I don't know about you,' he said, 'but this feels fucking weird.'
'Tell me about it.' I filled my own tumbler and proffered the bottle. He shook his head. I went back to the window shelf and sat back against the glass.
'How the fuck did Kadmin stand it? Ortega says he used to work with himself all the time.'
'Get used to anything in time, I suppose. Besides, Kadmin was fucking crazy.'
'Oh, and we're not?'
I shrugged. 'We didn't have a choice. Apart from walking away, I mean. Would that have been better?'
'You tell me. You're the one who's going up against Kawahara. I'm just the whore around here. Incidentally, I don't reckon Ortega's exactly overjoyed about that part of the deal. I mean, she was confused before, but now - '
'She's confused! How do you think I feel?'
'I know how you feel, idiot. I am you.'
'Are you?' I sipped at my drink and gestured with the glass. 'How long do you think it takes before we stop being exactly the same person?'
He shrugged. 'You are what you remember. Right now we only have about seven or eight hours of separate perceptions. Can't have made much of a dent yet, can it?'
'On forty-odd years of memory? I suppose not. And it's the early stuff that builds personality.'
'Look,' the Ryker copy said. 'I'm you. I know everything you know. What's the harm in talking about this stuff?'
'If you know everything I know, what's the point of talking about it?'
'Sometimes, it helps to externalise things. Even if you talk to someone else about it, you're usually talking to yourself. The other guy's just providing a sounding board. You talk it out.'
'Remember anyone else threatening you, do you? When you were small, maybe?'
'I am not going to talk about this any more.' I reached for the bottle and filled my glass again. 'Pick another subject. What about Ortega? What are our feelings on that score?'
'Are you planning to drink that whole bottle?'
'You want some?'
I spread my hands. 'So what's it to you?'
'Are you trying to get drunk?'
'Of course I am. If I've got to talk to myself, I don't see why I should do it sober. So tell me about Ortega.'
Richard Morgan - Altered Carbon
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