Humanity has become more robot than man. Due to hazardous environmental changes, humans are forced to adapt to their new surroundings by inserting robotic upgrades and adapters inside the human body.
Times have changed since then, upgrades begin to become mandatory, robotics start to perfect the human race to a flaw, and weapons are being placed into new forms of illegal upgrading.
Clinging to your humanity becomes frantic when prices require human memories and robotic parts replace human flesh and bone.
What happens when none of what makes us human remain?
How will Arielle survive a robotic world when she is the most human of them all?


1. How Much Is Humanity?

I quickened my pace as I rounded the corner to the city scrap shop. The rain soaked streets filled the air with a slight rusty aroma that filled my nose with an unpleasant sent. I hated the rain, it seemed too ironic especially on a bad days, which I frequently have. At least the weather had a sense of humor.

The air was musty with exhaust that made it hard to breathe, machines have that effect on the environment. It's been decades since the air became unbreathable and poisonous to humans, but due to new advances in technology, my lungs have been replaced with a robotic version so their toxic effects don't bother me. The only thing that does is the ugly smog in the atmosphere, visible and an eye sore.

I glanced in the distance and saw the old fashioned wooden sign for the scrap shop. It's old hinges barely holding the sad looking piece of wood that had been painted oh so many times in different colors, each a different shade of red than the last coat underneath clearly visible due to the peeling of each layer.

The building was small in size and looked almost abandoned but with the prices of upgrades for robotic appendages, not all of us could afford a new luxury suite in the city. So most people live outside the city limits in old homes from the early days before the need for advanced robotics.

Once I entered the shop I felt a rush of heat from over head, the heating system welcoming me and inviting me in from the cold rain. I wiped my feet on the mat placed before me and wandered in, amazed by the new scrap metal that came in.

Parts from old motorcycles, broken toaster ovens, and miscellaneous scrap parts were scattered in no particular order on shelves that were two times the size of a human. I squeezed by two shelves and surveyed an old Audi car part.

Clinks came from behind the counter then stopped. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and leisurely wandered over to the source of the sound.

Once I arrived I rested my arms on the hard counter surface and peered over. Two legs appeared, stretched from underneath in relaxation and faint snoring echoed quietly in the store. I leaned back and bashed my fist over the counter with a blank expression and as a result a huge bang came from underneath.

Then came frantic scurrying from the person underneath as well as a large vocabulary of swear words. A long legged man from under the counter suddenly appeared, one hand on his head and with a pained expression.

"Why does it seem like I can never get a peaceful nap around you, Arielle?" He glared. His brunette hair was tucked behind one ear and the rest of his hair poked up in every angle. He wore tan pants with a white dirty button up shirt that he left open, on his hands were brown work gloves, splashed with oil that seemed to be everywhere. Adorned on top of his head were big goggles that he wore everywhere. He was a vision of a true mechanic.

"Oh, Zander. You're always sleeping. I think of it as a good deed. You could get robbed blind while in one of your comas underneath that countertop. I'm just one friend, helping another friend out." I replied sarcastically.

He grumbled and murmured something that sounded like, "Friend, my ass". He raked an oily hand through his hair and rubbed his light brown eyes before asking, "So what bring you down to my humble scrap dump."

I fingered my right hand before replying, " I need some TLC for my index finger. It looks like I can't bend it anymore."

He made a gesturing motion, "Let me see."

I surrendered my right hand and watched as he pulled back the artificial skin and open the metal plate underneath, revealing wires and mechanical parts. He began to finger some cords then poke at a small part above my knuckle before he closed the lid and pulled my skin back into place.

"It seems like your joint part is disfigured, so you'll need a new part for that." He said before turning to a pile of rubble and rummaging through it. Pieces of parts began to fly as he searched and after a good ten minutes finally, found the piece he needed.

He lifted up a small ball like piece, "You'll need one of these. I only have a newer model, so it will be a bit on the pricey side."

I frowned and he noticed, " I could give you a make shift one but it won't last long and you will have to replace it in a month or so." He explained.

"No, let's get it over with now." I grumbled as I searched for my wallet and came up empty. It seems like I misplaced it, again.

Defeated, I looked back to Zander and he recognized the look, "Oh, Arielle. Not again! I can't keep covering for you! I have a business to run, you know.."

I gave a sigh and he caved in, "How about you give me something else then? A memory?" Zander asked.

I looked at him in awe, " Since when did you start trading memories?"

He shrugged, "Since they started to have value."

I purged my lips, "How much would it cost?"

Zander played with the part I needed between his fingers thoughtfully, "How about your first kiss? Your first word?"

I slammed my hand down on the table, "Thats way over priced!"

"Ok, ok! Calm down or you'll need another part. Then how about the moment when you were first born?"

I glared at him.

He smiled, "Hey, that offer is a friendship discount, plus you don't even remember that moment anyways!"

I gave a sigh, "Fine."

He clapped with glee and pulled a USB from the back of his neck, "Plug this into your memory disk and think about that moment. It will be quick and painless. Scouts honor."

I pulled my blonde hair back into a ponytail and inserted the small USB inside. A wave of encoded numbers flashed before my green eyes and in seconds it was over. I handed the drive over to his eagerly awaiting hands, he plugged back in.

I rose my hand to his and said, "Fix."




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