“Being kyber doesn’t have to be a curse you know?” Kari took a sip of her coffee.
“And despite that being the hundredth time I have heard that I am somehow cured, thank you, my savior.” Leesandra had her face down in her coffee cup looking up at her.
“You don’t have to be sarcastic. I know saying the words doesn’t help, I do have Psychology genes.”
“Would have been nice if those came with some form of empathy.”
“My Soldier genes drown them out anyway. See what I said about trash.”
“Genes can’t be trash, that’s not how kyber work, that’s not even how natural evolution works. Every gene coming together is what makes you, you.”
“That’s a nice sentiment.” Kari put her head in her hand and rested her arm on the table, smiling at Leesandra. “But I’m not that special.”
“We’re all special, not one kyber is alike. We improved on reproduction too much for anything less than complete individuality.”
“And yet you don’t want to be one of us.” Kari raised her eyebrows as though she congratulated herself.
“I like being a kyber, I hate the parts of me that operate outside of my control.”
“So what you’d rather go back to Earth and live tech free like the rest of them.”
“Not at all. Technology is great, but I didn’t need it from birth.”
Kari took a bite out of her pizza and sat there quietly chewing away. Leesandra did the same, remembering how hungry she was.
“Why does kyber scare you so much?” Kari sat up straight, preparing to listen
“It’s a long story.” Leesandra looked down at her food.
“I’ve got time.”
Leesandra gave a long and deep sigh.
“So for junior high I was in the only human one on the station.”
“Oh damn that must have been rough.”
“It was fine.” Leesandra snapped. “It was better than being plugged into a wall for sixteen years having data pumped in.”
“Yeah, i’ll give you that.”
“There was some interesting social divides ten years ago. The popular kids were all children of rich non-kybers that could afford genetic alterations.”
“They had the perfect kyber skin and looks as pre-teens, damn.” Kari shook her head
“Yeah, of course they wanted me in the group, the old classic nineteen nineties high school drama style. But I barely wanted to hang around anyone let along them.”
“So what happened?”
“There was some over the top bullying, one of the girls, Indigo, she was such a prissy bitch. It wasn’t enough to be seen as cooler than everyone, she wanted to push everyone down.”
“She bullied someone you liked.”
“She hit them, right in front of me.” Leesandra rolled her hands into fists.
“Human’s can be terrible especially at that age…”
“Fight or flight kicked in.”
“You went into combat mode because you didn’t have access to the main systems at thirteen or fourteen.” Kari grimaced.
“I broke her arm in three places before anyone knew what was happening. I would have killed her if I wasn’t screaming for someone to get her away from me.” Leesandra wrapped her arms around herself.
“But you have control now. You don’t have to be a slave to it.”
“After high school I finally forced myself to open my UI, for long enough to disable combat mode and stop accidental activation of most annoying functions. Then I spent the next month unable to the house.” She wiped away the tears gathering in her eyes.
“I’m sorry.” Kari put her hand out about to grab Leesandra’s but she had pulled it away putting it around her torso again.
“That not even the worse thing, I did that just before kyber-puberty at twenty. I started to have these odd shakes and pains all over my body. I thought I had messed something up, that I disabled something I needed.”
Leesandra grabbed her coffee and swigged back the rest of it, still wrestling back her tears.
“I couldn’t turn it back on, my mother managed to get me to the doctor. Turns out lady kyber genes have some important things in them, with a human mom I didn’t them.”
“So you have the female kyber genes of the doctor you saw, that’s why you have doctorate genes.”
“The kyber part of me could have killed me trying to control my human parts.”
“Only because you were missing information.”
“That’s not the point.” She grabbed her last piece of pizza and stuffed it in her mouth.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I pryed. I didn’t mean to make you relive it.”
“I know. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. You wanted to know, now you do and we won’t have to do this again.” Her hands were still shaking. “When do I start this night shift?”
“Uh, let me check.” Kari’s blinked a few times “At twenty hundred hours.”
“So eight o’clock.”
“Yeah, the clock-in interface has it listed in military time. Are you going to be okay doing the night shift.”
“Of course, I don’t let this stuff debilitate me and it’s not like I’ll need to do any work tonight.” Leesandra and Kari both chuckled quietly.