A buzzer rang in the dark. The lights turned on as Rick opened his eyes. He was confined within a white, sterile, and metal room. He knew where he was, but he wished it weren’t so.
“Salutations Rick, and welcome to Macau—Vegas of the Sea! This is your 57,053rd body. Your yearly mandated one-day work starts in thirty minutes. Is everything satisfactory?” said the robotic nurse within the walls of the Waking Pod.
He pushed himself from the metal, mostly vertical but slightly tilted back bed. As his feet hit the floor, the Pod door before him slid open. He stepped out, paused, and looked back inside. A trapdoor just beneath the bed opened. From the small opening emerged a new blank human template—seemingly rising from the void. It had no features, no personality, no spark of life. Two mechanical arms from each wall grabbed the body by the shoulders, lifting it entirely out from the trap door. After placing the body on the bed, a third mechanical arm from behind reached around and stabbed the body in the lower abdomen with a long needle. The machine hummed as it injected the body with nanobots, causing the body to slowly morph into something new—someone new. The door closed before Rick saw the end of the process.
He stood motionless in the Arrival Port. For the briefest of moments, the Port reverted to an airport terminal, where instead of Pods there were gates to planes. This vision of the past soon faded away like a mirage. He closed his eyes as he uploaded this vision to his Lifestream account. Lifestream: the comprehensive social media platform that integrated the digital and the physical. Saw something interesting? Take a mental snapshot and Lifestream it. Thought of something funny to say? Consider the words you want to say, record yourself saying them in your mind, and Lifestream it. Felt like venting self-righteous indignation about the topic of the day? Lifestream it in 280 characters or less. Rick, curious if any others saw a similar vision, mentally accessed the Lifestreams of those around them. While his eyes were closed, his mind’s eye saw what the people around him uploaded. He saw someone’s mental snapshot of the Arrival Port, he read another’s brief statement on why they hate the color teal, and he saw himself through the eyes of someone named Jade.
Rick opened his eyes and looked to his right to see his old friends, the Misfits. They were Jade, Winston, and he couldn’t remember the third one’s name. He froze like a deer in the headlights of panicked forgetfulness. They, sensing Rick struggled to remember all of their names, waited in dead silence. Instead of making a fool of himself, Rick closed his eyes and thought to himself: Computer, show me the last time I was with the Misfits.
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