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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-04-10, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Chapter One

VII

I searched my apartment from top to bottom. She was nowhere. I sat back and though where she could be. Bingo. I ran into my bedroom and dropped to the floor. There, curled up behind numerous boxes, lay Gabriel with her flapping ears covering her eyes. Canine nature bewilders me. ‘If I can’t see them, then they can’t see me.’ Strange, strange creatures. Lazy mutt. I pulled her out by her collar, then quickly strapped on her lead and dragged her out of the room before she could return to her hiding place.

I stepped out side my apartment. The musty smell of the dirty corridor hit the back of my throat instantly. The block of flats seemed quiet. To be honest though, it was still exceedingly early. I reached the front doors of the building and pressed the buzzer on the door. The door automatically swung open and a sudden burst of fresh air cleared my throat of the stale dry taste. A new day has begun.

The bird’s songs echoed all around me. At the end of the long street the glow of the rising sun shone. The light breeze blew my pony tail back and forth. There was no one to be seen for miles around. The streets were bare. The city’s rush hour hadn’t started yet, but I knew it soon would.

I strolled around the meandering streets in the suburbs, tugging Gabriel as we went to stimulate her movement. The idle dog refused to move most of the time, but without walks she’d simply just get bigger than she already is. I’m glad for being a cyborg sometimes, because if I wasn’t I certainly wouldn’t be able to carry this mutt in her current condition.

The vets had often said that I spoil her too much and it’s bad for her health, but what can I do. She’s my only companion. She needs to be spoilt for me to feel appreciation. So now I just make sure I walk her everyday and don’t cut corners when doing so. Long walks are good for me and her.
She gets her exercise, and I get my share of fresh air for the day.

Her wide eyes stared at me blankly as we approached the park. I unhooked Gabriel’s lead expecting her to run out into the vast open field. She simply trotted over to the nearest tree and lay in the shade panting. I stood tall scanning the area with my examining eyes. The light of the sun reflected off of the distant sky scrapers creating a glaring downgrading effect down on the city below.
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-04-10, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Chapter One

VIII

The bird’s songs suddenly halted. A spine tingling chill ran down my back. Gabriel came bounding up to me. This was the fastest I’d ever seen her run. She cowered next to my leg. Something was up.

Out of the blue, a single gun shot sounded out from a within the city. Although its echo sounded distant I reacted instantly. My cyber brain locked on to the most likely place of its occurrence judging by the speed and distance that the sound had reached me. I broke in to a sprint, dragging Gabriel along side me.

Out of the park and back into the city, my internal satellite navigation system from within my cyber brain had guided me towards a dark, dank alleyway. I crept forwards and pulled my fully automatic Glock 33 handgun from its holster hidden under the back of my shirt held in place by the tight waist line of my jeans. I released Gabriel’s lead from my grasp and quietly whispered “stay.”
I can’t fault that dog’s loyalty. She quietly crept behind a near trash can. She lay down and let out a vast silent yawn, before making herself comfortable in her own company.

I continued forwards. My gun was held in my right hand with my index finger lightly pressed against the trigger. I tiptoed forwards until I reached a ninety degree corner. I aligned my back with it and silently exhaled. I counted to three before bursting out of cover and around the corner. ‘Freeze!’ I yelled. I looked around to see nothing but I cat throwing itself from the top of a bin and sprinting down the alley as fast as its legs could carry it and out into the main road opposite. There was no other movement.

I had got here in good time. If there were any criminals then they would not have managed to escape. I delayed for a short period of time before returning my handgun to its holster. I sharply turned and retreated back to retrieve Gabriel. She lay there curled up exactly where I left her, dozing away peaceful.

Was my mind playing tricks on me? Was the gunshot real? Or a figment of my imagination? Is it the haunting of my subconscious mind, developing from my dreams? A single gun shot killed the Major, and in this situation it was the sound of a single gun shot that made me react. Was this shot real or is this my mind still dwelling on that single shot that took the love of my life’s life. Is she calling out to me? Her Ghost is still out there.

I’m no expert on the philosophy behind the definition of a Ghost. Many philosophers believe a ‘Ghost’ to be is colloquial slang for an individual's consciousness and that it is the only thing differentiates a human being from a biological robot. Regardless of how much biological material is replaced with electronic or mechanical substitutes, as long as individuals retain their ghost, they retain their humanity and individuality.

So in my eyes, it’s a form of mechanical soul. Therefore no matter how much of your body becomes prosthetic it will always be there inside of you. As people die, their Ghost also dies, but some people are special. The Major was one of these people. She always quoted how her Ghost whispered to her, like gut instinct. She has to return. She must!
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-08-10, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Chapter One

IX

I found myself sinking back against the wall, its uneven bricks jabbed me in the back as I dropped. She’s gone, and I had to come to terms with that. But it’s too hard to swallow. So many people have vanished out of my life over the years. My parents, my ranger squadron in South America, and now the Major. I’ve had many close calls myself. I’ve stared death right in the face and still turned my back on it, but it’s the loss of those around you that affect you the most.

Some times I wonder why my life had been spared in those situations and why those I loved had been take instead. All alone, in this cruel world.

