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Backstory:

One unfortunate day in a parallel universe at a lab, an accident causes a massive explosion that blows a janitor (working there part time while going to college) out of his world. His anchor to the space-time of his universe is (painfully) severed, and he lands somewhere in USA.

His arrival is also accompanied by an explosion, though unlike at his departure it is merely big enough to be easily noticed. Nobody else is injured by that explosion, but he is found, severely wounded and in a coma, and taken to a hospital.

Even though the wounds should have been easily fatal, he survives with little assistance. After a month, he finally wakes up. While he was unconscious, the government realized that nobody knew who he was—he didn't match the description of anyone missing, he didn't match with any known records of people, and even other governments failed to determine who he is. When he wakes up, the wild theories of him coming from another world gain credibility when they find he speaks a completely unknown language.

It doesn't take him too long to learn enough English to communicate—he is quite intelligent and his memory was significantly improved by the accident. He is also able to figure out that he's no longer on the same planet by seeing a globe and noticing that the continents are not what he is used to. Unfortunately, being a janitor, he has no clue how the explosion transferred him to another world.

By this point he's become somewhat of a celebrity. He is proof that parallel universes exist and that travel between is possible. Everyone knows who he is. With no way home, he tries to adjust to life here. He is given a scholarship to go to college to study physics, where he hopes that he might be able to figure out how to get home. After graduating, he works in a government lab and continues working on ways to go to, or even just contact, parallel worlds. After a decade or so (and no luck getting home), he realizes the final result of what the accident did to him—he's not getting older.

Question:

So now the government has access to someone who recently became immortal. They have no means of replicating the process by which he became immortal, so he's the only one they'll ever have. He has an excellent memory that hasn't been (and won't be) diminished by time, and he is very hardy. What would be the best way (for the near future) for the government to utilize someone who is immortal?

For example, if the Earth was going to be destroyed and a generation ship was sent out as humanity's last chance, he would be great to have along because he would not forget the purpose of the generation ship.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have to ask the begged question: does the government have access to a newly minted immortal, or does an immortal have access to the government? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 20 '16 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ People will be disappointed because they are expecting Superman. He never lives up to what people suppose of him. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 17 '16 at 8:39
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    $\begingroup$ Just because: Was he going to the College of Janitorial Arts or to MOP Academy? I'm asking for a friend.. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Nov 9 '16 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Celebrity -> Lab Rat -> Religious/Cult Figure -> Eventually forgotten after many murder/suicide attempts... $\endgroup$ – Achilles Nov 10 '16 at 6:49
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Assuming he's only immortal and not invulnerable.

In the short term, not a lot. Western governments especially, very rarely think beyond the next election. They're not capable of thinking in terms of the long term plans that would apply to an immortal nor are they willing to commit funds to anything that won't show clear results before that election falls due (excluding acceptable long term projects like warships). You also need to remember that it's going to take 10-20 years to even suspect that he might be immortal.

In the medium term, he may become El Presidente or his Royal Majesty etc, but overthrowing a gerontocracy is good clean fun.

In the long run he'll do his best to disappear. The fleeting lives of the people around him are like the blink of an eye to his consciousness. Their grand plans and desires like dust on the winds of time. The empires that stood for a thousand years remembered only by one man who watched them rise and fall just like all the others.

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So, first of all they would still likely try to at least gather the data about his body, if he is mostly like a Homo Sapiens Sapiens. If not, even more reason to study him to get to know alien biology first-hand. If he is like a normal human, then the government would try to find a way to replicate any parts of his immortality, if possible. Even undiminishing memory capabilities are worth to look at.

He is also going to be a great subject for long-term psychological experiments, because after them he can still move on with his life... Well, as much as the govt. allows him.

They would also take a look at possibility of him being not only immortal, but also invincible. Him being invincible opens up a variety of possibilities for the government to abuse.

Other than that, he is the perfect subject for any long-term project they might have, be it an off-world colony or even monitoring the way certain kinds of food affect organisms.

However, I have to note that his great capabilities as a scientist might make him even better at being a leader of any long-term project.The government might try to brainwash him for a decade or so, in order to make him a leader of the country. That might not be what the government consensus will try to achieve, but certain parts will attempt, while at the same time looking for ways to stop him in case he will try to turn on them or play his own game.

Also, if he appears in the modern USA, they might try to make him to be the keeper of knowledge in case our society collapses. That means they will constantly make him learn all sorts of how-to's and different languages.

Using him as a sleeper-agent also is a possibility, because of his aforementioned capabilities and because the government can get him a new face, if they so wanted, before putting him in a certain position where he could eventually come in handy.

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His best position would be one dependable and in the shadows, an unaging advisor that has a view much longer than the next financial quarter or next election, someone similar to a advisor. If you have such institution in your story, the immortal would be a great person to raise to the head of a shadowy Illuminati/Spectre-like vast conspiracy, as that would be able to move him around to various other locations if needed.

The closest analog would be the unaging and unkillable Jack Harkness from the semi-secret agency Torchwood. He doesn't need to draw a salary (because he's already incredibly rich due to centuries of compound interest), and has been around long enough to know various heads of state, outliving entire dynasties and political parties... but never as a public-facing political leader himself.

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This would be highly variable on how exactly his immortality manifests, I'm going to assume he is just unaging, and while "very hardy", isn't invulnerable, or possessing any other particular physical qualities.

I'm also going to assume the government is mostly like the current day Western governments, with some degree of my own cynicism.

First of all, they would be useful as a focus for PR. Having this person as a spokesman for your own movement would be very influential. Depending on the religions in the world, and the religious views of the immortal, this could also be very disruptive, or unifying. It opens a lot of questions up about the nature of the universe, afterlife, etc.

A more evil - for lack of a better term - Government may be threatened by them, and seek to find a way to destroy them. Alternatively, if he is capable of being indoctrinated into their belief system, he'd make a great supreme leader/El Presidente For Life.

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A wise government would keep his wishes in mind for long term cooperation. If they choose to force their will on him, they make an immortal enemy. Therefore their use of him would be largely determined by his whims and desires.

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