Natural Hand Accord
The Natural Hand Accord, in its numerous forms, is the only policy agreed upon and enforced by all the nations of Arcatia, the closest thing the planet has to an international law. It states, quite simply, that no human being may be maintained beyond their natural time by permanent transfer to a living or nonliving host not created entirely of their own unaltered cells. In short, that immortality, be it mechanical or medical, is not to be allowed.
The Accord was drawn up long after Absolon Universal first demonstrated successful transfer (or at least indistinguishable recreation) of a human consciousness in a digital medium in 126 SEC. It was not until Eterrin Innovations used cellular transdifferentiation to create ‘artificial youth’, nearly two centuries later, that the world demanded an end to immortality. Though the Absolon method was theoretically much more affordable and would never need to be repeated (which the Eterrin would every 80 years or so, not to mention the fact that the Eterrin solution left one vulnerable to death by anything but old age), it was also doubtful that the digital consciousness was an actual continuation of the original life and not merely a perfect recreation (in effect, one could still be very much dead, and simply have a virtual self that lived on).
The moral and sociopolitical cases against eternal life were strong, but in the end the economic argument won out. A permanent elite threatened innovation and adaptability, and would theoretically cripple the ‘invisible hand’ of the market, resulting in stagnation and finally the potential death of the private sector altogether as it was crushed in the grip of an ‘unnatural hand’. It was this conclusion that finally convinced the corporate figureheads (most capable of paying for either process) to stand against it, as well as what lent the eventual agreement its name.
It is worth noting that ‘immortals’ created before the accord were unaffected. Of the 14 Eterrin test cases (including 3 members of the Board of Directors and 1 Serican Global Councilor), 9 opted for suicide in their early hundreds, 1 was assassinated, 2 died of unrelated accidents, and the final 2 (both Board members) lived to 187 and 212 respectively. It is unknown how many of Absolon’s ‘digital immortals’ were created, but is suspected that a large number remain intact. Concerns that these individuals are effectively prisoners in an Absolon server have fallen on deaf ears, and the company claims that while some have opted for termination and been granted their request, the remainder continue to actively serve the corporation to this day. As the last Eterrin subject died during The Reformation War, these are the only immortals still on Arcatia, the oldest of which could have lived for 345 years in their second life.