I have never felt this tired in my life. I’m not even sure what time it is…just very late.
The entire day was spent at the intake office, and most of that in the medical wing, a very cold and sterile place. It reminded me of the hospital and my throat started to ache with memory.
They weighed me, tested my blood, scanned my brain, took tissue samples. I ran for what felt like hours on a treadmill, with tons of leads and wires strung from my body, feeding data to their equipment. They put me in a centrifuge to test my resilience against g-forces—at one point I was sure I would black out, but managed not to. That part was almost fun, actually! Like being on rides at the amusement park with Father as a child, only much more intense.
I think now they must know more about my body than I do!
I wasn’t told much, just led around and ordered to do this, that, and the other thing. Often, the personnel attending me would review results on their printouts or datapads, nod, make notes, and apparently mutter with approval. Half of what I did hear them say I didn’t understand at all. So much technical jargon!
…and then I died.
They don’t tell you that in the recruitment ads.
First they shaved my head. I was escorted, in my underthings, down a long hallway to a medical bay, and there I found…me. A copy…a clone of me, inert and lifeless inside a cryo tube. I recognized a few of the other applicants there, all of them shivering in little more than their skin, and all staring at copies of themselves, as I was. We laid down on hard, cold beds, and were…taken…a few at a time.
It was…odd, like going to sleep and then waking up to an out of body experience. The whole thing was relatively painless, yet I’m sure I felt myself being sucked out of myself. Then, opening my eyes and looking down on my now lifeless body… I can’t really put that into words. Not yet anyway. Maybe not ever.
I have implants now, five sockets along my upper back and neck that all capsuleers must have, and some wetware in my brain to accept inputs from the sockets. The skin on my back is still raw and I’m dying to scratch.
I had barely enough time to get used to what had happened before they hooked me up to a new machine and “injected” a number of “skillbooks” into my brain via the implants. Really, they’re just data modules… I can feel information accumulating in my mind, but until the module finishes compiling I can’t make use of any of it. It’s just…there…like a spot of fog, or a shadow at the edge of my vision. As soon as I try to focus on it, it moves away, just out of reach. Yet, each minute that passes brings the fog closer to me and into sharper detail.
I have so much to learn. These skills that are growing in my brain now are just the basics, rudimentary information about spaceflight and ships and the navy itself that I need to know before I can even think about taking on actual practical information. Most of what I need will be downloaded into my head this way, though they told me I’ll also have to attend actual training courses. They’re going to teach me manual flight too, just in case I wash out in the capsuleer program, and I’ll be tested regularly to make sure the injected skills have properly integrated with my brain…
My mind hurts, actually, with all the changes I’ve gone through today. I mean, I died. My head feels stuffed, as if a wad of cotton is in there, and the wad is full of bees. I could sleep for days. But I’m excited too. Now that I’m here, now that the deed is done, I know to the very core of my being that I made the right choice. I will be a capsuleer, of that I have no doubt. It’s only a matter of time.