Chapter One

Jonathan Torres ran one careful hand over the various hatches and clasps now coating his entire right arm. The cybernetic transformation had left him...changed. He hardly recognized himself beneath all of the plastic casing and liquid armor Ajax Tech had hooked him up with after his injury during the attack, but that was beside the point. Jon felt that an integral part of his humanity had been lost forever.

Jon unlatched one of the clasps and opened the small chamber it sealed. Inside, he found several little controls, and the realization rose in Jon again like an electric shock: he was no longer human. He was something else. My body has controls, he thought, Like some machine.

He bumped a control button by mistake and jumped when a razor-sharp blade about ten inches long popped out of his wrist. He glanced around the quiet medical chamber he was in quickly, suddenly self-conscious, then retracted the blade after fumbling about with the controls for a moment.

The room smelled thickly of antiseptic and blood. The incisions where some of the more invasive modifications had been implanted must still be fresh. There were tools all over the walls, ranging from small saws to drills to needles and IV feeds. Jon cursed the fact that he was stuck here for two more days - or so the doctors had told him.

Then, he looked at a clock on the wall above him. It read five o'clock PM. That was impossible! Just the last time he'd awoken, it had said seven in the morning! He couldn't have slept an entire day!

"Help me!" He shouted. "Help!"

"What is it, Jon?" A doctor wearing a white jacket and mask pulled aside the curtain. "You're okay, you've just been out for a while. You're likely to feel  bit disoriented." The doctor went on. "Do you need to use the restroom? Are you hungry?"

"No," Jon said. "I'm fine. Have I really been out for ten hours?"

"Jonathan," the doctor said slowly, like he was trying to explain something difficult to a small child, "You've been out for a day and a half. It's the last day of your stay. We almost considered keeping you longer." The doctor looked concerned.

"No," Jon said quickly. "I think the best thing for me is to get out of this bed and back to work."

"You'll need to get used to the modifications our surgeons have made," the doctor said. "Lisa, get over here! He's awake. He needs instruction with his new gear."

A woman appeared outside the curtain as well, also wearing a white coat and holding a clipboard.

"Hi there," she said. "How are you feeling? Sore? Hungry?"

"No," Jon said, struggling to keep his patience. He'd never been good at dealing with being babied. "I'm fine. Can you please tell me what all of this equipment does before I learn the hard way?"

"Sure," she said. "Let's start here, on your wrist." She indicated the casing that covered Jon's right arm. "This is your retractable utility knife," she said, pointing to the controls Jon had already discovered. "Be careful, it's sharp enough to cut through a several inches of steel with no problem. This is your stun glove - not something we're normally allowed to equip anyone with, but considering you're a Commando, the higher-ups made an exception," she continued, indicating Jon's right hand, which was covered by a black leather glove with wires running to this tips of his fingers. "You can deactivate the stunners by clicking this button here. Now, you won't shock anyone unintentionally. These large pipe-like things here and here," she indicated two pipes at Jon's elbows and shoulders, "are your hydraulic strength enhancements. You've got digital lenses inplanted in your eye sockets, so you can call up all of the information you'll need for any given situation. You've also got an internal comms unit running from your jaw down to your ear drum so you can talk and HQ will hear you, as well as the other way around. Your legs are enhanced as well, and the rest of you is pretty much either cloned organic parts or cybernetic analogs. There is a little bit of you left in there, though - just enough that you survived your wounds long enough for the surgeons to save you. I do believe that's it," she said, laying her clipboard on the edge of the bed and putting her hands at her sides. "You can sign out there, and you're free to go, if you're really ready to get back out there."

"I am," Jon said slowly, looking straight ahead of him. "I have to be."


Jon loaded the micro-detonation rounds back into his XLR-50 rifle and checked his heads-up display one last time. "This is Torres," he said to his internal communications piece, "I'm going in." With that, he closed transmission, stood up, and began to stride towards the facility a few hundred yards away from him, rifle at his shoulder. The bio branch had gone a bit crazy lately; nothing had been heard from them in weeks. Now, command was sending Jon in to see what, exactly, was going on.

As Jon strode into the facility, he readied himself for anything. His knife was ready to eject at a moment's notice, and he felt super-charged and ready to go. What he saw still shocked him.

"Holy crap," he whispered under his breath. There was rubble everywhere. The facility had been trashed - and that didn't mean someone had just thrown a wild party and not picked up. It meant the place had been annihilated. There were dead, mutilated bodies everywhere. It looked like some vicious beast had torn through here, but not before a hurricane had done the same.

What happened here?

The End

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