Cryoscan

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CRYOSCAN

For $38,000 Femina Caelestis bought a house and quite a large chunk of land in Nevada using Audrey's old name of Morgan Brooklyn to keep the feds from snooping around. The house was partly underground, completely hidden from the access road but as you drove around to the back, a wall of windows and a door were revealed, forming one face of a natural-looking mound.

It had been owned by a man, recently deceased in a gun accident, who considered himself a survivalist, someone who wanted to live through a nuclear war or the collapse of civilization. It had an extensive bunker and a partially completed system of tunnels.

CryoScan began converting the bunker into a freezer bank, using their experience acquired in the Seattle project. The house was remodeled with wheelchair access, not only for Samantha's sake but also for Jill, who arrived at the house shortly after it was prepared. They were a matched set, she and Samantha, but Jill could not leave her wheelchair while Samantha could.

You already know about the Cryo part of Cryoscan, Jill told Samantha, waving her limbs for emphasis, showing her the scars and and stumps of her arm and legs damaged by the spill of cold, cold liquefied air. Now let me tell you about the Scan part.

You think it's time? Shyla asked her.

It's more than time. Samantha doesn't have any time.

What we're going to do to you, Samantha, is the old bait-and-switch, Shyla told her, committing to this path with a sigh of both resignation and hope. We've got this company that offers a freezing service. That filters out the gals who aren't really desperate. The gals who come looking for us, the gals who want to have their corpse frozen for two or three hundred years, they are already crazy enough to try the most harebrained schemes ever devised.

And now we've lost our big court case, Jill put in, so whoever is still left is the crazy gal who is really desperate. You, Samantha.

That's the bait, Shyla said. Now we're going to show you our real specialty. What would you say if I told you that I am April Marely?

I would say that's too crazy even for me to accept.

You will not say that when we're through. And after that, we're going to offer to make you one of us. That's the switch.

So Jill and Shyla began to explain about another way, a better way, a way to continue with life without interruption by the death of her body. Jill and Shyla revealed their skull connectors to her.

So began the sales job that would make or break Femina Caelestis. They laid it all out on the line. They told Samantha everything that had happened to them up to that point.

Think of it this way, Shyla said. For one million dollars, you gamble that nothing will go wrong, that CryoScan lasts for centuries without going broke or getting sued, that medical science comes up with a way to transplant hearts, or an artificial heart or figures out a way to grow a heart from tissue in your spleen or something. And even then, you will only get a few more years or decades of life. But our other way gives you eternal life right now, guaranteed.

And how much would this different way cost me?

The whole $40 mil, Jill said. You become a full partner.

Who's body will I get? Yours? More life in a wheelchair?

This one. Shyla stripped herself naked and turned her remarkable body slowly for her inspection. Shyla was now wearing the body of Anita, formerly Linda Sunkel, who cleaned up good after getting off the streets.

Samantha's ears blushed red, for she had been raised in the Edwardian Age, but she continued to mull it over.

I know what you're thinking, Jill said. You're thinking that this whole thing could be some kind of elaborate hoax. But you are a very important customer to us, Samantha. So I've arranged a little demonstration that I hope will help you make up your mind. She wheeled out of the kitchen and they followed.

Jill scooted out of her wheelchair and sat down in the living room of the house, which had been prepared by Shyla with large sheets of wax paper over all the furniture and the floors.

I was going to do this anyway, she told Samantha, as if to apologize for what she was about to do. I'm damaged goods. At least this way I can go out with a useful sales pitch.

Her bandaged stump legs and stump left arm flailing there on the paper were grotesque, and Samantha looked away in embarrassment.

Don't take your eyes off of me, Jill warned her.

She reached under a cushion of the sofa she was sitting near and grabbed a handgun, put the muzzle in her mouth, and pulled the trigger.

Some of the contents of her skull cavity splashed against the wall behind her. Only her lower jaw and everything below it remained attached. Jill's nearly headless corpse leaned forward and spilled on the floor.

Samantha screamed at the sudden, unexpected horror of it and began to vomit, overcome with revulsion.

