Freg felt a ticklish sensation in his head as his eyes turned on. He was standing in a coffin-shaped metal container. His body felt stiff and slightly numb all over as he poked his head out of the box, his eyes traveling the room in jumpy segments. Cases like the one he was in lined the walls of the small white room, some empty and others with bodies in them, expressionless, and standing straight up like identical toy soldiers still in the box. By the door a woman in blue scrubs bent down at one of their feet, plugging a cord in.
Realizing he was in a hospital, Freg brought his hand into view, and seeing it had none of his familiar freckles, a lighter skin tone, and the hairs on his arm were slightly too dark a shade of a brown, he looked back at the woman and said, “Oh damn it. Did I die again?”
The nurse stood up and turned to face him. “Oh. Mister…” the pretty young woman looked at a screen on the underside of her right forearm, “Johnson,” she finished.
Stepping closer to him, she looked at his eyes and asked, “You uploaded quickly. How do you feel?”
Freg answered, “Fine. Well, stiff. And numb. And like I just woke up from a coma, but my first conversion was way worse. How did I die this time?”
The nurse paused for a second. “Why don’t you tell me?” she replied. “Can you remember at all?”
Freg strained trying to recall the events leading up to his death, but it was like trying to remember a dream after waking up. An image of fire and a sensation of hot pain all over shot into his mind. He shuddered.
“I remember renting some wind-racers and driving up to the Rockies with a few buddies. I take it things didn’t go well?” He frowned and the shape felt even more awkward and unnatural than the rest of his movements.
“No,” the young woman answered, choosing an odd time to crack a smile, “Not really. Next time you fly in a solar powered wind-racer, you might want to do it on a sunnier day. According to my chart, your racer’s battery died and you crashed into the side of a mountain. You don’t remember any of this?” Her eyebrows arched.
Pausing, he tried to recall the memories, but “nothing’s coming,” he said. “I have a flash of the moment it happened, but before that, I just remember the drive up. Every other time I died I remembered everything like it just happened. Is this bad?” he asked worriedly, but his voice through the speaker in his throat sounded choppy and emotionless, like a bad actor reciting lines. At least it was his voice, or close to it.
“It’s probably nothing,” the nurse told him. “Each experience is different. You likely damaged your hippocampus in the crash, so your short-term memory didn’t convert to long-term memory. You seem to be behaving normally, and your other memories are still there, correct?”
He remembered the questions he had been asked to test his memory after previous incidents, and said, “That thing on your arm is a CyboTab implant. It’s 2095. This is St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado of the United States. There are fifty four states, fifty five soon if the Cuba thing happens. The President is Anna Langley. My name is Freg Johnson. My wife is Julia, and we have three kids, ages seven, eight, and thirteen. We got the older two from Japan, but the youngest, Tam, is ours naturally. So yeah, I guess my memory’s alright.”
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