Disconnection No. 9 – Self-Preservation

This is Part 9 of a Serial called Disconnection.

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She woke up to a buzzling snarl in the back of her throat, felt it crawling up into her ears backwards, shitting static as it muckled through blood, chewing up eustachian tubes and laying wire instead. Munch munch. She tried to roll to the side as she retched, but something had her pinned; when she coughed up, a dripping clatter of wires and plugs was ejected from her mouth, but only went far enough to land against her cheek with a splat. She felt the rest of it lodged down past her voicebox with a ropy thread laying on her tongue, crackling and pulsing, the mass on her left cheek, running something warm and like eggwhites, over her jaw. Dripping past her ear.

She tried to scream, but couldn’t breathe, tried to swallow, but it was caught there and when she bit down to try and spit it out, there was blue fire that lit up her teeth and made her palate smoke.

The thing on her cheek hummed, warm against her skin; lights on it blinked alive, and she stared with unfocused eyes at the thing that lay there, connected to the inside of her, and couldn’t even become coherent enough to weep as she felt herself choking to death.

She did wish she could scream, however, when it opened up to reveal a maw of rotating blades. Little legs and lovely pincers, and it crawled further up her face to settle on her nose. Some sort of camera nestled in the cluster of wires and gears and silicon stared out at her, swiveling, back and forth, back and forth.

When it chose the left eye, she instinctively tried to bite down again, hoping that she would either be knocked unconscious, or that it might stop.

Neither happened.

Autorun’s self-preservation modes were never designed to account for pain; the implants were there to ensure survival — not guard against agony.

At least they were doing their job well.

She wasn’t dead, yet.

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