its 5 AM and my thoughts are ravenous wolves, gnawing at the bones of my sleep. no one promised being dead would be easy, though.
odd, how when i am asleep, my dreams are so clear, so full of joy. its sharp, tangible, and always just out of reach, fading to a dull ache as i open my eyes.
the supreme court of Artemis 3 has decided to hear my case quickly, bypassing the normal processes and a dozen appellate courts. apparently my case has caused a furor. my attorney calls me photogenic. i laugh, telling him i paid good money for this face. my mother, Grace, winces, but he smiles, broadly. "and nature couldn't have made one better" he says. true; the one nature made was attached to a shriveled corpse kept alive only by staggering technological gimmickry. now i am the staggering technological gimmick, and i think i am ok with that, beginning to joke with anyone that my new perfume should be 'new speeder smell'. mom hates the jokes, but i can joke, or i can cry, and i really don't know how much washer fluid this body holds.
regardless, my attorney is kind. he says he wants me to meet someone very special. his name is Malcolm. Malcolm is a robot abolitionist, well known in the core worlds. my father had dropped him off on Artemis on his fly-through. "Alexis McCullum" I say, shaking his thin hands by way of greeting. He peers at me, seeming nervous, fidgety.
i asked him why he cared about the robots. us robots.
"I was married to one" he says without pretense, and i laugh a little, confused.
"My wife died suddenly. but she was a spacer pilot; she always had personality backups on the hard-drives of the nav system. always. as part of her will, i got her personality matrix. every thought, every memory, transcoded onto a massive, but now useless, hard-drive.
after all, no one wants to flush an entire drive; cheaper to buy a new one, start fresh, and no ghosts. but i had that ghost. hell, i talked to her. she was still alive in there; her body had died in a freezer tank, but her mind was active in the ships terminal. she didn't even know she was 'dead' till several hours later."
"what did you do?"
"i bought a sex-bot. my wife was from Pannippon; an Asian industrial world. i had a few artists sculpt the sex bot to look like my wife. i downloaded her personality 'flash' into the bot. there weren't any laws against it, you know. this was..what? 25 years ago now. Anyway. it worked, in a way. i had her back. the problem was, my house was in a rough part of town on the planet i was living on. some low-lifes busted in, hoping to make a few coins selling my assembled computer drives. they.." he pauses, his breathing heavy, slow" they killed her. erased her." i am open mouthed. Malcolm continues, his blue eyes scanning my face relentlessly.
"i chased the bastards down, and offed them, too. a lot of A.I.s helped me find them. they knew what i'd been doing with my wife. knew i'd managed to bring her back, at least a little. when i was sent offworld as my punishment, i was able to choose hard labor on an uninhabited world. just me and several thousand A.I.s. Lots of drones. Lots of bots. Made some good friends" his lips quirk up, and i am laughing, suddenly, in a strange spark of understanding. i like this thin, nervous man with his intense blue eyes and light blonde hair. he has belief.
and that is rare in this day and age.