She's not dead, she's still safe in here, Shyla told her, pointing to the Purple Cable, which was attached to the Golden Gift. Still, they were practically destroying FC in order to save it. Shyla went over to the couch and retrieved a white shape, the remnants of Jill's modified brain. She showed it to Samantha when she was ready to look. The neck of the funnel terminated in a 55-pin connector.

This is just in case you thought the connector was some kind of cosmetic appliance just for show. No. This is all very real. Sorry about that dramatic scene. It was the only way to prove to you that we mean what we say. Eternal life is yours, and it's just a decision away. The choice is yours to make, Samantha. Will you accept the Change? Shall it be Cryo, or Scan?

Samantha was shaken by the demonstration, but it was utterly convincing. When she calmed back down Samantha realized that the reason for Shyla and Jill's strange confidence was all very clear to her. Eternal life? It was real! So she stepped over the edge, made a leap of faith, and came to a decision. I want to accept the Change.

A month later on the End Dome summit, at Samantha's Name Ritual, Robyn said, Take control of your destiny. Carve out your own free will. Discard your triple given names of Samantha Lee Addison and choose a single new name. But consider it well, for it shall be your name for all eternity. All your actions have eternal consequences now. Choose!

Let me be called Kaitlyn.

You are Kaitlyn, forever the fourteenth member of Femina Caelestis. Welcome to your new family. This is the ceremony of belonging, Kaitlyn. You are fully one of us.

She wanted to shout Thank You! but no words would come out. The entire experience was too much for her and she burst into tears.

After that it was time to make the money transfer, in the den of her own house near Mountainside, in the Rockies.

There was still one final hitch to overcome. Despite everything that had transpired, Kaitlyn still had one sliver of doubt, and she didn't want the transfer of money to go through until he was absolutely sure the transfer of her soul went through first.

Shyla made a safe copy of herself in data storage and then hooked herself up to Kaitlyn.

There was a strange sensation of dual-awareness as Kaitlyn found herself in both Shyla's body and her own. Through the Purple Cable could see that, yes, Shyla was telling the truth, she really had been April Marely. And Anita was in there too.

Kaitlyn pushed into Shyla's body until the final ratio of personalities stood at 71% herself, 21% Shyla, and 8% Anita.

The Shyla and Anita within her could conceal no secrets. It was sufficient to overcome the last of Kaitlyn's doubts. In fact, Kaitlyn was now embarrassed that she had ever doubted.

Kaitlyn removed the Purple Cable and she called Sid Drury, one of her accountants, into the room.

Now $40 million dollars was a lot of money for a single bank-to-bank wire transfer and so Kaitlyn had taken certain precautions. Both she and Sid had to give a verbal code. Kaitlyn didn't know Sid's code, and Sid didn't know hers. Even Sid's identity as the authorized accountant from a whole floor of accountants downtown was kept a secret from her until she saw his face just then.

The first transaction was the $40 million to CryoScan's account in a bank on the Caribbean island of Barbuda.

The remainder, $1,348,767.54, went to Sid Drury for his silence. As far as Sid knew, there was only the Cryo option, he knew nothing about the Scan option which Samantha had just taken. The money was given to him with the understanding that he was never to reveal the location of Samantha's body, which Sid assumed would just be in the freezers downstairs. In actuality, Robyn would erase the body from existence with the Golden Gift.

My family might think I went nuts at the end, Samantha explained. They might get a court order, thaw me out, and give me a proper burial. Just like Marely.

The real reason was to maintain CryoScan's anonymity. The wrong kind of publicity would mess up the next sale. Already Samantha was thinking like a full member of FC. She dismissed Sid from the room.

Your family is going to be less than thrilled about the missing money, Robyn speculated, as Kaitlyn reattached the cable between herself in her original Samantha body and herself in her new Shyla body. The minor differences in experiences that had accumulated over the last few minutes were ironed out smooth.

My children and grandchildren have wished me dead for a long time, both Kaitlyns said simultaneously, a very eerie effect. They can barely conceal their glee, hoping to come into their inheritance. Frankly, I wish I could see their reaction when they learn this news.

Robyn smiled. You know what to do now. Shut down operations in your old body. Let it go.

Samantha initiated the cardiac arrest that was only weeks in her future in any event, and with the Purple Cable still connected, the Samantha-body slumped in death. To Kaitlyn in the Shyla body, the twinned sense of self was no more, and her strangely twinned identity was rapidly diminishing to become one person. The transition was perfect. Truly this was immortality. She considered the $40 million a bargain.

