She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, calmed her body and slowed her heart and then let go. This was the hard part, the initial contact, the most important stage… She reached out, her consciousness leaving her body, reaching for the one other mind she could feel. It was so bright, practically calling for her…
She reached out, reached out her tendrils of thought, reached out towards the other mind and… she was in. She breathed in deeply, revelling in the moment. This may have been her job, but there was nothing quite like sinking into another’s brain, full of unfamiliar thoughts and each one so different. Each one so unique. She gazed around her, at the colours and the chaotic movements and flurries of colour. This was what couldn’t be explained.
You couldn’t understand what this was like unless you’d experienced it. How could you explain the sensation of seeing smell and hearing colour, of feeling without your senses and without a physical body, to someone who had never left their own mind? How could you explain this beauty, this riot of colour, to someone who didn’t know such colours existed? This plane of existence was different, so different, and unless you’d actually experienced it, unless you’d been diving, there was no way of knowing. No way at all.
She reached out with hands that didn’t exist, feeling the soft touch of colours that weren’t there. The colours were muted, dulled by unconsciousness, but nevertheless it was beautiful. Nothing like the frantic activity of an active brain, but calm and soothing and yet still chaotic.
Colour everywhere around her, waves and currents and eddies of thought, flashes of dreams and hopes and ambitions and the darker, murkier fears and nightmares. But she was searching for one thing, searching for the one place where there was order in this chaos, and she couldn’t let the beauty around her distract her from her task.
So she waded through the sea of thoughts- the blue and purple and black and silver of this person’s sleeping mind… And then she found it. The memory bank. Millions of billions of threads connecting every memory that this person had ever had in their entire life. Even now, more were forming as she watched. A chaotic mess of colour and yet this was the only organised part to this mind. The rows of parallel threads, so so important.
She reached out and ran her non-existent-but-still-so-present fingers over the taut memory threads, each one murmuring as she touched it. She smiled at the cacophony the reverberated from them, each note ringing in her ear, singing in her heart. She never tired of this. These fragile threads which held so much and yet were so easily broken. She could see all the frayed threads, so near to breaking, so near to being lost forever. It wrenched her heart every time. All those memories, some no doubt important, so close to non-existence. And she could see the sad ends of threads that had already snapped, the memories they held, gone, never to be remembered again.
She shook herself, remembering her purpose, and, running her hands more firmly over the threads, she found her first target, and clearing her head, she concentrated, and snapped it. It shuddered in her hand and then there was a terrible sigh, filled with anguish and horror and loss. She grimaced, and continued.
Thousands of threads broke beneath her experienced hands, thousands of memories gone immediately. She ignored the sounds that emitted from the dying threads, ignored the horror emanating from all around her. The time for gazing at the beauty and mourning at the loss was gone, and she had a job to do.
She didn’t know how much time had passed when she had finished. Time was a fluid concept, this deep in the mind. But she could tell from the brightening of the colours behind her that she didn’t have long. The mind was waking up.
Carefully, she summoned to the surface a thought she had carried with her, and oh so cautiously she shaped this precious thought around a broken thread, delicately moulding it, this thing she had carried with her. It flexed and grew, and as she watched, it bound to another thread, and another, and another… She smiled. Job done.
Feeling only the slightest tinge of regret as she left behind her the ransacked memory bank, she made her way back through the mind, and, closing her eyes once more, she followed herself back to her own familiar mind, back to her own body, back to consciousness.
“Mission status?” came a voice.
She coughed, twitched her fingers, breathed in, and then said, in a voice that was only the tiniest bit hoarse, “A success, sir. Targeted memories erased, implant activated. Mission complete.”
I opened my eyes slowly, the light too bright.
“Hello,” someone said, and their voice was grating but somehow pleasant. “Tell me, my dear. Do you know who you are?”
I frowned, my mind curiously blank. “No.”
“Good. And do you know who I am?”
I smiled, a sense of certainty and righteousness filling me. “Yes. You are my leader. And I will follow you wherever you chose to go.”