Metempsychosis Apotheosis - 13

I was led to a small lounge off the main auditorium. Rich crimson velvet covered chaise lounges and a small settee where a table had been setup with a thick packet of documents.

ExMuritious took off the bulls-head mask he’d been wearing. “I hate these. Feel like I’m suffocating.”

I took mine off too. When in Rome.

“Can I get you any refreshment?”

“No thank you.”

He indicated I should sit on the chaise lounge. It had an awkward back, and when I sat back in it I felt uncomfortable so I sat on the front of the seat and tried to look dignified.

“So we had a lot of discussion about your offer, and your case.”

This is what I’d hoped for. “Oh?”

“Indeed.” He pushed the packet over to me.

I flipped open the cover of the folder.

OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT, the first line read.

I scanned through the document. Basically, they wanted to bring me in to work for them. Interestingly, I wouldn’t be working for Transmigration Studios, but directly for Lord Mallory Incorporated as an insurance analyst. The pay was three times what I currently earned.

“Generous,” I said. The package included health, dental, a vehicle, executive apartment, all in New York City.

“New York,” I said.

“It’s where LMI corporate headquarters are located. Do you have an issue with that?”

“No, I already sold my house just to be here tonight.”

Exmuritious nodded. “We recognize that.”

I nodded and continued reading. “What’s One Free Experience of my Choice?”

Exmuritious nodded. “This, what is happening now. What do you know about Metempsychosis?”

“Not much, honestly, other than you can be put into another body.”

ExMuritious held out his hands. “Orpheus wrote that soul and body are united by a compact unequally binding on either. The soul is divine, immortal and aspires to freedom, while the body holds it in fetters as a prisoner. Death dissolves this compact, but only to re-imprison the liberated soul after a short time, for the wheel of birth revolves inexorably.”

I nodded.

“After death the soul continues on, alternating between unrestrained existence and fresh reincarnation.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Transmigration studios has discovered a process in which metempsychosis can be tightly controlled. The soul is released into the next viable container, by inducing a state of ‘death’ in the corporeal body, and vice versa.”

“So in order to be born again, first you have to die.”

He grinned. “I think we have a new Masthead.”

“I’m adept at cutting through bullshit.”

“Through induction, we can allow the original soul to vacate, and the new soul to enter. But that’s not all.”

“Of course not.”

He smiled. “We can also manipulate the what that is transferred. Entire new personalities can be crafted through soul composition. Old habits can be eradicated and new ones put in place. We can mix and mingle personality traits, habits, abilities, skills, and even memories.”

“That’s a little scary,” I said. “You’ve taken over for God in other words.”

He shrugged his shoulders and made a more or less than sign with his hands. “Not as extreme, but we can provide a conduit for a new life, a new existence. We call them an Experience.

“I see. So you could create an entirely new existence for me.”

He let his finger drop. “Exactly.”

“But all I want to do is be reunited with my wife.”

He nodded, and sat back down. “Which leads us to part two.”

“Which is?”

He sighed. “Li-Hahn, the consciousness that is Li-Hahn, has broken the Terms of Service by livestream. We thank you for bringing that to our attention.”

“So you can put my wife back in her body?”

He nodded. “We’d be willing to do that.”

He looked at me silently.

“That’s it?” I asked. It seemed too good to be true.

“The physical alterations Li-Hahn induced into that body has actually decreased the value. People are much more apt to select a body that is natural over one that has been physically altered.”

“Right...”

“So the value we assign to her vessel is lower than when Li-Hahn took on her Experience.”

“I think I see where you’re going.”

“Regardless, it’s valued at approximately one point four million euros.”

“Hence the job offer.”

“Exactly. You use the one free Experience to place your wife back in her body, and you go to work for Transmigration Studios as an insurance analyst.”

“How long would I have to work for you?”

“The term of this contract is five years.”

“So, just to get this straight. You put my wife back in her body, and I work for you for five years, and then we’re done?”

He shook his head. “Unfortunately, the one free experience is paid out at the end of the contract, not the beginning. It would be too easy to break the contract otherwise.”

I sighed. “So what happens to Karyn’s body in the meantime? The five years that I’d be working? And what happens to Karyn’s consciousness?”

