Phantom Limbs VIII

Monday August 20th 2116

My boss came to me today and told me that he is hiring for a new position that is opening up in the warehouse. It’s not really much of a position, not quite a foreman but still better than an average grunt. It’s essentially someone who will do half the foreman’s work for half his salary. He came to me with this because he thinks I should apply, not sure why I jumped to mind but if he thinks I should I’m not going to turn him down. Anyway why shouldn’t I be in charge of a few of the guys? I work just as hard as they do plus I have a daughter to provide for. Now I don’t want to speak too soon but I think I may have a good chance for this job, what with how sharp I’ve been after my surgery I reckon my boss would be a fool not to pick me. Better start planning my interview topics, it may be sleazy but I think I’ll ply up my injury a bit. Play the brave solider who returned to duty after taking a bullet in service kinda thing.

As for the dreams, they’re getting worse if anything, the doctor says I have a few week on an increased does of hypnocil, if they don’t go away then I can try this new drug, it’s experimental but it should allow for a more seamless blending of my own brain waves and the neural link that keeps my arm going. God I hope so. Last night I found myself in the room again. Mily is screaming and I am running towards her but now my leg doesn’t move at all, I pull and pull and suddenly it shatters, like glass, why whole leg!” I start falling forward, holding my arm out to catch myself and then I realise my arms are gone, I just have bandaged up stumps like before surgery but now on both arms. I fall towards the floor and just before my face impacts on the ground I wake up. Last night I was thrashing so hard I even woke Joanna, and what sympathy did I get? None, she blamed the arm for affecting my head. She just doesn’t understand. If she could see what I have been seeing every night.god…

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs VII

Sunday August 19th 2116

Oh hell…I just woke up, recording this at quarter past 3 in the morning. I just had the worst nightmare. So much for the hypnocil. Gonna need to go to the doctor tomorrow, I need something stronger, Or an update to the system, or something, I just can’t have that dream again. How I didn’t wake Joanna up I don’t know, I swear I was shouting in my sleep but then again she always could sleep like a rock. This dream though, I was walking down a corridor. It was dark but every so often there would be a blinding flash of white light from down the end and around a corner which would take a few seconds to fade. I keep on walking down the corridor but the closer I get to the corner the heavier my feet felt until I am literally dragging them across this cold, smooth floor. I get to the corner and I turn to see a big open room. The walls are covered in what looks like factory machinery and there are hundreds of these mechanical hands descending from the ceiling. In the centre of the room Mily is lying on an operating table, completely bound to it by huge metal clamps. She was crying.

Every now and then one of the arms would swing down with some wicked looking tool in it’s claws and it would come to rest on her skin. Then there would be the flash of white light, though Mily would suddenly be shadowed, her body twisting as her face was pulled into a silent scream of pain before the arm would move away and she would go limp again. I tried to run, I tried to do anything to get to her but for some reason all I did was stand there. Stand there and watch the torture of my daughter before me. Even when I did start moving I was slow, slower than ever. My legs seemed to be welded to the floor and every step seemed to stretch on four hours. Mily’s screaming face never seeming to be getting any closer and all I could think was that I needed to be faster. Why can’t I go faster?

Finally I woke up. There was one last flash and I was lying in bed. I need…I need to do something, get a shower…maybe. But I can’t go back to bed…not after that.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs VI

Saturday August 18th 2116

I’m not sure how long I will really be keeping this diary up, I mean I have so little to say nowadays, life is all but back to normal. So what is there to say? I started this as a means of coping with the stress and try and balance myself after the accident but now all is well, there is nothing to balance. Even work is back to normal, it’s not a glamorous job but I enjoy the simplicity. Have a nice bit of banter going with the lads about how I’m better at the job than I ever was before, saying maybe they should have ‘convenient’ accidents too. Nothing serious of course.Phil is avoiding me recently, I think he may be back on the bottle, maybe I should talk to him. I mean I have done already but he doesn’t seem to get that it wasn’t his fault. Well it was but I don’t blame him for it, it could have happened to anyone.

