Coffee With an Immortal

In a way, she was writing her life away. Her goal was, in essence, to end her own existence in the hopes of ensuring it would last forever. She pondered on this dichotomy while she stared out the window of her apartment, the trickling water on the other side distorting the ever shifting view of the city sprawling out before her. One hand ran over the cool metal of the chip-port laid into her neck, where the top of the spine meets the base of the skull. It was the hole through which she and countless others would try to rip their own beings out to be preserved forever. In the other hand, she nursed a black mug of freshly-synthesized coffee. It was the best errata money could buy, with the sort of dark aroma that warmed the entire body to its core. Her id wrapped itself in the scent, while her superego started wondering how well it would translate. Could olfactory sensors replace the flesh and blood of her brain and nose? Would the immortal woman she became still have the same deep, nearly spiritual connection to the scent? Her ego wrangled the two halves of herself, and spun her around to look at her workstation.

The best company-funded hardware running the newest company-funded software, housed in a comfortable company-funded apartment high in the skyline of the nicest city in which the company had a foothold, all built to facilitate her quest towards perfection. She set down her mug after a quick sip which she didn’t fully appreciate in the moment and sat down in front of the monitors. On the screens were her thoughts, memories, movements, every bit of data that her mind had given out over the previous twenty minutes. It was rendered in the form of raw code and a map of her neurons firing in a festive display of quiet existence. She could only stare. Logically, all of her being was represented here. It could be compiled and run to form a perfect simulation of her, given enough time. Yet, she reasoned, why did she still feel like she was simply herself? If she existed within this code, why was her being still trapped in the body she was born into? She took another sip of coffee, this time reveling in the hot sensation on her tongue; the bitter, earthy taste; the smooth texture. She shut her eyes, and she saw space.

Not space as most would know it — a field of empty blackness dotted with stars and nebulae — but space as she had come to know it. A mesh of data forming everything around her. Streams of information crisscrossed her vision, words appearing like waveforms and sights rendered from raw code to file to image. She could smell coffee, and the image of her mug appeared before her. Every little subconscious thought she had about coffee came to the front of her mind. Half-hearted dates over a cup in a smarmy-feeling café, late nights watching the cars dart by one another on the raised highways below her, early mornings scrambling to make breakthroughs.

She opened her eyes with a start. Her coffee no longer had its plume of steam rising up from the rim, and her hands shook. She wasn’t certain how it got there, but she felt the cool metal of a neural connector in her left hand. She brushed her thumb over the pins inside and took a long, shuddering breath. She needed to go back, to see the universe through her world of data. At the same time, she dreaded the perspective she would lose in another transition from the physical world into one where everything was laid out before her. She wasn’t certain if she could mentally stand much more of this addiction she’d given herself through her research. She gripped tightly onto the connector, and ran her finger over the rim of her mug. She contemplated what she truly felt when she was human, what world could even be called that of her human self. She reached a trembling hand up to insert the connector into her chip-port. It snapped into her spinal column, and the streams of data crossed over her vision as her consciousness became whole with its copy once more. Above the din of information, she could smell coffee.

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