– Or 2027 Backstory –
[So, if you’ve been paying attention, my friends and I have been writing about our theoretical futures in a world similar to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In this series of stories, my augmentations make the least sense, so I’ve decided to explain them a bit.]
April 5, 2024: Breaking News:
Editors to Leave Chicago Publishing House Over Augments
I managed to stay unaugmented until March, 2024. My publishing company decided we weren’t good enough. That’s what it was. ‘The editing staff isn’t good enough.’ The company decided that hiring a bunch of augs might go over badly, so they organized a conference Infolinks were the new form of communication – it seemed ridiculous that we weren’t keeping up with the times. If you didn’t want an Infolink, there was the door.
They were paying, and it was just an infolink, and my prospects out in the publishing world of Chicago weren’t…good. So I went in for surgery. Just an infolink, nothing more. Except it wasn’t just the info link. It was a social enhancer and a rebreather, too. That’s why we left; Jen, Sati, and I. And we sued for everything that company was worth.
News 10: November 26, 2024:
Writer Heli-vacd to U. Chicago for Emergency Surgery
I don’t remember the car wreck; I don’t even remember driving that day, but when I woke up in the intensive care wing of U.C., they told me I was in a car accident. The injuries were extensive, and claimed a leg and a half. The right leg was gutted, apparently, and my left calf was infected. Amputations for both. They told me that I’d suffered a severe blow to my lower back, which might make it impossible to walk again, even were I to get prosthetics. Good news: My neural augments escaped unscathed and my rebreather probably saved my life.
My husband, Niels, and Kay couldn’t come visit because there were protests going on in central Chicago – anti-augmentation groups, that sort of thing – and the doctors said that my family might be accosted if they came and visited. So I called Danny (the old fashioned way, mind) and we talked about my options. I spent a month in a wheelchair because we couldn’t afford prosthetics (the money from that court case was split 3 ways, and I donated my share to our coworkers for their neuroprozene), and I didn’t want augmentations, but the city had changed. Handicaps weren’t as accepted anymore – just get augs and you can walk, why should we be wheelchair accessible? – and I couldn’t get to my office. My employer wanted me to be able to do my work, and collaborate with my coworkers, so they agreed to pay for whatever I needed to walk again.
I went in for testing. The nerve damage was too extensive – I wouldn’t be able to walk again unless I got augmented to override the damage. Up the neuroprozene dose. I looked at my husband and he nodded. I had a new, robotic leg and a half, as well as an Icarus system by the end of the week.
Local News 5: March 28, 2025
Local Woman Assaulted on 5th
I wasn’t the local woman. I was the bystander stupid enough to interfere, and I don’t regret that stupidity. He had lye on him, and he was attempting to blind a girl in an ally I happened to walk by on my way home. I stepped in, and took a fistful of lye to the face. Asshole ran away and right into a cop, so I feel like I did something at least.
The lye left me blind, however. Less than three months from my last major surgery, and a year after the first disastrous set of augments, and here I was, facing the end of my editing career. I wouldn’t be able to see my children again. Danny said I cried for hours while I was hopped up on medication, and he made the call. He’s apologized for it many times now, because it was the selfish decision, but its done and there’s nothing I can do about it.
The doctors knocked me out on the 29th of March and gave me new eyes.
The journal entries and accompanying newspaper articles are scattered about my desk. I’m writing a memoir, or at least, attempting to work on a memoir. My coworker and editor, Sati, coerced me into it.
“So much has changed in the last three years,” she’d said. “I think you could write beautifully about the issues you’ve faced.”
Right, uh huh.
Most of these things happened before I got my first novel published, so each news article is, quite literally, local news. Few people outside of the state even know what happened, and most of those who know don’t care. With the exception of the court case; that was incredibly public and, apparently, more interesting. Point is, I kept this as down played as possible. None of my friends know the whole story; they only know about the ‘I didn’t ask for this’ case, the rebreather and the social enhancer. R knows about my Icarus system, but she doesn’t know the extent to which I need it.
I don’t want them to pity me, or feel like I hate my life. I don’t. I’m perfectly happy; I’m able to see, walk, and do my job without being forced into anything I don’t want or need (anymore). But, I don’t want the first time they hear about this to be a book.
‘Oh, yes, I was comfortable telling the world, but not you guys.’
I fling my pen across my desk and run my hands through my hair. I heave a sigh and look out the window…well, really the far wall of the office. It looks over Lake Michigan; I remember going to the beach over on the Michigan side of the lake 29 years ago. I wonder if it still harbors a sea of dead fish.
It’s dark – I’ve been hiding out in my office in the middle of the night, trying to work on this book – but I can see the waves hit the shore. The light of the city is good for that. The moon is reflected in the middle of the waves, and gives everything an eerie, silver glow.
I decide to call everyone in the morning. Tell them the story first; then we can get on with this madness.