Trope-a-Day: Memory Gambit

Memory Gambit: This is the stock in trade of the ISS and of most intelligence organizations that have the technology to do it. People who don’t know the plan can’t give away the plan. Besides, eliminating the knowledge from your brain is pretty much the only way to fool an alethiometer, although even then, it’s hardly foolproof.

(Usually the memories are kept stored so that you can restore them later.)

One particular form, of course, is what happens when you retire from the Fifth Directorate or from particularly sensitive positions in the other Directorates – they keep all your classified memories, and replace them with a plausible fabricated alternate life story of what you were doing all that time that matches up with everything that happens to have made it into the public record…

2 thoughts on “Trope-a-Day: Memory Gambit

  1. But, do they give you a boring plausible fabricated alternate life story, or an interesting plausible fabricated alternate life story?

    I would think that as a retirement benefit, giving a plausible fabricated alternate life story that includes learning, training and practicing lots of interesting and valuable knowledge and skills would be a fine final thank you for years of service, and for helping vector the immortal retiree into their next new job.

    “I think I seem to remember that I have spent the last 50 years in libraries learning the languages and the transcribed texts of the dead Sargon civilization, and also studying practical field archeology. And I just woke up at the capsule hotel at the starport holding a one-way ticket to the Sargus system, and a letter of invitation from the research institute there to come spend a 20 year study tour there assisting with the excavation of a newly discovered buried city…”

    • Such considerations aside – which is not to say that they’re invalid, since they’re definitely not and that’s exactly the sort of retirement benefit they’d like to give out – they tend to be interesting by default.

      After all, to pass muster under intense analysis in these days of ubiquitous sur/sousveillance and alethiometers and such, they have to cover everything you were seen doing and all the skills you needed to do those things. And even when you set aside that subset of those things which required absolute non-observation, ISS agents often tend to end up in situations the wheres, whats, and hows of which are never less than remarkably interesting.

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