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The Perhaps Vendetta
Our unnamed protagonist first grasped the concept of death at the age of seven when the company running her doll’s cloud-based AI suddenly discontinued the product as a third-order side effect of some ill-advised “quantum finance” investments by their on-and-off CEO. Her later choice to study bioengineering was seen by their family, and probably by herself, as a healthy reaction to this early trauma (it is not an exaggeration to call it so; the AI, although not good enough to fund its owner’s financial escapades, and no more self-aware than an average car, was designed all the way from the original business pitch to generate an early psychological bond that could be translated into a lifetime of brand value).
However deep this pain might have been, we can only assume it was by one of those accidents more forgivable in life than in fiction that our protagonist found herself working for a high-end brain implant company that happened to count among its customers the formerly disgraced, and formerly no-longer-a-billonaire, former CEO of the company who had both created and uncreated her doll.
We cannot assume, on the other hand, that whatever happened after she found this out was also a coincidence – but at the same time we cannot assume it wasn’t one. That brain implants failed in occasionally lethal ways was widely considered a reasonable tradeoff in exchange for the benefits they afforded to those who employed the people whose skulls hosted them. More expensive models, more extensively tested and carefully maintained, had never killed anybody rich or famous enough to set back the industry, some legally disputed strokes and car accidents aside. The former CEO, though, did not die. His often erratic behavior simply continued to deepen in a way that was perhaps indistinguishable from that of most of his peers, and if he seemed to seek with wild abandon escape from a grief he couldn’t explain, lessen, or seek help for, or if he found himself dreaming at night he was not a person but a mute, dead, still computing device only to wake up to find the feeling unmodified, this wasn’t unheard of either.