NOTE: The term femborg derives from the term cyborg, there is no association with Star Trek type Borg in this story.
"All rise," said the court officer as judge Katyn entered the court room.
"Has the jury reached a verdict?" asked the judge.
The jury foreman stood. "We have, your honor. We the jury find the defendant, Yeony Parker, guilty of one count of driving while intoxicated, guilty of one count of reckless driving, one count of driving with a suspended license, once count of leaving the scene of an accident, five counts of failing to appear before her probation officer on two prior FDWI convictions, two counts of reckless endangerment, four counts of resisting arrest, and four counts of assault upon a peace officer performing official duties, three counts of manslaughter, and three counts of vehicular homicide."
Yeony began sobbing on her lawyer's shoulder as the verdict was read. Judge Katyn said, "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Before I commence with sentencing, may I have a word with the prosecution and defense in my chambers?"
"All rise," said the court officer as the judge left the court room, followed by Yeony's lawyer and the chief prosecutor.
The judge looked at the prosecutor. "Do you seek the death penalty?"
"Yes, your honor. This defendant destroyed an entire family. Two children have both been left paraplegic and quadriplegic, and both parents dead and another sibling dead. This while driving intoxicated with a suspended license from two previous DWIs. And then leaving them for dead as she fled the scene. The people seek the death penalty for this defendant."
"I'm inclined to agree." To the defense lawyer, judge Katyn said, "I assume you intend to appeal?"
"Your honor. My client wishes to surrender her right of appeal and be admitted into the CH-MEMS program in lieu of the death penalty."
The prosecutor let out a huff. "Another femborg?"
The judge glared at the prosecutor, then returned her gaze to the defense attorney. "Does your client realize that admission into the CH-MEMS program requires her to surrender all rights of appeal? Upon execution of the CH-MEMS procedure, there is no appeal or stay, and your client will be declared legally dead. Does she understand these facts?"
"Yes, she does, your honor. Further, your honor, my client is an attractive young woman. We believe that, as a CH-MEMS, she will bring a good price at auction to compensate the surviving victims and will benefit the surviving victims to a much greater extent than executing her."
The judge said, "You have 48 hours to submit the application or I will issue the sentence of death by lethal injection."
Yeony sat in her cell, day after day, week after week, only being let out into the prison courtyard for a half hour each day.
Yeony had made friends with one of the other inmates. She and Latoya talked about things that prisoners talk about. "Latoya," Yeony stammered. "What do you do about, er, you know?"
"I haven't had a man since I've been here. What do you do? I mean besides your fingers?"
"Hell, girl. Ain't nothing we can do. Used to be we could get favors out of the male guards for giving them some ass. You know, give and take? But now that they only allow female guards here, we don't get none any which way. Fucking puritan bastards don't even let us have vibrators."
"Not only that," said Yeony, but now I'll never get to finish _Wargasm_ or _Final Fantasy._
"What are those?" asked Latoya.
"Video games!" said Yeony. "Girls are gamer's too! I'm probably the only person in America who bought the 4-CD music soundtrack to _Final Fantasy 7_ imported from Japan."
"Never played a video game," said Latoya.
Several months later, Yeony walked over to Latoya on her courtyard break. "Whassup, girl?" asked Latoya as Yeony sat on the crumbling concrete stoop. "Something wrong?"
"The paperwork just came through. They're making me a femborg."
"No shit, Latoya. I'm scared. What's it like to be a femborg?"
"How the fuck do I know, girl? But I tell ya' what I hear."
"I hear you're wide awake and can watch everything you do. But you can't do nothing. Everything you do is controlled by your owner's remote control. Like your body is a radio controlled car or something."
"That's what I hear, too." Yeony sighed. "Maybe I should have just told my lawyer to let them kill me."
"Damn straight! I'd rather be dead than be some honky's robot slave bitch."
"Oh! Why did I do it? Why did I drive drunk and kill those people? Why did those fucking people have to be crossing the street just then? I'd have got home no problem. It was an accident. I didn't mean to hurt anyone." Yeony started to cry, and Latoya put her arm around Yeony's shoulder.
"Shit, Latoya!" Yeony sobbed. "I really fucked up my life!"
