Storytime Sunday is a meme hosted by me that goes up on Sundays but is not always weekly. I post stories here that I used for writing practice which may or may not become something more. Sometimes I may post a friend’s story as well if they feel that they want to share something. The story is under the cut, read on my friends!
He couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t treated differently. Once he had been too young to understand the looks or the whispered insults behind his back. He just knew he was different. Now he didn’t have the protection of ignorance against the prejudice he faced everyday, the hatred of his kind. Of cyborgs.
It was not his fault that he had been born without working lungs or with a shriveled left arm that would have been useless in the best of circumstances. It was not his fault that his parents, blind to the hellish life that they would be cursing him with, thoughtlessly signed the papers that fused the viable parts of his malformed body with unyielding metal. Nor was it his fault that not long after he turned five, his parents disappeared one day without a trace. In a society of cyborg haters, who would take in an orphaned child so obviously augmented by metal?
There were boys and girls like him all over Centauri 7, the fourth human colony outside of their primary solar system. After hundreds of years, prejudice against aliens had begun to fade away while the hate for so called “half-humans” like himself festered deeper and deeper in the minds of the “Pure Ones”. They were the unaugmented humans who saw true humanity as being untouched by anything else. This included the medical science that allowed him to live, the metal parts that granted him existence but not acceptance. Most cyborgs these days had been so from birth, no sane adult wanting to throw their lot in with the disenfranchised and oppressed unless they really didn’t have any other choice.
There were, of course, rumors that there were other worlds where being a cyborg was no more common than brushing your teeth. One in particular, it was told among the young cyborgs on the street, was an entire planet of nothing but cyborgs. Not that he really thought that such a thing could actually exist but, really, anything was better than here.
The voice echoed in the dark alleyway beneath the hover rail. Nix closed his eyes and let out a frustrated breath through his nose.
“Would you keep it down,” Nix growled through gritted teeth as he turned to face the speaker.
“My bad,” the other said, his metal parts gleaming as the lights from the hover rail passed by above them. He was lucky, Nix thought, that all he had to contend with was a metal hand and half of a heart. At least the heart stayed out of sight and didn’t give a mechanical whoosh every time he exhaled, like Nix’s lungs.
“Just sit down and shut up until Vi gets here, ok Whit?”
Whit nodded and leaned against a dirty alley wall, watching the rail cars hovering back and forth above them. After about 10 minutes they heard rather than saw Vi coming. Soft metallic clunks could be heard echoing around the walls of the alley.
“Gentlemen,” Vi rumbled as she stopped in front of them. Vi had the worst augmentations that had been seen in years. Half of her face, all of her internal organs, and both of her legs were completely metal. Nix thought she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen.
“Ok Nix, so what’s the plan?” Whit asked eagerly, having waited long enough in his own opinion that his impatience was completely warranted.
“It’s simple, really, get the hell off this rock,” Nix explained, as if it really were just that simple.
“Well obviously,” Vi sighed, rolling her eyes. “But how exactly do you plan on doing that?”
“By stealing a ship. Commandeering, really.”
Vi looked at him.
“Same thing,” She said. Whit shrugged.
“Doesn’t matter what you call it as long as it gets us off this heap of space junk and on our way to Seraphim One,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as Seraphim One, but still, getting off this planet would be good enough for me,” Nix told them.
And just how do you plan to commandeer a ship?” Vi asked him, not bothering to hide the mocking in her voice.
“There’s a small tour cruiser at Psy’s shipyard, just in for cosmetic work. If we can get to it, it’s ours for the taking!” Nix gestured in the direction of the shipyards excitedly.
Vi and Whit just stared at him.
Nix stared back, waiting for them to say something.
“That’s a crap plan,” Vi said simply, Whit nodded his head in agreement but said nothing.
“It’d be so easy,” Nix tried to persuade them. They were having none of it.
“Yeah, easy to get caught by some guards and sentenced to hard labor or decommissioning!” Vi argued. Decommissioning, the nice word for cyborg execution. They take off the metal bits you need to live and recycle them for something else. Or someone else.
“Nix, it’s too dangerous,” Whit murmured softly. “If you had a better plan…”
“There is no better plan! There’s nothing else! There’s no other way! Why can’t you see the opportunity we have here? A ship waiting for minor repairs right there at our fingertips! Freedom, a future away from this place! Why can’t you see it?” Nix was becoming frustrated.
“Come up with something else Nyx, we can’t risk it.” Vi said. Nix looked at Whit.
“I’m sorry, Nix. I can’t,” Whit shook his head. “If you come up with something… You know where to find me.”
Nix watched Whit disappear into the shadows. He turned to Vi.
“You really won’t help me,” he whispered, devastated.
“No,” she replied. They stared at each other for a moment.
“I have to do it, I have to try,” Nix tried to explain.
“I know,” she said simply. “just don’t get yourself decommissioned.”
Nix couldn’t meet her eyes anymore, he knew she was watching her with some awful look of pity on her face. He hated pity almost as much as he hated Centauri 7.
“Good luck, Nix.” Before he could form a reply, Vi turned and clunked her way out of the dirty alleyway.
Nix looked up at the lit hover rail cars above him, their quick back and forth obscuring the deep black sky from view.
“Seraphim One, here I come.” Nix said and spat bitterly on the ground.