I wake up slowly. My body is... weary and stiff. Like I haven't moved in a long time. The thing under me is not my bed, and I don't have any covers on... although it is comfortably warm. My eyes flutter open. Soothing, candle-like artificial light shows me that the tube I'm in is pretty small, and lets me see that I'm wearing jeans and an old T-shirt I haven't seen in a while.
Where am I? I don't remember going to sleep. What's the last thing I remember... It feels like forever ago, but I think the last thing I remember is dropping by Re-New. I was... going to go check out a hunch I had about Vana.
A computerized voice begins to play. "Good morning, Inka! You are in a Re-New Revification Station. Unfortunately, this means that your original body has died."
Damn. I was afraid of that. So that's what I did with this shirt.
I rub my eyes. My joints still feel so stiff.
"For your privacy, Re-New does not collect data about your cause of death. You are being awakened here because we haven't received biometric data from your implant for the time you set: One week."
One week? I've been missing for one week? I thought I set this timer to a day.
Maybe I had a good reason for that...
The automatic announcement continues her drone. "Please note that only one backup per unique individual can be stored. Conflicting bodies are not permitted. Thank you for trusting Re-New. We recommend a short physical therapy session before returning to your life. Counseling about your death is also available. Speak to the attendant at the front desk."
The tube slides open, letting me out into a small room with bays for other tubes. As I step out of the tube, it slides back up out of the bay. I'm not interested in physical therapy, though, I want to know what happened. I would have taken a voice memo and uploaded it to my cloud account before I did anything like that.
There's a cubby next to the bay I was in with a bag of mine. I reach inside and pull out my backup phone, entering my password and tapping open my voice memo app.
As the app syncs with the server, my old memos disappear one by one.
A new memo that I don't recognize does appear in there, though. It's from a week ago.
Hesitantly, I open it. I'm not sure what I'm going to find.
"I really hate snoops." The voice is heavily distorted; I can't tell whose it is.
Behind it, I can hear a soft gurgling, punctuated by squelching sounds. And a voice. It's muffled, but I can tell that it's my voice. "Please, just let me out of here..."
My first reaction is being impressed that they managed to isolate and distort only their own voice. My second reaction is a surge of horror as I realize that I'm listening to my own last moments.
"You shouldn't have been poking around, girl. Consider yourself lucky I didn't just delete your entire account with Re-New. A week should be enough time for you to think about what you've done. And enough time to track down that cute friend of yours. The blonde."
Lissie. My hands are tingling, and I feel faint. Lissie... I can't switch away, though. I have to hear the rest.
I'm whimpering on the recording. "N... nh... please... Va... na..."
I flinch as a noisy baAUUUUUUURP erupts from the phone speaker.
When it's over, the burbling sound is a lot calmer. And there's no more protesting from me. The distorted voice - Vana's, I think - speaks up again.
"When you hear this... Just think about what you're getting yourself into before you come back. You won't get another warning. And I won't need another excuse to add you to my thighs permanently. You were a much better meal than a spy."
The app gives a pleasant chime as the memo ends.
I have to call Lissie.
What have I gotten myself into?