You Are Who You Weren’t

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Is it a form of murder to kill a man’s identity?

Freeze! Or Forget Who You Are!

I was on the receiving end a few years ago. Brandish aren’t the only ones with disorientors. The black market is huge. Everyone thinks they need weapons.

My defense sounds solid. “Brandish policy dictates that disorientors only be used if debilitators fail. In this case the debilitator failed to weaken the perpetrator’s muscle control. Brandish followed policy,” states my attorney.

Identity Reconstruction told me I had several ancestors in law enforcement. They suggested I follow suit. That’s why I became Brandish.

They say I had a wife. They even re-introduced us, but we don’t know each other any more. We tried to find each other again but we must have become different people. Whatever we once supposedly had, it couldn’t happen again. So we went separate ways.

The court asks, “What would cause a debilitator to fail?”

“In this case the photon rings that read eye movements to lock on for vibrational hypnosis were miscalibrated,” a technician testifies. “A microfracture in lens 5 was undetected on last maintenance.”

We aren’t called cops, police, security or any of the old world names. We’re Brandish. We’re the only citizens authorized to wear the D rings. With them we use vibrational hypnosis. reading eye movements and brain waves from instant scans, causing involuntary hypnotic induction.

The left ring – the debilitator – will cause animals – including humans – to lose control of their limbs. The right ring- the disorientor – induces amnesia causing a complete lack of memory up to the point of contact.

Anyone hit by the second effect will not even know why they are where they are, much less what they are supposed to be doing or who they are. I can vouch for that. Of course the ass that zapped me was a psychopath stealing spacecraft. I was cleaned out because a bungler fucked up his robbery.

If anyone is caught staring into the crosswaves of the two rings, even momentarily, death is certain. I’ve been tempted. 

Once I’m cleared of personal responsibility – since weapons inspections are department responsibilities – they go on to decide the fate of the perp. It seems that the use of our weapons for law enforcement are being put on trial as well.

The prosecution wants him exiled. “If you wipe a man’s brain of memory as you stop him in the commission of a crime, has he instantly paid the price for his crime? Is his lack of memory the end of his responsibility? Not while there are still victims who remember his actions all too vividly. We want him permanently relocated to Time’s End, memory or not.”

The defense argues that punishment has been served. “Unless radical circumstances call for Brandish to use debilitators, the decision to wipe out memory is the jurisdiction of higher powers. In many jurisdictions it is considered the ultimate torture, leaving a person  without a tangible past, with no recall of family or familiarity. Everything in the world is suddenly strange and no testimonies or playbacks regarding his past ‘ring’ true – pardon the pun. It’s like witnessing a fiction of someone else’s life and actions with your image inserted. As it is the defendant can’t remember killing her. He can’t remember his own life. You can show him recordings of him raping her but it will not ‘trigger’ a memory. He cannot revisit the anger or rage that motivated his assault for he no longer knows the victim. These memories were gone for good when Brandish hit him with the disorientor.”

“But wiping out memory doesn’t eliminate inherited traits,” the prosecution rebuts. “A rapist is still a rapist. A murderer is still a murderer. That response lies in the genes, not the environment. Wiping his memory merely stopped him from resisting arrest because he became confused. It won’t stop him from reverting to his native ways once he regains his bearings. When he kills again, what will you tell that victim’s family? That you’ll wipe out his memory again and let him go? That because he can’t recall slaughtering your daughter he’s now harmless? To some that does not feel like either justice or prudence. Absent-mindedness is not innocence.”

Oh, I’m not so sure about that.

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