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Psychological Reassignment -- Case HM-474-353-893
by Michael Bard
Michael Bard -- all rights reserved

"Mr. James Edwards, you have been judged mentally and psychologically incapable of functioning in modern technic society." The first judge shuffled his papers before continuing. "As per the case of Wayne Gilden vs. Lunar Government, it is illegal to psychologically modify you into a functioning member of society. Therefore the state will modify you into a form which psychological state best matches your own. Do you have any final words?"

There was silence for the requisite amount of time.

"Doctor," the second Judge said, "you may begin the operation."

With that there was a hiss as a general anaesthetic was injected. Plexiglass panels closed and nanites were released to sterilize the operating area. A tank of neutral oxygenated fluid rose up containing the clone body of James' new form.

The first judge turned to the second, only partially paying attention to the procedure which law required him and his companion to oversee. "Jack, are you sure this is right? We could use our authority to delay the operation."

Behind the barrier, automated machinery began cutting holes in the two skulls as the doctor, more of a computer technician these days, watched.

"Damon, you were there when the ruling was made. We can't afford the food and air allowance for a person incapable of functioning in our society. You have to admit that this is better than putting him in stasis until we can."

"Oh come on! Old Earth managed."

Jack pointed up at the ceiling. Beyond it, beyond the rock, beyond the vacuum, was the dully red-glowing sphere that had once birthed human life and civilization. "And look where it got them."

Behind the barrier microscopic machines were released into James Edward's skull and began the complex process of cutting the base of the spinal column. Others in the new body began the same process with the non-formed brain of the technically alive clone.

"It would be better if we could fix his psyche--"

"You know that that is simply another word for killing the individual. Sure, you get a new person, ready and able to function, but it is a different person."

Gears whined and hydraulics hissed as a glimmering chrome arm moved into James' skull. Larger nanites oozed out from the end, and linked together into a cup that held and suspended James' brain in an oxygenated fluid. Engineered viruses were released and modified the genetic code of the brain cells to match the code of the destination body. Another arm scooped out the useless brain of the clone body.

"I don't know if this is any better of a solution."

"We don't have the resources to allow him to stay in his cubage and watch vids. This way--"

The machinery removed the brain, its entire structure coated in what looked like glistening black rubber. The arm moved the brain over to the clone body and there was a gloop as it was pushed into the neutral oxygenated fluid and then gently moved into the now empty clone skull. The linked nanite chains moved back into the chrome arm revealing the brain as other nanites were released and begin linking the spinal column to that of the new body. Another arm moved down and replaced the missing piece of skull, releasing nanites that swiftly manufactured and emplaced replacement bone to seal the clone's head, leaving only a tiny hole for the nanites still inside to escape. Machinery cooled the fluid slightly to counteract the heat generated.

"--this way he provides psychological relaxation for society."

"And maintains living samples of genomes for when we can finally return to Earth."

"Some day--"

The two judges watched as the nanites finished their work, and the skull was sealed. The overseeing doctor checked readouts, and certified the operation complete and successful. Both judges looked at the display screen on the desk before them, and both verified that the neural patterns were unchanged. And that James Edwards still existed as a mentally unchanged individual.

"That takes care of another one Jack. Do you think any of them are happy?"

"We know that they are. Psychology is no longer applied mysticism, it's an exact science. He'll be happy in the Arizona Disneyland."

Machinery whirred and the two watched as the giant black-tailed jack disappeared. It was vaguely similar to the extinct earth species, but with a much larger head that could only be supported in the lower Lunar gravity. Soon it was on its way through service tunnels and transport tubes to be decanted in the immense hollow cave blasted beneath the lunar surface. A cave that had been modeled into a duplicate of the wilderness of Arizona on the now uninhabitable Earth.

The old human body was taken away to be ground up and recycled for its component materials.

"Who's next on the case list?"

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Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard.  Please send any comments or questions to him at mwbard@transform.com