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MemVault Appointment

Lee Harrison is a 32 year old writer who teaches English in Kiev, Ukraine, where he lives with his wife and their one-year-old daughter. His work has appeared on websites like www.everywritersresource.com and in journals like Theme of Absence.
Thank you for getting here on time. Some people can't be punctual even if you paid them. I know you have your doubts about this and maybe I can help clear some of them up.
When the leak was revealed, everything changed. And I mean that literally--everything. Can you imagine what that meant? Memories are secrets, you know? All the good, all the not so good and all the plain embarrassing stuff shouldn't just be out there unless we want it to be. It's private or, at least, it was. I'm not so sure that word means anything anymore.
Now, I know Mrs. Ackerman, that nice little old lady from upstairs, cheated on her late husband for fifteen years and still thinks fondly of the guy she was sneaking around with, too. Mr. Ackerman, god rest him, died almost two years ago, but she kept around some of the memories of her secret lover long after her beloved had shuffled on. You see, changes your perception of people, doesn't it?
Or what about Rose Murphy, that girl who works in the coffee shop around the corner? She smiles sweetly and is always polite with her cute shyness, but did you know she got arrested when she was in college for drug running? Almost went to jail for it! But you wouldn't have guessed it. I'm not sure why she keeps that one around. Maybe as a deterrent?
And that's the whole thing about this leak. It's taken away the last little bit of privacy people had and put it all out there for everyone, or anyone, to see. Now someone with the right skills and equipment can do a quick search and scan through the memory uploads of anyone else to find out their secrets, quirks, or desires. Anything. It's partly why I would never opt in to something like that but others? Man, people love the interconnectivity of everything.
Baffle them with technology and they just throw money at you. We've seen it time and time again. Computers in the twentieth, internet technology companies in the first quarter of the twenty-first, and then this. The new human revolution that drove the people wild.
The ability to download and archive your own memories so you can never forget something isn't as weird as you'd think. The technology was there and once all the storage and connection issues were sorted we had the biggest rollout ever seen in the history of mankind. On the first day of access alone, twelve billion individual memories were stored in the MemVaults. Since then, I don't even want to think about the numbers. Maybe trillions?
Cops and the law started using these Vaults in trials and investigations. Banks and stock markets used them to ensure correct practices were being followed and accident investigators had frequent demands, too. Instead of photo messaging or holo clips, people started sending short clips of crystal clear memories to one another. Memsharing became the next hot thing and the companies kicked back while the money flowed in.
Here's the thing, though. How safe is anything electronic? Think about it for a second. Anything ever made that uses computers or chips at one stage has been targeted and hacked into. Driverless cars, phones, retina implants--you name it, it's been cracked. As soon as something new comes onto the market, there's a group of people working hard to split that egg open and look at the insides. And the insides of the MemVaults were spectacular. So much so, in fact, that businesses like this one started popping up everywhere.
Now, regarding your email, no, we're not technically legal but we're definitely not illegal either. We exist in that space between right and wrong, in that foggy place where the law can look but not touch. We have to be careful, however. Some of the things we do are very illegal. But, once we have the memories, sharing them isn't.
When the Chinese team cracked the main MemVault server and poured the contents out into the world, well, as I said earlier, everything changed. The Internet became a dangerous place, full of lurking Securebots scanning to find the distributed memories and sweep them up before they disappeared forever into the deepest holes of the internet. But over, what, maybe a trillion memories to find? Impossible even for government bots.
Now, we may have what you want if you have the money. We've found your partner's Vault, almost intact, and with over one hundred memories stored. Now, as I said earlier as well, we exist in a kind of limbo here. Not legal but not criminal. I can give you access to the whole Vault, to everything your perfect, loving soulmate thought was worth remembering for the last five years.
But the risk is on you. You could find exactly what you're looking for in there and be happy. Well, not happy, obviously, but at least you'll know for sure. Or, you could find nothing at all. Just re-runs of football games, nights with you, kiddies being born --you know, the usual. We can't be held accountable for that, and let me tell you now, not one person here has opened that thing to have a look. Because that takes us from this nice, grey business and bounces us straight into jail.
So it's all on you. We have the Vault you're looking for here and ready to go, if you still want it and have the payment. I've told you everything about the process and laid it all out, so hopefully, there's nothing left that's still confusing for you. It's all on this file here. Everything you might need to see but maybe don't want to.
So.
What will it be?
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015


I wrote this after the flurry of hacks that seemed to be gaining notoriety lately. I noticed that the information stolen or leaked was becoming more and more private or sensitive and wondered how long it would be before we trusted technology with our deepest, most personal memories and what the resulting fallout would be if these were made public.

- Lee Harrison

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