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Lost Memories

PhotVideo Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonFeb 08

My heart’s pounding. I did it. We’re here, holed up in this tiny apartment next to the hospital. I had to save for a whole year to afford the tourism papers, the flight, the short-term lease. You’d think a multi-trillion-dollar organization would pay better. But I should feel lucky. The only reason I know about this memory data trial is because I work in the industry. And because Marc, the pre-clinical hot-shot project manager, talks so loudly when he’s passionate about an injustice. In this case, the injustice is our country’s regulations regarding memory data manipulation. Too much red tape. The evolution of what is and is not ethical in medicine. Bureaucracy. Blah, blah, blah.

Stumbling onto that conversation felt like fate. Except, I don’t believe in fate. The whole concept feels like giving up. Sometimes we must fight for what we want, what we need. Right? And if that means traveling to a different country for a chance…

I feel cautiously—desperately?—optimistic. That’s why I’ve created this diary. I want to document the process from the beginning.

We meet Dr. Zhang tomorrow.


Screening Visit SummarySubject 009

Subject is a 71-year-old female who suffers from Frontal Variant Alzheimer’s disease (fvAD). She presents in a calm, albeit moderately confused state. She is oriented to the time but not location.

Subject is accompanied by her granddaughter, who is her legal representative. After a thorough review of her medical history, concomitant medications, and recent labs, it has been determined that she qualifies for the MD-0998 study.

The informed consent document was thoroughly explained to both the subject and her granddaughter. All questions were answered. The informed consent was signed.

The granddaughter provided the study nurse with all available diaries, communications, and recordings relevant to the subject’s memory data. Subject and granddaughter will return in one week for the pre-procedure appointment.

Dr. Zhang, Principal Investigator


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonFeb 13

            Three days until the pre-procedure visit. Grandma has been harder to handle here. Maybe it’s the different environment.

One of the neighbors threatened to call the local police. I eventually talked him out of it. The money I bribed him with probably helped. I don’t know if that was a mistake, but I can’t let them investigate. I didn’t mark medical tourism on the travel documents. That takes forever and we would’ve missed the entire trial.

That stupid prick. I wish I could have afforded a better place to rent. Or, that I had a better cover story. If Grandma were more lucid, her presence wouldn’t be a red flag. Who travels for leisure with such a sick relative?

            Either way, doesn’t matter. This procedure will work. It has to. And then we’ll go home. Throw a party. A reunion!

<female voice off-screen> Home. Home. I want to go home.

            No, Grandma. Yes. I know. We’re going home. We’ll go home. Just not—

<female voice> I want to go home! I WANT TO GO HOME! TAKE ME HOME YOU LITTLE BI—


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonFeb 14

My grandmother’s name is Danica Salvador. I’m sorry…I can barely…crying…

[video break]

My grandmother’s name is Danica. And she is the smartest person I know. She was a horticulturist, someone who worked for our country, who figured out brilliant ways to transform barren land into soil that could hold crops for our people. When the banana almost went extinct because of disease, guess who headed the team that introduced new genetic variations? She traveled around the country, visiting our top farmers to make sure we could keep food on all of our tables.

            She is a brilliant woman. She’s why I wanted to go into science. And dementia, Alzheimer’s to be a little more precise, robbed the world of her light.

            Please let this work. I miss her so much.


Pre-procedure Visit SummarySubject 009

Subject returned to the clinic in an agitated state with her granddaughter. She expressed her desire to stab the lab tech when he set up to draw the blood panel. Decision was made to obtain cranial scans first.

Despite agitation, all procedures were completed. Subject is cleared for surgery. Granddaughter was provided pre-procedure instructions. Educational materials and emergency contact info was provided on the subject’s eCard.

Pre-operational exam and lab results attached.

Feena Brindley, Study Nurse


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonFeb 19

I can’t believe we have to wait two more weeks. I don’t know how much more I can take of this.

<Danica off-screen> Why are you crying?

            Grandma. I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there. I’m just…tired.

<Danica> Work?


<Danica> You should take some time off. Travel. It’ll be good for you. Why is that funny?

            I was just smiling because that’s a great idea.

<Danica> When you come back. I’ll show you the new plants I’m working on. You’ll love them!

            I can’t wait.


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonFeb 23

            Another threat to call the authorities. Same neighbor. Took more money to keep him quiet.


