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Heads and Tails

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"I think the next time I snatch a friend from the entropic clutch of death I'll put them in something other than my spare personal bioshell."

"I said I was sorry."

"It's quite alright, if I'd been knocked out in a fight and my senses scrambled I might have taken a blind swing too. Still. I thought psychokinesis would have taken a little longer."

"Apparently if you panic badly enough about missing appendages something decides 'move things!' means move them with anything you can?"

"And that arboreal species throw like dar-ííche, not flatlanders, even if you're flailing in micro-grav."

"Micro-gravity is just fine, but I don't have my tail. Why don't YOU have a tail? A tail is a wonderful balance organ. Spacers all should have tails."

"I am going to take you to a spacer bar back home just to watch you tell people that, I'm curious how they'd react."

"...mocking me for nearly breaking your ship with your borrowed shell?"

"Don't be foolish, they'll scold me for not locking it down before I loaned it to you. Maybe tell me I should have instated you in a nice sim first to adapt. I... probably should have paid more attention to the manual on that bit."

"So there's no way I could have broken anything from inside your ship's computer?"

"That may be an excellent point. As soon as we're out of occlusion I'm downloading both manuals."

"Okay. Do you have my... previous corpse?"

"I really can't put you back in that, it has holes in it!"

"I remember that bit. Vividly. I get some sort of... ultratech thing to NOT have to feel getting hurt like that again, right?"

"We can even get someone to remove or dull your memories of sort of dying once we get back to civili- to somewhere with a proper medical center. But seeing the damage will make that harder, not better."

"That... makes sense, and is disturbing, thank you, but I need my... whatever the word is for body-I-am-not-in, because my society uses biometrics for identity confirmation!"

"Ah. That's..."


"Currently very inconvenient."

"My head, at least? Teeth are durable, I can use my dental records to prove it's my head."

"I thought your species shed teeth?"

"Yes, but the wear patterns are distinctive and mine were recorded a few weeks ago, teeth survive crashes better than DNA."

"So what happens when you walk planetside with a severed head?"

"...oh merciful moonsisters, they're not going to accept that I'm me, I'm going to get arrested for my own murder and declared dead. My will is in a horrible state, my splinter-shard are going to kill me all over again for dragging them into this."

"Breathe. Do you want me to override your respiration?"


"I'm pleased you're having a crisis about this and not whether souls transfer?"

"You're still terrible at being comforting, but so am I. I just... I feel like me. A very squashed, misshapen version of me missing a few limbs feeling like I'm in a nightmare but dysmorphia is fixable, this is fixable, I can... figure out how to reclaim my bank account and figure out how to buy a body that has a TAIL and give you your shell back..."

"If your government wants to be stupidly ephemeralist I will buy you a suitable new bioshell myself."

"If I have to establish a whole new identity due to being dead-but-not-dead it might take me awhile to repay you. For this shell-loan too."

"There's no debt for the latter; I didn't have time to ask your consent before ripping your mindstate, so you CAN'T owe me. And when you go back and upset the ephemeralists by existing you're going to make them squirm in ways that make my qalasír very happy, so getting to keep your presence in the galaxy and spit at entropy and watch the drama is enough. I cherish you for thinking of it, though."

"When, not if?"

"When. I know you, you'll want justice. It's a little odd you haven't started plotting against the one who 'killed' you yet."

"...I can do that, can't I? Sweet blood, I can actually go and personally avenge myself, why hadn't I thought of that yet? I don't have to leave it to my splinter-shard!"

"I hope you'll let me join you. You should finish reading the instruction manual first."

"Let's just plot impractically poetic revenge on the murdering bastards until my mind stops gibbering about needing an instruction manual for the flesh I'm now piloting about, please?"