“The Unreliability of the Mature Mind” is an ongoing concern for me as I watch my memory slip further from being reliable. I wondered – if you had an advanced brain-washing technique that involved creating false memories by building new neural connections, would it work with people whose neural pathways aren’t holding together? Could dementia be a defense against manipulation?
Here’s the blurb:
Can mind control work on someone who can’t control their own mind?
It’s frustrating to deal with the inconsistencies of dementia and it’s effects on maturing minds, but what if our defense against a future invader depended on that unreliability. Read “The Unreliability of the Mature Mind.”
And here’s the excerpt:
He’d be damned if they were going to fool him again.
George Stevens’ wrinkled, spotted hand gripped the rifle’s barrel, his arthritic knees aching and crackling as he hobbled back to the window. Yeah, sure, a cane would have been safer, but he couldn’t handle the rifle and the cane at the same time, and he needed to lean on something.
He knew he wouldn’t be this feeble-minded without the drugs. How long would they take to leach out of his system? His head was starting to clear, but it wasn’t clear enough; not yet. He used two fingers to pull down a slat and peeked through the blinds in his front window. They were still out there, the lot of them, behind their squad cars; thinking to each other through their alien implants. No way they were putting one of those brain-invading, always-on things in his head. Worthless, traitorous human pieces of collaborating…
Dr. Wanda Stevens watched her father on the video monitors in the SWAT van. He needed to stay with the plan. She wished he would stop peeking through the blinds and exposing himself; a sniper could take him out so easily if they decided he was a threat.
The Klaatu acting as a police lieutenant stood to the side, observing her. Its disguise worked on everyone with an override implant to quell the memories of how the Klaatu had come here in the first place. Neither the SWATs, nor anyone else in the vicinity would have realized that the Klaatu was anything non-terrestrial. Only Wanda had that distinction.
While I’m still of use to them, she thought.
They were brilliant in their ability to hack and reroute neural pathways and reengineer memories, but the genetic science required to reduce our species’ aggressive tendencies seemed to be beyond their grasp, and how Wanda retained her value.
“This will not do, Dr. Stevens,” the Klaatu said quietly.
“What are you worried about?” Wanda asked. “He couldn’t hit anyone if he wanted to.”
“He does want to. But you know that is not what we’re concerned about.”
“You can’t be serious – everyone thinks he’s just a harmless old fool,” Wanda said, then, at a sidelong look from the Klaatu added, “Well, maybe not harmless, but no one takes him seriously.”
“Even so, we dare not chance anyone else hearing what he has to say – you must talk him down,” the Klaatu sighed. “We agreed to let him stay with you only with the assurance that you would keep him under control.”
“He is, as long as he’s on the drugs.”
“Your drugs are unreliable. We would have more confidence if he were fitted with the proper thoughts.”
“Well, it’s just too bad that dementia won’t leave your implant a reliable neural pathway to hijack. I’d have thought that your science would have found a solution for that little problem by now.”
“Your mockery is unproductive; this problem is yours to fix.”
“Look, I’m doing my best, but I’m not going to force him to do something he doesn’t want to do – it’s bad enough he doesn’t recognize me without making him hate me, too.”
“Our deal was for you to keep him under control. You do not seem to be willing to do this; if you cannot, then a medical intervention is our only option.”
“That’s not how it’s supposed to be. You said there’d be no force…”
A shot rang out, and glass sprayed as a hole appeared in one of the squad cars’ windows. The officers hunkered down behind them.
“No one hurt, at least,” Wanda said, as she checked the feeds. “No harm.”
“No harm yet,” the Klaatu said. “Dr. Stevens, we value your contributions to the cause, but this cannot continue. You must choose: it is your father or you.”
Will Wanda be able to save George from whatever the Klaatu have in mind for him? “The Unreliability of the Mature Mind” is a speculative fiction short story, and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
“The Unreliability of the Mature Mind” is also included in the collection Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND:
Which is itself included in the mega-collection The Next Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’
Up next for publication is another Herc Tom story – “Reining Cats and Dogs.”
Empress Isabella continues to increase her hold on power with the help of her Slobberer allies. It’s up to our Champion of the Empire and his friends to do something about it.
“Reining Cats and Dogs” is a speculative fiction novelette, and is the seventh of the “Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire” stories, following “Purr Mission”, “Nipped in the Butt”, “Cat and Mouse”, “Baastards’ Revenge”, “Imperial Purrogative”, and “Cats Out of the Bag.” The release date is March 1, but it’s available at a promotional preorder price at several online retailers, including (but not limited to):
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent release “Cats Out of the Bag” – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
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To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
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• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri