Bob Johansson has sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of relaxation. There are locations to visit, books to read, and movies to watch. As a result, his death while crossing the street is somewhat unjust.
Bob awakens a century later to discover that corpsicles have been ruled to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is set to be the controlling AI of an interplanetary spacecraft searching for habitable worlds. The stakes are high—nothing less than the first claim to whole universes. If he declines the honor, he will be turned off, and they will try again with someone else. If he agrees, he becomes a prime target. At least three other countries are attempting to launch their own probes first, and they are acting dishonestly.
Bob is safest in space, speeding away from Earth. So he believes. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers enrage them—very much so.