A story about life and death and vice versa.
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Reincarnation, by Klaus Brenner.
You’re dead. Which, while sad, isn’t unexpected. You were 147, which is quite old, even by modern standards.
Today, this hall is filled with friends and family, colleagues and admirers, all gathered in remembrance of a life well lived.
Along the wall, holographic displays show the highlights. You, climbing Olympus Mons. You, giving a keynote speech at Titan University. You, painting your most well-known work, The Moons of Neptune. You, holding your infant son in your arms.
Jonas, that now middle-aged son, enters, holding a metal, cylindrical container. Marina, his wife, walks beside him. The audience stands, each mourner nodding solemnly as the couple pass on their way to the altar, where a priest awaits and buttons on a control panel glow softly.
Jonas stumbles on the way up the stairs, Marina grabs onto his waste and steadies him. His eyes are damp as he presents the cylinder.
The priest takes the container in one hand. With the other, he flips a switch on the console. In front of him, a vat iluminates, translucent green. There are brief murmurs and sighs from the audience.
He opens the container. Inside is a tissue sample, a bit of skin taken from you over a century ago. Into the vat it goes.
The tissue dissolves. Then nothing. Then a dot, so small as to be nearly invisible. It grows until recognizable. An embryo.
A process that once took nine months unfolds in a matter of minutes. The embryo grows and differentiates. It forms eyes, arms, a mouth. Slowly, it becomes you. Tiny and ignorant and helpless, but you, nonetheless. The liquid drains.
You open your eyes for the first time to see Jonas and Maria looking down on you, smiling. Behind them, the audience claps and cheers.
You’re startled. You cry. Your new parents take you into their arms. The audience erupts into song.
“Happy birthday to you…”