Short stories

“Fucking bitch”, said Joseph as he wiped the warm blood from his arm.

He gazed at the corpse of Councillor Williams: “She gave a pretty good fight for a piece of metal”, he thought. Glancing over the room, he saw what he was looking for.

“Good work, Mr. Robinson”, calmly said the man behind the desk. “It’s still a shame you had to… terminate her. She could have proven useful.”

“She gave me no choice”, said Joseph. “She was armed and shot me as soon as she saw me”.

“Well, at least you have the data we needed. I’ll send it to our engineers right away”, said Musgrove as he took the flash drive and put it in the Replicator. “Here’s your payment”.

“Thank you, sir”, said Joseph with a nod, walking out of the hazy room.

Medusa’s aspect severely declined during the last decade. The gigantic 100-square mile mining rig was built to last until all the manganese from this zone was depleted, but it has been at least fifteen years since the last ore of the precious mineral was mined. Athena, the AI that was in charge of the facility’s functioning and upkeep, had a major flaw: it wasn’t programmed to consider the fact that the mining reserves would be depleted eventually. Being the supreme ruler of the rig and its inhabitants, everybody had no choice but to continue working and follow Athena’s orders and mine useless limestone to not get “fired” by Athena’s henchmen and assistants, the Councillor-class androids. For the unfortunate citizens of Medusa, going back to terra firma was not an option: because of global warming, the oceans rose just enough to drown most of Earth’s cities while the continental lands dried up and became empty deserts almost devoid of life. The few settlements that survived are now swarming with slavers and bandits. Not to mention nobody would even be able to make it off the rig without being found by Athena and killed.

“What the hell?” yelled Joseph as he vigorously took the power cell from Josh the vendor’s hand, “It’s twice as expensive as last month!”

“Sorry, Joe”, sighed the vendor. “It’s just that the warehouses are even more protected than before, so our guys aren’t able to get as many cells as usual. I still don’t understand why you need so many of these power cells, though.”

“None of your business”, said Joseph.

“Whoa, no need to get pissed off, dude, you know I don’t give a shit what people do with my stuff”, said Josh with a playful tone. “You know, being a thief and all.”

Joseph gave Josh a smirk as he turned away and walked to his room.

He plugged the power cell in the adaptor just below his right ribs. “Now that’s better”, he thought. Joseph was ashamed of being a cyborg. Just the thought of being somewhat similar to the machines he was fighting on a daily basis disgusted him, but it’s not like he had any choice. During the Mineral Wars, an EMP grenade went off beside him and it made his assisted armor instantly crush his right leg and arm. Fortunately, the technology allowed doctors and engineers to “repair” him, but now he had to use power cells in order for his new leg and arm to work properly. Obviously, being at least part machine on this side of the rig was a little more than frowned upon. Nobody had to know.