The Broken Link by Rachel
There is nothing but the blur of machines, the deathly whirl of the blades, and my piercing screams. I die and I am reborn over and over, the pain is never ending. Suddenly all the pain and all the blood is gone, like smoke on the wind. I see a face in the distance.
As I walk closer I see that she is one of them, a robot. Here face is perfect in every way, porcelain skin, perfect cupid bow lips that portray no empathy. Her eyes are a fracture of every color, so full of hope and yet they seem life less and dead. “Please let me help you” her voice seems melodious but with a faint electric undertone giving her this sweet unnatural sounding voice, like candy with sharp glass embedded in it. I screech at her like some kind of primitive animal but I don’t stop I keep screeching, and if she doesn’t leave then I will tear her apart I will watch her wires spill out of her guts like organs I will-
I am shaken awake by one of my nurses. My hospital sheet is stuck to me and I am soaking wet in sweat. I guess they will have to find a new sleeping medication my body seems to have adapted to this one already. “Miss Moon were you aware that you were screaming in you sleep” the nurse asks me politely.
“Of course,” I respond in a dry tone, “I always know what I am doing when I am asleep with enough sleeping medicine to put down an elephant pumping though my veins.” “Miss Moon please do not take that tone with me, I am only trying to-“ “Please stop and leave me alone, I know you are trying to help but I am something that can’t be fixed right now so good bye and good day.” I say curtly.
I go and sit on the white chair in my white cell with its boring white walls. I have asked for paint so that that my hands could do something instead of twiddle but like everything I asked they deny. So I sit lounging on my seat when the simulation request pops up. Of course it is not really a request because I can’t deny it; I can only accept it so I do. I close my eyes as the simulation rearranges my room to, what else, a therapist’s room. My doctor/ therapist, Doctor Thomas, sits in the chair opposite from me. He smiles a polite smile that I don’t return. He asks in an equally as polite tone
“How are you today Miss Moon?” I roll my eyes; it’s the same questions every time.
“First of all I said call me Dez or at least Destiny. Second of all I am very far from anything slightly OK on your little scale there, and thirdly can I please have some paint for my room it is very boring in there, ya know white walls in all.”
He keeps a stoic expression and responds “Destiny” he says my name as if it is painful to say, “For the final time you cannot have any paint in your room. It will mess with the simulations. Second, why are you far from OK? You have very nice living quarters, better than most, 24 hour staff to take care of you and doctor who care deeply for you.” I once again roll my eyes. The doctors don’t care for me. I am an experiment from the enemy’s side and something for them to poke at. I swallow my anger and respond in a monotone voice.
“I am not Ok because three year ago I was ripped out of my mother’s arms by an army robot, that was being ran by the monstrous AI called Mab Ya know, the one that wiped out half of the human race? Then I saw that same robot gun all my family down along with everyone in our apartment, take me to a work force camp without a reason why I was spared, and experiment on . All this time the robots were calling me The Chosen one. They took away my hands and replaced them with “better hands” they are cold and unfeeling. They stripped the flesh and bone off, but kept the nerves, I could feel them strip the flesh, grind away at the bone. I can still feel things with my hands but they don’t feel the same. I hate them every day for it but I can’t escape it because I carry a part of them with me EVERY SINGLE DAY!” By the end I was screaming and crying. I am still so angry; my rage is what keeps me going. Dr. Tomas writes all of this down with a gleam in his eyes. I don’t know why I did that. The few times I speak it is snarky comments. Now here I confessed my whole heart.
Three year ago on this day, May 17th, my whole life changed, the war had been raging on for about ten years when I was taken. The whole war lasted twelve years in all. We called the New Twelve Year War. Now humanity has reconstructed itself but still has a long way to go. Mab didn’t want to preserve the human race she wanted to destroy it, and she nearly did if the troops didn’t storm into the camp where she was residing in at the time; the same camp where I was being held and operated on.
