DISCONNECT

A short story

Published by Terraform

“You okay?”

Daniel’s pulse keeps rhythm with last night’s hangover, knifing through my skull. But I endure it. His cardiac cycle is as familiar as the topography of my palms, reassuring as the nest of controls harnessing me to the geminoid. It’s a connection, an auditory life line.

He dabs at the jaw with an embroidered handkerchief, eyes roaming for a place to roost. I move a control stick in tandem, and my avatar's gaze keeps pace.

“Yes." A pinprick of hesitation. “It’s just a little bit warm.”

“I can’t see how that’d be the case.” I scratch at the coarse tissue of my right cheek.

We’re in his favorite restaurant, celebrating the end of my physiotherapy. A converted bungalow in the belly of Kuala Lumpur, it sits at a discreet address, devoid of traditional signage and tawdry decor, a favorite among incognito celebrities and the Malaysian elite.

Everything is natural here, from the swarthy foreign chefs and the leather wingtips worn by the men to the caramel-cream legs of the women, elegant as Birman kittens. All human, all meat and marrow, all flown in at ludicrous expense. If there are implants or polymers in the room, they’re top-of-the-line, real enough to be invisible to my ocular modules.

Read the full story at Terraform