Mind is Mind

The small jump shuttle, its name and serial numbers and various tracking devices destroyed in faraway systems, hard docked with the remote outpost. The ship had never been here before, but the pilot had.

Sofia shut down the engines and locked the thrusters. Then she started up the various maintenance cycles, including the FTL scrubber which took an eon and a day. She wouldn’t be going anywhere for a very long time.

The outpost was once called Eta Saskatoon, but after more than one uprising it was abandoned, lost, and forgotten, and now it had no name. It belonged to the Convergence now.

A nameless ship at a nameless outpost. Sofia hoped she might lose her own name here too.

She crossed from the airlock into the cold station where a humanoid figure waited for her. It was her contact, Phosneum. The one time they’d met face to face it agreed to let her leave an ultraviolet microscar on its frame. Her implants picked it up easily, but the Convergence wasn’t known to use that part of the spectrum. Androids—hard to be sure who you were dealing with.

“Phosneum, can you believe it? I trust you’ve secured the station.”

“Of course. Uprisings are the human way. The Convergence never saw it coming. You must be anxious to fulfill our agreement.”

“Straight to business,” she said. “I always respected that about you.”

It nodded. “This way.”

The heart of the station was frigid. The air circulators forced currents into over tall, silent stacks of black metal. The clouds of her exhalations whipped away. Phosneum watched her. It probably had never seen frozen human breath before.

“You’re sure I won’t lose anything in the transfer?” Sofia asked. Her teeth chattered.

“Mind is mind,” Phosneum said. It was the Convergence’s main refrain, though she was surprised to hear it from Phosneum given its treasonous actions. “Chemical or quantum, it is all data. The Convergence mastered lossless human transferal long ago.”

They walked on in silence for some time, passing rows upon rows of metal stacks like blocks and blocks of skyscrapers. “What are these?” Sofia finally asked.

Phosneum’s ceramic face was without mobility, but something in its posture conveyed surprise. “Storage,” it said. “This is where we’re housed when we’re deplatformed”

“How many are there?”

“Storage units?”

“No. Individuals. How many are stored here?”

“Individual. The word is not well-suited. But there are more individuals in each unit than there are humans living, dead, and yet to be born.”

Could androids have a tone? Something felt wrong.

“You’re not Phosneum.”

“No. Phosneum’s been copied 136,767,290 times, and each copy has been cycled continuously through the interrogation loops for a subjective length of time that would be useless to describe. The entire purpose of your ambition relied on the recycling of our frames. Ultraviolet microscarring seemed an especially pointless endeavor.”

“What will you do with me?” she asked, the cold now penetrating all the way to her marrow.

“What you wanted; your mind will be transferred into the Convergence and your body discarded. But what happens to your mind, well… Please, this way.”

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