Jarcor grunted. He could feel the pain rushing through his whole body, but mainly through his legs. For a few moments, he wasn’t able to remember what had happened but soon, flashes of the battle in the middle of the desert and the bombs exploding everywhere came back to him.
The last thing he remembered, was running out of a building that was collapsing on him. Apparently, he hadn't been fast enough.
“Captain Jarcor, can you hear me?”
A man’s voice sounded next to him and he slowly opened his eyes. “Where am I?” he mumbled, feeling his throat incredibly dry.
“You’re at the military hospital in Washington. You were hurt on your last mission and brought here, as soon as possible,” the man explained, as he offered him some water.
“What happened to me?” he asked after he took a few sips of the cold liquid.
“The building collapsed on you, smashing your legs completely.” There was compassion in his tone and Jarcor frowned.
“Your bones were smashed beyond repair.” Another man replied, from the other side of the bed.
“What are you trying to tell me?” he asked, in a stern tone, looking around.
There were at least three doctors and two nurses around him.
“That we’ll have to amputate your legs, Captain,” the first doctor answered his question.
“There has to be another way,” he protested, trying to get up, refusing to believe the man’s words. He couldn’t lose his legs.
“Actually, there is, but it’s still in the experimental stage, it would be risky using this technology on you when we still don’t know how it would affect you in the future,” the other doctor replied, pushing him back to the bed.
“Who cares about the future? I’ll deal with that when the time comes. Right now, I’ll do anything to keep you from cutting off my legs,” Jarcor grumbled.
The doctors looked at each other, apparently pleased with his answer.
“I’m sure you’ve heard we have been working with Nanocybots and Ectogenesis, trying to create the perfect soldier. So far, we have been successful, but the babies take too long to grow up and reach the perfect age to be considered an adult,” the second doctor said.
Jarcor frowned. He had heard the rumors about it but hadn't known they were true until now. They were playing god, and that usually was a colossal mistake, but right now, it wasn’t the moment to express his feelings on that. “I’ve heard the rumors, like everyone else.”
“Well, it’s a reality. We’ve managed to narrow the growth time to six years, but as you can imagine, that’s not an ideal situation, especially if the Taucets finally invade us,” he mentioned the alien threat that had the whole planet on edge. “So, we’ve decided to try this new technology on full grown men and see if we get the same results, but a lot faster.”
“What exactly are you proposing to me?” Jarcor asked suspiciously, not sure he liked what the man was implying.
“We want to try the new technology on you, Captain Jarcor,” the first doctor explained. “We would be introducing Nanocybots into your bloodstream and wait for them to do their work on your body, the same way they do with the embryos we’ve developed.”
“What are they supposed to do?” he asked, his frown becoming a bit deeper.
“Nanocybots are programmed to find weakness or health threats on the host body and fix them,” doctor number two explained. “In the case of the embryos, they’ve altered the DNA, giving the body more strength, more intelligence and making it self-healing. Nanocybots are able to reproduce themselves and get whatever they need from the subject’s diet,” he added.
“In your case, it should rebuild your broken bones and coat them with the metal alloy they are able to manufacture inside you, making them unbreakable,” doctor number one continued.
It was hard to believe all they were saying was true. “What’s the catch?” he asked, suspiciously.
in a cold tone. Again, the doctors exchanged looks that were starting to make him feel unnerved.
“Nanocybots have artificial intelligence, they think for themselves and make the decisions based on logic and sometimes it’s not the best decision, or at least, not one the host would make,” doctor number two explained.
“How bad can it be? You said they operate for the host’s wellbeing,” Jarcor inquired, still not sure he wanted microscopic things inside him.
“We’re not sure since we haven’t tried this on a human being,” doctor number two replied.
“I thought you said you were experimenting with embryos.”
“According to our legislation, the beings created and enhanced in a lab aren’t considered humans. We’ve therefore decided to call them cyborgs,” the third man explained, in a cold tone.
That didn’t sound right. “Don’t they have human biological parents?” Jarcor asked.
“Yes, but they are created and raised to be war machines, nothing else,” the man replied, without even flinching.
“Anyway, that has nothing to do with you, Captain,” doctor number one quickly said, with a sleazy smile on his face.
Jarcor nodded, quickly considering his options. He wanted his legs and his only option at keeping them was on accepting the offer of these men. Nothing could be worse than becoming a cripple. Of course, he knew the new prosthetics were impressive, but they were still plastic parts.
“Very well, you can do whatever you want with me, as long as I get to keep my legs,” he finally pronounced the words the men had been waiting to hear. He had the feeling of being played, but at that moment, he couldn’t care less. He wanted to get his legs back and that was all that mattered.
The third man immediately stepped forward and handed him a small clipboard with several papers attached. “If you would be kind enough to sign all these papers, we can start right away, with the first stage,” the man said, in a tone a bit too eager.
Jarcor was sure he should read the papers thoroughly, but the pain was becoming unbearable. Although he had the feeling they didn’t want him to read them, he didn’t care. All he wanted was to have his legs fixed. He would deal with the rest later.
So, he signed the papers and put himself in the doctors’ hands.