Transplanted Life
Saturday, December 18, 2004
As much as I'm sure some of the Feds would have liked to keep Sam under observation indefinitely, there are limits to what they can do, and since her EEGs have shown no sign of abnormality for days and she said she felt fine, the doctors said they had no reason to keep her there, even if it was a research hospital. They just told her to make sure that if she felt anything strange, to let them know, although they didn't anticipate it - neither I, nor Carter, etc., seemed to have any indication of dangerous side-effects, despite not having any post-process care.

Of course, as she soon realized when she got out of the building, leaving the hospital isn't the same as going home. I told her she was welcome to crash at our place - after all, her name is on the lease - but to strongly consider going home. After all, she hadn't seen her folks for a year, and they'd come running back in spring. She sort of grunted at that.

The name on the lease thing weirded her out, though - that someone else had committed her to do something, just like her parents always had. She was tempted to just grab her things and start hitching, but didn't like the idea of being away from the hospital should something else wacky happen to her brain. I told her that was nothing, that the guy in my original body had knocked a woman up and gotten engaged. Well, not the guy in my original body now, but before. But imagine what I'd have been in for had I taken Nat up on her offer and swapped back.

Don't remind me, she says. Because if I had, then she probably would have woken up in this body, with the boobs and the butt and the innie. She'd just be a scrunchie away from being every oversexed girl in her high school she hated, except older. And, besides, maybe it's better to lose a year and still know who you are then to wonder.

So, I asked, you want to stop by the pharmacy on the way home for some black hair dye and nail polish and stuff? I'm joking but she gives it some thought. Yeah, she says, but I don't know if I'll use it right away. After all, hearing where she's been for the past couple of years, that the guy who was in her body was now in my old one and used to be a black guy while I used to be a man - it's freaky, and she doesn't like it, and just talking with me is creeping her out a little. But since she'd had nothing but time to think the past week, she was wondering about the whole idea of being yourself by making yourself look different. She wasn't sure about it. On the one hand, it seems like saying you don't want to be yourself, and maybe she'd felt that way before, but not now. Still, it was taking control, too, not just looking or being some way because someone else told you to.

I shrugged, said you can't control the raw materials but what you do with it is up to you, although if she wanted my opinion I thought the way Carter had left her body worked for her. She said the idea that this is how someone else liked it sort of made it unappealing for her. I told her not to take it the wrong way, but Carter never liked her body, but just found short undyed hair, no piercings, and no cosmetics least inconvenient. But you've got to like the results of his workout regimine.

She said not to be so sure; it's only ten extra pounds, she knows, but she feels sort of bulky, and her reflection weirdly androgynous to her now. She doesn't want to be, well, me, and she knows that she doesn't really look boyish, but she doesn't look like she did before, and it's weird getting used to that in the mirror (and then laughs nervously, saying look who she's talking to). The extra strength and energy is nice, though - she feels like she's carrying things instead of lugging them. Maybe she'd at least exercise more than she did before, and maybe in a week she won't feel so thick.

The she switches tracks, asking if Carter had had a job in her body. I said, yes but probably not anymore - bailing a few weeks ago without any notice had probably banned Sam from the supermarket for life. Well, no great loss, she said. But she'd have to find one soon in order to pull her own weight with the rent.

So I guess the "going home" plan isn't being given much serious consideration yet.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Thanks for the trust
Well, the tests are in, and it's definitive that I'm the third person to have this body, and I've got Martin Hartle's mind. But of course, I said when Jones informed me, you must have known that months ago. He said that they'd known I wasn't the original Michelle, but spotting that the nanos used had to be slightly different each time was new.

Maggie was kicking herself for not finding these things in my blood when she was trying to track down the pheremone stimulators, but apparently it breaks down quickly when it hits atmosphere, apparently by design. They're not exactly stable molecules. Also, she took much smaller samples than the FBI did, and they only found trace amounts. Mags did get a chance to interrogate the FBI's science guys yesterday, though, and when she was talking with me today, she altered behind major science-geek enthusiasm and feeling embarrassed because this stuff is in my brain and bloodstream and isn't just the cool pure science it represents.

Basically, as close as the FBI's science guys can tell, the "antenna" parts of the molecules start to break down after about a week or so. This means that neither I can't be switched into another body without another dose of nanites, though Sam and Alexei still can be; Sam is currently very glad that she's miles away from Alexei, much further than tiny molecule-sized antennae can transmit. It also means that you can't rotate minds through a body more often than every couple of weeks, or else the two sets of nanos inside the brain will start to screw with each other. One of the neurologists Maggie talked to seemed to think that's why Sam took so long to wake up; her brain was hit with two swaps in less than three weeks. A CAT scan didn't show any physical trauma, but the EEGs showed some intense activity while she slept, more so than in Alexei's brain. The neurologist was apparently astounded by the brain's ability to repair itself.

As to why I've still got this stuff in my bloodstream, the current theory (borne out by examining what's left of Carter's original brain) is that these things bond solidly to our gray matter, but have a sort of half-life in how long it takes them to come loose. So they can tell how long ago each switch was, within an order of magnitude, by how much of each type of molecule is in the bloodstream. So they've been able to use this data, both the types and amounts of molecules in our blood samples to basically verify we are who we say we are.

I imagine someone in Homeland Security is already planning annual blood tests for everyone in the country to verify that you are who you say you are. I'm not sure what I think of that. My basic libertarian leanings say we shouldn't have the government doing this, but then again, Carter became someone else without my consciously knowing. It's all well and good to say those who'd trade freedom for security deserve neither, but Ben Franklin never had the mind of his wife (or, more likely mistress) switched out without her telling him, either.

Monday, December 13, 2004
Here's something really amazing - they've been drawing a fair amount of blood from Carter, Alexei, and Samantha. That's not amazing in and of itself, but it's what they've found. Apparently, there are still little nano-things in their bloodstream. Not surprising, right - those suckers can't be expected to steer or anything, and even if they latch on to brain cells quickly (Carter switched Alexei and Samantha only a half-hour after injecting him), some are going to go to other parts of the bloodstream, so they'll be in our system.

No, what's surprising is that they apparently found two seperate variants in Carter's body - my old body. If the way Mags explains it is right, you'd have to make the molecules slightly different each time you did a switch, lest anyone else who's in range get caught up and all hell breaks loose. I gather that her company not being involved in the investigation is driving Maggie nuts - she talks about how just finding the nanos in the samples must be difficult, since while they'd obviously be the largest molecultes in the sample once you filtered anything cell-size or larger out, they're probably also pretty fragile, so the centrifuge would probably tear them to pieces. But, anyway, Carter's got two seperate variants. Samantha's got four. Alexei's got three. And they drew about a liter of blood out of me today to check and see if there are two. They say doing this will help verify our stories, make sure that the number of switches matches what we've said. If they didn't, I gather there'd be some suspicion that we're not who we say we are.

I presume they're going to dig up Carter's birth body to make sure he's only got one. I wonder what Carter thinks of that; they still haven't let me see him. Especially when you think that they'll probably cut up whatever's left of his original brain, although after the bullet and the mortician got to it I don't know how much would be left.

Whoa; hold on a second. Once they knew about the whole body-switching thing... I mean, they must have already done something like this on Carter's body anyway, right? And his brains. You'd almost have to, right? So why didn't this come up [i]months[/i] ago?

Something to ask Maggie and Agent Jones tomorrow. Also, doesn't our blood recycle completely every few months? What's the likelyhood that there would still be nanos in there, unless the little bastards are self-replicating? And why would they be?

Gah. I'm wishing I'd studied some real science instead of computer science in college.

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