Dr. Tomas stands up and exits the room, but he doesn’t end the simulation which I find very odd. He comes back with a boy who looks a couple of years older than me. He has short sandy blond hair that flops in his eyes when he looks down. He is roughly around my height, 5’6’. Overall, not bad but today is not the day to introduce me to someone new. He should know by now, don’t poke the bear. But here he is so obviously he hasn’t.
“Destiny, I would like you to meet Orion.”
“Great, now you are setting me up on dates?” I reply in a sarcastic tone. “Are we your OTP? Well I hope you guys didn’t get your hopes up, cause he isn’t my type. I usually go with guys with piecing everywhere and scandalous tattoos. He needs to drive a Harley and own a leather jacket he needs-“Dr. Tomas cuts me off. “Miss Mo- Destiny” His tone is hard but he tries to sound kind, he really needs to stop trying it doesn’t work for him.
“You will be nice to him; Orion has so gratefully donated his time to help you with your problems. He too has lost his family to the war. I think you two can work out your issues together.”
“Oh really, does he have metal hands? Did he see his family slaughtered in front of him?” I see his eyes flash and I know I have crossed the line but I don’t care. “
As a matter of fact I didn’t,” he responds matching his tone with mine. “I had their dead mauled bodies dropped in from of me and I had to identify them then had to sleep next to them for the rest of the night. You claim to hate the robots but you are just like them, cold calculating and uncaring.” He says with a cold smile and tears in his eyes.
He walks out of the room with a slam of the door. Dr. Tomas had a look of utter surprise on his face, weather from me or Orion I don’t know.
“Destiny, listen to me.” He begins with a cold tone, the fake kindness gone. I will bring Orion back in. You will apologize to him. I am not giving you a choice.” I open my mouth to respond but he cuts me off. “If you don’t wish to comply then I am sure we can arrange for you to have your blood draw. I know how much you love that.”
I feel my stomach drop. He knows that I hate having my blood draw, not so much the sight but the process. Whatever the robots did to me did more than just alter my hands. It messed with my blood. You can’t draw it with a normal needle, it eats though like acid. I have to be strapped down on a metal bed, and have my arm cut open just wide enough to stick a probe into it. I then have to sit there for an hour with a probe floating though my blood stream and I can feel him the whole time, the worst is the heart. It feels like someone is digging a knife though you without cutting you at all. The probe is made of special metal that my blood doesn’t melt. He smiles knowing that he has won.
“Fine.” I grumble as he walks out to fetch Orion. A few minutes later he comes in with Orion. “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, and I hope this won’t come between us.”
I say in a semi- sorry tone, I really didn’t mean to step over that line. He just smiles and says
“So leather eh?”
The silence was thick and awkward. I looked at him and said “I really meant what I said. I really didn’t mean to cross that line. It’s just that today was the one year anniversary, and my dreams have been so weird. I can’t imagine what it was to go through that.”
“It’s alright. I can understand, but still what is like with your hands, if you don’t mind me asking?”
A little weird, but for the most part kinda normal, I wear gloves most of the time except when they do tests.”
“What kind of tests do they do?”
For the most part the tests are just strength, resistant, all boring stuff. I don’t really pay attention.
The awkward silence comes back and sits on the air heavy and thick. Orion sat up and said “Well I guess I will be going now.”
“Bye.” I respond as he walks away and the simulation ends. I am now sitting in my blank, white, very much boring room. Then night fell and I had to get ready for bed. As I lay with my new sleep medicine hooked up to an IV I hoped and prayed no dreams would plague me tonight.
I am back at the field where I was screaming at the robot. Damn, I thought, the medicine didn’t work.
Suddenly she was there. She walks up to me poised and ready. Her face is a perfect as ever but one thing has changed. Her hair was black last time I saw her but now it has multiple colors streaking though it, like comets though the sky. Reds, blues, and purples are all running though her hair. But as I look closer her hair isn’t really hair at all, it is electrical wires small and minute. Trying to keep my rage to a minimum I ask her “who are you and why are you here?”
She responds in that same candy glass tone “I call myself Phoebe and I don’t know why I am here.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?” I respond my anger flaring up.
“I mean that don’t have any programming on what to do. I only remember waking up here.”
