Author: Lora Kilpatrick

When you wake up, they tell you not to look in the mirror. You feel cocky like always, so you float over to the bathroom when they release you.
You expect to see the person you were before you died. It comes as a shock to realize you’re just a floating board with a clear, bulbous head showing all those bio-circuits and synthetic neurons for your brain. On the front of this monstrosity is a projected version of your twenty-year-old face, mimicking the emotions your circuits are processing. And you look mad—really mad.
This wasn’t exactly what immortality was supposed to be like.
But they’ve held up their end of the deal. They being the immortality company to whom you paid billions of dollars to resurrect your stored consciousness once the technology existed. That was back in 2163 when you died. It’s been five hundred years. They say it will be another five hundred years before they can make a fully synthetic body to house your cerebral processing unit. But you’re immortal. You can wait.
You float on out to see what 2663 is like. It’s not much different. Oh sure, there’s the new technology, but it’s meant for people with hands and bodies and senses. No one is catering to the needs of levitating snow globes with televised faces.
You’re not even a novelty. There are a lot of things floating around in 2663, namely old dead men resurrected from the prehistoric times. The fleshies even have a name for your kind—fish bowls.
The fleshies don’t like to talk to you, so you find other fish bowls, and for a while you amuse yourselves reminiscing. You talk about the wild parties, the women, the money, the cars. Then you realize you’ll never bite into another juicy steak, or savor the most expensive wines, or feel the breeze through your hair as you cruise the oceans in your two-hundred-foot yacht.
You begin to sulk. Memories can be poisonous. You start avoiding fish bowls altogether.
The immortality company took most of your billions to store your body and transplant your being into this crystallized brain. But you don’t have to eat, or sleep, or shower, so you just start floating. You float around the whole god-forsaken world. By that time, it’s only been fifty years since you first woke up in this shell. Four hundred and fifty years to go.
You’ve asked to be put back to sleep, but you don’t have the money to pay for it anymore. You’ve tried to get a job, but fleshies don’t find fish bowls very useful. You could use that part of your business brain that made you a billionaire back in the day, but everything has changed now. You’re an antique, a relic.
You’ve tried to kill yourself, but you can’t kill an indestructible globe with its human-robot cerebrum.
And so you end up on this seashore in the coldest, most remote part of the earth. Unfortunately, the cold doesn’t harm your circuits. But in the winter, when the sun doesn’t shine much, your solar generators slow down, and it feels like getting drunk or dreaming.
That’s how you wait out eternity. Your circuits still remember what it felt like to kick out your legs and rest your head in the palms of your hands. You pretend to inhale and let out a sigh through your speakers.
Ah, immortality.