Neo Angeles, an uninspired moniker for a festering megalopolis reanimated from the bones of the City of Angels. I don't remember the specifics of my old life, but a few hundred years in the deep freeze will do that to you. I have a feeling I used to be a cop, but chances are just as good that I was just another cubical-farm burnout sung to sleep too many times by a six-pack and Law & Order reruns.
It's funny, the things I do remember. The names of TV shows, lyrics from pop songs, my favorite brand of now extinct chips. My name? There's a blank. My old address? Another. Loved ones, relatives? The body and face of a beautiful woman I dream of and wake pawing my pillow, my body twisted in the sheets...might be my last girlfriend, my sister, or mother. The ambiguity used to make me sick, the not knowing, the blankness, the empty spaces where my life used to be. I've learned to embrace it, oddly enough. Then again, the drugs I take tend to subvert the REM cycle flood of orphaned memories, so maybe “embrace” isn't quite the word.
All I know about it is what they told me; part of the tunnel in which cryobanks 103-107 were housed collapsed in the earthquakes that followed A-Day. We were shielded from the nuclear fallout, but many of our support systems failed, as did the beacon that would someday alert those above ground of our presence. By the time they thawed me out, I was already centuries overdue. I wasn't greeted by much fanfare— just a technician in a grubby coverall and a hardhat with a light on it telling me, in his deadpan, I'm-only-doing-my-job monotone, “Welcome to the future.”
When the first survivors came out of the 'banks long before us, there were parades in their honor, support groups set up to make sure they would make the transition comfortably, government commissions established to offer them jobs as historians and advisers. They were treated like something sacred, come up from the ground after so long, offering hope to the denizens of this overcrowded travesty of a city. They were walking monuments to the errors of the past, reminders of how important it was that we never repeat them.
Me, I was sat down at a table in a slate gray room and handed a stack of paperwork. Name, former address, former occupation, education, skills. All long empty lines, and destined to remain so. I was given a government allowance, a fresh set of clothes and an address. That was the extent of my welcome. A man from the past immigrates to the future, and is shuffled off to the ghetto.
The more things change, the more they stay the same?