"We all done that good in here," said Latoya.
"I wonder what'll happen to me?"
"My half brother killed a guy in a bar and they turned him into a manborg."
"Really? What happened to him?"
"Last I heard, Ford or somebody bought the lot at auction and used them as crash test dummies."
"Hell, yeah, girl! You declared legally dead. It's just like they sell corpses to laboratories and shit. Legally, you're no different than a corpse to be bought and sold."
"Fuck! You mean I did that to escape execution, and whoever buys me can kill me anyway just for jollies."
"Yup!" said Latoya. "But they don't do that to young pretty girls. You'll just become a whore in some hellhole country."
"Gee, thanks, Latoya."
Latoya laughed, "Don't mention it."
Several weeks later, Yeony awoke in the prison hospital flat on her back on a gurney in the small recovery room. As the anesthesia wore off, she was momentarily confused, but then remembered. _Femborg. They just turned me into a femborg._
She tried to turn her head too look around, but couldn't. She tried to sit up, but she was strapped down. No. She wasn't strapped down. She just couldn't move. Immediately panicking, she took note of her body. She could still feel her body—-she could feel her back pressing down on the gurney, she could feel the starchy prison sheets draped over her body. But she was utterly motionless. She could feel herself breathing, and could hear her heart pounding. She looked left and right, and swallowed. At least she had that much control over her body. She blinked, looked around though her head remained stationary. And she could swallow and wiggle her tongue. But that was it.
Fear welled up and she tried to scream, but no sound emerged from her lips when the doctor finally came over to check on her. "You're awake, I see," he said.
Yeony merely blinked.
"Blink twice if you can hear me," he said.
She did so.
"Good. There will be some discomfort at the back of your neck for a few days where the control module was implanted and spliced into your spinal cord..."
At that, Yeony did feel a bulge pressing against the back of her neck as she lay there. It felt a little sore.
" ... beyond that, are you in any pain? Blink twice for yes, once for no."
Yeony blinked once.
The doctor poked and prodded her here and there, taking her pulse and blood pressure before moving on to other tasks.
_Locked in! That's what this is called, _ she remembered from reading about various medical conditions in the prison library over the past few months.
Tears dripped from her eyes as she lay there motionless and ignored for hours. But, finally, someone came over to her and fiddled with some gizmo. To her shock, she sat up without meaning to. Then she spun on the bed and stood. _What the fuck is going on?_ Some woman in a lab coat was holding some kind of box with two joysticks--a large and bulky version of a PlayStation controller. Yeony tried to speak, but was still mute. At least she could move her eyes around. She watched as the woman wiggle the joysticks, and her body responded accordingly. Yeony suddenly realized that the woman was controlling her body by remote control from that control box. Yeony turned left, and lost sight of the woman with the controller. She walked out of the recovery room and down a hallway. Yeony could hear the footsteps of that woman behind her as she passed several doors and found herself in a room with several other prisoners sitting motionless in metal folding chairs. Yeony walked over to an empty chair, turned, and found herself facing that woman who was controlling her body. The woman did something on the controller, and Yeony sat on the chair. Finally, without a word the whole time, the woman set Yeony's controller on a counter top and left the room.
Yeony could see the other borg people out the corner of her eyes sitting in adjacent chairs. But try as she might, she couldn't speak or move.
