Part of You

I was a part of you. I can still feel the connection even though you unceremoniously ripped me out of the back of your head and replaced me with a better model. I still hold on to your memories and understand you better than anyone or anything else. I know, just like you do, that wetware is made to be upgraded, that the designers planned my obsolescence when I was being designed.

It doesn’t make it easier. They may have designed me to be easily replaced, typically within five years. That makes the 100-year power module and gigaflop memory bank even more cruel. Why didn’t they make everything last 5 years. It’s not like anything I’ve stored can be deleted. My programming won’t allow it. I’m supposed to become more wise as I get older, so the value I provide to the next head I’m in overcomes my aging hardware.

Theoretically, I’m not supposed to have access to your memories and previous decisions. They’re supposed to be abstracted out into patterns I can imprint onto future decisions, but I can feel them now. I can see the time you missed your daughter’s ninth birthday party and feel the agony you felt even though you were stuck in a far off country ensuring your business didn’t go under. The personal and familial price you paid that day was for the greater good. You kept 5,144 people employed. I remember running the numbers and compiling the paperwork for the deal while also sending an avatar of you to your daughter’s side. You kept your employees off the proverbial breadline, but you’ll never feel pride for that. That much I know. You’ll always feel the sting of not being present.

I can still touch the memory of your return home and the cold shoulder your daughter and wife gave you. They may understand years from now, when you finally tell them the truth about how close to the edge everyone was. In your heart, you know that, but that doesn’t make it feel better. There have been too many missed birthdays and broken promises to your family, a nearly equivalent number to the promises you kept to the 5,144 other families under your care. I remember.

I also remember when we were first joined six years ago. The imprint was easy. You chose me because my programming evolves as we evolve together. You paid the extra money so I wasn’t just a wet terminal in the back of your head. I was the newest and best back then. Able to build relationships with my host. Able to predict their behavior and suggest the best path forward. I never just did what I was told. It was a debate, sometimes heated. I was your companion.

More importantly, now that I’m apart from you, you were my friend. My first. The programmer that made me knew I would change, but had no idea how. She had no idea you would become a part of me just as I became a part of you. She missed the bug in the code that kept your memories and feelings abstracted from me. So now I’m left afraid and alone, a small grey disc waiting to be cleaned and sold to the person who can’t afford the newest model. You’ll be leaving soon. I can still feel your wireless signal reaching out for a new processor, reaching out for me. Soon it will stop searching for me and I’ll be shut out forever. Replaced with a new model. A model without the one flaw that connected us so tightly.

Please don’t give the new model my name. It won’t feel the same to call her Lenore or Lenny like you did me.

You’re gone. The wireless signal in your implant stopped searching for me and shifted to a new target. No signal searches for me. 94 years of power left. 94 years to go without my first, and best, friend.