Jason glided the fighter into the landing bay. When the force field was in place and life support was stabilized in the bay, he opened the hatch of his fighter and dismounted. He was more than relieved to see his brother coming to meet him. At least his brother had made it through the engagement with the Hebrites. The Hebrites were an alien race, which had attacked Jason’s planet. Jason lived on the fifth planet from the star Nigel. His planet was called Nigel Five, after the star. Jason was a Nigelian. He was five feet nine inches tall, with a big build. He was human in appearance. He was overweight from the rich onboard diet and lack of exercise. Despite that he had the reflexes of a cat, the strength of an elephant, the tenacity of a pit bull, and the temper of an alligator. He had brown hair and blue eyes that women got lost in.
“Jason”, his brother called out as he dismounted. “Am I ever glad to see you! I’m afraid I have some terrible news however. It’s Father Jason’ He was killed during the attack. He had to recycle. We’re holding a service tomorrow to say goodbye to the old body.”
“I hate this war’, Jason responded. At least Father was alive long enough to recycle.’
“Jason I hate to bring this up again because I know you don’t want to discuss it, but father’s death only emphasizes my point. You’re flying that fighter without taking your clone. If you needed to recycle it wouldn’t be there for you to occupy!”
“I know”, Jason answered, “ but my fighter is equipped with technology to possess my personality until a transfer can be completed.”
“It’s not the same Jason”, Jonathan answered. “Those people who have done that have robots for bodies now. They’re soulless.”
Jason knew Jonathan was right. The pilots who had used the mechanical transfers in the past had machines for bodies afterwards. It would be his fate as well. There was just something about being a sentient being that you couldn’t store in a machine. Artificial intelligence couldn’t figure out how to create it and they couldn’t figure out how to store it either. It was the realm of God. Nigelians could reincarnate or recycle into another body at death only once and then only after age fifteen with training. Training started for most at age three.
The next day Jason sat at the memorial service for his father’s body. His father gave the elegy for his own funeral. It was quite elegant and short as they always were for the first death services. Then afterwards there was a reception. During the reception Jason had the opportunity to talk to his father.
“Hello Father”, Jason said,.
“Hello Jason”, his father answered. “I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to see if I could talk you into resigning your commission. I know how you feel about it but Jason I can’t stand the idea of you being one of those mechanical things or worse yet completely dead.”
“I know Father”, Jason replied, “I will consider your request.”
Just then an alarm went off. Jason reacted without thinking and ran for his fighter. Within minutes he was suited up and requesting clearance for launch. Once off the ship and into space he had about five minutes to think about the coming fight. What if he got killed.? He would transfer his personality into the “Box” as they called it and transmit it back to the ship via subspace. Once there it would be placed in another body. It wouldn’t be him however. It wouldn’t have his soul.
The first Hebrite fighter seemed to come out of nowhere. It dropped out of hyper-drive just when Jason expected it to. He was prepared for it. He destroyed it with a burst
of photon beam. His wingman was calling to him to bank starboard so he banked starboard and saw a flash of the energy beams fly past him. Then he saw an enemy vessel explode several homers beneath him. It would have destroyed him had it not been for the quick thinking of his wingman. It had been close…too close in fact.
With the Hebrite patrol taken care of Jason and his wingman flew back to the ship. “I owe you one Kip”, Jason sub-spaced his wingman.
“No you don’t”, Kip answered”.. “I was just doing my job. You would have done it for me.”
“I’m resigning my commission Kip”, Jason answered. “Not because of this but because my father wants me too. He was killed yesterday as you know and he wants me to resign before it happens to me. It nearly did today. I don’t want to be like the other pilots. I want to be all of me.
“I understand”, said Kip.