Cheating Humanity

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In this world, death was rarely the end of a person’s troubles.

The very rich were able to cheat death with brain uploads and newly-generated bodies. These members of society’s upper echelons were called Meths, and the origin of that nickname was often debated. Some said it was short for “methods,” while others said it was a reference to drugs. Origins aside, these elites had sequestered themselves into their floating cities in the sky. Some were even available to afford their own buildings, floating separately from the main cities.

Edward Kirk was one of these Meths, recently re-incarnated from a very unfortunate accident. He stared outside one of the many windows of his floating mansion, waiting for his visitor. One aspect of Meth life that was a poorly kept secret was the fact that one did not have to be very rich to receive a brain upload. The opposite was true as well, in a way. The very poor would sometimes be uploaded and placed into new bodies so that they could serve the Meths, regardless of whether they wanted to be or not. In fact, sometimes, being too useful to society could get someone uploaded after their death as well, which made it hard to tell if death meant anything for sure in this country.

Such was the case for Ryan Dunn, a detective whose investigative skills solved numerous crimes while he was alive. At least, when he was alive the first time around. The government found his ability to root out the culprit very useful, and so he was promptly uploaded into the “brain banks” for the use of privileged citizens. Edward had asked for Ryan to be re-incarnated to solve a personal mystery: his own murder. His memories surrounding the event were incredibly hazy, and he wanted the person responsible apprehended at once.

Edward sighed and tapped his foot against the ground as he waited and tried to figure out which rival had attempted to assassinate him this time. There were a few other Meths he was business rivals with, but he’d thought they would all be smarter than to actually try to kill him. A poorer person wouldn’t be able to reach the Meth city his mansion hovered around, so that ruled out any jealous “groundbies.” Still, even among the Meths there were some that just weren’t as rich as the others, so maybe there was some theft plan in the works.

Finally, Ryan entered the room, scratching near his bushy mustache. “Mr. Kirk, I’m finished with the investigation.”

With a surprising spring in his step, Edward pivoted on his heels and advanced on Ryan. “What did you find? I’d love to know whose mind I can get uploaded into a vacuum cleaner.”

“Well.” Ryan looked around awkwardly, then sighed. “The answer might be a bit hard for you to take, so I ask you listen with an open mind.”

“Hard for me to take? What could possibly be that shocking?” A slight dread crept into Edward’s mind, but he had faith in this great detective.

“Mr. Kirk, all signs point to you having killed yourself,” Ryan said, trying to keep a straight face. “Perhaps you’re still suffering from what they call ‘resurrection blight,’ which would explain why you remember nothing about your death, but witnesses have told me a story that adds up.”

“Is that so?” It sounded too good to be true for Edward. “What have these witnesses told you?”

“They explained the sudden failure of one of your business contacts to produce a key component for a future plan, followed by your dramatic depression and subsequent attempt to throw yourself off the edge of your office block. Ordinarily, the gravity generators would have stopped you, but you managed to jump just as one was malfunctioning, causing you to crash into the floating ground and die.” An awkward silence ensued before Ryan filled in some more details. “These were all workers in your office telling me these things, so, trustworthy individuals.”

Edward was left speechless. This was not what he wanted to be told. He wanted to hear that he could get some rival’s mind uploaded to some wildly inconvenient location, not that he had killed himself in a fit of pique. Finally, he managed to stutter: “I… I think you should leave.”

“It would be my pleasure,” Ryan said, tipping his hat. “You Meths hate wasted money and I hate wasted time, so… I suppose I’m headed back to sleeping on some server. Goodbye, Mr. Kirk.” With that, he exited, leaving Edward to gape at his own foolishness.

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