She opened her eyes, and the whole world was different. Her ocular implant depicted a clinic painted in psychedelic hues of deep purples and bright oranges.
Reminds me of the time I tried coral mushrooms.
“Shal ma’kreeth?” Doctor Dubrovnik asked.
Before she could express her confusion a line of blue text appeared in her field of vision.
LANGUAGE IDENTIFIED: J’Karyth.
MESSAGE: How are you?
“I think I’m ok,” she answered.
“Any difficulty breathing?” When she shook her head he nodded. “Good. Each lung cost a bloody fortune. I’m going to activate your artificial limbs, which might feel a bit odd. You can sit up, but don’t try standing until you feel able.”
Her left arm and left leg suddenly tingled with sensation. They felt almost as if they had fallen asleep. She sat up and saw her arm for the first time. Not even the smallest effort had been made to normalise it. The limb wasn’t even painted to resemble flesh, let alone covered with synth-skin and implanted with genuine follicles. Brute bare metal studded with plastic nerves made no pretence of humanity.
Gertrude awoke, and screamed.
A stranger, a doctor, she guessed by his old-fashioned white coat, slapped her twice across the face.
“Keep your damned mouth shut,” he told her.
Heavy leather restraints around her wrists and ankles prevented her retaliating, but her neck was free and she could make out the fact that she was almost entirely naked. Thankfully her slightly singed underwear had been left on, though precious little was left to the imagination. Blazing fire had twisted and corrupted much of her flawless skin into a ruin of burns. Strangely, the tortured skin on the left side of her body did not hurt at all. In fact, she couldn’t feel a damned thing, unlike the right, which a draught had caused to come out in goosebumps. There was, however, a persistent stabbing pain inside her chest, and she felt short of breath.
“What’s my prognosis?” she asked the doctor, trying to keep calm.
“You’re screwed.” Continue reading