All I can tell about this place is that its dark. Really, really dark.
The last thing I can remember? Let me try and think
now, it cant have been at the shops. No, there was definitely more after that. What happened? I left the centre, headed down the street. But then what?
There were a few drones in the street, no humans. Well, no flesh-and-blood humans, anyway. Couple of other cyborgs perhaps, but they were cloaked well if they were there. The scanners didnt pick anything up, so they must have been using a jamming signal.
What am I going on about? Its not worth trying to explain that to you. I mean, you dont know anything about prosthetics, right? Youre flesh and blood, for sure.
How can I tell?
Its your breath. Its not regular, not controlled. Natural.
Anyway, so the street was clear, I think. But it wasnt so clear when I left my home. No, back then it was bustling with people, even a few with real bodies. I still dont know how theyve managed to survive, what with the meltdown and everything. A miracle there are any left who arent sterile.
How long ago? What is this, an interrogation?
Yes, sir. Youre in a police station.
That was when I finally realised how lost in my own thoughts Id been. Without a visual reference, everything just sort of oozed and flowed around me; now it was plain as day. I couldnt see the harsh spotlight above me, but I could feel it. I tried switching to infra red; still nothing. All my visual senses had been masked. When I reached up towards my face, I felt the blocking blindfold jamming my vision.
sorry. I wasnt all there a minute ago. I still wasnt.
The female human sitting across from me leant forward. I felt it in the air. So, you were definitely in the streets when it happened.
When what happened? I still had no idea what this woman was talking about. I was walking home with my shopping when everything went blank, and now this: an interrogation by the police! Me, a suspect! Imagine!
When the bomb was set off, she said simply. We combed the area for ages for survivors, and you were the only one relatively uninjured, so we brought you in for questioning.
I should be the one questioning you! I tried to stand up, but theyd tied my legs down to the bench. Magnetic wire. Youre in direct violation of my human rights!
Youre not a human, she said coldly. She removed my blindfold with a snap of her fingers. And neither am I.
My mind simulated my blood running icy as her face came into view, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. As my head reeled, I rolled backwards, taking the bench with me onto the dead stone below.
Why didnt you say it was a damn nuke? I shouted, trying to stand up. The android (that was why she sounded so cold
but why could I feel human breath still?) lifted my bench up and set it heavily down, myself still shackled to it.
You dont watch the news? The whole area had been evacuated months before. The only people left were either insane or had a death wish. Or, in the case of cyborgs, were under false impressions.
I placed my head in my hands, shaking it. I didnt have any displays up except basic vision; all the others were blocked off. A hack. It was a bloody hack.
How many? My voice, artificial as it was, broke up.
Where you were, not many. We got a bad tip. The bomb went off in the next sector.
I froze. If I had a throat it would have dried into a desert. Which side?
The next sector from yours.
That doesnt answer my question, I said quietly, standing up and trailing the bench. They should have attached it to the ground.
Which side of my sector?
The next sector from yours. Her eyes were unblinking, fixed on me. I stepped towards her, dragging the writhing dead snake of a bench behind me, and lifted her up.
I said, which side? My voice turned to desperation.
My operational lifespan is over, the android told me. Thank you for choosing the R-66Y model. And the android fell lifeless (even more so than she had been before) in my arms.
And then vanished.
Hang on a moment, I thought. Im still being hacked.
And now I think back about everything that happened, its hit me: I cant remember leaving my house.