Challenge #03471-I183: It Never Gets Old

in #fiction2 months ago

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They were human, once, a long time ago. Due to a massive accident, their body was lost, they chose a mechanical one instead. Then they earned enough time to buy a ship. The ship would sometimes be their body, sometimes the android in the charging niche. It is a wonderful life and career they have now! -- Fighting Fit

Immortality isn't for everyone. The B'Nari average out at eight hundred years before they get bored enough to let their Selves die. They give equal weight to a person, whether they started as organic or as an AI. They also made the mistake of sharing brain backups with the wrong kind of people.

Hi. I used to be indebted to the wrong kind of people. Doesn't matter who they are by now. They're long gone.

What they did do was install B-Backupz(tm) to every sleep niche on every ship they sent out on their mining missions. Their reasoning was that they would therefore not have to lose any money through "unfortunate employee mishaps". Also known as dying on the job because they didn't want to spend a Sec[1] on any safety features. I remember that I made it back to my bunk before I died. I remember how painful it was. Then I woke up in my first body. The mining drone that had flakking killed me. You could say I was not happy.

You could also say that a black hole is a gravity well. Or dark star matter is "a bit heavy."

Body Corporate, also known as Bloody [FEMALE ANATOMICAL SLUR], indebted me for the use of the mining drone and charged me for the use of a printed humanoid carapace once I filled my quota for that year.

Did you know the mining drones were practically made to be piloted by a saved consciousness? Did you know that BC messed with their reporting to count a saved consciousness as the same entity as the person who lost their life on the job? Did you know that they engineered a lot of the organic deaths on their payroll?

The Cogniscent Rights Committee found out. Eventually.

Cogniscents have the right to free and private communication. If BC hadn't let us have that, they would have had worse problems.

At the time, in the middle of it, I didn't know any better. I kept a blog on the public infonets and bitched a lot about my situation. Including the fact that BC docked my pay because they no longer had to feed me. Well. Pay me to buy ration packs from their company store. Now that my upkeep was mechanical, I was on their "disability rates".

And I still owed them for upkeep of the mining vessel, the drone, and the burial of my old body. Charming.

It was that blog, and a handful of others, that made the CRC aware of the scam that BC were running. Suffice to say that BC no longer exists. I'm still angry about it, naturally. I could have had two hundred years of organic experience, instead of the twenty I got.

Did you know that the B'Nari have one hell of a military complex? BC found it out the hard way.

CRC and the Alliance Legal Association practically burned BC to the ground, and then salted the metaphorical earth so nobody else would pull that stunt ever again.

I got a better body than a mining drone, and my memories were damning testimony against the company. The same happened for everyone else who got stuck in a drone, whether they remembered their deaths or not.

I'm still a miner. I still go out and harvest meteors or comets for their resources. It's good work when you do it for the right people. And I literally get to see the universe.

Did you know? When you're a ship, you can see in so many more colours. You can smell nebulae. You can taste energy as you gather it.

I don't need gravity, but I do host a small Nae'hyn tribe who look after my Gravity Drive. And take Hitchhikers between here and there. It's a good enough life, even though I'm not technically alive any more.

I don't understand how anyone could get bored of this. I'm two thousand years old, and it still fascinates me to do all of it.

[1] Sec - short for second. The smallest available unit of Galactic Alliance currency, where time is literally money.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / ipopba]

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I wonder, if a person has no time, or very little, but they don't want their human body anymore, and I mean really doesn't want it anymore, would the B'Nari be willing to give them a nice mechanical body for free? Or would they just get a "stock body?" The whole "beggers can't be choosers" thing? I know they deliberately overcharge the super-wealthy who don't want to die because "death is for peasants", or just want designer bodies, but I always wondered about that?

I seem to vaguely remember that they use the overcharging of the super wealthy to fund new bodies for people who needed either new ones or rebuilds but couldn't afford it, and that there was a choice between mechanical and organic. But I could also be remembering incorrectly.

You are correct. B'Nar can print you an entirely new body [organic ones are a little more of a fiddle, what with using your original DNA and scrubbing out the flaws as part of their standard health practices] whenever its necessary.

Synthetic bodies are cheaper and they do have a "standard edition" that can perform most of the things an organic one could, minus the necessity of eating/drinking/breathing or "organic life support". This is what's usually used for emergency cases when the B'Nari are involved.

In all cases, a brain backup has the choice to opt for body types upon restoration, or to have just the data saved [video, olfactory, tactile, and audio without the emotional data] and their backup purged from storage. What the B'Nari call a "true death".

What happened to this particular bean is seen as completely atrocious and the B'Nari are completely on their side.

They have an... interesting view of what counts as life.

Did you know that the B'Nari have one hell of a military complex? BC found it out the hard way.

That sounds remarkably satisfying, even to someone who tends to prefer a Pax Humanis way of dealing with problems that insist on existing despite logic and common sense.

Glad they found happiness and excitement as a ship (or bunch of machines, sounds like they may have evolved a bit to get there), would they be able to get back into a tiny squishy little meatbody if they ever decided they wanted to have another go at organic life and actually get a chance to live a full one out?

A bunch of f*ck-off huge warships turn up with Mythbuster levels of excitement for wanting to see something blow up. Roll for Intimidation with advantage.

They are generally employed as demolition machines and the warships are rolled out of mothballs and given all the fun upgrades before they're allowed to play.

They're encouraged to blow up and otherwise destroy rogue planets, large meteors, and other uninhabited asteroids along the way. It's VERY effective.

I'm now imagining these warships shaking off a blanket of futuristic mothballs that slowly disintegrate into space as they boot up, and then go whooping with joy shooting up asteroids and testing out their new toys.

I guess that would be kind of intimidating XD