last entry by Carlisle McAvin. But as we started to learn more about the dome and its function, as well as how the Containment Project itself functioned; more closely, we realised how this audio recording fits within the bigger picture. So without further a due, I give you the last entry – the final piece of the puzzle.
MEMORY RECORDING #1684
SUBJECT: CARLISLE MCAVIN
DATE: 28. MARCH, 2270
DIRECTOR OF RECORDING: Clarence O‘ Callaghan
TRANSCRIPT CARRIED OUT BY: Clarence O‘ Callaghan
-The following is based on the recorded memories of the subject known as Carlisle McAvin of DOME EDWARDIAN 1920. Several diary entries made by the subject were found in D. E. 1920 as well as in D. S. -8000 and served as template for the following transcription. Furthermore, it is to be pointed out that we left both diaries in their initial resting places.
We entered the… park before us and put our weapons away as soon as it became clear that we were in no danger. “Where are we?” Publius wondered, but as we turned around, we saw where we were. We were outside. And I don’t mean outside but in another world – but truly OUTSIDE.
And now I began to understand what was going on as we saw the basis of a giant dome before us. We seemed to be lab rats: sealed into domes and secluded from the rest of the world, connected by the underground tunnels. Sadly, I wasn’t able to think more about it as something bit me. I felt a short, electrical surge before falling to the ground and before I closed my eyes I saw several robot-like figures walking towards me.
I slowly awoke only to see an elderly man and two scientists sitting intensely in front of their computers. Above them a large LED panel with several labels unknown to me. At this moment I also noticed I was strapped to something and that my head was attached to some kind of machine. Publius as well who was sitting to my right from my point of view. I tried waking him up, which only caught the attention of the three people in front of us. They got up from their chairs and walked over to us.
“Our runaways are awake! Wonderful!”
“Who are you?” I asked in a tired voice: “Where are we?”
“My name is doctor O‘ Callaghan and we are in the operating dome of the Containment Project.”
“W-hat year are we in?” I asked.
“Today is March 28th, 2270.”
Now Publius was awake as well, but as soon as he realised what was going on, he stared at the doctor with large eyes.
“D-Drogo? What… what are you doing here?!”
“Yes. Yes, it’s me!” the doctor called, almost amused at the fact that his disguise had been uncovered: “I’m the director of the Containment Project and in charge specifically for Mons Petrae.”
“In charge?” he asked confused and still a bit hazy: “What do you mean… in charge?”
“This means I make sure nothing unnatural gets to Mons Petrae and that everything stays as it was. For example, when a young boy unwittingly fidgets around with a biro.”
“That thing that you found,” the doctor replied in an admonishing tone: “That’s not supposed to be in your dome. In none of the domes, to be honest.”
“And what’s all this called?” I asked defiantly.
“As I’ve already said, this is the Containment Project,” O‘ Callaghan explained proudly: “Four domes with four respective periods of history: Neolithic, Antiquity, Middle Ages and Modern Times. All an attempt to isolate and contain a specific time period.”
There it was. Just as I had assumed, we were nothing but lab rats. I asked the doctor how long this had been going. He said nothing but pointed to one of the large panels behind him which read:
DAY 06 MONTH 06 YEAR 40
“Forty years, then,” I remarked loudly: “Then it’s not 1960, is it?”
“It is according to DOME EDWARDIAN 1920.”
“But we still haven’t progressed beyond, what, 1920?”
“As I’ve said, containment. In your dome, it’s 1960 despite movies being something entirely new. In Publius’ dome the Roman Republic still persists despite it being 9 AD. And DOME MEDIEVAL 1340, now 1380, the Black Death never happened. No arising humanism.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense,” I replied.
“Our… parents. Our grandparents – Mrs. Darson! They’re all passed forty or at the very least, getting close to it,” I tried to understand.
“Ah, yes, Mrs. Darson! Also known as Emily Darson, daughter of Paul and Harriett Darson, born January 26th, 2247. Convicted on multiple counts of vandalism, arson, assault, resisting arrest… the list goes on.”
I started to calculate. Twenty-three – that was impossible! Mrs. Darson seemed to be in her early eighties, her late seventies at the very least!
