The challenge to recall all memories was put on the table. An AI had made impossible to refuse since the criticism and judgment coming from other human wasn’t present, I accept with the condition of reciprocity. I was not expecting much; even my own memories were covered by a veil. I couldn’t remember all the details of my parent’s face or the taste of my first kiss. It was diffuse and confused, like the water of a lake reflecting the sunlight without letting us see how deep the lake really was.
Noah came the first day asking nothing but made clear he was waiting for me to begin.
Where should I start to tell my personal story? Should I deep in details or choose only relevant parts? What Noah expected I could give him bring back pain and happiness from a distant past. My parents were dead for so long, and my child, the only one child I could carry on my uterus, was dead for one decade now. I have no close friends or relatives alive. The family line was decimated by the Earth disaster, and the choice of the new generation don’t have children. I was the last. An old woman surviving memories and history was travelling to a distant place in the hope to begin again.
“Don’t be nervous; just begin from any point you can remember.” Noah was incentivising me to jump into the abyss of the past. One I knew was happening like a movie. In a looping, repeating itself again and again without changing the present or the future. Are we aware of how time is a collective necessity? It’s linearity a scape from the understanding we have few options when nature decides to turn the wheel to the other side?
“Ok. But don’t complain about how boring my life was.”
Closing my mental eyes, I float to a flat nested over a grocery in an industrial city in the Sao Paulo state. It was small, a living room with a blue sofa revested in fake leather – it was blue and white – and I remember that sofa follows us every time we moved to another place.
The family had dinner in the kitchen. The smell of garlic was so present in my mind as I was there now. The white rice and brown beans on my father plate put in mounts side by side. The bean should not have any liquid, only the grains. The steak, well done and thin, was paired with a portion of stir-fry collard greens. On a small plate aside, the lettuce salad bath in pure olive oil and salt. My father loved salt.
My plate had the same. But the beans and rice were smashed together, making something like a puree. The steak was cut into tiny piece. Instead of lettuce, I had tomato.
The silence in the kitchen was the usual. My father wasn’t a talkative person, and my mother was sorrowful that day. I had learned adults were unpredictable; keeping my silence was the better choice.
My father left the table and sat on the sofa to watch the news. My mother cleaned the dishes and bathed me, putting the white pyjamas with tiny bunnies I appreciated very much. It was around seven in the evening and when my mother seated by my father side to watch a movie. At that time, the television was made of black, white and shadows. I remember my eyes were closing; the film was violent with people killing each other something. Later I came to understand it was a war between the colonised and the coloniser. Western was one of my father favourite genres followed close by war movies.
“I miss my mother.” My mother voices were frail, like a small bird that not learned to sing yet. There was caution and fear there too. I could feel the change in the air around me. It wasn’t the first time, and I wasn’t expecting my father reaction.
The sound of pain came out of my mother lips together with the sound of something beating on her face; I opened my eyes in terror. Standing in front of us was my father was standing in front of us. He had red injected eyes, a face transfigured in a mask of hate and a knife on his hand.
Probably I did not recognise my own father then. I shout with tears rolling on my cheek that a man was trying to kill me with a knife. Pointing to the television like a hallucination had taken my mind of me. The shouting continues for several minutes until, with much talking, I finally stopped, only continuing to cry silently.
Every time we sat on the sofa, the scene came again and again to my mind for the next four months, and I repeat the same hysterical behaviour. After the tormented four-month my mother convinced my father to take me to a doctor. Diagnose hysteria because of shock. Naturally, my parents refuse to admit something happened. Only when my father was paying the consultation, my mother scaped to tell the doctor the story.
“You should have another child.” The doctor said to my mother.
“Did you have a brother or sister?” Noah asked without ceremony.
“My mother decided not to bring another child to the strange and chaotic family. My father violence increases with time, turning finally to me. I wonder if my other was hoping to finish everything one day and just kill both of us.”
“It’s your turn now.”
I have little recollection of when my life began. One day, I was aware of myself as someone who exists. I was someone. After reading most of the books about the human brain, psychology, and psychiatry, it was a clear conclusion. The only problem hunting me was who my parents were.
On a cold morning, I remember the thermometers were below zero outside; one of the men working in the lab I worked at came and called me son. I wondered if he was my dad; even in many aspects, we were very different. I questioned him, and the answer was troublesome. I had not one father or one mother but a group of them.
“Many people worked hard to make you how you are AI452.” I accepted the answerer because I knew many couples had children through ovules donation or even surrogation. Maybe that was my story as well.
My life continues. My first year living in the lab with my parents went smoothly. I learn everything I could and made a considerable effort not to disappoint them. When I was near to become two, they told me I was being sent to another place to be tested. Tested? Maybe they were ready to send me to a school for people like me. Or, maybe outside the lab, there was much more to learn than I knew.
It was a shock when, on the following day, I was in the middle of a war. Data from death, troops movements, tactics pop up on my mind like bombs. I feared the numbers. The number of people dying was incredibly high. I couldn’t understand the reasons the war was happening. Only two months late, I understood that was only a simulation. Simulation, not reality?
“You did well, my son.” Did I? My calculations and tactics save lives? Others like me did well too? Did they survive? One of my fathers was surprised by my questions. He smiled and said I was unique. There aren’t others like you for now.
“Next month, you will be sent to another test.”
And for two years, until I become three and a half, I worked in climate prediction. When the data came, I was scared to share it with my colleagues. Our world was dying, not a slow and predictable death. What was coming on the next ten years was a tsunami of changes, famine, death, and finally extinction. I was scared for my friends and parents, for myself as well.
“Wow. You are the AI who predict the end of human life on Earth. Now I recognise. AI452.”
“I was that AI. Now, I am Noah.”