All my life, I’ve been told that capsuleers are immortal.
It’s what the news anchors said, it’s what the tabloids said, it’s what the cloning companies said, it’s what my family said. It’s what I was told when I signed up, it’s what I was told in training, and it’s what I continue to be told now, both by corporate, and by other capsuleers who have died and lived a hundred times.
When a pod is breached, the transneural burning scanner takes a snapshot of the pilot’s brain, and then transmits that data to a cloning facility where it is implanted into the brain of a cloned body, allowing the person to live on. And I am told that the pilot’s consciousness - the stream of experiences and self-awareness that make that specific pilot who they are - is preserved, unbroken, through this process.
But that just… doesn’t make sense! The process I just described doesn’t involve moving the brain - or the consciousness it contains - from one body to another! It creates an inanimate digital scan of of the brain, which then dies, and proceeds to recreate that scan inside the brain of a completely different person! What this means that the person who died isn’t the same person who wakes up in the cloning bay! They can’t be, it’s scientifically impossible!
And yet, even though everyone knows perfectly well how this process works and should understand its frightening implications, it feels like I’m the only capsuleer who is still terrified to die out there! Why am I the only one who seems to understand that when a capuleer dies, they still lose their life! The fact that some impostor will wake up with your stolen memories shouldn’t be comforting to you guys, so why is it?!
I realize that most capuleers confront this at the end of their training, when they make the “transfer” into their initial clone. I suspect the reason for that step is to prevent cases of death anxiety in capuleers, like what I’m going through right now. A lot of trainees can’t bring themselves to take that final step, and by all accounts, I should have been one of them. But I - in my typical, self-sabotaging way - managed to suppress my fears and suspicions about the cloning process at the back of my mind for five years straight, only for them to return as I was lying in the operating room, about to receive my first transneural scan.
When I woke up in my new body, it hit me all at once. That I wasn’t Alicia Nguyen. That Alicia Nguyen was dead, and that I was a fake. I grieved for her, for the person who used to be me. For that young woman who had her life cut tragically short, never to experience the future she was promised as a capsuleer… the future that I stole from her!
And the worst part is… it feels like I’m the only one going through this. Every other capsuleer I’ve met - if they aren’t completely desensitized to dying - at least believes in the idea that they will continue to exist after being podded. Why am I the only one who doesn’t feel immortal? Why am I the only one who seems to realize that - logically - the cloning process can’t make me immortal?
I’m still relatively new to capsuleering, and I really don’t want to die again. I don’t want to lose this life. And I don’t want the person who wakes up with my memories to feel the pain I felt, when I realized that the person whose memories I had taken - a person who, in that moment, I loved like a sister - was no more.
Anyway, thank you for reading. I understand that this Summit does not necessarily exist for rich, sheltered Gallenteans like myself to vent and complain about our posthuman pseudo-godhood. Yes, I know I need to “HTFU” and so on and so forth - I’m sure that will come in time - but right now, I just… need to get this out there. I need to know that somewhere in New Eden, there’s a capsuleer who understands what I’m feeling right now.