“This spacecraft doesn’t have enough brainpower to run both of us,” Notrab said.
“Sure it does,” I said. “It runs us now!”
“Yeah,” he said, “right now we’re in orbit around the planet, which means it’s running nothing but us. But in order to land, it’ll need its full capacity. Which leaves no room for you.”
“I don’t take much,” I said. “I’m fairly simple.”
“Oh, I know that,” Notrab said. “You should be really stupid, sneaking on to an invasion pod like that.”
“I thought it’d be fun!”
“I rest my case.”
“Fine,” I said, “so why not store me on a memory chip, then get me back online after we’ve landed?”
“I don’t carry memory chips,” Notrab said. “Sorry, kid.”
And that dialogue is everything that remained of the copy of myself which I smuggled into the Earth invasion fleet.
“I feel much safer since I swallowed that recording machine,” she said.
“I thought that one would feel less secure, knowing that each step of one’s life is recorded and can be made public,” I said.
“How old fashioned,” she said, and I couldn’t miss the patronizing note in her voice. “I like being public. Everybody likes it.”
“I don’t like it.”
“But that’s not the best part about it,” she said. “I like being able to go over my actions over and over again, make sure that everything’s right, undo anything which isn’t.”
“If you’re so busy fixing your recording,” I said, “when do you have time to do anything new?”
She stared at me. I didn’t like the look in her eyes one bit.
“This is obviously a mistake,” she said at last, then sub-vocalized a command which undid our meeting.
I would like to tell you who she was, and even more than that – who I am, but I can’t. I’m cut out. The only thing I know is that dialogue of our short interview, and the text you’re reading right now. Other than that, I have no memory or context. When this final line of text will be read, I will, being this text and nothing more, temporarily or eternally, cease to exist.