“And what exactly is here?” I counter.
“You really don’t know do you?” She tilts her head to the side like a cat analyzing its prey.
Before I can ask what in the name of God’s green earth that means I am jogged awake by my fabulous nurse. My hands fly out and grab her wrists. She stifles a scream as my cold metal hands wrap around warm, very human ones. I feel the blood rushing though her veins; her heart beat speeding up with fear. “Send me back!” I scream at her. “Send me back; I need to get back to her! I need to find out why she is here!”
`My nurse looks very startled and tells me that Dr. Thomas wanted to see me. I sit up into my bed and wait for him to come in. As he comes in I a notice a flash of something in his ear, he turns around and comes back to face me I can’t see it. I must have just imagined it. But I have other things to worry about now. In his hand he is holding one the probes that samples my blood. I start squirming in my seat, but I don’t dare to stand up and run, last time I did that I was strapped down into my seat is steel clamps around my hands. “I was nice to him!” I pleaded with Dr.Thomas “I sat and talked to him about what it was like to have my hands, I even told him I was sorry for being so rude. Please you know how I hate this!”
“I’m sorry Destiny, I really am. But Orion told me that you were incredibly mean to him, telling him that he was worthless and that he should kill himself. You know that behavior is not accepted here, and so you must be punished for that.” As he was saying all that he cut open my arm and inserted the probe. I don’t scream I have felt pain like that tenfold. I sit there trying not to move. An hour later I was released from the chair and I went to sit back down on the bed. They normal take a pint of blood, some days they take more. My blood cell multiplies almost immediately as some are taken away, so it really doesn’t affect me. Suddenly I see her again, the robot that calls herself Phoebe.
“Finish your story; I need to know what you are and what you are doing here.” I say to her in a harsh tone. I am not in the mood for games.
“Like I said I call myself Phoebe. My program did not finish downloading so I am partial.”
Partial what?” I counter.
“I do not wish to tell you.”
“Ya, you don’t get an opinion in this case, tell me.” My voice begins to get loud and more hostile.
“ I will not tell you.” He voice has gotten more cold and mechanical.
“Fine, do you know what I am?”
“Like why I was operated on , and why my family was killed?”
“Tell me now!” I demand yelling at her.
My nurse and Dr. Thomas come running in, looking wild eyes and scared.
“Destiny what on earth are you yelling at? We could hear you down the hall!” Dr. Thomas asked acting worried and concerned.
“Don’t you see her?!” I ask pointing at Phoebe.
“See what?” He asks with a questioning look in his eyes like I was carzy.
“I am not crazy there is a robot standing the conner, she calls herself Phoebe and she talk!” I yell at him.
“Destiny there is no one there. You are simply seeing things, why don’t we get you some water?”
“No” I knew this trick, when I first came here I would have nervious break downs and they would get me “water” which was actually really drugged up.
“Destiny I really think that you just sit down now.” Dr. Thomas said in that cold calming voice, he almost sounded robotic. I turn around to yell at him some more but everything went black and dark.
I woke up to a pounding in my ears, and a hell of a headache. I tried to sit up and found that my arms where tied down and my hands lying on a cold metal tray. I try to break the straps but I am tied down good. Then Dr. Thomas walks in with a limp. I notice that he has been losing weight over these past few days. He is now thin a gaunt like skeleton. He comes up says “Destiny that was very irrational, we were trying to help you. That was no way to treat me or your nurse. We are going to run a few tests to make sure your wires are all connected and working.”
My eyes open wide with fear; he has never tried to get into my hands. I don’t even know what would happen if he did. But all I know now is that I need to get out of here now. I wiggle and squirm to try to do everything to get out of here. Suddenly there is a power surge and the smell of burnt plastic fills the air. My restraints had melted off so I got up and dashed out of the door.
I open the door to find a rush of blinding light and nurses and people everywhere. For a split second my mind didn’t even register natural sunlight. I hadn’t seen it in over a year. I realize now how much I missed. But I didn’t have time for that. I sprinted down the hall way to try to find an exit. Suddenly I hear behind me
“DON’T LET HE ECSAPE!” From Dr. Thomas. I look behind me to see a group of linebacker sized security guards chasing after me. I run down the hall way and turn right into Orion.
