Windowbreak

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Prejudice

“Alright, sir, if that’s all I’ll head down and talk all this over with Staci and Juliette and prep the cargo for unloading at Mixipan. If I see Morey I’ll tell him we need to sell any non-essential materials in the hold. No point in carting it around on a treasure hunt.” I glanced down at the captain’s list of all the supplies she wanted for the expedition. “…We’ll probably need the extra money to afford all these guns. Did you want to add anything to this? Extra fuel? Medical supplies? Food?”

“If it’ll help you sleep better, Fulton.”

“Great.”

I looked up and realized Palmcrantz was staring directly at my left hand. I nervously shifted my grip on the list and my carpal linkages clicked audibly in the awkward silence.

Here’s the thing. I’m used to stares. I don’t mind. I’m not ashamed of being a cyborg. I’m proud of my heritage. I wasn’t made in some nightmare secret lab. I was raised in a loving home! My dad taught me to play catch, my maternal outputter told me bedtime stories… I had a pretty normal childhood. But while cyborgs get some of the pros of both human and robot life, they also get the cons. And one of those cons is how some people, both biological and mechanical, look at them.

I’m a person. I’m not just some stereotype. But I know sometimes when the captain sees my arm she doesn’t think of me as anything but an object. A machine. A tool.

“There’s one more thing, Fulton.”

I looked away, resigning myself to it.

“Yes, sir?”

She reached over and engaged the locks on her door. Then she engaged the soundproofing.

“Come here.” She undid her coverall and let it pool around her ankles. I looked at her for a long moment. I couldn’t help but think of how much my bunkmate love this woman. Finally I folded the list and put it in my pocket.

“Okay but just once this time. I do have to get the cargo ready.”

…There are worse tools a man can be.