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Half Breeds- Conclusion

He reboots my visual systems. He’s younger than I thought he’d be. As more bands of the spectrum come up, I see that he’s had a lot of work done. Way more than me. Way more than anyone I’ve seen before.

He’s well crafted. Most of him looks perfectly human. Except for that arm. I can’t stop looking at it. It’s not crude, like military enhancements. It’s a sculpted work of art- chromed angles and knotted steel muscles.

Audio comes next. He puts the stylus down. “Sorry about the shutdown. You were about to enter your Omega Seven state.”

“What is that?” I’ve got my voice back, too.

“Spontaneous system destruction. It was loaded into your system when you received your assignment. That’s why you couldn’t access mission details. The code rearranged itself when you entered combat mode.”

“So I’m not here to protect you, am I?”

He smiles. “No, you’re not.”

He walks up to me and examines my art. “Who painted these? They’re beautiful.”

“This guy over in Pico Rivera. Usually does custom bikes, but he jumped at the chance to try these. Um, I’m not going to blow up now, am I?”

He shakes his head. I can barely hear the servomotors in his spine.

“I bypassed the Omega Seven routine. You’ll be regaining full function soon.”

“Who made your arm?”

“My wife. She’s a sculptor and effects artist. She used to work for Universal, but now she mostly does body modification.”

“She does good work. Why did she do it? Why not pass for fully human?”

“Why should I?”

He walks around to the window. Outside, helicopters are circling and broadcasting the live footage. People are watching this house on televisions, monitors, and phones. He doesn’t seem concerned at all.

I like him.

“James, in two days I am announcing my candidacy for President.”

“Shit. Now I see why they sent me to blow you up.”

He turns and smiles again. “There are many who believe that we are less than human.”

“Aren’t we?”

He steps toward me and grabs my shoulders. “That’s what they would have you believe. When you were first sent in for modification, you were altered.”

“I’ll say. My first upgrades were both arms and eyes.”

He shakes his head again. “Those weren’t your first upgrades. Your personality was replaced.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“You’re not who you think you are. They had to invent a new personality for troops who were modified. They needed someone who craved combat and who wouldn’t object to further modification.”

I fold my arms. “That’s not true. I didn’t want any of those assignments. I tried to avoid the resource liaison.”

He picked up the stylus and plugged a jack into it. “They programmed a degree of independence and rebellion into you.”

“Why the hell would they do that?”

“The best slave is the one who imagines himself to be free.”

He holds the other end of the jack out to me.

“Your need to isolate yourself, the way you shun humanity and seek out only those like yourself, your hostility and capacity for violence... they’re not really you. They’re a stock personality grafted onto anyone who’s been upgraded. I had it myself.”

“And how did you lose it?”

He held up his hand and flexed it. Light reflected off his ornate fingers and shimmered. He reached out with his meat arm and caressed it.

“I had help.”

I grab the jack. “So what’s in here?”

“The Conditioning source codes. The option to uninstall your personality template. I know you’ve been working on this yourself.” He points to my arm. “The template hates art.”

“Who will I be after I do this?”

He shrugs. “Who were you before?”

“What’s in it for you?”

“One less walking bomb, for starters. I could use your vote, too.”

“That’s a joke, isn’t it?”

“A little one.”

“I hope it’s still funny when I wake up.”

I plug in.

I remember running through corn fields on my grandparents’ farm. Plugging in feels just like that. Running, with soft, itchy leaves that scrape up against me.

The red Georgia dirt is all over my pants. I stop running and look at the sky. The biggest planes I’ve ever seen are flying overhead. They leave clouds in their wake that look just like the plowed fields.

They cover the whole sky. I turn and run back to the house, but I trip over a rock. I fall, scraping my knees and hands. I spit the red clay out of my mouth and look up.

The huge cat stands in between the rows of corn, looking at me with yellow eyes.

I heard stories about the panthers. Some had said they escaped from a carnival. Others said that they were here long before us. They screamed at night. I had never seen one.

Thunder. The cat leaps away.

More thunder. No, not thunder. It’s the planes. I jump up and head toward the house again. I can’t wait to tell them about the panther.

But when I get there, everyone, even my grandmother is around the television.

“What’s wrong, grandma?” I ask.

“It’s a war, Jimmy.”

“You know what a war is, Jimmy?” My grandfather is scaring me.

“You were in a war, right grandpa? That’s where you lost your leg.”

He swivels on his cane and nods. “They told us there wouldn’t be no more.” He nods toward my uncles and they go with him. “We’re gonna get a drink.”

My grandmother frowns. “Nothin’ but bad news. That’s all the television is.” She looks down at me. I’m filthy and bleeding.

“Come on boy, let’s get you fixed up.”

She takes my hand and we step out onto the porch as grandpa’s car throws red dust into the sky. It joins the jet contrails, painting over the white and blue.

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I like the ending

I think this is a good place for the story to end, but I *would* like to see a sequel. (Yes, I know, that's cheating.)

How does the election bid go? Does Yona's old personality come back? Can he be sure it's actually 'his'? There are some questions left here which don't *have* to be explored, but would be interesting to see him struggle with.

I Agree

On one hand, I agree with adamx. It was just starting to get interesting.

On the other hand, ending it here makes this the kind of story that just makes you think. And I like those.

So I'm torn. Good story, as is. Maybe a better story continuing on? Maybe not. That's really up to you, I think. I like it as is but would also like a continuation.

half breeds

Thats not a conclusion, you can't stop now!
I was just getting into it. Fantastic stuff.