Before arriving in Valhalla Flexx Dazmon was serving as a Shock Trooper in Divine Industry Associates, Inc.’s third armored battalion. He chose to have his body put in stasis while his brain was implanted in the shell of an Enforcer. When his ten year enlistment period was up, he would be given two and one-half million dollars for his efforts. He would then be returned safely to his body, unaged and unaltered. For many poor men and women like Flexx, it meant a longer life, and the promise of economic freedom well beyond what they could imagine.
He signed a ten-year contract to serve in the company’s military arm as it tried to defend against separatist forces and genetically altered rebels as well as foreign and home-brewed terrorists. During his tenure, he earned both the Silver Star and the CEO Medal of Honor, both of which were earned when he drew fire to enable wounded comrades to escape during the second Battle of New York.
The medals were awarded posthumously.
Upon arriving in Valhalla, Mr. Dazmon realized that he was forever separated from his birth body. While his mind and the machine that housed it landed in Valhalla, his birth body was lost. As has happened to others, his ten-year contract turned into life imprisonment in a high- tech chassis.
“When I learned that D-Tech was doing business here in Valhalla, I decided to approach them and see if they could get me out of my can and get me back some skin,” laments Flexx Dazmon, his voice eerily synthesized within the Enforcer chassis. “I thought they might be able to do something for me, seeing as I died fighting for them. They couldn’t give me a body. There was no body to give. They did give me a job, though, and a promise to keep looking for a suitable host.”
“Finding a host body for a brain is unlike anything else,” explains Gunther Lang, a spokesman for Divine Technology Associates, Inc. “It isn’t as simple as matching blood type, or even HLA typing. We discovered that the electro- functions of the nervous system are extremely sensitive. If the synapses don’t fire properly then the brain and host body will both perish.”
Mr. Dazmon continued to work for Divine Industries for the next seven years, far exceeding his original contract in the simple hope that a body would one day be found. One early fall morning, his dream was answered.
“They pulled me out of a circuit repair session early telling me that they found a match,” Dazmon paused, his electronic voice strangely filling with emotion as he recalled the incident. “I just couldn’t believe it. After all this time to finally be given the chance to really touch something again. To feel wind on your face, or the taste of food . . . you don’t know how much you miss that stuff until you never think you will feel it again. Hell, I even miss getting a cold! That call was the sweetest thing I ever heard!”
Last week that sweetness took a sour turn when the Alpha Sector Court intervened and halted the operation.
The court order stems from a lawsuit filed by The Human Dignity Corps, an advocacy group for the poor and dispossessed in Megalopolis. It is their contention that the host body, whose identity is unknown, did not give his permission to be used as a host. They are quick to point out that the man, whom they have taken to calling John Doe, didn’t even have a donor card or any type of identification on him. A thorough investigation of biometrical data revealed no matches within the INSL records, or within the extensive Megalopolis databases.
“We came to the conclusion that the host was simply a Newbie who was unlucky enough to come to Valhalla on the wrong place and time,” explains Mr. Lang. “He was shot in the head by rebel terrorists during a confrontation with some of our security forces. Of course it was our responsibility to identify him, but when we couldn’t, and couldn’t find next of kin, we looked for possible matches with DNA. Low and behold we found a body match with one of our own Enforcers, Flexx Dazmon.”
“Just because John Doe doesn’t have a record or family doesn’t mean he isn’t a person,” counters Jessimon Bishop, the lead attorney for the plaintiff. “Mr. Doe has nobody to speak for him. The law is clear that permission must be obtained by the host or next of kin in order for a procedure like this to be allowed to move forward. Without his permission the reanimation of his body would be morally destitute and completely illegal.”
Gunther Lang and the Divine Technology legal team contend that with no identity or family, they are the party responsible for the body, the de-facto next of kin. “Section 9-503 of the Revised Moral Code indicates that the burden of post mortem remains internment is the responsibility of the owner of the property where death occurred if next of kin can’t be located. We not only have the right to decide what is to be done with his body, we are required to do so by law.
“In addition to this, we are also obligated to fulfill our contact with Mr. Dazmon. He has been waiting a long time to regain a mortal life. How can we morally refuse to allow him this opportunity when another chance may never come?”
Jessimon Bishop contends that Section 9-503 allows for only the internment of remains, not for use of remains in any other way. “Mr. Doe’s body is his own, in death as in life. He has the right to retain the dignity of his physical nature. Such decisions should never rest in the hands of a corporation regardless of how well intended their motives may be in this specific instance.
“It is a slippery slope we are treading.” Ms. Bishop continues. “If today we allow an unidentified body to be used as a host for a retiring enforcer, tomorrow the companies will declare the right to use any body that dies on their property in any way they choose. Forced organ transplants and human experimentation are already happening, how much further will we let this Oligarchy push the limits of individual human worth versus profitability? Laws are made to protect all citizens of Megalopolis, not to cater to the machinations of the corporate elite.”
Gunther Lang dismisses such sentiments as paranoid, leftist group-think. “It is this type of backward thinking that has caused terrorist groups like the Next Step to make such violence and chaos in our streets. The host body was killed during a terrorist attack. Perhaps Ms. Bishop should confront these violent groups who target our institutions, our economy, and our people rather than preventing a war hero from a chance at a normal life!”
“I just want to be able to breathe the air again,” Flexx Dazmon says. “I’ve been locked in this machine so long now, I don’t even remember what it’s like to draw air.”
It is unlikely that this will happen any time soon. The case is not due to go to court for another six months. Regardless of the outcome of that trial, the case will surely go to appeals. A case such as this is destined to drag on for years to come. In the meantime Mr. Dazmon continues to work security for Divine Technology Associates, Inc. while the unidentified body remains frozen in stasis, awaiting either the grave or the brain that will grant it new life.