Aartemus Vadan closed his eyes, and prepared to die with a smile on his face.
Things had been so simple, he thought, all those years ago, before he learned about star travel. Before star charts and politics and wars. Before the Borg. And before transporter technology.
"Energize," he said to the young technician, who stood ready to disintegrate Vadan's body, digitize it, and re-assemble it hundreds of kilometers away. Vadan thought that the Petty Officer at the transporter controls looked barely old enough to shave. Vadan reminded himself that Star Fleet took only the best and brightest, and that this starry-eyed adolescent technician was probably the smartest person in whatever one-shuttle mining colony he hailed from. The young technician manipulated the controls, and Vadan felt a pleasant tingle as his body was destroyed.
Cadet Vadan had been 'beamed' hundreds of times in his very long lifetime. Each time he had been transported, he had been re-assembled perfectly; not one dark-brown hair out of place, every neuron-chain preserved, every cell replicated with perfect precision.
And yet, Vadan could not shake the belief that the person that emerged onto the platform at Starbase 118 was not the man he had once been. Every time he used the transporter, he felt re-born, seeing the universe with new eyes in the most literal sense.
And Vadan's eyes had seen wonders. He had been born centuries prior, at a time when humanity was still exploring their own planet in wooden ships. On the El-Aurian homeworld, he had been a simple farmer; an artisan, a poet, a husband, a father. He had lived a quiet, bucolic life for countless years, spinning stories for his grand-children, and sitting on his rocking chair, quietly smoking his pipe, looking up at the stars and wondering who else might live up there.
Then the Borg had come. Like a hurricane, they scattered his people to the winds. Fleeing the oncoming storm, Vadan's damaged escape vessel had been rescued by a Vulcan freighter, and as he was transported for the first time, the old man he had been passed quietly away, and a new man had been born.
Many years, and many transports later, Vadan found himself once again re-imagined as a Starfleet Officer, his blue eyes twinkling, as eager and enthusiastic as the day he first looked up at the stars with awe and wonder. He stepped down from the transporter pad with a smile, ready to begin his new life.