The Ash Children

Written by JCDenton2012 on . Posted in AE Stories

Chimera Syndrome: A disease resulting from mechanical alteration rejection. All individuals who accept mechanical alterations to become cyborgs suffer in one way or another from Chimera Syndrome. The results vary in severity, with all forms, causing a slow and progressive form of full cyberization as physical cellular decay slowly decomposes the host entity. Fully cyberized individuals who no longer posses a body of flesh and blood, and to whom no protective measures have been performed to prevent the decay of the physical brain, eventually become feral creatures known as Ash Children.

“A cyborg cannot always choose where to die, but it can always choose who to die with.”
That’s what they always said. The fully cyberized that is. They let you know, you know, that first time you decide to get something metal instead of something flesh.
“One day, you’ll end up as a brain in a jar, and no physical body.”

That day, it always seems so far off, when you get that new shiny leg or that cool omni-metal arm. Then, where the flesh meets the metal, it all slowly starts to rot. What starts as a leg eventually becomes your pelvis, and then your stomach, chest, and before you know it you’re just a brain in a jar? Losing everything below my waist was… regrettable. Sure, they can replace genitals, but the physical pleasure just isn’t the same… The day I lost my face… and became a full machine… was the worst day of my life. An actress depends upon that stuff, no money means no upkeep on the mechanical body, and before you know it you’re on the street, or some mans mechanical plaything. They can keep the brain alive; prevent it from rotting, for a price. Military cyborgs get that sort of thing for free, but civilians… you need cold hard cash. Make no mistake, I did things that I am not proud of, stole, sold myself to the desperate, and even killed… a hard fall for an actress. The irony of all this, my first mechanical alteration were a series of white wings on my back, I wanted to be angelic to those crowds, but then, over the decades, I slowly morphed into something else. Those wings aren’t white anymore. When I couldn’t afford the drugs anymore, they sent me out into the wasteland… that… Hell, the surface of that radioactive rock the orbital base revolved around. People knew that it was only a matter of time before my brain rotted, and I went insane. Fear tends to make the compassionate into monsters you know?

On that first day upon the planet’s surface, where the brown sands and green sky mercilessly tormented those poor sods working in the metal refineries and robotics factories, I was attacked by a Hunter Squad. They never really tell you about those when you first start getting augmented. Hunter Squads are Ash Children who hunt fellow cyborgs for replacement parts to their failing bodies. I was new, fresh off the shuttle, and a prime target. They took my clothes and synthetic skin.
Life… after that… was difficult. Life with a mechanical body leads to certain expectations when you end up on a working man’s planet. Since I didn’t posses any physical needs, I was forced to operate around the clock in the metal refineries. You can imagine that I was something of an oddity, a female cyborg walking around with metal studded wings.

I remember my first hallucination, it occurred a few weeks after my arrival. Those images, hallucinations, are signs that your brain has started to rot. People like to refer to the process as going feral, that slow metal deterioration into insanity and eventual death.
My first hallucination was of my metal arms slowly eroding into orange dissipating dust. It was then that I knew the end was near, and knowing has its benefits. There was an engineer, who had adopted metal wielding arms on his back during his prime. He and I… there was a mutual attraction. When we both started to hallucinate, we left the factory, and went out into the desert.
I don’t expect you to understand why we left. As a doomed cyborg, when you don’t have much time you are left with a choice. You can either choose to hold onto what little scraps of your sanity remain and eventually go feral, or you can choose to end it all. We both choose to die with some dignity.
We both walked across the desolate eradiated world until we finally came to an abandoned city ruin. Here, we found an isolated spot and sat down. Killing a civilian cyborg is a lot easier than killing a military model. Those military mechanical bodies are heavily armored while civilian models are mere basic skeletons in comparison.

1100x880 3114 Forget me not 2d sci fi flowers cyborg picture image digital artIt was a strange moment of… intimacy. I had him place his hand inside my exposed ribcage and grip his fist around my hydrogen fuel cells. We both looked at one another without speaking and I nodded. The last thing I remember was that slight pain as he crunched them in his fist. I don’t know what he did afterwards, but I hope he followed me… he was a good person, better than what I deserve.

Solar Year 4956, United Colonies Calendar.
Styxos Manufacturing, excavated the mining world of Leanderfields in hopes of expanding current existing production facilities.

This was recovered from the remains of two intermingled cyborg bodies, the last echo from the mind of an Ash Child. In the time since they had both perished, Leanderfields had been terriformed. The bodies were found in some crumbling ruins surrounded by flowers. They were holding hands

This story was submitted by JCDenton2012 for the AE Stories Event. Image by Haruni003. Find Details on sending your own Story here.