Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
We were battling the Roekuld, part of humanity’s last stand against an overwhelming foe. We fought for hours. I wonder how it ended?
Our heavily armoured assault cruiser, Thunderer, got well and truly stuck in. We reaped the rewards: cut through their fighters, blew up their cruisers, mauled their warships, and only took light damage for our trouble.
Just when we were feeling pretty good about the ‘last-ditch attempt’ thing, a Roekuld dreadnought – think it was the ‘Windgrace’ – battleskipped itself in on our flank and complimented us on our efforts by sticking a full broadside in from barely five hundred metres out.
Ever read the analyses of what a ‘hundred percent strike’ from a Roekuld dreadnought can do? It’s ludicrous. Waves of firepower preceded by specific countermeasures, with a few effects that shouldn’t be possible – or used by sane beings – thrown in to make things memorable.
With all the electronics misbehaving, being one of the ‘hotwired’ enhanced cadre became no fun. We flew the fighter drones that defended the Thunderer, so I was attached to the ship, and outside the ship, in unique ways. Those ways got corrupted, then one of those ‘impossible’ effects hit and my world went grey. Completely grey. I could feel it: like slow-flowing oil and sand. It sang me a song I’ll misremember forever. Then sparks. Big fat ones. Then black.
When I woke, I thought I’d been blinded. Couldn’t feel heartbeat or breathing. My body was obviously badly broken. Just trying to move resulted in falling. I was aware of my fall, knew when I stopped falling, but there was no sense of impact. I lay there for a long while, recalibrating like I’d been taught to do after every new bit of me went in. My whole body was messed up, so I treated it all like a new prosthetic. Apparently, I had no toes to try and wiggle. It took me ages to realise that bending the little finger on my right hand had become the same as flexing my right leg, while my left leg matched my right index finger. From there, after a period of screaming denial, I explored my new state.
Of all the extras and replacement bits in me, my right hand was the most recent addition. Hosting onboard memory and processors, able to make me faster by augmenting the needs communicated by my brain. It had a ‘fat’ connection, taking intent as well as mechanics, and felt very strange. I’d still been getting used to it. During the broadside I’d found that deep connection helped to stabilise against the disorientation the rest of the cadre were experiencing. Whatever that grey moment was, it took things further.
I am my right hand, without a body. Not even a wrist. Apart from touch, my senses are irrelevant. The fall had been this prosthetic hand slipping off the top of my console – where I’d braced myself when the broadside effects started to bite – onto the keyboard.
I’m still on that keyboard: wandering about like a five-legged spider. Perched on the four digits that correlate to arms and legs, using the middle finger – which correlates to my head/neck – to type. Counting key positions by touch to find the right character takes so much effort.
Can’t remember much more than what’s here. Not even my name.
Is this reversible? I suspect not. I also think there’s a dead ship about me. That’s why I’m saving and sending this via every channel – if I’m accessing them correctly– hoping someone scans the data before I get salvaged to death.
He’s screwed, who the hell reads readme files? 😉 That went in a direction I don’t think I knew existed!
Thank you, Hari!
Wildly imaginative! I did as instructed by the title, and am glad I did.
As am I. Thank you.