“Look, we aren’t without a heart, Robert.” Exmuritious stood up and looked out the window into the rainy night. “We know that happy employees equal loyal employees.”

“Well, what would make me happy is to have Karyn in her body while I work for LMI.”

“And what would keep you from running off to Sweden or some other foreign points unknown after a couple of weeks working now that you’re reunited with your wife?”

“My word?”

He smiled. “I’m sure you know even the most compliant employees can become disgruntled at the smallest slight. We don’t want to be constantly watching you, Robert, so that doesn’t work for us.”

“Well, what would?”

“You have some choices. 1: You could be dropped into your wife’s body and I can make arrangements for your wife to be relocated to New York City. I don’t have the ability to determine which Experience she’ll be placed into, but you would be able to connect and I can also make the arrangement that she stay in New York for the duration of your stay. At the end, we can swap you and your wife’s place so she’d be back in her body, but your physical body would go up for auction today.”

I winced at that. I didn’t really want to be in her body.

2: Your wife is relocated back into her body, and you would be placed into a NYC experience location and rotation. You’d be expected to follow the demands of the rotation AND serve as analyst in your off hours. Due to the nature of your job, a lot of work can be performed off hours and online so we wouldn’t need you during your rotation hours.

“Sounds like I’d be working myself to death.”

“We have people in this position already. Working both for TS and serving in a rotation.”

A third option would be for your wife’s body to be auctioned again today, and you can choose to go into an Experience, or we can upload your wife into a stable Experience inside someone else. Or if you have a suggestion for another arrangement. We do look forward to working with you and think it can be beneficial for all parties.”

I nodded and ground my teeth. So I could become Karyn, go into someone random in NYC and work two full time jobs, or let Karyn’s body slip through my fingers.

“What if I go into Karyn’s body and she goes into mine for the duration of my work? That way you can still keep tabs on us and you have something to hold over my head.”

Exmuritious nodded, bobbing his head back and forth. “Hmm...possible. But they are both excellent bodies in good shape, who’s to say you still don’t run off to sell hemp jewelry at the seaside in Bogota?”

“I don’t want to be a woman,” I said. “That will keep us here.”

“But once you are in the Experience, your mind adapts very quickly.”

I sighed. “I thought you could control all of that, like you said.”

“Yes...” He trailed off thoughtfully.

After a few minutes, I got impatient. “Well?”

He sighed. “It’s a complex problem. We ran the invitation to media influencers in the first place because we knew we’d get new blood into the system. That has definitely happened, but as you can imagine, we’ve also had a few issues like this.”

I nodded.

“Normal situations, we don’t interact with the spouse. At all. Hard stop. But, I’ve been over your employment record, details, all of it, and I think you could be a super addition to our team.”

“I agree. I’d love the job, and you can also probably tell I’m loyal and dedicated.”

"I just can’t agree to the body swap idea. Perhaps after you’ve been on the job a few months we can circle back on that. But right now, I need you to decide if you will be going into your wifes’ body, or if she will be returning and you will be serving her rotation.”

“Let’s put Karyn back in her body, then,” I said, between gritted teeth. I was basically going to become their slave, but at least my wife would be safe.

“Are you sure?” Exmuritious said. “I know she is currently male, but she is heavily slated to be female for most of her rotation. In fact, you might never return to being male again.”

“Well, after I earn another Experience, I can elect that, yes?”

“Correct.”

“What happens to my body?”

“It will go up for auction, next month.”

“So I have thirty days to make enough to earn it back?”

Exmuritious shrugged his shoulders. “If you’d like to see it that way, yes.”

“And my wife will know who and where I am?”

“Of course. You’ll be able to stay in the executive apartment and all the other perks associated with your high-profile position.”

“And when will she get her body back?”

He stood up, setting the contracts in front of me. “Tonight.”

I frowned. “I thought she was in Mexico?”

“That was a recording. She’s here actually. We...figured this might be the direction you would go.”

I sighed.

“Look, it’s a great job, great benefits, and I’ll see if we can reduce the manual labor portion. It all depends on you, now, you understand Robert?”

“Yeah.” I scribbled my signature on several different places.

“Perfect.” He smiled, standing up. “Well, let’s get you out of that body and into your new life!”

“Grand,” I said, and followed him out the door.

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