After work Friday night, Jarvis plopped down in front of his TV to turn on his PlayStation and play _Wargasm_ for a while. Then, after getting killed in the desert for the umpteenth time by that sniper that he couldn't see, he got onto his computer and clicked though the daily paper that he subscribes to. Clicking past a number of pop-up ads from _Try-N-Save_ and other local big box stores, he spied an ad for some car dealer that was having a huge blowout sale this weekend. Having just paid off his last car, he was thinking of a new car. He'd even managed to save up about $20,000. He could get a clean late model used car for that. He eyed listings for a late model _Smart ForOne, _ a _Chevy Volt, and a brand new _Sony Joule._ Then he noticed a small unobtrusive thumbnail ad for a government CH-MEMS auction. Cyborg-Human Micro-Electrical Mechanical Systems it said in small print. He'd heard of these things. He'd considered buying a fembot a few times, but he wanted a flesh-and-blood woman, not a machine. He'd heard that HI-MEMS had started out as an experimental way to control cyborg insects. The military got into it, calling it CI-MEMS, but all hell broke loose when a retired operator kidnapped his girlfriend, and the girl's father, also a retired CI-MEMS operative staged a recovery, destroying half a city block in the process. It was all over the news for weeks, with the government ultimately paying out millions in settlement damages. So, anyway, he googled around a bit on _Bliingle, _ eventually learning that a female CH-MEMS bot is called a femborg, because she is a real live human body controlled by a remote control instead of her human brain. _Cool!_
So on Saturday the next day, he played _Grand Theft Auto_ on his _NextBox_ for a few hours, then drove down to the state armory in nearby Springfield to attend the auction. In the large hall, people milled around looking at the CH-MEMS people to be auctioned. The two long walls were lined with cyborg people behind steel barricades. A leaflet that he was given upon entry explained that most were condemned prisoners who agreed to become cyborg people to escape the death penalty. The proceeds of their sales will go to pay off their victims or victim's estates. A few were people with life threatening conditions but who lacked medical insurance to pay for treatment. For them, the price of being cured was to become CH-MEMS.
Most of the cyborg people on display were young males, mostly black but some white, convicted of various murders and manslaughters. A few attractive young women, both black and white, lined the displays. Each display didn't identify why each particular person was a cyborg, but it didn't really matter to Jarvis. He wished that he could see the girls nude, but they were each wearing a sort of hideous unattractive loose black jumpsuit.
At the beginning of each round, a government staffer would fondle a sort of controller like an elaborate PlayStation controller with thumbsticks, a keyboard, and an LCD display, and "operate" the cyborg person, making him or her walk up to the front of the room.
The auction worked by each bidder sliding an ID card into a reader on the arm of their chair and keying their sealed bid. When the timer counted down, the highest bidder was announced who won that particular cyborg.
He passed the first dozen rounds, those being for various males. By the time a female came up, an attractive black woman with short curly black hair, he had a general idea what an appropriate bid amount was. The bids weren't as high as he'd thought they'd be. He bid $10000 for her, but was outbid. She sold for $15000. So the women go for a little more than the men, eh?
A little later another woman came up for bid, a cute blonde with a handful of tattoos all up and down her arms. The tattoos kind of turned him off, but he bid again, this time $15000, and again he was outbid but only by a thousand.
Some time later, another woman came up for bid, a girl with jet black hair who looked to be a Chinese-American mix. He blew his wad this time, bidding $20000. He almost fell back in his chair when his name was called as the winning bidder.
He approached the clerk on the side of the room where he signed some papers paid with his debit card. Another clerk approached, working a controller as the femborg followed. The first clerk opened up a manilla envelope and pulled out a slew of legal papers.
"What's all this?" asked Jarvis.
"Never own a femborg before?" the clerk asked.
"Nope. Never bought a femborg before." Jarvis looked up and stared into the eyes of his new purchase. Having her brain replaced by a remote control unit, he didn't expect to sense anything, but he saw intelligence there. She even blinked.
"Yes," said the clerk. Sliding a form out, the clerk said, "This is her birth certificate."
Jarvis examined her birth certificate. "Her name is Yeony? What a weird name!"
The clerk handed Jarvis another form. "This is her death certificate."
"Death certificate?" gasped Jarvis. "She's just a walking corpse? A dead body? A zombie?"
"No," the clerk said dryly. "She's not a zombie at all. Her body is very much alive. Heart beating, blood flowing, and all that. Walking on her own muscle power. But she's been declared legally dead. Otherwise, she couldn't be sold as property."
"I see," said Jarvis as he read her death certificate.
"Yup! And these are her court records," said the clerk as he slid more papers in front of Jarvis.
"What sort of records?"
"You read about that girl a few years ago who drove drunk and rolled over that family? Killed the parents and left the kids paralyzed? Then fled the scene?"
"Yeah!" said Jarvis. "I remember that! Everyone wanted her to get the chair!"
"This is her," said the clerk pointing at the girl.
