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I briefly wondered where they would place me and decided I’d rather not know. Most criminals rehabilitated this way were re-integrated as terraformers or asteroid miners. An artificial mind and body could go a long way in those environments. I’m sure the authorities thought it was a kinder fate than execution, but their logic escaped me. I’d probably wind up on a city-by-city tour of the quadrant speaking out against my own people. They’d leave my purchase tattoos intact so everyone could see the record of my indenture, and my face was already well known. I was the bond slave the news channels loved to hate. I was a big news day. The public wasn’t allowed to watch the surgery as the families of my victims were, but swarms of journalists would be outside the facility right now, chattering like locusts over a field of ripe corn.
A former indentured servant and freedom fighter sentenced to the death of the mind spends her last hours in the company of a virtual shaman.
Originally published in The Stolen Island Review in 2003.