Trope-a-Day: Backup Twin

Backup Twin: What you acquire when your incarnation insurer thought you were dead, but it turns out you weren’t.

(They do try very hard to not let this happen, but the trouble is, the more checking you do, the more time you get to stay dead for if you are, in fact, dead under difficult-to-ascertain circumstances rather than simply missing.

Choosing exactly where you want the balance between the risk of staying dead and the risk of acquiring a twin is one of those things you just have to do when you buy incarnation coverage.)

Trope-a-Day: Resurrection Sickness

Resurrection Sickness: For the most part averted; being reinstantiated from a pre-mortem backup (or the use of a bug-out transmitter before actually becoming dead) leaves you with no memories of dying, since that never happened in your continuous timeline, and so it’s not there in your incrementing memory string to cause your PTSD, flashbacks, etc.

It’s even often averted in cases of actual post-mortem reinstantiations, whether from backup or from a read dead brain, because it’s possible to edit these things, and while remembering your death is occasionally useful (say, for the military purpose of remembering not to do whatever dumb thing you just did again), it’s more usually not the case, and why suffer through the consequences if you don’t have to?

Trope-a-Day: Mercy Kill

Mercy Kill: Members of the military/intelligence community, people whose work takes them into galactic bad neighborhoods, and hell, even overly paranoid tourists who’ve been listening too much to the It’s Barbarian Darkness Out There, Folks style of galactic reporting tend to have equipment fitted to let them do this to themselves, should things go horribly wrong, or even be obviously about to go horribly wrong.

Of course, since they undoubtedly have noetic backups elsewhere if not the extra-special version of said equipment that will dump a copy of their mind-state to a safe location via tangle channel should they need to use it, it tends to lack something in the Kill department.  That it’s also possible to have one fitted with enough extra antimatter on the power side of things to turn your head into a decently sized bomb when you trigger it may also put it somewhere in the Overkill department, albeit still not for you.

Trope-a-Day: Immortal Life is Cheap

Immortal Life Is Cheap: This might be the case in the noetic-backup-having modern world – and to some degree is, when one can send deliberately-disposable temporary forks of yourself in designed-for-the-situation temporary bodies into dangerous situations, and suchlike – but the cultural attitudes were formed back in the day when immortality was still just Type II Undying, and law and custom haven’t been altered.

And in Type II Undying-land, immortal life is very expensive indeed, especially since healing and regeneration weren’t always as effective as they are in the modern era.  It is from this period that eldraeic, and hence Imperial, law got its truly draconian attitudes on the topics of murder (because you’re removing a lot more life from an immortal than you are from an ephemeral, not that the penalty is any different if you happen to kill an ephemeral), battery (again, because your victim has to live with the damage for a damn long time), torture and rape (because your victim has to live with the trauma for a damn long time).

Which, to bring this full circle, probably does mean that Immortal Criminal Life is Cheap, because truly draconian in these cases generally means “being made dead”.

Trope-a-Day: Death Is Not Permanent

Death Is Not Permanent: The entire purpose of the noetic backup and reinstantiation technology.  And given that people can keep redundant backups spread out across multiple star systems (a standard feature of your incarnation insurance), actually inflicting permadeath on someone is really damn hardDeath Is Less Expensive, too, since while keeping a clone-body of yourself on standby is a premium service, walking around in an off-the-rack body – or just living as an infomorph – while they grow you a new custom job is less so.

(It’s got a lot cheaper since the first people did it for, oh, a few billion esteyn.)

Trope-a-Day: Brain Uploading

Brain Uploading: Pervasive and universal, just about.  The Eldrae, after all, being naturally unaging, find the notion of accidental death rather unpleasant, and so took to this technological advancement with enthusiasm; and, as rabid technophiles, even more so once the other technologies it enables – reinstantiation, mindcasting, forking, gnostic overlays, etc. (unlike a lot of universes, there are no convenient laws preventing you from screwing around with mind-states in all the ways you might expect to be able to) – came along; and now are enthusiastically selling immortality to the entire rest of the Galaxy, or at least everyone they can reach.  (And, incidentally, considering governments that ban this sort of thing as, essentially, being morally, if not legally, guilty of the mass murder of everyone who dies in their jurisdiction and would have preferred not to; immortalists vs. ephemeralists is a major galactopolitical issue.)

To the point, in fact, that modern – and thus highly engineered – brains come with the technology (“noetic architecture”) for minds to hop in and out designed right in.

Also, this is how you reach the afterlife (see Deus Est Machina).