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Getting It Right

Joel David Neff | Sayantan Halder

“Hey Buddy. Welcome back. Don’t pull that out, we’ll get it out for you in a minute. I know it sucks but just stay with me here, ok?

“Where to begin? Look, I know it’s got to be a shock waking up to see your own face looking back at you, but, well, it’s better than the alternative. I mean, you were dead. Gone. Out of here, you know?

“But hey, here we are! You’re back! You’re still you and I’m, well, you. Yeah, I can see you’re impatient.

“Ok. I’m you. Only not the same you. See, you died in 2064. Nice old fella you turned into. I died in 2290, after the first resurrection. Which is why we, they, you, damn, this will be a lot easier to explain once you’re caught up on all the new pronouns…

“Anyway, I was chosen to wake you up because I was the first post-resurrection us. Everyone figured I’d be the most relatable. See, when I woke up, I felt a lot like you did now. I was confused and a little groggy but I got through it. Just like you will. I know. I’m you, remember?

“My…generation is a good word, I guess, stems from the first wave of resurrection tech. People of my time figured out how to take us recently dead fellas, all those of us only a century or two back who had clearly recorded death times and places, and bring us back. New bodies, same old us. I never quite got all the tech but some of us have and they tell me it’s all brilliant.

“Anyway. I got raised up and had another life, lived all over again, died in my bed at age 78, fully expecting to be rezzed again. Only, apparently, by the time it was our go in the chambers, a religious retro-fundy group came into power and stopped all resurrections. Yeah, we, and I mean as a species here, never got rid of them completely.

“So, long story short, I woke up just a few days ago by J3. Give hime a wave, he’s going to want to talk to you pretty soon. Only a couple of centuries past us…what’s that? Oh, Brother, you’re number 1. The first. El Primo.

“Like I was saying, Gen 3 over there was the third version, the second resurrection, obviously. He had a good life, lived it to the fullest. He speaks thirteen languages if you can believe that. The memory boosts help I suppose, but still. He ended up dying in a nuclear blast. Fundies again. The difference is that this time he had a second by second back-up due to the memory chips, so when they rezzed him, they didn’t go all the way back to you or me, they pulled him again. So, really, J3 and J4 are really like twins. Well, J4 has more memories of course, but they are exact memories. They’re not filtered through a lifetime of thinking and reflecting like yours and mine are.

“What do I mean? I mean, well, do you remember Jenny, in eighth grade? Me too. The thing is, memory is organic, at least for us. There is no true recollection, just your impressions. Add a few centuries of living time onto that and little details and oddities shift and flow and now, if you were to plug us both into the sequencer, and we will, don’t worry, you’ll see that we remember differently. But not 3 & 4. Exactly the same. And it goes that way for a few generations.

“How many? That’s kind of hard to answer. See there were at least 6 resurrection generations: the two of us and then Gen 3 and three copies. But, well, this is where things get kind of strange.

“Ok, remember how I said memories were different? Well, what if we could go back and get the freshest version? I mean, right after they happened? Yeah, so, right now, the other guys are rezzing about 30 more of us, from all stages of all our lives, so we can get the memories almost as soon as they were formed. Yeah, good and bad. Yeah, we’re getting her funeral. I don’t know, man. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that either.

“Hey, you know she got rezzed too? Yeah, we had a second lifetime together. It was good. I’ll drop those memories into you as soon as I can.

“What? No, no, not just the thirty…uh, memory carriers. No, that’s the second part. See, uh, a while back, well, you remember how the eggheads were positing that parallel universes were real back in your time? Ok, well, they’ve gotten a lot further than that now. We can make copies from other decision trees. Yeah. So when we, I, you went to Spain as a teenager? What if we had gone to Italy instead? Well, we’re getting those memories too. We’re starting with the major life decisions and going from there.

“The point? Of this? That’s the best part. See, until very recently, we’ve only been able to look back and copy things from the past. But, look, there’s this really new mumbo jumbo they call science and I call magic that says we can send data back in time. Yeah. I know, right?

“So we’re going back. All the way back to day one. Only this time we’ve got all the data. We know what we should do, how we should live. We know because we did it in one timeline or another. We know because we did it in one time stream or another.

“So we’re going back, all the way back to you Buddy. And this time, we’re going to be the angel on our own shoulder. We’re going to be the voice in our head. And this time, we’re going to do it all right.”

About Joel David Neff

Joel is a writer, photographer, and teacher living in rural Japan.

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