Minus A Conscience excerpt
Chapter 1: A life of Action
"I was scared before every battle. That old instinct of self-preservation is a pretty basic thing, but while the action was going on some part of my mind shut off and my training
and discipline took over. I did what I had to do."
Diego Martin Alphonse Dzerzhinsky. They just call me DMAD. I know I lead an existence of action and death but that is mostly all I know. Memory is a tricky thing when all that you have are mission reports and the slip ups my tenders make in between imprints. I know I was born a man and at the moment I think I am but I have no body to look at for evidence. It's in for a tune up while I enjoy the beach. Any thing to do with skill sets I get to keep and that helps me keep my mood up. I don't socialize much here except with my controller in between mission briefs. The docs say it wouldn't be a problem to retain some memory because I have no recollection of anything vital but Griegos gave no as the final word.
It is my opinion that the lack of answers to 'What is it you do?' is a good enough motivator to not socialize. Rebecca seems to sense that. I don't have a cover story that can be imprinted because of residual damage the process creates. If I had to imprint for both on and off mission it would cut my shelf life considerably. So I just meditate, read books and exercise, in and out of bed, between jobs.
Here's a first. Someone I don't know walking out of the water in my virtual. I've wished this place had more substance but I can't remember wishing for more people. Rebecca came jogging out of the hut and greeted the stranger, then led him over to me. I work alone so I don't really get this change and...well, could be fun. This was getting boring as hell.
"DMAD, I want you to meet Andrew McIntyre. He will be with you on the next two jobs on a loaner program for cross training."
I rolled over and stood up offering my hand. He looked at it then up at my face. "Think I'll virtually not shake that until I know you better. Recent lesson." This guy had steel eyeballs, no give ups except the smile but that could be anything.
"Good plan. What are we about now that I'm not working alone?"
Rebecca "Everyone eventually needs training for jobs DMAD. Even you were trained once, hard to believe I know."
This was very different. I don't joke much even outside of work and none at all during. She knows this, what is she playing at? I turned my full attention back onto McIntyre. "My question still stands unanswered."
McIntyre "I have to infiltrate and may be called upon to take decisive action without empathy. Your employers say that you are the best."
"You know who my employers are? Interesting. When do we leave?"
"Your avatar is about two hours out in real time. We can start the mission briefing now or wait until you are out."
"My preference is to wait until I am out and my imprint has taken. That way at mission end I can dump you and your details for...balance."
"Sure. Just one item though. You have no imprint for this job or the next. I will be the one imprinted."
I put up my hand. "You say I have a couple of real time hours?"
"I want you to use that time to go find a place and blank your mind. Calm yourself and get mission ready as you do? I will be doing the same as you have broken my comfortable routine. I will have to remember what we do and so far not doing that has made me the best. Do you get this?"
"Yes, I do. I'll see you on the outside."
I nodded then looked at Rebecca. "You knew this was coming. When?"
"A day ago. I didn't see any good in disturbing you. I don't know how long you will be gone and I wanted you to have some peace."
Realizing she meant it and was really just caring and not manipulating I pulled her to me and bussed her lips with a light kiss that got her to smile. Her lightly complected face with a scattering of freckles warmed the being I was in this place. "I'll be in the hut in a half hour our time. I would like your company."
She whispered "I would like that too Diego. I'll be there and I'm all about you until this business takes you from me."
I smiled and kissed her again before I walked off into the virtual bush while McIntyre just kind of phased out. So that's what that looks like.