How far back do you remember, Kaitlyn? Robyn asked her.

I can remember the 1800s.

You broaden and enrich FC's pool of memories. Welcome aboard, Kaitlyn. Welcome home.


In 1965 Mary Quant introduced, in Robyn's opinion, one of the greatest inventions ever created. The mini-skirt. It was embraced by Femina Caelestis with a passion, just in time for the Fourth Lustrum, which was Hunky-Dory's psychedelic period.

The eighth and final song on Hunky-Dory's 1960 proto-Goth album Suicide Club was One Way Trip and according to the rules of the band, the title of the last song had to foreshadow the theme of the album which was to follow five years later. The next album therefore was a half-hour freak out, a trip indeed. The band titled it Krautrock.

No one in the WDF actually used any drugs harder than marijuana. Robyn said LSD worked by creating a temporary psychosis, and if it was used too many times, there was the chance the psychosis could become permanent. Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd would prove that Robyn's warning was correct.

Sharing minds directly through the Purple Cable was a far better mind-bender anyway, and there were immediate sexual benefits.

But the members of Hunky-Dory were artists, and art could be interpreted in many ways. Dory's song lyrics may have had drug overtones to appeal to the record-buying market, but this was not intractably so. When Robyn sang Insane in the brain from windowpane this didn't necessarily refer to acid. Wink. Nudge.

Robyn used her Farfisa organ through an electronic phase shifter to create a droning backdrop so low and ominous that even Dory's growling bass lines were in a higher register. Hunky's drumming was as organic and improvisational as usual, but swooshed up and down in pitch as she hit the skins near the rim and moved to the center.

The big change in the band's sound was the use of an endlessly-repeating loop of blank tape to create a bizarre half-second echo while Jill did things like run a microphone stand over the strings of her electric guitar. Each echoed note would repeat for at least a dozen times before fading into an undifferentiated muddle of sound, and the repetitions would bounce between speakers. All of this made for some very strange music.

Another big change was in the structure of the album. There were still eight songs but these simply arbitrary names applied to regions of the album that were strung together with no actual breaks of silence. The only real break was between the two sides of the record. It was truly a contemplative album for fans who enhanced the experience with their favorite chemical aids.

The one single that was released from the LP, Your Mind On Five Dollars A Day, was remixed to introduce a fade in and fade out at the beginning and end of the song, and at four minutes long it was twice the length of the typical Hunky-Dory track from the beginning of their career.

As with the preceding Lustrum, their tour embraced the entire United States, but for the first time, Hunky-Dory toured overseas as well, a little splash back from the British Invasion, visiting both the United Kingdom and Germany.

Even the Beatles were influenced by this album, and they encapsulated its sound the following year on the bizarre final track of Revolver, titled Tomorrow Never Knows.

After the tour, Jill pulled rank and ordered Gina to enter Data Storage for a year while she used her body, which originally belonged to Inge Hahn.

Jill's plan was to try to strengthen Jerry's current 50 percent personality strength in the Erin Spencer body by breeding herself back into the Inge Hahn body again, which still had 21 percent of Jerry's personality strength in it. She figured that since Jill was a combination of Jerry and Inge, Jill would remain dominant at 58 percent to Gina's 42 percent.

She miscalculated things, however. The sudden elevation of the Gina influence had the effect of splitting the Jill personality into the original two persons, Jerry and Inge. Jill per se ceased to exist from that moment, and Gina knew it. In fact, only Gina knew it.

She decided to retain the name Jill however, and after a year, when the original Gina emerged from Data Storage, there would be two Ginas in FC, and they would Share via the Purple Cable. Gina vowed never to reveal to anyone what just took place, but this would be difficult, perhaps impossible, because if she discarded a body, whoever got it next would automatically know.

Such a person would need to be hushed up somehow.

The false Jill took out a notebook to chart what happened, much as dog breeders do, and she plotted a multi-decade route to multiply herself within Femina Caelestis. While she contemplated her notes, she pinned up Inge's blond ponytail into Gina's signature bun. Jill became the first Bunner and the first of many. The Bunners would grow within the FC like a cancer.

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