(and in some ways forgettable)
Story of Dr. Amnes Eek
by João Ventura
Dr. Eek worked as principal researcher at the Brain Institute. He was a well known neurologist, respected among his peers. That is, until he presented that strange theory at the Brain Surgery Convention. In lay terms, he proposed that memory loss was due to the presence in the brain of some entities he called memory wiping devices (for short: MWD’s).
According to him, these “devices” — and the name shows that his biology concepts smelled of mechanicism — would disassemble the molecular arrays in which our memories are coded, thus causing them to disappear forever.
The presentation of this theory was the start of the decline of Dr Eek’s career. To support his claims, he produced a few slides with brain tomography images, where he insisted MWD concentrations could be seen. The discussion following the presentation of his paper was a bit rough, his peers bluntly denying the mere existence of MWD’s and calling the features he pointed at on the slides “dust speckles”!
Dr Eek was very upset. He left the Convention and he started working on a process to eliminate those memory wiping devices.
To work at such a small scale, he had to make use of nanotechnologies. Therefore, after a few weeks of intensive use of the Institute’s powerful computer network, he was able to create a model of the MWD structure. Subsequently, he designed a nanostriker that, when put into the brain, would be able to target MWDs and annihilate them. And, using the facilities at the Institute, he produced an amount of nanostrikers that he thought would be enough for a first experiment.
He decided to test the process on himself. As a matter of fact, he was feeling occasionally some memory lapses — as an example, he had almost forgotten the painful convention where his theory had not only been strongly rejected, but even made fun of.
Dr Eek prepared a syringe with a suspension of many millions of nanostrikers, sat down on a couch and injected himself.
This huge army was happily blood-transported to the battlefield: Dr. Eek’s brain. But on arrival, they couldn’t find any MWDs; not even a shade of a single one. It is a well known fact that an idle army represents the potential for a highly dangerous situation. Roaming around in Dr Eek’s brain, and not finding the enemies they were programmed to disable, the nanostrikers lost their bearings and started to kill each other. Naturally, an army of many millions of soldiers fighting among themselves has to cause multiple collateral casualties on the battleground.
About half an hour later, Dr. Eek stood up from the couch; he was feeling a mild headache which was becoming stronger minute by minute. He left the room, went along the corridor and arrived at the entrance hall of the Institute.
But the true dimension of the collateral damage which had resulted inside his brain was only evident when he approached the reception desk and asked the girl in charge:
“What is this place? Where am I? Who am I?”
“Dr. Amnes Eek?” exclaimed the receptionist, the high pitch in her voice announcing an approaching wave of panic.
First published in Universe Pathways 4 (January 2007)
Copyright © 2007 by João Ventura