Corpus Co., Part 2

Without the chatter of the salesman and the noise of his body the office was surprisingly quiet. Cut off from the showroom by panes of glass, all I heard was the hum of the table and the murmer of muffled voices from outside. I watched two synths holding a conversation through the thick window. Without hearing their voices it was impossible to guess whether they were men or women. The one on the left was held in the air by glowing gravity engines, bobbing side to side as it gestured to its companion with wiry steel tentacles. The synth on the right was a centaur finished in bronze, four segmented arms crossed across its gleaming chest. It was beautiful, but only in an artistic way. Could a synth love another synth? Stranger things had happened, after all.

For seven years running, Synth transplants had been more popular than cosmetic surgeries and gene therapies combined, and that trend was set to continue by all accounts. Two years ago, Aidrien Gessner of Switzerland became the youngest person ever to receive the surgery at the age of nine, and manufacturers estimate that in just twenty years a brain could be implanted into an LSIC immediately after birth. A Synth could simulate the full range of human senses, even surpassing them in the newest models. A brain in a Synth wouldn’t need sleep, food, or water. They would never get tired or sick or grow old. If the body was somehow damaged, and if the owner’s insurance was payed up, the brain could be transferred into a new body in minutes. With a Synth body, a person would become something quite more than human. You might go as far as ‘immortal’.

Immortal. The idea had almost been tantalising when I was designing the body, pieced together from designer catalogues and late-night sketches. No more injections, no more scans, no more surgery. Despite this, the thought that I would be making that cold metal shell my own and leaving my human body behind filled me with nausea. What was there to be afraid of? I would have my health back. After so many painful years, I would finally be free.

I watched the two synths outside for a while as they moved in silent conversation. Without hearing their voices, I could have easily forgotten that there was a human brain inside those strange machines. A few minutes passed and the one on the left bobbed out of view. Their companion watched them go, then cocked its head in my direction for a moment. If we locked eyes in that second, it could only have been in the technical sense. Its head was a featureless cube of black glass with a dim suggestion of colour behind it, like a bright light submerged in deep water. I marvelled at the alien appearance of it as it turned and trotted away. What would a synth think of an ordinary human like me, so plain in comparison? They were so divorced from ordinary human concerns of health and age that they might not think of us at all, seeing us as nothing more than passing scenery.

In front of me hovered the hologram of my medical scans, rotating gently in the showroom’s soft light. Even on a projection only a foot high, the black patches around my throat and lungs showed clear against the fuzz of the hologram, dark clouds against a bright orange sunset. I pressed my shaking thumb into the tablet’s glowing recess. There was a pop of heat as it scanned the thumbprint, and the pad faded from bright orange to a cool aqua.

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