When I woke up in what laid claim to the lofty label of “clinic”, I took it slow. The nerves of the used-new body needed a little time and practise to work together well with my old brain. When the pins-and-needles feeling crested, I started wiggling my fingers and toes. Working up from there, I met no problems. At some point my doctor-technician arrived, but she didn’t rush me. I paid her enough.
The new body was a pretty standard model, outwardly human, black hair and almond eyes. Shorter than my old one, I was reminded when sitting up on the edge of the bed left my feet dangling high in the air, but I’d get used to it. I liked the point symmetry of the ID that came with it, the main components swashes over the left temple and right jaw. I rubbed over those lines, even though the skin there did not feel different, which prompted the doc to ask a question.
“Want to test yourself if the re-keying worked?” the doc said.
I shook my head. “I trust you.” Close enough, anyway. And if she wanted to fool me, she could have rigged the test equipment.
“Thanks. We had no problems with the other brain, either. Everything as you requested.” Keyed to my old ID, transplanted to my old body, motor functions disabled.
“Very good.” I would arrange an accident. With just a little more record-cooking, I would be dead.
A completely different man with no family and friends, whose social anxiety had got so bad he had even stopped seeing his shrink, would start over. Background like that is why you pick a mark. The nice ID was just a bonus.
The diving holiday had been a good idea, Hal decided. There was a fascination to watching the living corals and the fish and invertebrates among them in their own element, a thrill to entering an unfamiliar world you could never reach on screens. He swam on leisurely, trying not to startle the permanent residents too much, looking for fresh sights.
He nearly had a heart attack when something found him, a slim shadow bigger than a human, bristling spines and sharp teeth, shooting from its hiding place at him. After the initial shock, he recognised his wife. Her ID seemed distorted over the fanciful sea-monster face, as his must be, too, but still unambiguously hers. When she reached for him, he raised a webbed hand to trace the symbol's lines, not embedded into the skin as they were used to, but applied decals.