Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Snippet: My Best Friend is a Cyborg

Whew. What a crazy week. I'm still in the throes of trying to get the house cleaned up so we can decorate our tree. We usually wait until Christmas Eve to add the ornaments, which is a good thing because I've misplaced a package I bought to go along with our superhero theme this year.

I'm behind on my shows again. Between shopping, editing, and writing, I need about four more hours each day to get stuff done. LOL That said, I'm almost through the first season of Chicago Fire and, yeah, I really love the show. I'm going the DVD route because I never watch first run anything on NBC. I'm in about year twenty of a boycott and don't see that changing anytime soon.

I've also been enjoying holiday episodes of my favorite shows. There are so many classic television shows with themed episodes and I'm trying to build my collection. I also discovered a new to us channel on my local feeds and it shows a lot of old favorites. I won't complain. It's fun to revisit stuff I loved back in the day.

That's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from My Best Friend is a Cyborg, a novella that got a start with a writing community prompt that suggested writing a story about a best friend who ends up being either an enemy or someone not trusted anymore.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Ibby Stoke finds out her best friend is a dreaded and reviled cyborg and it sends her into a tailspin, making her wonder if the man she loves is a mecha-human. Phil McNulty is everything she's ever wanted, but if he's not all man, Ibby isn't sure she can deal with the reality.

And a sneaky peek…

Phil glanced at Art. Offered a hand then remembered Art wouldn't need assistance if he had cybor-tech installed.
Phil shied away from examining the squeamishness churning in his gut. And the kick of guilt that threatened to flare up. He didn't owe a cyborg any consideration.
But Art's been a friend for years. So what? The betrayal cuts a lot deeper for that reason.
Art got to his feet, shaking his head and running a hand along his throat. His skin had the beginnings of discolorations and would probably sport brusing in the next twenty-four hours. Ibby did a number on him.
Phil met the cyborg's gaze. "You'd better have a good reason for not registering as mecha." And it better not be to inform on humans.
Art rolled his eyes. "I did register. They put me under a different name." He started for the exit, clearly done with the conversation.
Phil quickly caught up. "Why? Why would the council list you under an assumed name?" Frankly, he didn't want to think too hard about the reasons.
Art slowed his gait and angled his head toward Phil. "Because of what just happened with Ibby. And before you ask, I told them it was a stupid idea. That if they wanted my friends to accept me and let me continue working with them, nothing but the truth would do." He snorted. "As you can see, I called that one right down the middle." He glanced away, but not before the pain registered in his eyes.
Phil's emotions battled for dominance. He wanted to write Art off, forget they even knew each other. But another side understood too well the sticky place the council put Art in.
Phil nodded toward the small alcove by the door. "Look, this whole thing sucks and I'm pissed as hell for what Ibby's going through right now, but maybe we need to sit down and have a conversation. Find common ground if that's possible." Which he couldn't believe he actually suggested.
Arthur narrowed his gaze. "Why? I'm the enemy now, right? What are you really after?" Distrust marred his features.
A good question. "Clarity for Ibby." Phil dropped down onto on the bench seats. "Unless you don't care about her anymore?" Which Phil doubted because Art could have easily escaped her chokehold.
Arthur frowned. "They replaced my eye, part of my hand, and my left leg. They didn't touch my brain. Of course I care about Ibby, you ass." Reluctance in every step, he crossed in front of Phil and sank down onto the opposing seat. "Don't ever question my friendship for her." The pointed look took on an eerie edge considering Art had a mechanical eye.
Phil shrugged. "Not sorry for asking. She's gonna have a really hard time getting her head around this whole cyborg situation." Leaning forward, Phil rested his forearms on his knees. "Why? Why would you let them overhaul you?" Phil struggled to comprehend.
Art heaved a sigh. "Not like I had a choice, man. They didn't ask permission when they patched me up after that skirmish." His voice took on a hard edge. "I didn't ask for this. And I sure as hell didn't want to keep it a secret." He slumped against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest.
Phil straightened, sick dread filling his gut. "You were ordered not to say anything?" Rapid-fire connections filled his head.
Art gave a nod. "Do you really think I wanted to keep this from you guys?"
A lick of shame lashed at Phil. "No. I guess not." Ibby in particular, since she'd practically grown up beside Art.
Arthur relaxed slightly, unfolding his arms and planting his hands on the bench. "This whole thing sucks monkey balls. Especially since it colors the way people see me now." He pinned Phil with a hard gaze. "And by people I mean my friends."
Another stab of almost guilt cut into Phil. "You're not wrong. It's a bitter pill to swallow." The worst kind because the aftertaste lingered.
Art snorted. "I've got news, buddy." He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "I'm not the first nor will I be the last. What happened to me is the shape of things to come." He paused and let Phil digest the bombshell of information.
Phil So, that means—
Art: Yeah, get used to it, because what happened to me is going to be SOP. Mark my words." He got up and delivered a parting shot. "Welcome to the new reality of this war."
Phil leaned back, shock and dread warring for prominence. He didn't doubt Art—why would he lie? His version of events had the awful clang of truth when it came to the military brass making sweeping decisions without regard to the consequences. Who cared if being a mecha-human carried an inescapable stigma? If it helped win a war, so be it. The personal lives of the recipients be damned.
Phil's shoulders slumped. "A shit storm waiting to happen." He had no idea if or when official word would come down about the military adding mecha-tech to their arsenal. But he did know one certain thing—
Ibby would lose her shit when she found out.

I had so many bits and pieces of this one and I think they're all finally starting to come together. Here's hoping it ends up as great as I hope.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

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