“What’s going on here?” I asked doctor O‘ Callaghan after telling him of this inconsistency.
“DN-AGE, youth unemployment of ninety per cent, street gangs made of children – that’s what’s going on. About seventy years ago, scientists at the University of Oxford achieved the ultimate breakthrough in genetics. They managed to manipulate the Telomer structure, the gene structure responsible for our aging. Shortly after, DN-AGE was founded; a company that had a number of sera patented based on these discoveries. You could now change the physical age of a person in whatever way you wished.”
I stared at the doctor, completely perplexed, before I asked: “So you’re saying Mrs. Darson is really a twenty-three-year old trapped in the body of a woman who’s physically four times as old?”
“Just like everyone in the domes who is twenty or older. Your parents, your grandparents – all grown-ups are teenage delinquents of a world built entirely on robot labour.”
This was simply incredible! How could the government even allow such a project? Where did the money come from in order to pay for this, as it seemed, incredibly expensive facility?! A rush of feelings gushed through my body but then I remembered something Mrs. Darson had said to Publius and I asked the doctor: “Mrs. Darson said we were just like her – only the other way around. Old men who had been made young. Is that true?”
This caused doctor O‘ Callaghan and his two colleagues to laugh out loud and I had already assumed Mrs. Darson to be wrong about that. Yet this was to be confirmed when the doctor replied: “As said: the change to the Telomer more or less concerns everyone over twenty. You are what we call CNs – Containment Natives. You are the first generation to truly be born within the domes. Who know no other world and who don’t display any… anomalies.”
“Anomalies?” I questioned wittingly: “You mean reminiscences? Like Mrs. Darson’s stories?”
“And the cave paintings you’ve seen,” the doctor added to my astonishment.
How did he know of this?! I had written about them in my diary, but it was impossible for him to have read about it. Or was it? After knocking us out? Whatever the case was, I questioned him about it and he referred to a large screen behind us which we couldn’t see.
“The device you’re strapped to, is known as a memory recorder – we call it: Polly. You know, the stereotypical pirate’s parrot.”
“And what is that? What does it do? Regurgitate everything we think and say?” I asked patronisingly, yet O‘ Callaghan nodded in agreement: “That’s precisely the idea behind it. To record the thoughts of every runaway in word and picture – and to change them.”
“Change them? Like in a bloody Jules Verne novel?”
“Precisely. Unfortunately though, it’s not possible for the Telomer-structure to have any bearing on the human psyche. We know this due to people who naturally look years younger than they actually are. On the surface they look like they’re thirteen – yet mentally and according to their birth certificate they’re in their mid forties.”
“And what does that have anything to do with changing memories?”
“Well,” the doctor explained: “A few colleagues of mine and I found a way to store the thoughts and memories of a person to a hard-drive. How to upload them, save them, change them and even delete them. And that’s exactly what we did. We took thousands of teenage and adult delinquents, let them age or made them young again, fed them with the know-how of the specific time periods and released them into their respective domes.”
“But it seems, you’ve made an error,” Publius suddenly replied with a cheeky grin on his face: “Either you didn’t do your work properly, or the effect or your thought-whatever wears off after forty years.”
“Sadly, yes. Sadly, the subconscious of a human is still a mystery, even in our time. It’s like deleted files that are still on a computer, but which can only be accessed by specialists.”
This explained everything. Mrs. Darson’s mad ravings – the strange paintings in the cave. They were reminiscences. Reminiscences of gang wars in cities filled with skyscrapers and flying cars. A gang war, which the person with the blue necklace lost. A person who was then strapped to the chair I was sitting in right now. And thus, I knew what was about to follow: darkness. Charcoal‑coloured darkness. Scared, I asked the doctor what he was about to do to us. He explained to us that he would treat us with an anaesthetic and then restructure our memories. Of course, we would still remember who we were, the world around us and the people we knew. But our memories concerning the underground tunnels, our writing and this moment now – all that would be erased.
“And what about our parents? My father? Publius’ family?”
“Don’t worry. We’ll do the same to them. You’ll all wake up with no recollection of this specific day. And should you remember, you’ll shrug it off as just some odd dream.”
“But why didn’t you do it after knocking us out?” I wanted to know: “Why this long-winded discussion?”