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonFeb 26

I can’t sleep, so I figured I’d explain a little more about the procedure. According to Dr. Zhang, my grandmother’s memory will be removed for scrubbing and repair. This will leave her unstable, so while the memory bundle is being worked on, she’ll be placed into an induced coma.

Scrubbing makes some sense to me. All it is, is removal of memory data that is corrupted by dementia. Repair. That part feels the most foreign—maybe even impossible—to me. Theoretically, I know it can be done. But…the biggest issue with adding memory data is that we have only been able to successfully transplant organic memory data. Any synthetic data, or data that is created by people or AI or whatever, is rejected. The brain somehow recognizes it as foreign, and no medicine can convince it otherwise.

Plus, what about gossip? I know they can’t share trade secrets, but I’d love to know how they handle that. When it comes to memory bundles, gossip travels fast. How many people are in this study? How do they keep the memory bundles separated and what do they do to prevent data from spreading from one to the other? What is their quality control like? What happens if they detect gossip after the memory bundle is transplanted back into the subject?

I now see why Marc was so incensed. I would love to be part of this study…


Memory Retrieval Procedure SummarySubject 009

Procedure was attended by Dr. Zhang, Principal Investigator, and Dr. Shoeman, Sub-Investigator. Subject was appropriately positioned on the procedure table. Monitoring equipment was placed 2 min prior to sedation. NG tube was placed. Precheck diagnostics for the MD-0998 displayed a passing result. MD-0998 device was placed, and memory retrieval commenced.

32 min after procedure start, MD-0998 displayed an unknown error. Retrieval was paused.

1 hr 3 min after procedure start, technical team found the subject showed a higher corruption level than initially assessed.

Memory data collected transferred to Bundle 009-01a. Memory Team to assess its viability upon receipt.

MD-0998 disconnected from subject and recalibrated. Diagnostics displayed passing result and memory retrieval commenced.  No further errors noted.

Remaining data collected transferred to Bundle 009-01b.

Subject tolerated procedure well.

Total procedure time: 1 hr 53 min

Subject successfully transferred to Long-Term Medical Pod.

Dr. Zhang, Principal Investigator


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonMarch 5

            Dr. Zhang said it went smoothly. I got to see her before I left. …. she looks dead.


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonMarch 15

            My friend came to visit again. Threatened to call the authorities so they can investigate possibly undocumented residents. Unless I had something to change his mind. I’m so nervous that the authorities could interrupt this trip, especially when we’re so close to figuring out if this worked. Even so, I tried to call his bluff. I told him we have documents. That I wasn’t giving him more money.

            He grinned and grabbed his crotch. Told me I could pay in other ways. I told him to go fuck himself. Slammed the door in his face.

            I think I’ve made an enemy.


Memory Team Scrub ReportBundle 009-01a Subject 009

Data points assessed: 3942

Clean data points: 5

Salvageable data points: 0

Scrub Status: Complete


Comment: Data unable to be repaired due to calibration error.

Lacy Donahue, Lead Memory Associate


Memory Team Scrub ReportBundle 009-01b Subject 009

Data points assessed: 9198

Clean data points: 7358

Salvageable data points: 893


Comments: Remaining data points lost to disease progression.

Lacy Donahue, Lead Memory Associate


Memory Integration Procedure SummarySubject 009

Procedure was attended by Dr. Zhang, Principal Investigator, and Dr. Shoeman, Sub-Investigator. Memory Bundle 009-05 was delivered 18 days post-procedure.

Subject tolerated removal from Long-Term Medical Pod well. Monitoring equipment was placed. Precheck diagnostics for MD-0998 device displayed a passing result. MD-0998 device was placed.

Integration of Memory Bundle 009-05 commenced.

Total integration time: 54 min


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonMarch 27

            I’m at the hospital but look who’s awake! Took a few days. Say hi, Grandma!

[Danica waves at the camera]

            It takes a little while to get rid of the sore throat from having breathing equipment and all that stuff. But, still, look! I feel like…like there’s already a huge difference.

[Danica frowns]

            Not in a bad way, Grandma. I just…you were sick for a while and…well, I’m glad that you look like you’re feeling better. And you’re going to get discharged in a day or two, isn’t that amazing? I bet you’re sick of this bed.


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonApr 3


            Say hi, Grandma!

