Hm. This feels a little more fragment than full story, but I like it. The descriptions strongly recalled shades of Zelazny’s story about deep-sea fishing on Venus, The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth.
It’s very much old-school sci-fi, dropping you in and letting you figure it out, but my rough impression is that of a genetically engineered person is having life-long doubts about her mission as a long-range/long-life space-farer and wants one last shot at reconsidering. I’m intrigued enough that I’d like to read the rest of the Sunflower Cycle series. I feel like it could have used one more deep edit in two spots.
“Until someone comes up with a neuron that fires without being poked, we’re all just— reacting.”
Best advertisement ever:
“WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT OF THOSE THOUGHTS, OR FOR ANY POTENTIAL TRAUMA RESULTING THEREFROM.
“You never know how automatons might react to autonomy. We were not promised bliss, after all. I’ve seen rumors— never confirmed, and notably absent from IE’s orientation uploads— of early tours in which unbound clients clawed their own faces off. These days, the company chooses to err on the side of caution. We’ll experience our freedom in shackles.
Nutshelling Philosophy 101:
“I look deep inside for some spark of new insight, some difference between the Real Will I have now and the mere delusion that’s afflicted every human since the model came out. How would I even know? Is there some LED in my parietal lobe, dark my whole life, that lights up when the leash comes off? Is any decision I make now more autonomous than one I might have made ten minutes ago?