Talking Down Death

I see the ice of a killer behind his eyes as he stares me down, weighing what I've said. There's a twitch at the side of his mouth; he closes his fast, and there's an unnerving crack of titanium joints.

"You're lying. I saw you do it." He steps forward, clutches me, shoves me against the far wall like I was made of paper mache. "I SAW YOU DO IT!"

There's red in his eyes now, burning up from the cold machine white, and I can all but taste the ferocity of his rage. But I keep my cool.

"CyberCorp's messed with your circuits, Drake. They used you as a remote-controlled pawn, and when she looked like she was about to find them out, they took her out. Got the feeling they might do the same thing to me."

"But... Mandy..." he drops me and collapses to his knees, knocking two craters into the tile floor. There's no tears--hell, he probably can't cry, but he's got this kind of machine twitch, like the man inside him's fighting with every last shred of his soul for those tears.

"Drake." He doesn't move. "Drake Collins, pull yourself together. You remember?"

He nods, slowly. The amber's gone out of his eyes.

"They got me to sign up for a low-grade genetic enhancement--some kind of strength and reflex enhancement program. Military stuff, anyone could see, but they told me it was security. Security..." he closes his eyes, hard. "Bastards... they turned me into this... machine. I was going to be an enforcer for... for when they did It."

"Did what?"

"For when they enact their goddamn doomsday. I remember it now--all of them chanting at me about the Meat--how the Meat was what was wrong with this world, how after the Awakening there'd be no more meat. Christ... they want to..."

"Kill everyone, yeah. Better than even I hoped for. Well, Drake, looks like you have to make a choice."

Drake stands, slowly. The amber's back in his eyes. "I'll kill the fuckers. I'll fucking KILL THEM" and he sends a 500 pound terminal hurtling through a window, showering us in sparks and glass. He glares at me, eyes burning in the shadows. "Come with me, Jack. Let's take these bastards down."

      "Damn straight," I say.

      I don’t need a grief-stricken cyborg who might at any moment revert to CyberCorp’s control with me. “I’m going alone,” I say.

      I need to get cured before I do anything. I shake my head: "This is your funeral, not mine. Good luck."

      He's a deranged killer cyborg and it's time to prove to him that I'm a man. I go at him swinging.

I couldn't take it anymore. I called it off.