Mily’s birthday in a few months. Joanna is already starting to ask her what she wants, bit early but I guess the girl has to have something to looks forward to now, she’s had the shock of seeing her father with one arm after all. While browsing for a few things for her the other night I couldn’t help but see some new speed enhancement for augmented limbs. I don’t get how people get hooked on the idea of adding more to themselves. I mean maybe being as bit faster would be nice but they are just so expensive, who can afford it. Anyway I have other things to worry about. The hypnocil is already an expense that I can’t go without till I get a tune up. I just go through it so fast and sometimes the dreams still don’t stop. Oh well, Doc says that he should be able to at least slow their frequency, but still. A few sleeples nights is a small price to pay for my life being back on track.

James Dylan Logged out.

Phantom Limbs V

Thursday August 16th 2116

A week later from my surgery and I can honestly say that my life is almost back to normal. That is back to how it was before the accident. I’m back to work and, if anything, even more efficient than I was before. Stacking crates is easy when you only have to feel the strain in one arm and half the time the augment works so well that I hardly need to think before  it is doing what I wanted it to. Yea sometimes it can be a little too fast and I need to concentrate on slowing myself down and sometimes it’s a little too strong but I know how to adjust that and it is no real problem. Mily was a little nervous around it at first but I think she has gotten used to it. It’s like I said, everything is pretty much back to normal. It felt so great to be ably to lie down with her and play with her little dolls or to be able to tuck her into bed and read her a story. And maybe the only thing better, to be able to hold Joanna with both arms and feel her against my skin. The sensors are amazing, I can tell exactly how warm she is, how soft she is, she is still a little put off by the feel of the arm I guess, but she’ll get used to it.

The only real issue that I have had is the dreams. As if the endless dreams of scrolling numbers wasn’t enough, sometimes I get bizarre dreams where I am trapped in some machine and I cant get out. Sometimes I think all I have to help me in these nightmares is the arm, like somehow it is the way out for me and if it was just a bit stronger or a bit better designed then I could break free. I wake up in cold sweats and sometimes I can’t get back to sleep at all. My doctor, he has been so good to me and I hated to ask him for anything else but he was happy to reassure me that the dreams are just teething problems with the interface and the getting use to the situation. The human mind is a fragile thing and it can be effected more than we realise. He’s given me some Hypnocil for the mean time to suppress the dreams and he has told me if they persist then he can make some adjustments to the interface, stop the diagnostics when I sleep and hopefully that’ll help. Apex really have turned my life around. And I can’t thank them enough for this. Anyway I have things I had better get on with so…

James Dylan Logged out.

Phantom Limbs IV

Thursday August 11th 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary.

The surgery was a complete success. My doctor told me that there were no complications and that all the my body seems to be responding well to the addition on the wiring into my system. The arm itself has only been attached for a brief while before it needed to have the necessary programming inbuilt into it’s system but the, for want of a better word, plug had been attached. It’s weird looking at the stump now, there is just this metal disc on the end with plastic over the top so that everything stays in place. I should be able to have the limb itself attached later on today and from there I can learn to use my arm again. I’ve been told that it should be a simple case of getting use to having the limb again, like having your arm wake up from falling asleep, not sure how it can be that simple but what do I know really. I was told that the first few nights sleep would be difficult, weird dreams as the system fully integrates with my body. Not to mention that my head is going to have to get used to feeling feedback from the new arm. It’s amazing, the augment will actually send me information if I touch things, I’ll be able to feel almost as well as I could before. The dreams will mostly come from those systems turning on, as well as the information and statistics being wired into my brain. Basically when I sleep I will be getting a layout of how well the arm is preforming, like getting an MOT for a car.

