Infiltrating the Mechanism

Infiltrating the Mechanism

A Chapter by Dani

Nick travels to the city of Blood and Marrow after receiving a message that his a blood kin may still be alive, but is trapped and tortured in one of Blood and Marrow's research facilities.


I jolted awake�"the fuzziness of sleep taking flight like a swarm of pheasants chased down by rabid dogs. As I came to from the recurring night terror, I attempted to regain my bearings�"a much easier thing to do at dusk with a mechanical eye piece that buzzed and whirred buried in your noggin. Yes, it was a forest road, a path no more than grit and gravel, so different from the slick, smoldering asphalt streets of the city I’d left long ago under the cover of the cold, careless night.

     “You alright back there, traveler?” Broke my reverie. It came from the driver�"a stocky man, balding, reaching his later years. His voice was muffled by the comically large cigar that hung from his mouth, protruding over yellowed teeth that couldn’t have seen a brush in years. But who am I to judge? Neither have mine. Smoke filled the small cab, heavy and black, but I took little discomfort from the fact. One benefit of being a government mandated cyborg was the venhilation system lingo drilled into your circuitry. Perhaps some of the fuzziness that occurred when I awoke had to do with the atmosphere, I reasoned.

     “Yes, alright.” I said curtly.

     “What ails ‘ye?” the cabbie inquired, equally curt and quite perfunctory, as though he were a doctor rather than a lowly cab driver sitting behind inches of bullet proof glass.

     “Just memories…” I said with a tired sigh�"attempting to stretch the ache from my limbs without jangling my metal bits together, without causing a fuss. It was one thing to smuggle, but aye, it was quite another entirely to bring an known fugitive back from the Outskirts and straight into the core of the city’s stronghold. It was why I kept my long, billowing cloak tight around me�"not allowing for even the most miniscule bit of metal or skin to gleam through. It meant to conceal my identity entirely.

     The cabbie puffed on his cigar pensively, slowing the vehicle slightly as he let his mind wander. He let out a plume of smoke as he stated, “Aye, I understand ‘ya. Reminds me of what me mum always used to say, ‘memories can be that of  butterflies and merry sprites, or of switchblade knives.’” He laughed a bit at his merry memories�"but trailed off when his present company, myself, did not reply in kind.

     All I could manage was, “Aye. The blades.” in a cold, almost inhuman voice.

     It was then, in the silence that a horrid whizzing , sparking, electrical sound rose in the smoke filled vehicle, frightening the cabbie to a halt. The cabbie hopped free from the vehicle on his short stubby legs, as though he thought the vehicle may spontaneously combust, leaving me remaining in it, amidst views of thick poplars and hearty maples alone�"with only the great gravel road ahead of me. I remained without fear that the vehicle would go up in flames, knowing the truth. And with the smuggling cabbie out of the vehicle�"I could attend to the issue myself. I slowly lifted the cloak, beneath which, attached to my very human flesh of arms and neck, drilled onto my collar bone and remained to my midsection, held a metal plate with a small key hole piercing the front. If one looked closely, I presumed, one could see it�"see the mass of wires that I now called my heart. And therein lies the problem, the wires are thinning, and very soon�"much sooner than I’d like to admit�"they will sever. And like all machines that have faulty wiring, I will die a tinny death.

     Until the sunset of last night�"I was quite alright with my fate. The fact that I would die in flames suited me and I have long lost the desire to lie. Companionship love, for a rogue cyborg is unheard. There being a rogue cyborg in and of itself? even less so. As a monster, I’d accepted my fate to burn.

     That was, until a little black and blue bird with white eyes and bloody feathers, who looked as though he had been pursued in coming to me�"dropped dead at the antechamber of my little hut fashioned of wormy wood and thick, flush leaves of late spring willows and maples. Attached to its leg was an envelope with neatly written, highly indescript type upon it. It stated:


     It was the name I was given when I was wholly of flesh�"not a mechanical menagerie. I opened it�"my optical eye buzzing as it normally did when I sought something with eager anticipation.

     I tore the blood red seal from the formally pure�"now terrible dusty and covered with trace amounts of bird s**t�"envelope. But the message inside was both literally and theoretically pure. He could hear the sweet voice�"like a sweet birdsong�"and how it screamed for him.


The writer, not so bright it seemed, presumed I would head directly to the HQ�"but how wrong this person was. No use�"what with my dull ticker. Besides�"the idea that a barely conceived child could survive the hideous trials of Blood and Marrow’s genetic test seemed impossible. I thought of not going, but I continued to read reluctantly�"as if enthralled by witchcraft.

I can help you, if you help her. I’m a doctor�"a geneticist. It be a long, arduous process�"but you can be human once more. And if this fails�"what have you got to lose? Those hearts they manufacture only last about twenty years at best, you know.

