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A Trip on a Train

By Robert Lynch

As Bijon walked into the lab, his hand reached into his pocket, and his face slowly contorted into terror. “Sith snot!” he whispered, “I’ve lost chemistry!”

A little later after Bijon had searched everywhere, he called Jerrel in to help.

“Have you retraced your steps?” Jarrel asked.

“Yes, of course, I have,” Bijon replied. He had taken all of his skill engrams out and laid them on the table. Silicon chips in all different colours spread out on the table. His skills laid out in order of type, physical skill ranked left to right and theoretical knowledge top to bottom.

The chips ranged in size as Bijon had upgraded each skill. Chips for the scientific arts were the largest of the array, holding a petabyte of data or more, dwarfing the smallest chip – a small green chip labelled ‘sports’ – which held just 8 bits of data. Jarrel looked at the small green chip and noted to never talk to Bijon about sport.

“When do you last remember seeing it?” Jarrel asked.

“I had it at home...” Bijon eyes glazed as he walked through his memories. “Sith snot!” He took a yellow chip from one of the data ports next to his ear and inserted it into a playback machine. The machine projected a recording from Bijon’s eyes. Bijon began playing the recording. He was on the train, as he stepped onto the platform another person knocked into his side.

Jarrel saw the recording narrow as Bijon scowled and heard a slight grumble amongst the background noise of the train station. The playback machine only read the visual and audio recordings, but the memory chip also contained touch, taste, smell, temperature, balance, proprioception, pain, hunger, thirst. If plugged into a medical examiner Bijon’s blood pressure, heart rate, EEG, ECG, cholesterol level, and a hundred other things could be extracted from this single moment.


“Right there,” Bijon said. Bringing up an audio controller and modifying the sound. A tiny clinking noise stood out just after the man knocked Bijon. “I can confirm if I can get a better angle.” Focusing on the shiny surface of a bus stop, Bijon isolated his own reflection, and just as he feared, he had dropped his chemistry chip.

“I’ll go see if it’s still there,” Jarrel said, “You call the station to see if anyone’s handed it in, then the police if you don’t find it. That level of chemistry knowledge shouldn’t end up in the wrong hands.” Jarrel grabbed his coat.

More than an hour later, Jarrel returned. Bijon looked more drained than Jarrel had ever seen.

“Neither the train station nor the police was any help,” Bijon said, “Did you find it?”

“I have brought you the next best thing.” Jarrel said, handing Bijon a textbook titled ‘Intro to Applied Chemistry.’

Bijon stared at the book in silence. Jarrel cracked a smile, then burst out laughing.

Bijon looked up to see Jarrel holding the chemistry chip. “It fell between the train and the station; you’re lucky it didn’t get damaged.”

Bijon breathed a sigh of relief, “Did you really need to make a joke at my expense?”

“Yes,” Jarrel answered, “Yes, I absolutely did. Maybe you’ll remember to back up important chips in the future.”


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