As the shadows grew longer the buildings lit up. The streets emptied, the living district was rarely filled with pedestrians even during the day time. Blue noble gas lights identified the centre of the road, yellow ones on the edge of the side walk. Ground level of the district housed no shops, the only light to flow out onto the pavement was the lobby lights with a malfunctioning polarisation in the entryway glass. Polarising glass frequently malfunctioned as it switched every few hours, keeping the sun dim in the day and the light in during the night.
Leese walked for hours, keeping her thoughts at bay. Taking in the dark as much as she could before her night vision automatically turned on. The dark was never quite as she would have imagined thanks to her dreads now glowing a dim purple, she had yet to figure out how to control every aspect of her implants. That was the price she paid by turning off her virtual visual display.
She had reached the outskirts of the district. Slowly the buildings got shorter and further apart. She’d be reaching the edge of the city soon, a light forest, the cities oxygen supply.
A rustling disturbed the music she played through her ear implants, putting it on pause. She became very alert hoping that whatever it was didn’t falsely activate her combat mode.
“No. No. Yes. No.” She heard the man’s voice before she saw him. Heat vision picked him up inside a bin in between the sky-high buildings. “How can people be throwing out such junk?” Leesandra turned back to the road. She shrugged in reply to his question.
“Hey, I asked you a question miss.” Leese paused mid-step. “How can people be throwing out such junk?” He swaggered into the street, enough light caught him that she could see him without heat detection. His clothing was torn and patched, he was her height, taller than most humans. He pulled off a ragged woollen hat and held it to his chest. “If you pardon my appearance of course.”
“Why wouldn’t you throw out junk?” He stepped closer, skip in his step.
“Because junk is normally the best stuff there is.” He grinned, his teeth stunningly white in contrast to the dirt on his face. “I mean look at you, ‘Junk human’ genes.” He made quotation marks with his fingers.
“How did you…?”
“Oh never mind that my dear. Come, sit with me, let me tell you a story?” He beckoned her into the alleyway. She pondered for a moment, he didn’t seem like much of threat, especially not to her. She also wanted to know how he picked up on her humanity like that. She followed him down beside the bins.
He had set up a little tent behind and in between two of the sky rises. Hidden from everyone, not even the cleaner-bots came down here, there was no need. With a little rain, the sides of the buildings activate their cleaning routines. Any litter or trash would washed away into the storm drains for a long journey to the water cleaning plant.
He went into the tent before her, she peered in side with caution. He had a table and some chairs set up, all fashioned with some cardboard boxes. She thought to herself ‘He’s either crazy or a genius.’
“Please sit?” He motioned towards a cardboard chair. She sat in it, it was oddly sturdy.
“Now, story time. Please save your questions for afterwards. A long time ago when the kybers were first made the humans were in outrage. They sought to destroy us. They saw us as an affront to their lives and beliefs.”
“I know all this, I did take history.”
“Shh. I’m just getting to the good part. There was war between us. Many of the original kybers were killed, never to have their memories replanted into a clone. Large numbers of humans died as well, unable to be brought back even if they wanted to be. At the start of this war, we kybers did not want to kill humans, we only did so to protect ourselves. That was all we wanted in the beginning, to help the human race reach their potential.” The ragged man took a long pause. Breathing heavily, staring at the table between them.
“But something changed. We suddenly changed tactics, knowing that if they succeeded in wiping us out there would be no reason for our passivity. We created kyber genes with the sole purpose of fighting, soldiers class kybers. And implants that would be able to provide triage for those soldiers. Triage Class. Those with these implants went mad, off the rails in whole new ways. They were untested you see. Implants designed to use any material it could to replace limbs, organs or other implants. Genes that gave knowledge of all kyber genetics, gave the ability to know the race and class of any person they sensed.”
“So you’re a Triage Class kyber?”
“Of course. Well I’m a hybrid, just like you in many a sense. Triage Class and Programming Class.”
“How come I’ve never heard of the Triage Class kyber?”
“How come I’ve never seen the kyber implants your dad gave you?”
“Oh, you didn’t know. You’ve been hiding away from what lurks inside. There’s Doctorate Class genes, cousin to my Triage, which are not your mothers. And the ones that sit where your fathers kyber genes should be. They are not ones I have on record, but are dated, as created around the time I was in service.”
“What are you talking about? They’re just standard kyber genes?”
“There are no standard kyber genes, they all have a Class or many Classes. Designed for certain purposes. Would you like me to find out what purpose they have?”
“I… uh… um.”
“Well, there is so much to you isn’t there girl. Female Human, kyber, doctor and now this.”
“What are they?”
“Turns out quietly searching the kyber gene banks for that ID pops red flags for the monitor systems. And I’m not exactly the kind of person who should be alerting monitor systems.”
“I know. We’re gonna have to run.”
“What do you mean run?”
“Like come with me. We’re going sewer diving.”