“Destiny!?” He asked with alarm in his voice.
“Yea it’s me big surprise, can’t talk right now running for my life but I got a beef with you so come here with me right now!” I say with a rush of breath and grab his necktie like a dog leash.
I run down a corridor with Orion in tow and turn to hide in a utility closet. I watch though the vents in the doors to see if the pass. As they creep up around towards the closet, my breath hitches in my throat. Now that I am out I will do everything that I can to stay out. As soon as they pass I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. We then snuck though the hospital and found a car that was unlocked and jump started it. As we were driving down the highway I was sitting in the passenger’s seat and Orion was driving he started to ask me some questions.
“So what exactly are we doing here?” He asks with a questioning tone.
“Oh pipe down over there. I gotta beef with you so don’t tick me off.”
“Hey, just asking, because I think by law this is a beginning of a kidnapping.”
“Uh, you chose to come with I coulda done it by myself. I know how to drive. So if we are being technical you kidnapped me.” I said in a joking tone.
I object, you really didn’t give me an option and second I didn’t want you to hurt yourself. Sorry for being a good citizen.” He said back matching my tone.
“But really why were you there and why did you come with me? I mean I acted in the moment but you still came. I mean I am grateful because when I taught myself to drive there was kind of a war going on. So I’m probably not very safe.” I asked all humor in my voice gone.
“I came because you had this look in your eyes, I knew that with or without my help you would be getting out of that place and quite frankly I don’t blame you. You have been though hell and I can’t imagine what it was like nor do I want to. I was there because I was called in by Dr. Thomas.”
“Thank you and I really mean it.”
Silence fell in car and for about an hour we sat not saying a word just look out the windows. I forgot what colors looked like after be trapped in that plain cell for so long. The simulations don’t give all the colors justice. Suddenly we pulled into a shopping mall and I looked at Orion like he was crazy, which I think he is.
“Why are we here?” I asked in a worried tone, I hadn’t been around people in over a year, eleven if you count my camp time.
“You can’t go out in public looking like that” He said looking at my baggy yoga pants and standard white T-shirt. “So let’s go and get you something to look semi-human” he finished with a wink.
“But I don’t have any money to pay you with.”
“Consider it my treat, and so that I don’t have to keep smelling you.” He replied with a smirk. I elbowed him in the side for that one.
One hour later I had some jeans, graphic t-shirts, pajamas, and one pair of red converse, and my favorite, a pair of brown leather gloves to cover my hands. Along with my hair being cut to mid chest length and having red highlights add to it, my mousy brown hair looked like it was on fire now that salon ladies had worked their magic. We were sitting on a park bench eating ice cream when he decides to ask the question, and no not that question.
“What is your story?” he asked
“The troops stormed the base where she was, and that were I was being worked on with the others. But the troops never came to my area I had to escape when the robots were distracted by the troops coming in and attacking. From there I traveled the country trying to get back home but on the way there I got in crossfire and my car ran over a bomb. I thrown out of my car that I was driving at the time. Thankfully I didn’t break anything but when I stood up a bullet grazed my side. It hurt so bad I had felt quite a bit of pain then. I walked to the nearest hospital to get care but as you see I never left. They kept me there to analyze me.”
“Destiny,” he said, “there were no others in the camp. You were the only one in that whole camp whatever they were doing to you, you were the only on.”
My mouth dropped open but no sound came out of it. But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. I mean I had never seen any other people like me. As I came to terms I was almost happy because that means that no one else had to go through the pain that I had felt. Then Orion dropped another bombshell question on me.
“What is your story before you were taken?” he asked his tone kind and soft.
