I wanted to write something today and so I wrote this. Tell me what you think.
“Welcome to New Life, Incorporated!” exclaimed the handsome young woman behind the counter.
Thomas looked around the storefront business. A simple enough office, with calm to the eyes eggshell painted walls and the obligatory office art. Nothing screamed, “UNUSUAL!” in the room. A small counter with an attractive attendee. A few chairs. A coffee table with reading material seemingly purchased by a fishing enthusiast turned soap opera lover. The carpet a mild gray, with the chair upholstery to match.
Just an average office.
Thomas had been drawn to the store by the slogan out front, stenciled on a simple plywood board painted white that read, “Don’t like your life? Start again with NEW LIFE!”
“Ahem, hello,” Thomas coughed, almost timidly.
The woman smiled. She was attractive, but not quite beautiful. A noticable woman for her long red hair and animated green eyes, if nothing else. Average body, not distracting in any way. Her smile relaxed from her original apparent excitement to something more casual.
“I know what you’re thinking, sir. Were you just curious about the shop, or are you actively interested in a new life?” her eyes twinkled knowingly as she said it.
Thomas relaxed. “How about we just call it curiosity for now. Do you have a hand out or anything that I could look over?”
The woman’s smile turned tragic as she said,”I’m sorry, but we haven’t gotten any of our pamphlets in yet. I could give you a card with the web address, or if you have a few minutes I could just try to explain a bit about it to you.” The smile returned in full force as she said,”To be honest, this store is brand new, and you’re the first potential customer. I don’t have anything else to do right now, so it’d be a nice way to kill time, for me.”
Thomas chuckled. “Pretty, friendly, and wants a few minutes of my time? Why not?” he thought. Aloud, Thomas said, “Sure thing, I got nowhere to be right now, anyway.”
The woman’s eyes widened a bit, “Oh, that’s just great! Well, sit down in one of those chairs over there and I’ll come sit with you. Do you need something to drink or anything?”
“Naw, but thank you, miss…?”
The woman stood up, revealing that she was above average in height. Her dark green dress draped to just below her knees, revealing sensible shoes. Her pale skin, almost albino, made the color of her dress and hair and eyes just that much more vibrant.
“How about you just call me Maddy? What’s your name?” she asked, approaching and sticking out her hand.
Thomas took it in his. A delicate hand, soft and warm in his. The sensation made him smile. “Thomas,” he said.
They sat together, near enough to be conspirators or old friends. Maddy turned and regarded him, “Well, Thomas, I’m going to give it to you straight. I’ll practice my ‘pitch’ and you try to answer honestly. If you like any of our services offered, I’ll give you a nice discount on it for being so kind, ok?”
Thomas nodded, internally laughing. Salespeople always tried to sell, he supposed.
Maddy straightened, locking eyes with him. “Well, we offer a number of services. If you were having a hard time in your life and wanted to try to fix them yourself, we offer life coaching, therapy, and even have an in-house psychiatrist, if that would help.”
Thomas looked at her, “This a mental health place or something? I didn’t notice any Doctors names or anything.”
“No, that’s not our primary focus here,” she smiled. “We offer far more variety of options than any traditional office of that sort.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?” Thomas asked, intrigued now.
“Well, if you don’t have any mental health issues, we also offer the opportunity to begin a new life with a new identity, with options ranging from a simple change of identity to complete synthetic reincarnation,” Maddy’s eyes twinkled, her voice lowering as she said the words.
Thomas was nonplussed. “Complete synthro-what?” he said.
“Complete synthetic reincarnation. Let me tell you about it, ok?”
“Ok, but it sounds impossible, and I’m not religious,” said Thomas.
Maddy laughed a silvery little chuckle, “Nonono. This has nothing to do with religion or anything.”
“Ok, so tell me about it,” Thomas urged.
“Well, we take a complete and thorough map of your brain, all the neurons and such. We then do a few simple, non-invasive tests to map your memories and thought processes to the right neural pathways and their related genetics. We then use advanced techniques to transfer your knowledge and memories, the ones you choose, to electronic form. After that, we build a synthetic life form of whatever age you choose, from birth to age 25 with an informationally empty brain, using your genetic code as a blueprint, but allowing some random processes to effect the end result…” Maddy began.
“Wait a second. You make a clone of me?” asked Thomas.
“Not an exact clone. We just make one that is genetically different enough to be similar. It’s a new body, completely. We can even customize certain things for you, if you choose,” she smiled.
“What if I chose to be a child?”
Maddy looked at Thomas, “Then we would implant you as a fetus into the next available candidate. They would raise you to adulthood.”
Thomas thought for a second, and said,”What about my memories, my knowledge? What about my expertise?”
“All of those things could be input into your brain. There might be some degradation if you chose that route, as a brain is still forming at that point, and not fully developed, but your aptitudes and general knowledge would definitely carry over. You’d have to relearn your body and how to control and use it, but your knowledge would remain.”
Thomas’ mind spun. This was impossible, a fairy tale. “Are you pullin’ my leg?”
Maddy laughed, “Not at all. We have successfully done it over fifty times now. The oldest of them is now thirteen and studying aeronautics at MIT.”
“What happens to all the ‘old’ stuff?” Thomas asked skeptically.
“That’s why it’s a ‘new’ life. All property and assets transfer to us. You are declared deceased, and your body is delivered to the hospital of your choice with no signs of life.”
Thomas started at that. “You kill people?” he asked, aghast.
“Only the body, Thomas. Only the old you. Your mind, your awareness, is all transferred to the new you.” Maddy said softly. “That’s why we have the mental health team on staff, there’s no point in transferring a person with a mental illness unless that is the absolute last resort, but it’s a definite improvement to suicide, don’t you think?”
Thomas paused. It made sense, in a strange way. The idea was like a flame to kindling in Thomas’ mind.
“How much?” he asked.
“Like I said, all worldly possessions are transferred to us, with the exception of twenty five percent that can beallocated to beneficiaries. The amount of knowledge transferred is then based on your net worth, and there are grants for special considerations. Extreme valor, intellect, that sort of thing.”
Thomas pursed his lips. “Ok, so what’s the minimum for a full transfer to a fetus state with full knowledge?”
Maddy winked. “I mentioned a discount, so for you, Thomas, and only because you have been so nice, I’ll offer you the full package if your net worth is greater than fifty thousand dollars. That’s a ninety-nine percent discount, and we’d be using any viable organs to make up the cost difference.” Maddy paused. “Of course, you’d have to do it now. Today. This is a one time offer, because that way we could claim you as our first success at this location,” She whispered conspiratorially.
Thomas thought. At forty five years old, he had lived a decent life. He had a son about to start college, and his wife had recently died. His life insurance would keep his son taken care of for the immediate future, and his car, his baby, was almost enough to cover the cost by itself.
“Why not?” he said aloud.
Maddy smiled brilliantly. “Really? Oh my goodness, Thomas, I’m so excited, for both of us! My first sale!” She exclaimed, standing.
Thomas stood. He smiled at her exuberance and joy and said, “Ok, so where do I sign?”
I think this could turn into an interesting story. It smacks of several interesting philosophical and religious questions pertaining to identity and the soul. Let me know what you think!