The Expounder

“Hold still, I need you to look straight up,” James positioned the machine’s alignment laser just above Paul’s right eye. “Looking into the laser might hurt, but since we are replacing your eye, there won’t be any permanent damage.” Paul was on his back on a metal table in a newly renovated storage locker, his feet dangling uncomfortably off the edge, the rest of his body was strapped down. The small locker had almost nothing else in it, except for the large machine mounted on the ceiling. On one side was the arm that attached it to the ceiling, but on the other was four different arms. Each arm was designed to install a different kind of prosthesis.This was not his first time installing less than legal cyberware, though the eye itself wasn’t illegal.But a handful of his personalized modifications were. For instance, the remote hacking link addition to the hud display. “Okay, ready? On the count of —” James

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The first face appeared in a dream. It was the normal sort of dream for him these days, on a ship, bigger, of course, than any he’d actually crewed. Captain gave the orders and the cannons sounded. Quieter, of course, than cannon fire actually was. There was the same lull between the orders, the same rush of blood in the veins and every hair in his body standing on end as the planks slapped into place for the crossing. The mass of limbs and wrath descended on the smaller vessel. One of the crew let out a battle cry next to him, as thirsty for blood as for the bounty hidden in the ship’s hold. But the sounds of clashing cutlasses dulled as the boy ran towards him. Fifteen, probably, maybe younger even. Tall, limbs akimbo, like he’d never rushed a man before. Was the work of a second to put the blade in his chest, watch his bright eyes

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