My sci fi short story The Throwback Episode 1: The LRS is available as a Pay What You Want PDF file on Drive Thru RPG. To get it, simply create a new account and switch on the Adult material setting. That’s because there is some profanity in the story, and in general the story is not for the kiddies.
About this title: M.E. Nottle is a throwback to an earlier age, when men had the guts to speak their mind and stand up for their beliefs. Unfortunately, cancer almost took him. He went into cryo for a century. When he opened his eyes again, his disease was gone but his life was no longer his. His job: to go into dangerous places and die, in a universe nothing like the one he left behind. Rating: MEDIUM controversy.
The Throwback Episode 1: The LRS
“And here he is, cavaliers, the man, the myth, the Nottle!”
Nottle frowned. He was going to be the curiosity again, the freak everyone came to look at to remind themselves of just how badly things could go wrong when the worst politicians came into power… for an entire century.
Physically, Nottle wasn’t too bad. He was tall and thin, not quite gangly because he always took his vitamin supplements and worked out, back when he was a real human being. His hair was, he thought, beautiful, with its golden-blonde hue, cut short nowadays thanks to his military (forced) occupation, but he could still remember a time when it was longer, when he’d surfed the waves on California’s warm beaches, waves that during his original lifetime had become so polluted the water stung at his skin and caused unsightly rashes. Nottle had small, green eyes and he was permanently incarnated in his mid-thirties, what should have been the prime of his life had his life not been disrupted over a century ago.
“Full name.” Captain Zayden asked.
“You know my name.” Nottle replied.
“For memory recognition.”
“Fine. My full name is Masheck Enoch Nottle. I was born in Los Angeles, California on June 5th, 1985. Do you want to know when I died, too?”
“You didn’t die, Nottle. You went into cryo with terminal cancer. You should be happy they found a cure for you.”
“I did die back then. I am not the same person I once was.”
Nottle had gotten into a number of philosophical arguments with the captain and crew, mostly because he wasn’t one of them. A few of them had been born naturally, in the old-fashioned way where a man got on top of a woman, but most came from laboratories, or like Nottle, they were created through 3D bio-printers. The Nons, or Non-Natural Births, had a lifespan of between fifty and sixty years. They always deteriorated quickly during their mature age because it was easier to create new babies and raise them from scratch than it was to take care of an old fart. Those born the natural way could live up to a healthy one hundred years or so thanks to medical advancements over the last fifty years, when the last of the Big Pharma companies were finally dismantled, and ancient forms of healing were allowed back into the Halls Of Accepted Western Medicine.
Nottle was different because he’d gone into cryo during the early 2020s. He had cancer back then, and it was true that the cancer had been cured, but the cryo treatment had damaged his cells and his original body didn’t live for very long after being revived. What had lived on was his brain, because it was all the rage back then to digitize everything. His complete brain pattern and full body schematics were locked up in an underground vault on Earth, forever mind you, while space-faring corporations like the powerful MICROS could rent him out on the fly, in a manner of speaking. For an exorbitant fee, MICROS could print him out and send him into the line of fire, on dangerous missions where other personnel could not be risked. And so, Nottle could count on people like Captain Zayden reviving him for a short time, every so often, and sending Nottle to his quick and painful next death.
Oh, but you might ask, why wouldn’t MICROS print out some of their permanent staff instead of the old relic in the closet? Well, that was easy enough to answer. Rules and regulations were in place to prevent ‘present’ people from being thrown into the fire, but it was okay to butcher ‘past’ people like Nottle. Those restrictions could be circumvented, because MICROS could entice potential deaders with big bonuses if they took one (death) for the team and agreed to be re-printed later.
What could not be circumvented was the fact that some genius programmer had altered all the software codes in the 3D printers, to prevent ‘present’ people from being used, period. All it took was one well-aimed data burst in the right direction, and you could alter the software long distance to every ship that accepted automatic updates.
That caused ‘past’ people like Nottle to become valuable commodities, because they could truly go where no man (or woman) had gone before. Nottle’s digitized self could be transmitted anywhere and everywhere, for a price. He could be printed out remotely into 3D reincarnation tubes that had the latest software patch integrated into them. And this is why now, Nottle was inside a printer tube, leaning back at a twenty-degree angle, fully naked because the printer could not create clothes for him (it had a hard enough time with fingernails, wrinkles and hair), with the entire ten-person crew of the ship gathered around to stare at him. They were staring politely, but it was still staring if you asked him.
“Captain, if you don’t let me out of this tube,” Nottle said. “I’m going to shit myself and one of you is going to have to clean it up.”
Zayden made a face of disgust, partly because Nottle didn’t say ‘poop,’ and partly because he was deliberately being crass. These people of the present, what they lacked the most, in Nottle’s humble opinion, was a sense of humor that could handle the at times crude wit he offered to them. In any case, Nottle was released from the Plasti-Tube like a goat being led out of its old-time corral. Goats of the present, you see, were genetically programmed not to stray too far from their pens. It was built into their genes.
Nottle didn’t check his reflexes like he was supposed to, once he was out of the tube. He simply brushed past the crew and made his way to where he knew the lavatories were found. He relieved his body quickly, because of course there was nothing for him to relieve himself of, but simply making the attempt gave Nottle a sense of normality. Next, he took his humi-shower that consisted of cool vapor, because water was always at a premium in space. Nottle returned to the medical lab where the 3D printer was located. It was the best location, actually, in case mending tissue or treating disease were required. The med-bot soon cleared him for work and, since the crew had since gone back to their duties, he walked down the narrow corridor toward the bridge to speak with Zayden. The loose patient gown he wore rustled softly with every step.
“Ready for assignment, sir!” Nottle announced as he walked in, startling half the crew because they were absorbed in their monitor displays and whatnot.
Read more of this story by downloading the PDF on Drive Thru RPG!