Across from me, the robot's facial mechanisms narrow, a hint of green suspicion blends into his seeing mechanisms. Under his scrutiny, my elastics tighten; I shift my weight around in the snow.
Finally, he steps aside and lets me come in. I look around the room and notice large wooden beams running across the ceiling. Wood hasn't been used in buildings in hundred of years. Across the room, a huge fire burns, illuminating two figures. The closest figure stands facing me. "Where'd you hear about this place?" he asks.
"A friend of mine. Forty- five. Is he here?"
"Any 'bots named Forty-five?" he asks the robot.
The figure takes a step forward, throwing his features into sharp relief. I recognize the look of his skin! Instead of metal plating he has flesh, his seeing mechanisms are organic instead of electric; a real, live, human being!
"Must be another deserter." he says.
My elastics contract futher and pump speeds up. "What's a deserter?" I ask.
The hard expression of the man's face melts as he says, "It means your friend isn't here yet, but he could still be on his way. We can start on you while we wait."
My pump wants me to wait for Forty-five, but I ignore it. The human said he could still be coming. The other figure by the fire stands; she is human too!
The robot shoves me forward and the human grabs my arms. Their faces seem grim as they lead me to a spotless table near the fire, with surgical instruments scattered around. The man helps me climb onto the table and begins to tie leather straps around my arms and legs.
"You should turn off your seeing mechanisms." the robot suggests.
I close the port with my free hand. As soon as it's done, I'm tied down completely. As one of the machines begins to whir, my elastics squeeze together and my pump kicks into overtime; this is it.
The machine brushes up against my shin and starts to tear the metal away from the rubber. I can hear another machine starting up as he steel is removed from my chest and face. In a few moments all the plating is gone and I'm left in only my elastics. My carbon fluids are dripping on the floor as the humns work on me. The sound makes me gag.
"Bring the parts." the woman says.
The sounds of a third machine are added to the cacophony in the human factory. The humans start to peel back my rubbers, which make smacking sounds as they hit the floor.
"Here's the heart."
"Sixty-seven grab his pump." the woman says. Hands wrap around the silicone muscle pounding inside me and pull. In a fraction of a second, there's a new, warm, heart nestled into my body.
My diamond skeleton is replaced with organic bone.
Sinew takes the place of my elastics.
I can feel the pain!
My seeing mechanisms are yanked out and replaced with squishy eyes. My breathing mechanisms are replaced with lungs that struggle for air. A nose is attatched to my face and I can smell the stink of my new body parts. The carbon fluids left in my body are drained out and new blood spreads warmth through my skin shell.
Finally, all the machines die down and I can hear the woman again. "Bring the brain."
My new throat is raw but I manage to croak, "What's that?"
"A container." the woman says.
Before I can wonder what she means by "everything" my control is yanked out of my head. The brain is stuffed inside so quickly, that my body doesn't shut down. The woman sews up my skin, and suddenly, I am aware of all the new parts. I can feel te metal beneath my body and a cold breeze does ballet on my skin. My new hair brushes against my neck- it's smooth as metal and soft like skin.
"Open your eyes." says the man, "It'll be alright."
But the light is too bright for them; I can't. Suddenly, I'm afraid of what the world will be like through them. Control never told me what it was like to be alive! I've never known the wy a fire feels, or what a tomatoe tastes like. What if it's bad? What if the world is ugly through human eyes?
I notice my brain is hungry. It wants to know. It needs to see.
I open my eyes.
I am alive.
(Note from author: Thanks to all who read, and gave me my inspiration. ♥)