Cyborg

by Cameron Johnson

The worst thing I woke to was the smell. Sure, there were other things lurking around in sewer that aren't particularly friendly, but it was always the smell that leaves a lasting impression on the senses. Ugh. I got to my feet, back aching from being propped up against a concrete wall all night, and started to move around, trying to get some blood into my remaining limbs.

My right leg, an implant, graunched as I straightened the knee. Feeling thankful there were no nerve endings in that limb anymore, I began pacing backwards and forwards, waiting for my arm implant to reactivate. Unlike my leg, my arm only had implants inside, replacing the bones in my arm, and my whole hand. Another souvenir from my time in the military.

My leg itched. I reached to scratch it, only to feel plastic. I didn't know why it did that. It seemed ominous. I forced the thought from my mind.

After what seemed like half an age, a felt a familiar buzzing sensation in my forearm, as the augment finally decided to activate, and partial feeling reverted to my arm.

Limping, I began to walk to where Jaysum would be waiting for me, near the exit to the surface. It didn't take me that long to get to the hidden entrance that most of us used to get down here, and a face peered over the lip.

"Ah my friend, it is good to see you again," he said, with a great, beaming smile on his face, "I will admit that when you went after those muggers last night I was not certain that I would get the chance to have this conversion today." Jaysum had grown up in South Africa, but had been living in Britain for several years years now, which resulted in a bizarre accent.

Jaysum, like me, had served in the military, and had also been majorly wounded in combat, resulting in much of the left side of his body being augmented, including his left arm, leg, eye and jaw. This patchwork quality was the result of him shielding a younger man from a grenade whilst being in the trenches of Canada.

I smiled back, the burn scars on my face pulling tight as I did so. "You knew I be back here you wily bastard."

"Guilty as charged, I'm afraid, however, that doesn't stop me from wondering who I'm going to have to con into being my new friend." He replied with a laugh.

"Give me a hand up would you," I said, preparing myself for the three metre leap required to grab the top of the ledge.

He grinned as a response, and I backed up, then threw myself at the wall as gracefully as my leg augment would allow. He caught my hand, and hauled me up onto the ledge with little effort.

Breathing out, I straightened my ragged jacket in a blatant mockery of the sterile, boring attire of the general working populace. "Well, let's be off then."

The high street was the same as ever, with a pristine white aesthetic, and strange sculptures, that were probably intended to be impressionistic art. The whole area felt like it should have a great bloody sign sporting 'No poor people'. Not that anyone stopped us as we perused the street.

People parted before us, looking at the park over the fence, looking at the traffic, looking at their own shoelaces, looking anywhere other than Jaysum and I. We were used to this by now. These people had augments far superior to our own, that could allow us to work again, despite us being close to 40. But they held it close, stopping us from us from ever becoming more than just functional, because it would cost them, making it so that it would be slightly harder to find a job, as they could no longer simply rely on their money to just buy them the augment they needed to become better at the job. Skill would be worth something again, and the line between rich and poor would blur. But of course, they could just pretend that we didn't exist, and sooner or later the problem would sort itself out.

I noticed a young woman walking in front of me, using a smart contact lens, basically your own personal heads up display, almost completely unaware of her surroundings, occasionally bumping into people.

Jaysum piped up next to me, bringing me back into reality, "So, do you think that they will have anything in the bakery dumpster at this hour"

"Dunno, there usually isn't by now" I replied, still amusing myself by watching the young lady in front of me bumping her way through the mass of people. A car roared past us, moving far faster than all of the other traffic.

The young woman in front of me turned suddenly, then walked out onto the road. I could see another car screaming along the road, towards her.

I reached out, grabbing her wrist, and pulled her off the road, just as the car went past.

Everyone froze. I was paralyzed with shock at the speed of my reaction, and the young lady just sat on the ground, stunned by how close she had been to death.

Jaysum turned to me, "How did you, how did you just, you just," he spluttered incredulously. Not believing what I had done either, I just stood there. Shocked.

Finally, some good samaritan decided to intervene and help fix the situation.

"H-h-hey, you let her go." He said, trying to look me in the eye.

Jaysum replied, incredulously, "She wouldn't have a third dimension if my friend here hadn't intervened. Don't matter how many augments she had."

"I'm sorry, what?" Asked the man, screwing up his face. I think you're vocal augment is breaking down. I can't make out a single word you're saying."

The crowd murmured.

Jaysum didn't react how I would've. The Samaritan's nose remained unbroken. I gritted my teeth.

He laughed. Just laughed. "Now you, my friend, you are a special kind of nihilist aren't you?"

