By Neal Asher.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Seated on a bollard, the man contemplatively removed his pipe, as if to tamp
it down or relight it. Instead, he placed it stem down in the top pocket of
his shirt, then reached up and pressed his fingers against his cheekbone and
forehead. His face came away from his hairline, round behind his ears, down
to a point just above his Adam’s apple. The inside of his mouth and much of
his sinus were also part of the prosthesis, so only bare eyeballs in the
upper jut of his skull remained ‚Äì the rest being the black spikes and plates
Cheel gaped. From another pocket, the man took some sort of tool and began
to probe inside the back of his detached face. He put the prosthesis in his
lap, then took up his pipe and placed it in his throat sphincter. Smoke bled
from between the interface plates of his cheeks. His bare eyeballs swivelled
towards Cheel then back down to the adjustments he was making. She suddenly
realised who this must be. Here was the veteran who worked on the ferry.
Here was one of the few survivors from a brutal war between factions of
dense-tech humans. Not understanding what was impelling her, she walked out
on the jetty and approached him.
Rated PG. Contains slight profanity and high-tech violence.
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