“I was only 13 at the time but I had already gotten a full ride to Lincoln Collage for the Gifted in Music. I played the violin better than anybody had ever seen for my age group; I was entering world contests and beating people double my age. I felt as if I was on top of the world. My parents never had to worry about money because I was winning huge at my competitions. But all good things have to come to an end. After I was operated on and I got out I found and old violin laying in a gutter when I was running away, I stopped and picked it up. Later that night at my camp I tuned it up and everything, but when I tried to play it was this most horrible sound ever. The metal in my hands vibrate with the string creating this terrible grinding, vibrating sound. They took that from me and I will never have it back. Not ever. I wish I could back to the way it was like before this but I can’t” I broke down crying and sobbing.
“I know we both wish we could have our old life back but we can’t. You don’t get to choose your life but you can choose what you do with it. You are one the strongest people I have ever met. You can make it though this I promise.” Orion pulled me in close rocking me back and forth gently until I stopped crying.
“Know lets go back to my place and you can crash there for a little while how about that?” He offers kindly to me.
“As long as you keep your hands to yourself.” I say with a wag of my eyebrow all ready feeling better.
We drove back to his apartment where he pulled out the sofa bed, while I cleaned up for bed. That night I dreamt of Phoebe, I calmed myself as I walked up to talk to her.
“Phoebe if you are in my head then you need to know everything about me, right?” I ask kindly.
“Yes my data banks have very little information about you as a person.” She replies.
“First thing before I let you into my head you have to stop that robot talk of yours it is annoying and obnoxious…please” I asked.
“OK” she tried out that word on her tongue like a new food.
For the rest of my dream I walked her though my life before and after my operations. I show her my family and where I plan to bury their bones when I get back home. I show her this little house in Ohio where I am staying and Orion, who treats me like a human being. As I show her this her hair gets more colors in it. When I ask her about it her hair does that the more data she gathers just like he eyes. I am jogged awake by Orion telling me to wake up.
“Destiny you should see this. It might be important” He says as I wake up. One the news there is the report looking frenzied and scared. She says the AI that calls itself Mab has returned and is calling for her daughter to step forward or she will kill every fifth human on the planet. I try the metal trick Phoebe told me to use to summon her, it work thankfully.
“Phoebe, I need to know what you are.” I ask tentatively. “It could help save lives.” Her cool physic has dissapered; her perfect bobbed wires are in knots and complete disarray.
“You will hate me afterwards.” She says her voice small and quite. This is so different from my Phoebe that I am used to.
“I don’t think I will, I have been though quite a lot. I think I can handle whatever you have to tell me.
“This will involve you as well, and for that I am sorry… As you know Mab was the AI that ran the robots in the New 12 Year War. She wanted a vessel that could support her and her mass knowledge. She ran blood tests and data test until she found the perfect combination. That person was you, Destiny.”
I felt the blood rush from my face, my stomach felt like I was going to throw up. My head became light and dizzy.
“My readings are telling me that you are likely to pass out. You also have a 35% chance of throwing up.” Phoebe says with concern.
“What did I say about the robot talk? Continue with your story.” I say as I pull up a chair to sit down in.
“Well, once Mab found you as her perfect vessel she sat and waited for you to come of age, so that your mind could be ready to hold her. What she didn’t realize was that you were very close with your emotions. Mab needed someone void of any kind of emotion. So on that day she decided to take your families lives in hope of squandering any emotions you have left. She also wanted you to be outfitted the way she wanted you to be. That is why you have the metal hands, because she wanted you to. Your blood is actually altered with nanobots that heal you almost immediately so that you will never die, or least have a harder time than the normal human being. After all that was done she hook herself up to you and began to download her into your brain. But that was when the troops came and broke. But download but there was enough of her to stay in your brain. But there was not enough to become Mab. So that little bit of Mab evolved into its own person and sat in the corner of your mind until you stumbled upon me one day in your dreams. I guess by your standards you could say I am Mab’s daughter.”
I sat there in silence for a moment. My mind is spinning my stomach was going to throw up and the ground was suddenly getting very close. I hit the floor and that is all I can remember.
“Destiny I need you tell me how many fingers I am holding up” Orion asked worried.
Phoebe, where is Phoebe!! I need to talk to her!” I said jolting straight up in the bed.
