Recomissioned Warrior

by Howard Faxon

Tags: Romantic, Science Fiction, Time Travel,

Desc: : a cyborg soldier from the future finds himself 60 years in his past, destined to change the shape of what is to come

When I'm motoring around on my trike I look pretty normal--for a 6'6 270 pound biker in leathers. The helmet conceals many sins. In front of a mirror I've decided that I look like the Incredible Hulk had Hulk Hogan's baby--and dropped it, several times. When dressed I guess I look OK. You can't see the faint scars that cover my body like a fishnet. I've been re-wired. I'm faster, stronger, tougher and last longer than any man born of woman. You see, I'm a cyborg.

Fresh out of college I signed up for the Marines. I was tough enough and bloody-minded enough to make it into force recon. I served honorably with my team for 22 bloody months in central and south America until I wandered into a trap room. Boom, and the next thing I knew I was jelly in a vat. I'm a third generation recon cyborg. I'm roughly 70 percent titanium, 10 percent ceramic, 8 percent flesh, 7 percent brain and five percent computer. I know, this doesn't jive with what you know about technology. Well, here's the kicker--I was/will be born in 2166.

I weigh in at about 775 pounds. I can dead-lift about 1800 pounds and punch through a reinforced concrete wall. (If I don't use my special gloves the flesh of my hand will slough away, though. Yes, dammit, it hurts when I do that, and it takes about a week to recover.) I set off any and every metal detector within fifty yards. My power plant sprays neutrons around like champagne bubbles. When I stand down I have to plug in a smart dialysis unit that mimics my old liver and kidneys. I can 'see' visible, IR and RF spectrums. My eyes contain a Heads Up Display that shows computer-assisted target acquisition and avoidance data. I have built-in mil-spec radio and quantum transcievers. When I take a round they don't call the medic, they reserve time on the lube rack. That's what makes me a prototype--I stand out like an electronic sore thumb and require daily close-support maintenance. The're working on stealthing the whole thing but I think they're pissing in the wind. I constantly ping my environment with active sub-milimeter radar. How the hell are you going to stealth THAT? The one thing that made my life worthwhile was they preserved and enhanced my sense of smell and taste. I was a gastronome.

Three inventions were discovered and perfected/miniaturized for use around 2190-- a human-computer interface that didn't drive the human side irrecoverably insane, computer-reprogrammable nanites that work in a networked cooperative 'cloud' and the SQID--semiconductor quantum interface device. The last part is what made the whole project worthwhile to the military. It's a slow process, but I can see densities in 3-D up to about 1800 meters around me in all directions ... yep, that means I can find deep bunkers and access tunnels just sitting there reading/watching a viddie. I can call in an orbital strike or go into penetration mode. I was force-fed enough penetration techniques to bust all but a very few hardened networks and servers. My SQIDs (always in pairs, for some reason) can focus big and slow or tight and up close. This allows me to force electronic gate changes in security sensors and effectors, namely guns 'n locks. I'm a bigger, better can opener. HoooHa. 92nd force recon. Take no prisoners. Leave no evidence. Nobody gets out alive.

Two of my cyborg buds and I were running a deep penetration op in northern China when my luck ran out a second time. We were scrambling around in a deep lab bunker trying to figure out what was being worked on when we found out the hard way. I stepped into a hemispherical room. The floor and walls had compelling discolorations in the surface, and my SQIDs reported that the curves continued deep into the metal. It was thick, too! The floor was over 3 meters thick and the walls about 2.5. I started getting RF field readings off the scale. I could SEE fields sweeping around, curling around each other. The power density kept increasing. I was getting worried. I tried to monkey-wrench the system by un-balancing a driver. Holy moldy shit! It hit the fan with a huge flash and tore a hole in the wall from top to bottom. When I came to after the power went out the floor was tilted at about a 30 degree angle. The air smelled like burned electronics and ozone. I decided to get the hell out of there. I tracked back to the tunnel I came down. It ended in solid rock. Well, shit. The lights were off but I had a hold-out card--IR vision. It's blurry by nature and you can't see any distance with detail, but it's better than blind-man's-bluff. The three of us came down three different access tunnels. I proceeded to the next one.

