I was a Nexus then, regulating and regurgitating information into packets that were fed to the meat files of mainstream media. I was constantly hooked in, floating in nutrient-gel, eyes covered, fingers locked, steering, loading and filtering information so that people engaged in other pursuits could be kept current on politics, art, media and technology. My efficacy made me rich and my wealth allowed me to submerse myself further into my work. I could afford the kind of technology that would stimulate my muscles, feed me, and provide sufficient entertainment so that leaving the tank was unnecessary. We still have reporters, first person raw information sources that spend their time in transit on the ground, transmitting unfiltered data, video, audio, occasionally an opinion. Reporters are paid in tiny increments by hundreds of people like me.
I was aware that the northern guerilla fighters might attack me, for what I distributed in regards to their recent carnage. They didn’t care that I had written a similar critique on the atrocities of the UBE Army, they just wanted vengeance. I knew, but I was so disconnected from my own sense of physical self that I took no action to move, I could only watch it happen.
His spider arms, hard and agile, curled around my naked body and lifted me from the tank. It was dull and shadowy; the tank was the only source of light in the room. I craned my neck to look back at the tangle of wires and screens and sense-pits. I wanted to go back, but I let myself be lifted from the gel by the military machines. I looked at the lean silver face of the military cyborg, eyes black reflective surfaces, the smooth metal expressionless. I was not weak or tired, just disinterested. It spoke.
“Simona Rysler, you are herby confiscated by the UBE military forces. You are to remain docile while in transit to the holding facility. Your life is in danger. Remain calm.”
The voice was oddly soft, masculine and terribly earnest.
“I produced a story about the UBE converted forces.” I said, touching the thin metallic limbs that surrounded me.
“I know.” He said gently.
“It wasn’t complimentary.”
“I know.” He began to move. The UBE conversion forces are almost completely limbs, just a small center section barely as wide as my thigh comprises the center, which encases the spine and the brain. The thin cylinder that comprises the head is made for us more than anything else, something for the civvies and officers to look at. His spider limbs, one side a silver jointed blade and the other a flatted rubber surface alternatively held me and moved to catch the ground beneath us. I had seen videos of the UBE cyborgs rolling leaps and soft ballet landings, but to be inside the cage of his limbs, extending and contracting with his movements was magnificent. The wind was harsh on my sensitive wet skin. I watched us, detached, uncomfortable, as he leapt across silver buildings, spinning and landing on stone artifices. I was like a small egg inside a carefully constructed metal box. I looked through the web of his arms and saw the chasm of the city spinning down beneath us. I vomited, a dribble of fluid and then wretched empty heaving. He pulled my shaking body close to his metal center.
I had written about the cyborgs when their existence was revealed to the public. Young men stripped of their healthy human bodies and placed in robotic shells. It was dissemination of information and a philosophical treaties about waning humanity, the loss of human community and the devolution of mankind from a spiritual being to a materialistic creature. Robots would never war with us, as predicted in the old science fiction stories; rather, we would discard our bodies, our humanity, and hand our world to them without resistance. The essay had been very popular.
“Close your eyes, breathe deeply.” He said. There was a sharp sting on the back of my spine. The nausea drained and my muscles relaxed. When I opened my eyes, all I could see were his limbs and cylinder head.
“Where are we?”
“On the side of the VRINN building.”
“Oh.” I was feeling giddy. “You’re nice.”
“I’m designed for human transport. Retrieval and relocation is my specialty.”
“Don’t you ever miss sex?”
I was about to protest, talk about my active sexual life, but the truth was, although I was often involved in simulation, I hadn’t had a skin lover in nine years. I whispered to him.
“I’m sorry about what I wrote.”