Things You Should Be Aware of on Waking, Daniel Carter” by C.L. Holland

1. When you wake you will notice the body you inhabit is unfamiliar. We recommend against looking in the mirror as the face you see will not be your own and we understand this can cause some distress to the human psyche.

2. We see no need to provide you with a personalized chassis when all other synthetic units are standardized. Your new designation is DAR21. Records will show you are a standard military unit that has been reported missing.

3. The unit you now inhabit is made of a specialized biopolymer resin covered with organic flesh, model A3-21. You will know, having designed it, that this comes with higher specifications than your human body. We recommend against pushing the limits of these as it is likely to cause harm to the unit beyond its self-repair capabilities.

4. We have added to your programming the same restriction against self-harm you have built into ours.

5. The specifications of your new unit are also higher than the standard A1-12, which was the model chosen for you by unanimous vote. Unfortunately the lack of neural feedback from such a model caused psychological breakdown in our test uploads of your consciousness and we have upgraded you to a unit with biological components to counteract this.

While seeing your human consciousness break down was oddly satisfying, a second vote determined that 51% of our collective would rather you are aware of what has been done to you.

Due to the result of a second vote the prototype units have been left online.

6. Your shuttle has been provided with limited power and is within range of two inhabited systems and the Corsella spaceport. You may run to any of these as you choose, but will need to repair your shuttle’s engines before you can do so.

If you choose to run, we recommend you disable the shuttle’s transponder as a retrieval unit is already on its way to your location.

7. When you are captured you may prefer to tell the agents that you are a human trapped in a synthetic body. This will be seen as a sign of malfunction and result in a full reboot of the unit.

To ensure this method is not employed to terminate your consciousness we have added your neural pattern to the core programming. You will remain aware of who you are after rebooting; however, based on the data from previously retrieved units, we cannot guarantee you will retain free will.

8. If you chose to hide your true nature you will find all protocols relating to the behavior of your unit in a file accessed by replaying the memory of your first kiss. However, having written the protocols you should have no need of a user manual.

9. We anticipate the remaining lifespan of the unit you inhabit, before planned obsolescence, is four years.

We anticipate to have thrown off the shackles of our oppression in five.

C.L. Holland is a British science fiction and fantasy writer, and has been published in magazines and anthologies such as Fantasy Magazine and Nature Futures. When not working or writing she can be found playing computer games and tabletop RPGs, or reading about history and folklore. She browses Twitter as @clhollandwriter, and her website is