Was the imprint cheating death, or was I cheating myself? I weighed the risks of the bioscan.
Slowly the energy level rose. While I tried to keep the energy level of the hand mining laser in the green range, I listened to the voice of Radio Infinity. She told about different cultures and their idea of life after death, of eternal life. She told about imprint technology, the digital copy of an individual. That it had brought us a bit closer to the idea of eternal life. But also about problems with regeneration after death. That a traumatic event like death or regeneration itself could lead to permanent damage. A traumatic response echo could change the imprint. Injuries that occurred at death remained after regeneration, despite the new body. A person’s imprint would weaken over time and become less viable.
My gaze wandered. Past the asteroid I was working on, out to the stars. Images of memories formed before my eyes. Memories of the action in which we had collected the evidence for the killer satellite. I saw again the fireball in which the Carrack disappeared after the missile hit. We had narrowly escaped death. Suddenly it made klonk and abruptly I was back in the present. The hadanite chunk that my mining laser was penetrating had shattered. Fragments banged against my helmet. Suddenly it was clear to me what I had to do. I had to have an imprint made of me. Better to live with an echo than not at all.
A few days later I was on Orison, the floating city in the clouds of the gas giant Crusader. For a long time I had thought about where I should have the imprint made. For this critical undertaking, only the most advanced equipment came into question for me. ArcCorp and Lorville didn’t seem high enough quality to me. Microtech was still too hot for me. The dark shadow of ENOS hovered over the ice planet. All that remained was Crusader. After arriving at Cloudview Center, I immediately felt I was in the right place. The cloud city had a strangely calming effect on me. The stay was relaxation, almost had something of meditation. I rented an apartment to stay for a few days.
In the hospital I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. A full bioscan that recorded an individual’s DNA, memories, thoughts, and personality. Was this a good idea? Where was the imprint data stored? Who had access to it? Could the record be manipulated? Would I regenerate after death as a faithful star citizen who followed the instructions of the megacorporations without question? Or could I be tracked by the imprint? No that seemed to me then nevertheless too absurd. The technology was of extraterrestrial origin. Mankind did not understand the technology yet. They didn’t know how and why the imprint was connected to the living individual. I shook myself and lay down on the scanner. A glaring light blinded me, enveloping me like a bedspread. That was all I could remember.
After leaving the hospital, I went to the Voyager Bar. The view from the terrace was gigantic. Endless expanses. Gigantic platforms with residential buildings and shipyards that seemed to be weightless. The city radiated a lightness and lightheartedness. I was caught in the magic of the gently floating leaves of the trees and the water play in front of the sculpture of the space whale. The beeping of my mobi glass sounded like meditative chimes. I looked at the message I had received.
Dear Zero Sense,
I have noted with interest and enthusiasm your efforts in clearing up the unspeakable killer satellite scandal. I am glad to see that there are people who are committed to the truth. Who stand up for the weak. I would like to show my appreciation for your commitment. So that you have enough storage space and protection during your investigations in the future I would like to give you a suit of armor with a backpack. I had the things brought to your apartment. If at any time I need your valuable services I will contact you.
My mouth was open. I felt hot and cold in turns. Who was this X? How did he know about me and the killer satellite? How did he know which apartment I had rented? Could he access the memories in my imprint? Had I made a big mistake with the scan and turned myself in? I held on to the railing of the parapet. My gaze went upward to the sky. One of the gigantically large transport drones was flying over the Voyager bar. No, I could not imagine that. Nobody could analyze the gigantic amounts of data of an imprint and extract single information. X had to have read the newspaper article by Brubacker. My name was published in it. He could have found out about my stay in Orison through the local systems. At the spaceport, at customs, at the apartment check-in, everywhere I had left digital traces. X was either a good hacker or had great influence. There didn’t seem to be any danger from him. Nevertheless, I was alarmed. In the end, curiosity outweighed my worries. In my apartment, I looked at my present.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)