“You’re my… our protégés. Don’t I have a right to know what you’re like? Not allowed to anticipate your reaction?”
“I… I guess so. It all just seems rather unnecessary to me.”
Suddenly, a door opened opposite to us and a quite attractive looking colleague of the doctor’s came in holding a tray. On it were two syringes filled with a transparent liquid – the anaesthetic. I was terrified at the idea of losing all my memory. After all: for the duration of the anaesthetic’s effect I would no longer exist mentally! My body, yes – but my mind would be removed from it entirely! What a crazy thing to contemplate!
My pulse was racing as the young lady came closer and stopped in front of us. I saw Publius, but his face was completely emotionless. It almost seemed as if he didn’t even register what was going on here. “Say something!” I yelled: “How can you not care about this?! To forget everything!”
“The long time to come when I shall not exist has more effect on me than this short present time, which nevertheless seems endless.”
“What?” I asked bewildered.
“By Cicero,” he responded and with a jaunty grin he glared in my direction: “Not much of a stoic, are you?”
“Don’t worry, my friend,” Publius spoke with an ease that honestly sent a small shiver down my spine: “This journey, our journey, ends here. New tasks await us in a different… albeit same world.”
Upon that he stared at the pretty assistant and gave her an understanding nod before she stepped forward and injected him with the anaesthetic. With strange amazement I watched as his grin slowly faded from his face as he fell asleep.
The assistant then focused her attention towards me, took the syringe and also wanted to make me fall asleep when I called: “Wait! Just one more thing!”
Startled, the assistant backed off.
“What? What now?” O’ Callaghan asked somewhat irritated. “Since you’re going to reboot my and my father’s memories – then I have one request.”
“And what would that be?” the doctor wanted to know and still irritated at the fact that – at least from his point of view – I was wasting his valuable time.
“Could you make him forget my mother? I want him to be happy again. You see, I’ve noticed him engaging in quite telling discussions with Miss Trudy from the bookshop. But I believe being reminded of my mother hinders him to take the critical step.”
The assistant, as well as the colleagues, looked at me with astonishment and then back at the doctor awaiting his reaction. After a while, which felt like forever to me, he hesitatingly spoke: “Technically, we’re not allowed to muddle in the affairs of the dome dwellers. At least not, if it’s not an utmost emergency.”
“But?” I asked with a small sliver of hope in me.
“But,” the doctor replied: “I’ll have a chat with the board about that. Maybe we can make an exception just this once.”
I smiled a little upon hearing this. Then I followed in the footsteps of my now sleeping friend, nodded and then let the darkness depicted on the cave walls come over me.
- This is where the memories of the subject Carlisle McAvin end. A fascinating memory. After administrating the required dosage, we restructured his memories in order to make him forget all that had happened. And regarding his request – well, as I had said, we’re technically not allowed to muddle in the affairs of the dome dwellers.
But regarding this incident, we were allowed to make an exception. The reason? This time the “resting”, as we call it, was something special. Usually, the subjects fight back with great vigour, whenever we have to conduct a procedure like this. They show no understanding despite the fact that we neither want to hurt them or treat them in any manner that is not laid out in the protocol. They scream, spit at us or hurl insults at us. In the beginning of the project I still struggled with these things. Nowadays, I simply treat them like troll comments on the internet. Read them, forget them and move on.
This time was different though. In a weird and twisted way I’m proud that the project has produced to so very smart, keen and reasonable young men. And between their apprehension outside of D. S. -8000 and their awakening, I honestly even played with the idea of locking them back inside the dome, just to use their memories to see what would happen next. But protocol was protocol.
But since they didn’t behave like mad psychopaths I had a chat with the board after their resting. I explained the situation to them and showed them recordings of the discussion to demonstrate, what I meant. At first they were sceptical, but then they agreed. After all, it wouldn’t compromise the experiment if a single father and widower fell in love again.
Thus, ends my report in the incident which happened on 28th March, 2270. For further information, please refer to Doctor Leonard Oaken, Doctor Gavin Lester and Doctor Mary-Anne Blanagh, who, together with me, were in charge of the project on this day. -
Written by Thedarkflintstone
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