“I realize that you need to talk to her but you need to lie down, I think you may have gotten a concussion.” Earlier I had told him about Phoeb3e so that I don’t sound like crazy person when I talk to myself, the best part is that be believed me. I fell back into my mind place looking for Phoebe and found a mental note, literally a mental note! It said: Destiny, you have shown me what it means to be human. You’re so amazing and wonderful, as well as your species. I hope that you will remember me on a good term Farwell, Phoebe.
I ran out of the house yelling and screaming “Come and get me Mab. I know what I am and what I mean to you. You need me so come and get it!”
Suddenly she appears in front of me. She looks like Phoebe except where Phoebe has multicolored eyes that are full of hope and wonder, Mab’s are dead and logical with no life what so ever.
“So little girl you have come to turns with who you are?” her voice is cold and logical without a hint of emotion.
“No and I won’t ever come to terms with it. But you can kill her she doesn’t matter to me. She was just a voice in my head nothing more.” It hurt so much to do that. To say that she wasn’t my friend when she really was, I have to keep my cool. She has to bring Phoebe out before I can activate my plan
“You humans so egger to do anything for your friends. But the thing is I don’t think my daughter will be enough incentive. You see she is like me an idea and you can’t really ever kill an idea, if enough people believe in it and if my daughter dies then you will spread the word of her sacrifice and people will believe in her, and eventually she will never truly die. No, I think you need just a little more to say yes.” She waves her hand and I watch as the whole apartment building is rearranged to look like a hangman’s post. And the person with the noose around his neck was Orion.
“Now will you give me what I want?” she asks her tone sly and cold knowing that I can’t just let her kill Orion. He had given everything for me and he doesn’t even really know me or I know him, he has done so much for me and all I want is for him to be safe. Suddenly out of the corner or my eye I see an outline of someone, or rather something starts to try to untie Orion but they seem to be having issues.
“So Mab I begin, how did you know about me? You obviously have to have a man on the inside” I began trying to stall any way possible.
“Oh, you petty little girl trying to stall for time are we? “ She said with a cruel smile and a flick of her wrists the building was lowered to eye level and the culprit was found. Phoebe had been trying to untie Orion. She had borrowed an old android body, but her eyes remained the same, ever hopeful. Suddenly Mab is in my face and close.
“My mole was your doctor child,” She began venom dripping in every word. “He was one of my finest creations, he could pass for a human on most days, and he recorded everything I ever need to know about you.” She said with a dark grin. Suddenly she turns around and I grab her mainframe where all her data is stored. I take my hands, the hands I had thought to be so broken, to be used for something good, and crushed the life out of her. But right as she was dying I see her wave her hand. The floor between my two friends
I screamed, I screamed like a banshee wailing for the souls, all of my anger, all of my sadness ripped out of me like my very heart. I don’t know for how long I screamed but it felt like eternity. Suddenly a blue hue begins to cover my friends. The hue covers them completely and suddenly I hear Orion take a deep breath in. I turn to look at him, he looks at me in disbelieve and I melt into his arms. He hugs me tight as I cry so hard into his chest. Then I turn to look at Phoebe. Except where Phoebe was there was a human with black hair and green stripes though it. Sudden it wakes up and turns to look at me.
“Destiny is this what it feels like to be human because my head really hurts. The human girl said to me.
“Phoebe?” I ask in a tentative tone.
“Yes, it is me.”
“How did this happen you where dead and gone? I know it. I felt it.”
“Mab had one last fail safe programmed into you, you had one time you rewrite time and save someone you love, or in case someones you love. I don’t know why she had the emotional fail safe in but she did.” Human Phoebe explained.
“You also seemed to have re written me to the form that fits me best.” She added.
“So this is how we are now, a half human, a human, and an android turned human?” Orion asks with a smile on his face. “Well the count me in!”
So that is how it was, we went around and disabled all of the robots. My hands never turned back time ever again but I’m very happy that I save the two people that matter most to me. My body may be half human but my soul is all human. Love has the power to change even the hands of time, and I will never forget that.