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‘axehead’ – 2013, Bored at work

Ever hear that philosophical koan about the ship? A ship leaves port with lumber and a full crew. When it reaches the next port, rotten planks are replaced, crewmates leave and are similarly replaced. By the time it gets back to its point of origin, every plank and crewmember has been replaced. Is it the same ship as the one which first set sail?

First they took my eyes. Advanced biometrics were substituted, featuring high-definition feed quality, along with zoom, light-amplification, thermal-visioning and cutting-edge probability-matrix functioning. I took so well to my upgrade that I was selected for the Unit 23 trials. Basically they were guinea-pigging experimental combat augmentations on me, supposedly to check which upgrades could work in synchrony with others without conflicting. The true, unspoken motive behind my mechanisation, which became harder to conceal with every part of me they swapped out for experimental tech, was the clandestine development of a cutting-edge cybernetic combat unit. The public could handle the idea of a wounded soldier getting some new legs, or a squad being fitted with integrated visual HUDs, for better battlefield communication in the style of Landwarrior. But perfectly capable limbs, organs and synapses being replaced en-mass in the pursuit of greater lethal functionality? It was too ‘dystopian sci-fi’ for people to stomach.

A golem was being quietly pieced together while they slept, and it seemed unlikely that they would take well to this military-grade homunculus.

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