The Doc recommended against me trying to talk to my family when I woke up yesterday as I was still kinda out of it on the anaesthetic and I’m glad he did stop me. At one point I must have woken up and tried to record this log because when I woke up this morning there was a half finished message of me rambling on about colours and all sorts of crazy things, it was hilarious to listen to but I wouldn’t have wanted Mily to see me in thats state. They should be coming by today though to see me and I can’t wait, I may even be able to be a whole man again before they arrive. Oh here comes the Doctors now, gotta go.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs III

Tuesday August 9th 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary:

God damn these companies sure as hell can move quickly when they want to. Saturday I signed the consent form for this surgery and a few days later I find myself lying on a bed waiting for the surgery in the morning. I suppose I should really be nervous but the doctor has gone over the procedure with me a hundred time already, he always seems to have time and even though he finds it difficult to give me a layman’s terms version of what will happen he has reassured me every time that there is nothing to worry about. He has done as many of these procedures as he has explained it to me and he has had no complications. Joanna and Mily have just left. I don’t think Mily really understands whats happening but she was actually sat on the bed today and talking quite happily to me like old times. I don’t know what Joanna has told her but I am hoping this could be an omen of good things to come.

On Saturday after I signed the agreement the guys at work took me out and threw me a ‘happy new arm’ party. They’d even had a small collection for me which they insisted I keep even after I had told them all that I was getting the procedure for free. Sentimental bastards. Then we all got drunk and it really hit home how much, even after the accident and I was left…like this, they never made me feel like I was an outsider or like I wasn’t one of them. They really are great guys and I’m just hoping that maybe one day I can pay them back for their support. Phil wasn’t there, at the party, but I guess that was to be expected. Wouldn’t want him around the temptation of the alcohol anyway. No use him falling off the waggon just as I am climbing back on is there. Oh hell, I’m getting all sentimental over them again. Can’t wait to see everyones faces when I get back from this surgery with a new cybernetic arm. Apex even let me chose from a few styles for my new arm, they apologised that they could only offer some of the less flashy options but that was fine by me, I don’t need screwdriver fingers of data jacks in the wrist, all I want is a working limb. I did get to pick one that is made to look like it has a nice wooden finish to it thought so it does look nice. Anyway I had better get off to sleep. Long day tomorrow.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs II

Friday August 5th 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary:

So I called those Apex people yesterday. And like they said they had an opportunity for me but it was not what I had expected. Of course you know about these robotic limbs they make, everyone does, it’s only been the height of controversy since they became commercially available a few years ago. Well Apex is the biggest manufacturer of these limbs in the city, maybe in the world as far as I know any they were inviting me to have one tried and fitted. Of course I was sceptical, they cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands to create and adapt to each person so why would they be offering one out? You can’t remove them after they have been fitted, not without causing serious bodily damage after all. But they said that I could have it for free as part of their drive to raise awareness of the new enterprise to try an ease peoples fears of this new technology. They told me that the procedure is safer than it has ever been and that once I have the limb fitted I would have a lifetime of free service and instant help with any problems I may have with it. They also linked me to a website with thousands of other people who have been injured at work like me, giving testimonies about how Apex had offered to help them to and changed their lives. I was only convinced at last when I was told that within months of having the limb attached my body would be so adapted to it that I could completely come off the pain drugs I was taking to help me cope. A drug Apex produce. Now why would they offer to lose profit like that on a free venture like this unless it was genuine benevolence?

Joanna and I have had a long talk about it. She’s scared naturally. She’s been taken in by all the propaganda on the TV about how people with these limbs attached have become different people, about how they become hooked on the idea of upgrading themselves and all that nonsense but I think I can talk her round. I mean people who had prosthetic legs attached and learned to run in the Olympics never became obsessed with making themselves better did they. My boss said that if I get this new arm attached as well and it works as promised that I could even keep my old job, I mean no use losing a skilled workman when he is fully fit for his job is there. I have a consultation in a week and from the sounds of it if I agree to the surgery I should be able to have the procedure a few days later. All this talk about it has me excited if a little nervous. But I just keep thinking about how everything will go back to normal. Mily be able to look at me again for more than a few seconds without turning away. We can be a family again!

James Dylan logged out.