My head dropped down. Gabriel walked over to me and simply licked my cold face. I cracked a small smile before placing my hand on her head and ruffled her head vigorously. I ran my hand up and down her back. She wagged her tail rapidly and my smile widened into a grin. At least I’ve still got Gabriel. She may be lazy and picky about her food but she’s always been there for me, ever since she was an abandoned puppy in which I took pity on.

She moved herself onto my lap and wriggled around until she got herself comfy. I looked up to see the sun beaming down onto me over head, reflecting off Gabriel’s golden brown fur. I lay still for a second before placing my head down onto Gabriel’s. Gabriel yawned and I sighed. Both owner and pet alike. Both lonely in this world. None of us feel another’s love. Only the love we show each other.

I lay there for a few moments before pulling myself up again. Gabriel had woken up abruptly. We both stood tall and started out trek back to the apartment. Movement had started in and around the city. Cars slowly congested along the long linear roads. Many shops began to release their shutters. This day’s life had begun.

On the way back I called into Starchild coffee shop. Gabriel traipsed through the door behind me with her head held low to avoid suspicion. It wasn’t like she was going to attract much attention anyway, but she kept her head down anyway out of courtesy. I stood by the bar and ordered a double latte. The barmaid followed my orders and got to work.

I scanned the room with my eyes to notice a single other person. A middle ages man by appearance was seated at one of the corner tables towards the back of the shop. He sat drinking a regular coffee and held the daily newspaper in his hands, lowering it every few minutes to sip his coffee and give me a glance of his appearance. Either he wasn’t yet cyberised or he still enjoyed the act of physically reading the paper medium.

Everyday the daily news would be downloaded directly into my Cyber brain, and today was no different. I starred at the man for a few more seconds before searching through the day’s articles. Nothing much was happening in the world at the present though. Bank scandals and celebrity home affairs made up the majority of the day’s front cover news. No mention of issues concerning public security or terrorism. This certainly kept my mind at rest.

However if there were any issues, Togusa and the team would have already briefed me about them. I probably wouldn’t be in here right now if a more serious case was occurring, I’d be at HQ, with the rest of my team. But again, for now, nothing of importance is occurring, leaving me in peace on my day off to spend quality time with my lazy mutt Gabriel.
‘To happy, happy days.’ And with that I raised my cup up high.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-08-10, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Chapter One

X

I rotated my stool back around, so that I was now facing the bar again. I place my piping hot latte back on its saucer and looked down at Gabriel. She lay curled up at my feet, panting once again after another short burst of exercise. Languid dog.

The steam from the latte rose up and condensed against my cool forehead. I reached out and grasped the sugar shaker and slowly tilted it so a sharp stream of sugar flowed from its tip. I picked up the spoon form the side of my plate and stirred wildly so the cup’s content just touched the brim. The swirling white circles that that sat on its surface curled around rapidly, rotating around and around, in a hypnotic like fashion.

I regained consciousness from my trance and took the first hot sip from my latte. The burning feeling of this initial mouthful flowed freely down my throat.

Refreshing as it was, my sense of taste was nothing compared to what it used to be. A key problem of owning prosthetics is your natural human taste buds, unless you still own your organic tongue, simply cease to exist. Cyborgs can still eat normal human food but it doesn’t have the same nostalgic taste as it did previously. But still the effect it did give was better than eating or drinking the specially modified, synthetic, cyborg crap. No taste satisfaction, just a higher energy boost.

I lifted the caramel coffee biscuit from the side of my saucer and careful removed it from its delicate wrapper. I lifted the biscuit towards my watering mouth, but soon stopped and sighed. The biscuit was held in mid air. Gabriel’s head had been following my hand and starring at the biscuit ever since I touched the wrapper. I dropped the biscuit to the floor and she soon consumed all hat remained of it. She was still natural, so her taste buds would have benefited from it more than I would have. This made me feel good inside.

I picked up my coffee and blew it the uprising steam it gave off. I took another cautious sip. Once again the hot liquid comfortably charred the inside of my throat. I waited a few moments before taking the next. The burning sensation had the same effect as earlier but now my throat had gotten used to it. The body truly is an amazing thing. The way it can immediately adapt to its surrounding.

But there is one ting that the body cannot adapt too. Something that is so emotionally overpowering that the body just cannot handle it. Even with a cyber brain the body still cannot cope.

The excruciating emotional pain caused by the death of those close to you was enough to make you completely shut down. For time after such an event the host locks them self away from the outside world.

However, most people soon overcome this feeling and continue with their lives like nothing has happened. They don’t forget about the deceased but they do all they can to cover up the empty void that is left by them. Others on the other hand, dwell on the matter for the rest of there lives, thinking about the departed and don’t make any effort to cover up the matter. Every day they wake, and remember then spend the rest of their lives living in a severe state of depression over it all.

This is where my dilemma emerges. Am I going to be one of these people who dwell on the matter for my entire life, which awakens everyday and instantly fall into a depressive state? Or do I finally come to terms with the fact that the Major is gone and never returning? Nevertheless, she will never be forgotten. She will always be there. Whispering to me. Telling me to keep living my life. She’s the Ghost in my own Shell!
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