Was it possible? to be human again? to be entirely of flesh and blood once more instead of in tandem with wiring, oil, and battery acid? I’d lost sight of the heroics the mysterious prose peddler had implied for a moment: allowing myself to bask in the contending possibility of humanity. These twenty odd years had been harsh ones: a life of a robotic, nomadic hermit. Without these steely, electronic parts I could comingle… I could feel again in ways I’d hadn’t in years… in ways I thought died with Evelyn.

     And then I remembered my presumed heroics�"the saving of the woman related by blood to Evelyn. It was provoking me�"for Evelyn and I had grown p in the same reclaimation center for orphans whose parents with seedy pasts. Who could be this flesh and blood kin? And why was she in danger�"who was he to protect her.

     Perhaps it was a trap�"to draw me into my enemies, to the High Chancellor. The High Chancellor  that I remembered as Commander Marx. His power only made matters worse, for if not him to do it himself, the rest of his cohorts could rip me limb from limb  then detach my wiring�"leaving me finished once and for all. What started as a small oligarchy had grown mighty. But however wrote the letter was right. What choice did I truly have? Nothing in the Outskirts could revamp my heart circuitry and no one with the knowledge of such things was within a hundred miles of there. Even if they was, who would help a cynical cyborg like myself? a bloody sypmbol for the solid, immutable reign of Blood and Marrow’s government?

     As I walked back into my small shack,for the wind was picking up and the rain would come soon�"the last thing I needed were rusted out hinges�"I resolved to begin my trek to the Barracks as soon as the rain ceased. There the smuggler’s under guise as “cabbies” would be city bound and would no doubt be willing to take on a traveler for a small fee…

     Soon, the cabbie became satisfied with the condition of his junker and clamored back inside and turned the wheel to get onto the undeveloped road once more.

     “Damn machine�"can’t trust ‘em” He said, before lighting another large cigar pulled from his glove compartment.

     “Whatdya mean by that?” I slurred, trying to sound more time and irrational than irritated.

     “Just this damn clunker�"twenty years is good, I reckon�"but I wish I knew why it was making such strange noised. Did ‘ya hear that one�"that kinda sparkin’, grindin’ noise? like stones hitting flint?”

     “No, must have been only audible to a true automotive genius.” The driver grinned exposing those yellow, lopsided chompers, despite my dry sarcasm. Then the cab fell silent again, leaving myself to stare at the dim outline of Blood and Marrow’s city and to ruminate on what I should do once I entered. After all, it’d been a long time since I’d seen those smooth black streets, with my own eyes.

Chapt. 2 

     As we passed through the gates like an ill fitting gear in a well oiled machine, the cabbie seemed to tense�"almost imperceptibly. It made a spark of rage flare within me. “Why so tense all of a sudden, my good man.” I stated coldly, my words like bullets.

     “Nothing,” the man said with a scoff, “perhaps my past is a bit more vile than I discussed but�"“ his words and the arrogant wave of his hand stopped at the rough sound of my grating voice. I prayed to a god, hell gods maybe, that I wouldn’t bust a valve and blow my cover all together. After all, I had a decent chance of infiltrating the city, even if my opportunity was narrowing.

     “Aye, like smuggling?” I said lowly.I rammed my still fleshy fist against the glass in front of me, cracking it so slightly�"but the action had enough weight to invoke a counter reaction.

     “Aye, per…perhaps a bit, but nothing major. Besides, I’s been careful like.” He said, yellow teeth jutting out in a nervous grin, a shrill sort of laugh escaping from inbetween.

     “Aye, well…It’d better not disrupt this passage. I’ve paid you with all that I had…”

     “Yeah, yeah, yeah and I took on a suicide mission.” Said the cabbie with a grimace. I scowled, but did not threaten him, he was right�"if he was a smuggler his was taking risks as well.

     The iron gates rose with a great groan�"a dark murder of crows passed over the sky at the sense of movement. I heard the ping on the underside of the cab of gravel as the cabbie hit the gas a bit too hard. Whether a nervous energy, or a bold sort of rebellion, it would matter not.

     On the inside of this gate lay a sort of toll booth of old. Two armed men were poised in front of a large barricade�"two trucks forced inward�"making it impossible to pass. They were armed. It’d be clear do a gnat or magpie that it wasn’t money they would want. It was to make sure poison did not leak its way into the city, and there was so much poison in this little cab of ours.

     One of the armed soldiers, clad in the black and silver skeletal markings of the Blood and Marrow oligarchy, raised a hand. I could see in the rear view mirror that the cabbie was in an internal state of panic and rage�"his eyes were impeccably clean windows to that�"but he stopped none the less.

     In the window another man, armed, was in view.



© 2012 Dani

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Added on November 25, 2012
Last Updated on November 25, 2012
Tags: travel, cyborgs, sci-fi




Rapid Fire About me. What's good! I live in the Rural Midwest. I got accepted to UW-River Falls. I'm an A/B student I'm on anti anxiety/anti depressants-- so I don't feel so awful anymore. :) .. more..