The Dissection

I dreamed last night of the night they took me. When I became nearly immortal.

I don't remember the exact circumstance, but I remember they were killing us all, and I needed to communicate, to understand, and make them understand us and let us live. For that, I agreed to become closer to them. I was a human who would became one of them. We hoped I could be a bridge between us.

I shouldn't say "we" since I cannot speak for their motives entirely. I can only translate as best as I am able. I can only take what I understand as one of them, and communicate it through what I remember as a human.

They were the ones to offer, though. And the chance to live longer than a human's alotted years was something I'd wanted since I was small. I understood early that death was the end as much as birth was the beginning.

I remember the night I died as if I were there now. As if I could rewind it and play it back frame by frame.

The room was dark. Though I could not see the walls, I knew they were close. The operating table was black. And the light above it was stark and very white.

In the distant corner, I saw one of them, motionless. But as I looked, I noticed parts of it were open. I realized that was the body I was to be given.

I had taken off all my clothes and I folded them neatly and laid them on the floor at the foot of the table. I knew it was silly to do so, since they would no doubt be discarded, or perhaps preserved and studied, but I also knew it was a very human thing to do -- fold one's clothes carefully.

I would no longer be human, and so I savored every last second of these moments.

I remember clearly taking off my cloth chinese shoes, remarking the white lines on my feet where the sun could not brown them. I took the ring off my little toe and placed it inside one of the shoes. That was the moment I believed in what was happening, rather than be uncertain. It was when what was happening became the present, and not somewhere in the future.

I didn't have to look at my hands to feel how human they were. How they hung there by my side as flesh. Meat. Sopping with my thick blood. The feel of the heart beating in my veins.

I could feel my body all around me, and for the first time I realized just how much my body defined who I was. For the first time I no longer felt like a slave to my human limitation. I felt wholly human. For the first time, I revered my white skin, and churning organs, and breath which seemed conveniently easy to take.

I laid my hand on the cool, dark slab-like table, and spread my fingers apart on it, feeling the coolness. Would I feel this feeling later? I wondered. But I made the experience precious, in case I wouldn't.

I climbed up and laid down, looking up into the starkness of the light. They then started to proceed.

With fine drills that hurt somewhat, they found the stem of my brain and accessed it. Once I was connected, they allowed me access to the data they were collecting. I could see from any camera in the room, as well as from any eyes that I had permissions to access. I could see my body on the table, bright white under the light. At once, I longed for it. I fell in love with it. I saw how beautiful and human it was.

I allowed myself to savor the different views of it. But I mostly enjoyed seeing from my body's eyes.

The light was bright, but not so much I had to squint. Like helplessly rising to heaven, the instruments decended on me. Eyes wide open, I welcomed them.

I could feel my skin being pulled away. I could still blink, and I enjoyed blinking. I felt the pressure of my skull being opened up. I even felt every bit of the pain of it, and it was joyously human. A tear of awe and joy whelled and slipped along my skin, but I would not close my eyes to miss a single instant.

I felt the halves of my face part, and it became difficult to merge the two views of my eyes together. Having my eyes seperated while still alive, I knew, was not something usually experienced by humans. Nor would it have been remembered long enough to be told to another...

As my vision became more and more difficult to merge, I looked from the view of one of the cameras. My brain was being removed from my skull.

It was at this point that I lost consciousness, and did not regain it until I had been placed into my new manufactured host body. Since it was of their design, it was far from human. As a human, I would have called it a cross between an insect and a crustation, but this was a broad generality meant only to make the image seem less foreign. It was a human mind trying to make sense of something it had no experience with before.

I now stood a foot over my previous height, though on my four legs I could extend my height a few more feet above that. In resting mode, though, I would not be too uncomfortable in human surroundings.

Unsure of how my thoughts could control this new body, I slowly explored my control. I could turn my eyes, and I found my “hands”. Like a child I was unable to finely control them. However, as an adult, I was able to keep still and test carefully. I was able to come to understand my misplaced control as one would learn a new language, because you have an old language with witch to compare and to ground in.

It took far less time than I expected before I was able to walk.

The human body was in the same room with me, and I carfully approached it and looked at it with my new eyes.

Yes, I still felt the longing, though the skull was empty now, with the two halves staring into different parts of space.

As I moved closer, I noticed how the face was so peaceful. The lips together, not smiling but relaxed. I felt like I was watching a lover sleeping, even thought the eyes were open.

I reached over and touched my face. I was still a bit clumsy and tentitive. My new hands were much like claws, though there were small finger-like hooks on the palm which were gentle and soft. I was joyous to find that I had sensation in my hands, and I touched my now cooling, dead face. Yet, it was still warmer than I was now. So this new body was cold-blooded, I realized.

The skin was still so soft and supple. I fantasized of pinching my cheek and making me grin, but since I new this would not happen, I did not try it.

I gathered a clump of hair and felt it softly fall from my hand. I toyed with the idea of cutting a piece to save, just to remember, but at the same time knew this was a silly notion.

Seeing myself so distant was like holding still for myself in a mirror. It seemed like I could move again if I only wanted to. But I didn't want to try for fear of failing, and remembering that it was me no longer. So I kept the illusion in my mind. Later, I might move my body around again if I desired, so I fooled myself. Another part of me knew this was the last time I would ever see this body.

It didn't seem like goodbye. It seemed more like walking away from viewing a painting. I felt moved by the bright image of the body on the table.

And so I didn't need to be asked if I was done. I touched my lips gently. Then satisfied, I carefully and increasingly more confidently turned and left the body to them for the rest of the study.

I left to connect the pieces of me together to shape the bridge we hoped I would be.