Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

There’s a hole in the roof of my mouth that I can’t fix. A black putrescent liquid that hasn’t stopped for hours is dripping slowly onto my tongue. It tastes salty and smells a little like melting rubber. I’m still alive.

The plague killed the biological parts of me. I am rotting. I don’t know if that will eventually kill the manufactured parts of me. Myself and five other people in this building had enough metal and plastic implanted in us that we survived.

We’re police dispatchers.

We had all been badly injured in the line of duty and brought back to ‘working condition’ with the help of current technology. After we had been repaired, we were put on desk jobs with good pay.

The reason that the six of us were still moving and thinking is that our brains and bodies have been rebuilt as a result of our long-ago injuries. Us six in particular had all sustained massive cranial damage in the line of duty. Our nervous systems had been automated and our movements were controlled by the thin bodycages that we wore. Our memories had been saved and digitized during our surgery but our imaginations were limited.

Just a few days ago, we were the stupid ones. Now we’re the survivors.

Ted had his entire body burned to a crisp in his line-of-duty accident ten years ago. He was the most mobile of us now because of all his muscle-work but unfortunately, he had the bare minimum of police dispatch silicon in his brain. His metal body is at his desk taking sips from a coffee cup long gone dry

We were all amped up to handle the flow of calls coming in from the massive populace of the west coast. There were four hundred of us. The flow of data was constant and huge. It’s down to a trickle now and most of the incoming calls are automated which is okay since we’ve gone from four hundred down to the six of us.

Our country has been wiped out.

Fortunately, the plague had left us mostly-silicate demi-borgs alive. Unfortunately, the motors of our brains and bodies were running on backup batteries that would run out in sixteen hours.

There is a stink in this office of the other dead operators. It’s the ghost of Christmas future for us. We’re trying to come up with plans but it’s difficult with our limited imaginations. We’ve effectively become machine intelligences. We have no urge to panic and we have no real ideas on how to proceed.

It’s frustrating to think of all the money and time that our country had used to prepare for a giant EMP of some kind and the enemy bastards went and released the biologicals.

Those of us that are mobile are going to leave this office and search for batteries. We will try to find weapons. We will fight the invaders.

We will be automated zombies guarding what’s left of our country. I am good at math. We will fail.

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