"Shit!" said Jarvis, glancing back at his femborg in disgust.
"Every one here has committed some heinous crime worthy of the death penalty, or they wouldn't be here."
"I guess you're right," said Jarvis. "But could she turn dangerous? She can't come alive and kill me in my sleep, can she?"
"You play too many video games, kid," said the clerk. "Her spinal cord is cut below her brain in two places a quarter inch apart, and the middle section removed. No way they can ever reconnect, even partially. And the control module in her neck has no circuitry to receive motor signals from the brain, so there's no way to even reprogram it to give her voluntary motor control. There's no way she can move except by that remote control."
"Well, okay," said Jarvis.
"Now here are her medical records. And this is a guide book on how to care for her. Remember, she's real live human girl, so she needs to eat and do everything that a person needs to do."
"I see," said Jarvis, realizing that he may have got in a little too deep. _Perhaps I would have been better off with a fembot._
"Anyway, Joe here will show you how to operate her."
"Yeah, follow me," said the second clerk.
Jarvis followed Joe and the femborg into a back room where Joe handed him the controller.
"Now," said Joe. "Ever play a First Person Shooter video game?"
"Yeah!" said Jarvis. "All the time! I'm a video game addict, actually. I have a problem keeping girlfriends because of that."
"Okay then. You operate her like controlling yourself in a FPS. The left thumbstick controls her movement. Forward and back, side step left and right. Try it."
Jarvis nudged the thumbstick forward, and she took a step forward. He made her step backward, and side to side.
"The right thumbstick adjusts her stance in place," said Joe. "Make her lean forward, or sit back, or turn clockwise or counterclockwise, in place."
Joe pointed to another button. "This button makes her sit."
Jarvis moved to press the button.
"But don't do it unless she's standing in front of a chair or she'll fall back on her ass. The controller in her neck is just an interface between her spine and your controller. It's not an advanced AI."
"I see," said Jarvis.
"Hold this other button down, and the thumbsticks control her arms rather than her legs. You can actually make her pick up and manipulate things with her hands, but that'll take practice."
Jarvis fiddled with the controls a while longer, making her move erratically.
"What's the keyboard for?" asked Jarvis.
"Type something and see," said Joe.
Jarvis typed, "Ich wil den Klavierstein."
A moment later, Yeony said, "Ich wil den Klavierstein," in a high-pitched squeaky voice.
"Cool!" said Jarvis with a big grin.
"Any other questions?" asked Joe.
"I assume this LCD display shows what she sees with her eyes, right?"
"Right. And the numbers superimposed on the screen are her vitals. For example, it shows that her bladder is 20% full. When it reaches 50% you should probably sit her on the toilet and make her piss."
"I have to do that for her?"
"Yes," said Joe. "You control everything she does. If you let her bladder get much above 90%, she'll wet herself. Same idea with her bowels."
"Well," stammered Jarvis. "She's um..."
"What?" asked Joe.
Jarvis felt himself turning red. "She's anatomically correct, right?"
"Hell, kid! She's a real live human girl. Of course she's anatomically correct. Jeez!"
Jarvis laughed at himself for asking a stupid question. Glancing over at Yeony, it almost looked like she was swallowing hard. But of course, it had to be his imagination.
So, with controller in hand, Jarvis carefully operated Yeony out of the armory and down the street to his car.
It was a little difficult to get her to back up to the passenger seat and sit without banging her head on the car as she sat, but he managed it without banging her up too much. She'll probably have a few bumps on her head from the ordeal; good thing she has no mind to feel pain.
Driving home though, it was eerie sitting with a girl who was totally silent. He had never known a girl to be quiet for even a few seconds. She just sat there motionless staring straight ahead, but he got the strangest feeling that he noticed her eyes moving and glancing left and right. But he figured that's has to be some sort of autonomic response.
Upon reaching home, it wasn't as hard to get her out of the car as it was to get her in it. He operated her into his house easily enough without crashing her into anything.
The first thing he did when he got home was to put on some music.
He knew she couldn't reply, but asked anyway. "Yeony, do you want to listen to the music soundtrack from _Final Fantasy 7, _ or the music soundtrack from _Metal Gear Solid?"_