Input: Memories

Eric Fomley

February 15, 2022

The Obelisk outpost on Ghede Prime is littered with broken soldiers.

My nanoweave armor is singed and shredded, blood and mechanical fluid ooze and leak from my body. Pain twinges my every step. A soldier moans at my feet, a young man with purple hair. He clutches the stub where an arm once was. Tears streak his red cheeks.

When I reach for him he flinches. I pull him upright. He stinks like emptied bowels and whimpers when he looks into my half human, half machine face. He avoids eye contact. They all know the stories of the man Obelisk Corporation took, the experiments they did to him.

My finger ports open and tendrils swirl forth, squirm into the man’s nostrils, eye sockets, and ear canals. He screams and spasms. I hold him in place until he stills. Memories upload into my CPU. The data surge clouds my brain like a shot of strong liquor. I close my eyes and watch the memories form into images.

I discard most. His training, a childhood on a green world, a blue skinned Kararan girl he’s in love with.

He only knows of me, the man Obelisk fused with a machine, the stories swapped between comrades, but nothing substantial. My tendrils retreat, slake off the blood and brain matter as they slide back into their ports.

I know it’s a crime what they did to me. The intergalactic authorities would punish the people responsible at Obelisk if I pursued the matter. But they would be gentle, and I wouldn’t get my memories back.

I rise from the dead soldier and stalk across the room to the outpost commander’s desk.

He sits in the chair, alive despite the bloody hole I put in his chest. Still stoic. Loyal to the company even at the end. He looks up at me when I come around the desk. For a moment he gives me a look. Pity? Shame? I’m not sure.

My mechanical fingers lace around his neck and I lift him off the chair. He kicks at my metallic parts, tries to squirm free, but all he achieves is hissing out most of the air he’s got left. I won’t give him more.

“My memories. Who am I?”

“You’ll never get them back.” Spittle hits my cheek. Veins bulge at the temples of the commander’s dark purple face.

“We’ll see.”

I leech his mind. He’s a higher up in the company, he knows more. The tendrils pulse as they dig and retrieve.

I sift through the data until a distinct image stands out in my mind. A woman with dark skin and braided hair. My chest tightens and tears well in my eyes. Who is she? My wife? Daughter? I don’t remember. Everything inside me tells me I need her back.

The image is all the commander knows, a glimpse he caught from a file. I drop him and his skull cracks on the concrete floor. Blood pools.

I step over him and port with the terminal on the desk, snake the tendrils from my forearms into the alloy slot on the terminal’s side. Data files stream through the wire veins in my arms with a gentle pulse. Orange text blocks flutter behind my eyelids. I delete the boring bits, shipping data, dossiers, and customer profiles, until I find what I’m looking for.

Coordinates. Other outposts, others who might have a memory of this woman.

I absorb the navigational data into my HUD and order my digital AI assistant to process the data. My HUD chimes and informs me there are thirty Obelisk Corporation outposts in this sector. I tell the AI assistant to power up my shuttle and set a course for the first outpost on the list.

I open my gunport and shoot the terminal. It whines as it powers down forever. I return to the outpost entrance, push open the steel door, and step back into the icy wind. My organic parts cringe.

Thirty outposts in this sector. I only need one to know who I am.

Eric Fomley’s stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, and Inferno! Volume 6: Tales from the Worlds of Warhammer. His website is, where you can read more of his stories and find his flash fiction collections.