<Danica off-screen> Danica.


<Danica> My name is Danica. Feels weird when you call me ‘Grandma.’

            Oh. I can stop…Danica.

<Danica> Thanks….how long are we staying here again?


Post-procedure Visit Note – 2Subject 009

Granddaughter is concerned about irregularities in subject’s memory. Informed that full acceptance may take a few weeks.

Neurological workup scheduled as a precaution.

Dr. Zhang, Principal Investigator


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonApr 20

You’re worried about nothing. My memory is fine. And the doctor said everything’s coming along nicely.

            I didn’t say I was worried.

Maybe in not so many words, but you did just grill me about the entire, very short path, to go to the grocery store and back.

            I’m just—

Listen, your grandmother didn’t get to her old age on accident. I know how to get to and from places. Plus, these old bones need some exercise every once in a while.

            Okay, I’m a little worried. But you just went through a pretty big procedure. So, sue me for worrying about my grandma.

I’ll make the claim tomorrow. [Danica walks out of camera view] But for now [sound of door opening] I’m—Oh. Hello. Can I help you, young man?

            Grandma…shut the door.

<male voice off-screen> I don’t know. Can you? Just investigating suspicious activity that seems to be coming from this apartment.

<Danica> I’m not sure I know what you mean?

<male voice> …Wait, aren’t you that old bitch who used to scream all sorts of shit…

            I said leave!

<male voice> Who the fuck do you think—

<Danica> You heard my granddaughter. Leave

<laughter, male voice > Or what?

<Danica> [inaudible]

<male voice> What the fuck!? You know what? Fuck you both.

<Danica> Alright, dear. He’s gone. Lock the door. I’ll be back soon.

            …. What just happened.


Post-procedure Visit Note – 5Subject 009


Subject’s granddaughter is suspicious of gossip due to foreign personality traits. Though some bleed over of subject 003’s data was expected, the severity is unexpected.

Subject is isolated and assessed. Results are delivered to Memory Team.

Dr. Zhang, Principal Investigator


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonApr 16

            It’s late, but I can’t sleep. I don’t know what to do. The more concrete pieces of my grandmother become, like memory of her family, her work as a horticulturist, her favorite desserts…the more these foreign personality traits become apparent.

            I don’t care what Dr. Zhang says. Gossip contaminated her memory bundle. It’s almost like pieces of another person were stitched into her. And that person is dangerous. I see it when she’s watching people out in the street, when she stares at a knife for a little too long, when she stares at me for a little too long. I don’t think this is synthetic gossip. I think…I think this is someone’s organic data. Otherwise, why would it be so pronounced? Who was this person??


Memory Team Bundle Assessment SummaryBundle 009-05Subject 009

Bundle 009-05 component break down:     009-02 [merger of 009-01a, 009-02b]     003-04 [merger of 003-01, 003-02b, 003-02c]

Diagnostic check: Complete

Findings: Ratio of data points in bundle 009-02 to bundle 003-04 is 13:1. Full integration of bundle 009-05.


Comment: Minimal interference expected from data collected from subject 003. Memory team placed request to expand background data review. Request denied. Recommend escalation if discrepancy between personalities is rated as moderate or higher or if deemed necessary in the Investigator’s judgement.

Lacy Donahue, Lead Memory Associate


Video Diary Entry of Annalise JohnsonApr 20

            I’m whispering because I think someone’s at the door. I think someone’s trying to break in. These god-forsaken apartments…

            I should have left as soon as grandma was healthy enough to travel. Wait…I don’t hear anything anymore. Maybe I’m just getting paranoid.

            We need to leave. Tomorrow, I’m packing everything, switching the flight to as early as possible, I don’t care how much it costs. Fuck the follow-ups. Fuck Dr. Zhang—

[door bursts open]

            WHAT ARE YOU…GET OUT OF HERE! GET AWAY FROM ME! [Annalise runs out of view]

<male voice off-screen> Told you I’d be back, bitch. This time…

[man runs across screen]

<Annalise screams off-screen>

[sounds of a struggle are heard]

[Danica walks across screen, knife in hand]

<male voice screams, then turns to gurgles>

<Danica> Oh, how I missed that sound. You have no idea.

<Annalise sobbing> Grandma?

[Danica walks into view and looks at the camera] You know…I don’t know.

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