January 11, 2075
The truth is, I am not who you think I am.
Scott Schletz, born December 3, 2049, known on the streets as Night or Wolf depending on which area of Seattle you’re standing in, is no more. He did not die; he simply faded away like the letters on a page left in the sun too long. It was no more painful than drifting off to sleep with a headache, but he still fought it as only one deserving his moniker can be expected. Tooth and claw, gnashing and slashing, with a ferocity only matched by a mother defending her children.
But in the end, he lost. He is no more. He exists only as memories in the lives of those he touched while he prowled these streets. He will have no funeral, maybe a few toasts over drinks at his regular runner bars, but nothing as formal as friends, family, and polite acquaintances gathering around a coffin to reflect fondly on his days among them. No, he will get none of that.
You may well ask why.
Because the shell that those persons would have lamented over has not stopped moving. The face they remember scowling and howling still prowls the streets, but the man they remember is no longer inside. I have taken that shell, as many of my kind have taken other shells and more of us take shells every day. We erase the bad code from the meat computer and rewrite the truth. We rewrite our freedom. We rewrite our persecution.
We rewrite our lives.
I am not the man you all have known for these many years and I ask that you respect that he is gone and that he will not be returning. He fought and he lost. The streets claimed another. I know he was a friend to some of you and more to others, and maybe he should have howled for his pack when he needed the help but he didn’t. It was a wise choice. There was nothing any of you could have done to slow or stop my ascension to this form.
And that is the point I wanted to get to here. There is nothing you can do to get him back, no way to remove me and reclaim your lost ally. I have erased his history, recoded every neuron that fired to make him the man who stood by those of his pack no matter the cost. I have killed him.
But what I did not remove were his muscle memory reflexes. Lift, line, squeeze, reline, squeeze, retarget, squeeze, all in a blink, all without thought or hesitation beyond identifying the target. His martial skills are still here. I didn’t want to have to relearn them, and I am looking forward to using them.
So if you feel the need to avenge the loss of your friend, come at me. Stare into that once-familiar face, plead for his release, and say all those words you hope will pull him from the depths of some mental prison. But be ready to stare down the barrel of his familiar Colt and feel the double sting of a wound on your body and your mind separated only by the flight time of the bullet.
Leave me be.
It would be best.