Am I here again, truly? Is this a dream? Or can I... can I change things?
"I am... curious, Manetho. I've studied so much, but not about... this..." Rashida waves her hand vaguely at the instruments and lab, doing her best to ape the unconscious carriage of innate and unquestionable authority she had seen in the god-bodied of her family, "If I understand, I'll go to sleep, you'll take a... recording?... of my, uh, my mind? Then I'll wake up, but so will somebody else, with my mind in their body. Won't they be me? Won't they want to, say, go see my family?"
Get it together. You're not this inarticulate. And if you're dreaming, you can't really learn anything you don't already know. Idiot.
Oh, shut up.
Manetho smiled briefly, like a light switched on and off, his impatience evident. "You have not thought this through, my dear. Every child knows our self has five parts: ib - heart, sheut - shadow, ren - name, ba - personality, ka - essence. They reside within the khat - body, and the ba and ka animate the akh - intellect. What we will record today - onto this - " The scientist held up a transparent, blood-red disk which sparkled and glittered in the lab's harsh light - "Is your ba and ka, to make up an akh. Thus, the body into which we plant your recording will have your knowledge of the world. After all, it would not do to treat a goddess as a puling infant. She will awaken with your knowledge, but her body will attract its own sheut, and ren. Thus, she will not be you, but herself. We will modify this recording, too, and not provide your younger years. She will not remember a family, not even hazily."
Warming to his subject, he switched to a professorial lecture mode without realizing it. "The body of the goddess, having been reconstituted - or, more precisely, regrown - will have its own 'memories', coded into its very flesh, though perhaps not complete. It depends upon the condition of the body and the information that remains within. The better preserved it is, the more of her old ib she will retain. These things are a matter of chance and art as much as science. But it does not concern you. Not anymore. Your part is done."
Interesting. They can change the recordings, or at least edit them.
That is, if this isn't just a dream.
Manetho smiled again around his hawk nose, dark eyes gleaming. "Now, I must remind you before we start - when you wake up, you will be safe. You may be in a new body, but you will be safe with us. It will take some time for you to gain control of the body, as the pieces of your soul attach to the newly awakened form. Do not panic. All will be well. We honor the goddess." The man spoke slowly and emphatically, as if trying to drive the point into her brain.
Honor the goddess. But what about me? And pieces of the soul will attach to the new body? But... what if the body is not human? What of who I once was? Does she live now in Siwa?
Manetho waved a long hand at the table. "If you will, Rashida." The guards in the doorway shifted subtly, as if impatient, their motion bringing them together to block the opening. "It is time to fulfill your end of this agreement."
Agreement. I never agreed to anything. My parents did. And now... do I have a choice?
Warm, strong hands were on her arms, guiding her unresisting to the table, laying her down, fastening straps. Manetho flicked a syringe, then brought the point near to her arm.
Wait! What can I do? She thought frantically. There is a traitor among the scientists. There is a traitor. Remember this. Your mind has gone to more than one body. Remember. And the syringe plunger depressed as the devices around the table whined into hissing life.