I came out of my daze, and finally realized I was still holding her arm. I let it go. It fell with a limp thud.

The Samaritan stood several meters away from Jaysum, shaking with rage. "You. Are. Beyond. Outdated. You can't even compare yourself to us. You are barely above an animal."

The crowd murmured approval. The dirty homeless people who had slowed down their morning commute certainly were a problem.

The Samaritan sensed he was gaining momentum with the crowd. "We are Gods, and you aren't even fit to touch us." He spat at me, still lying on the floor.

Apparently Jaysum would happily be insulted all day long, as long as they left his friends alone. With a smooth click, a silvery blade unfolded from his left arm augment, so it extended from his wrist. "Well, I got this protecting you 'Gods' from invasion five years ago." He stalked up to the Samaritan, "Want to find out if it still works?"

Unsurprisingly, the Samaritan backed away. The crowd stopped murmuring.

I wiped his spit off my face and turned to go. "Come on Jaysum, lets leave the Gods and Kings to contemplate the meaning of humanity, and their own mortality.

Reluctantly, he walked away.

I heard a shout come up from behind us. "Wait!" yelled the girl I saved. She had a dirty hand print on her white shirt, from where I had grabbed her, and no longer had a faint blue glow to her irises.

She looked me square in the eye, shook my hand, and said, "Thank you, for what you did." She pressed something into my hand. "Keep this, you need it more than I do."

"You're welcome." I replied. "Look both ways next time, yeah." She smiled.

This was to much for the Samaritan. He reached into his waistband, and pulled out a revolver.

Shit.

He pointed it towards me, then flicked the gun onto Jaysum. "Don't. Just, don't." He pointed the gun at me. "Give it back." I looked down at my hand. It was a Chit, a loyalty card. We could upgrade our augments with this. We could have jobs again. We could be better than us.

The young woman piped up. "I gave it to him to say thank you for saving my life."

The Samaritan looked towards her with a stern look. "It doesn't belong to him, it belongs to you." Like he was talking to a child.

This guy was actually insane. There was no reason behind his actions beside pure prejudice.

Before things got ugly, I threw her the Chit. It wasn't worth dying for.

Almost out of control, the Samaritan whispered to me, "Now say thank you."

Jaysum risked speaking. "Thank you for the thought, however we are unable to accept due to personal morals and peer pressure."

Hissing, the Samaritan turned to Jaysum. "No, that's not why he gave it back. Tell her why you really gave it back," he said, gesturing towards me.

Jaysum replied, "Let me explain this in simple english. You pointed a gun at him, he co-operated."

The Samaritan seemed to come out of his all powerful trance for a brief second. He let the gun lower gently down towards the ground.

Then he shot Jaysum.

The crowd screamed, and ran. Jaysum fell over, clutching at his throat. The Samaritan dropped the gun, and ran with the crowd. The young woman stayed. I ran towards the body of my dying friend.

I knelt down next to him. He was gurgling, and blood was pouring out of his throat. I tried to calm him down. "Mate, you need to relax. Just relax, you're going to be fine."

He was thrashing around on the ground, drowning in his own blood.

"Just calm down. Please man, you have got to calm down."

He stopped thrashing, and looked up at me, fear in his eyes. He knew he was going to die.

I could hear sirens in the distance. They were close. Help was coming. "You just have to hang on for a little bit longer, then help is here. Just try and relax."

The light faded from his eyes.

The ambulance pulled up next to me. A man in a white uniform pushed me out of the way, whilst another placed a machine next to him. He slammed a spiked tube into Jaysum's chest, and turned the machine on.

Jaysum sighed, as the machine pumped air into his lungs, preventing suffocation.

Jaysum was stretchered away. Disappearing into the back of the ambulance. I wasn't allowed to follow.

The next few weeks were boring, if slightly quieter than normal. I walked along that street everyday, hoping to find the Samaritan. I never saw him. The blood stain was gone every time I walked along the street, although I swore I could still see it.

Then one day, he was in the sewer, in my sleeping spot. He had a scar on his Larynx, from where the bullet hit him.

I hobbled up to him as quickly as I could, and pulled him into a hug. "How have you been, mate. The police asked me so many questions about that guy, and I really hope they catch him."

A tear rolled down Jaysum's face.

"You OK mate?"

He held up a small white board;

'Unfortunately, I can no longer speak. The Doctors all say that I'm lucky to be alive, but I never will say anything, ever again. My vocal cords are beyond repair, because of how the bullet severed them.'

I trembled with rage. "We are going to make sure that hateful scum bag pays for this. We are going to make sure he pays for everything."

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