Something had blown the hell out of the tunnel. There were huge piles of shattered rock everywhere and a big pit mine to the surface that wasn't there when we began this op.

I reached out to talk to big daddy and got nothing on the Q-strings. Shit. What happened to take down every quantum link near the planet? I tried for a location update and again got nothing. I tried a satellite ping and got a long, leisurely response--over 1200 milliseconds! Something was definitely wrong. I started an RF frequency scan, trying not to speculate, trying not to panic. Big boys don't cry. There it was. I had a lock. There, another. Another. This was ridiculous. I had locked into Generation II GPS satellites! The time sync really threw me. Instead of 2198 it was 1999. Riiiight. I was -67 years old. I was still on the Chinese side of the Russo-Chinese border though--the contested lands. I was between Russia, Afghanistan, India and Mongolia. It was very, very dark out and quite cold. November 11 near the arctic circle will do that for you. I scooted out of the pit mine being as quiet as I could to maintain stealth. I had no support, no backup, no cash, no home. I knew damned good and well that my "big brother" the computer had over-ride routines that could blow the hell out of what's left of me. I was surprised that I wasn't dead yet.

Interface. Situational ethics report summary.

>GPS returns impeachable evidence. Stand down. Unit must go rogue to exist.

Geopolitical impact report summary.

>destabilizing technology impossible. Unit too advanced for current forensics. Unit at risk from analytic decomposition. Run from people with screwdrivers.

Local impact report summary.

>run like hell. acquire funds and secure shelter. Stay covert or cease to exist.

Well, we had a consensus.

I was armed and dangerous. I could hack any network that existed but couldn't jump-start a car to save my electronic soul.

I had to hijack a vehicle and driver that could get me to a hospital. I needed dialysis within 18 hours. My SQIDs told me that this looked too much like a mining camp to be anything else. Mining camps needed food supplies. I needed to find the camp kitchen and hide out until a delivery lorry came. Easy.

I hitched a ride on the back of a decrepit old ex-Chinese military 4x4. Damn. We were out in the middle of nowhere. If I didn't get to a dialysis unit within about 6 hours I'd have to take the expedient route of pissing straight plasma and drinking water to make up the volume. It was hell on mineral balances.

City lights. I compared my GPS readings with what little map data I had. I was coming into North Urumqi--one of the largest cities of North-West China. I had to dump my ride and head West towards the airport. I could fly anything with a jet engine big enough to hold me ... there was a hospital near the airport which made my choice that much sweeter. At a stop-light I dropped out of the rear of the truck and started loping West in the pre-dawn light. Within an hour I'd broken into the hospital, located a dialysis unit, warmed it up (VERY important!) and plugged myself in. This wouldn't cope with all my metabolic problems, but given a half-case of type-O plasma and an IV rig I could take care of the rest. I relaxed deep in the bowels of the hospital for the next day and half the night.

I dined on boiled fish and noodles (asian hospital food) and made my way deep into the airport with a half-case of plasma secreted in my pack. I didn't know when I'd need to detox again and what resources I'd have available at the time.

I found a DHL jet that was being serviced and hopped a ride to Frankfurt, Germany. From there the jet took a hop to Norway, then great-circle route to Quebec city, Quebec. Jumping through the time zones I found myself in San Antonio Texas where I jumped ship. There was a large miltary base featuring a nationally known burn center there. I needed to visit their research labs to put together the backpack dialysis unit that I needed to survive. I had the chip templates stored in deep memory. I needed to prioritize my actions or I'd either be spinning my wheels or leave myself open to hostile investigation.

First I needed an impeccable, iron-clad ID. I investigated how to build a profile, layer by layer. A birth certificate appeared in Houston, a K-12 school record in nearby Conroe, a college and post-grad track record in Austin and the police reports of a hell-raising womanizer all over the area.

My SQIDs made me a hell of a card shark. I won a small property near Odessa and for the hell of it, travelled to check it out. It wasn't far by Texas standards.

.... There is more of this story ...

The source of this story is Storiesonline

For the rest of this story you need to be logged in: Log In or Register for a Free account

Story tagged with:
Romantic / Science Fiction / Time Travel /