|The Manufactured Man
||[Jan. 17th, 2006|05:25 am]
Dome 9. A sound resonated as the fist of an Organic struck a three-foot by seven-foot sheet of thick steel. The sound went all through a cramped single-room apartment. The sound drew a sleepy man to the door. Five feet, nine inches tall. Brown hair kept smartly around three inches, brown eyes, tan skin. Fair features, but not handsome. The only word that could capture this being was “average.”
The Average Man pulled the door open. There was a heavyset red-haired man on the other side. The Average Man gasped in surprise - he had a knife.
The red-haired man lunged forward, wildly slicing at the air. Jolting awake, the Average Man threw his own body aside, getting away from the path of the deadly metal.
The assailer jabbed forward again. This time the knife found flesh. The Average Man gritted his teeth, ignoring the pain in his leg, and found his own knife in his belt. It came free.
The red-haired man made a horizontal swing, but the Average Man stopped his arm in mid-action. The Average Man brought down his knife towards the red-haired man’s shoulder, but he grabbed the arm of the Average Man.
Stalemate. The red-haired man tried to push forward, but the Average Man held his ground. He focused on the red-haired man’s body. He felt every particle with his mind. He focused in on the arms, hands, then fingers. Ten of them. He wrapped his mind around each individual bone and squeezed...
The red-haired man screamed. His knife fell out of his crushed fingers. Maintaining his concentration, the Average Man lifted his attacker into the air and sent him forcefully into a chair. The metal of the chair groaned in protest as the frame of the chair warped and the four legs wrapped themselves around his body, restraining him. The Average Man reached towards the door with his mind and closed it.
“Now,” he said. “Explain yourself.”
The red-haired man choked back a sob. “I know what you are. I’ve been watching you. You’re a Machine under that flesh. I was wondering if you would bleed.”
The Average Man looked at his left leg, where red coolant was soaking through his pants. “You’re the third to see through my artificial heartbeat. What tipped you off?”
The Average Man sighed. “I guess we can’t all be Organic.”
A look of hate shot through the red-haired man’s eyes. “That name you call us is disgusting. One day you’ll all be up against a wall. We’ll tear you apart with the knives you gave us. There’s no light where there’s machines!”
“Your mistake is thinking that I want to see you dead. Unlike you, I can exist between the border of Machine and Organic. Unlike you, I know that as long as my secret stays safe, I’ll be on the winning side. Did you tell any others?”
The red-haired man spat at the Machine in front of him. “I’d die before talking.”
The Average Man focused on the Organic again, this time on his hands. Another squeeze forced a wrenching scream out of the man’s lungs. “I didn’t, I didn’t,” he whimpered.
“That’s good. You know, there’s a security camera in this room. The Machines have seen everything that happened. You tried to destroy one of them today. You have been tagged as a rebel. If I let you go, the OIS will track you down and kill you, and if you're lucky, you might tell a few people my secret before you go down. But you also tried to kill an Organic. That means that I am entitled to appropriate self-defense.”
The Average Man lifted his arm, the blade of his knife catching the glint from the artificial sunlight just before it came swiftly down and exercised its Machinegiven right, slicing through the red-haired man’s throat.
Just like the last two.