[16 September, 2141 | Saturday]
“Happy birthday, darling,” Mum said to me as she handed me my nutrition bar.
I was perplexed, hit by a sudden sense of déjà vu. It was like I had been transported to my childhood. Not happier times per se; a time of confusion. But a time when I had my parents with me, a time before they severed that familial bond.
“It was the only one we got in the rations this month,” Dad explained. Unfortunately, supply’s limited, thanks to YutopiCorp controlling the majority of Canada.”
It had been a little more than six months since my parents—if, indeed, that’s who these people truly were—reentered my life. Following my last mission a year beforehand, the rebels took me captive and had been holding me as a prisoner of war. In mid-December, I was introduced to my parents.
Or people claiming to be my parents. With my hazy recollections, I couldn’t be entirely certain. But with the benefit of hindsight, I now know. It was definitely them. I wasn’t sure then, but I am now.
Aside from that sense of déjà vu, my memories of them during our reacquaintance is just as difficult for me to access.
Apparently, when they tried crossing the border with me all those years ago, the City didn’t have them executed. The City is merciful, after all; it’s what makes them different from those politicians so desperate for power. Instead, my parents were imprisoned and offered the opportunity to work for the City, educating others about what the new world order can offer them. My parents accepted the jobs; not because they believed in YutopiCorp’s mission, but out of cowardice. Because it was better to live under a regime they didn’t believe in than to offer their lives to defend one they did believe in.
Of course, they said they did it for me.
So naturally, when Canadian rebels attacked the base of operations, my loving parents switched sides back to them. YutopiCorp would be so disappointed by their fickle nature.
Even though my captors removed my cybernetic enhancements, I never recovered the lost memories of my parents.
I accepted the nutrition bar they offered and ate it, while missing the Conscience chip’s happy birthday message. I’d been without the assistance of that AI for the better part of a year, and without them, I felt like I was losing sight of who I was. Without the background chatter, I was left alone with my thoughts. Are the City really our saviours? Is this just a war, or was it an invasion? Does YutopiCorp truly wish to save us, or is it just expanding its reach and increasing its profits?
My parents were always quick to answer those questions with no; it was an invasion; and corporate greed has created a need for power.
Naturally, that didn’t stop the rebels from implanting me with XBCorp cybernetics. They were at war with one corporation, while using technology from a competing corporation. Surely, they’d have seen the irony in that, I mused. To which they told me it’s a necessary evil, and XBCorp has no will to rule over them.
No, XBCorp only rules most of Asia. It’s completely different; XBCorp oppresses its citizens.
Since my parents revealed themselves to me, they visited me in my cage every day. Told me how much they loved me. Told me that the rebels are still fighting the City, hoping to wrest control of Canada back from the corporation. Told all about how the City was fighting a losing battle.
But, they told me, should Canada fall, they’ll get me out of the country. I was 25 years old, which is apparently old enough to spend seven years fighting a war, but not old enough to have a say in who I fought for. Instead, they literally removed parts of me and acted in the art of confusion.
If only I would see the light, they told me, blinded by their own repression.