Today’s story was directly inspired by a bit of research I did for Sciency Words. In 1960, American researchers Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline coined the word cyborg. There’s just… there’s something about those names—Clynes and Kline—they just sound so right together….
So, cyborgs could cry. Marcus hadn’t known that, but Neo-Marcus (as he’d been instructed to call himself) was discovering this truth for himself. He could cry. Not as humans cried, of course. His tear ducts had been removed along with his natural eyes, but all the rest—the heart palpitations, the uneven breathing, and all the other quivering spasms of grief—cyborgs could still do those things, it seemed.
Was it Marcus’s fault that he had died? Was it Marcus’s fault that, upon his death, he’d been in so much debt that the corporate controllers had ordered him to be brought back to life? The med-techs had done a budget job, as they called it, with only the most basic augmentations; but still, the process had cost another 20K credits. Another 20K added to Marcus’s debt total. Another 20K that Neo-Marcus would now have to pay back.
And how was he supposed to do that if he couldn’t find work? It had been the same at every employment directory thus far. The receptionists were always polite, but obviously nervous. “Sorry, we’re not hiring!” they’d say before quickly ushering Neo-Marcus out the door.
The advertisement feed was still running in the corner of Neo-Marcus’s vision. He’d muted the sound, but he couldn’t afford the fee to have the feed turned off completely. But now there was an ad playing that caught Marcus’s attention, and he gave the mental command to turn the audio back on.
“Have you been denied housing, employment, or other standard services due to your cybernetic augmentations? You do have rights. Contact Clynes and Kline, cyber-attorneys at law, for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through. We’ve been there ourselves, and we can help.”
Before the advertisement had even ended, Neo-Marcus had pulled up the messenger app on his visual display. As a human, he’d never taken those sorts of legal ads seriously. But now, as a cyborg, he needed help. He needed hope. He needed anything he could get.