When stars appeared overhead I went back to my room and slept for twelve straight hours. I woke with my mind sharp and bright and clear and sold nearly the entirety of my possessions, keeping only the costly hardware and software and wetwear I’d accumulated through my career. I bought a small folding knife and cut my hair. At sunset I walked down to one of the piers and threw my ID card in the ocean.
I laughed at myself for that. The Profusion wasn’t going to drag me back to manage information flow. Its administrators didn’t even know my name; ID cards were blank except for a department seal and a slim magnetic strip. To them, I was a unique sequence of four different letters, and signed every time I swiped my finger to purchase something.
I looked at my hand in silhouette against the setting sun. My body, bones and skin and curving flesh. Nerve and muscle and finest hair. I was here, I lived. Else I would miss the supple muscled motion of my fingers.
I took out the knife I had used to cut my hair. And drew it across my fingertip, just enough to draw a little blood. Your name was verbal, vocal, the sounds your mother called you.
Crimson pooled minutely on my fingertip. That was one of the elder faiths, I thought. Drink my blood to remember me. Such had been the lapsed devotion of a boyfriend long gone. But people remembered laughter, touch, lakes and sex and wind and food on languid mornings. The smell of a husband’s hair, an infant’s smile, hot rivulets of tears. Crimson-splashed rushes to the hospital, the pallid face of illness. Frantic embraces in the night.
A magsled slid past, the flying silver bullet of its hull bearing some soldier on patrol. I started at the sound of its engine. The pool of blood fell from my fingertip, trickling to the sand.
Soldiers, I thought, wore bands around their arms, with little machines inside. The nanites remembered everything a guardian did and thought and felt. The military read them after an incident: the Profusion policing its police. Officers reviewed the information by linking bracelets or ingesting the machines the soldier’s blood once carried.