Chapter 78


Sage awoke from her deep sleep in a lethargic state. She had, had nightmares throughout the night; something that didn’t happen to her and it was troubling. Ever since she’d linked her brain to a CPU she wasn’t able to dream, so why was it starting now?

Sage 10Sage 6She’d died during missions before, this wasn’t a new thing. Each time she had regenerated, her sleep was uninterrupted, free of loose thoughts and unwanted emotions. So what was different this time? Had her CPU malfunctioned? She did a quick diagnostics check and everything appeared to check out.

Sage 5 Sage 7She made herself a salad, a skill she wasn’t particularly good at. It tasted like dirt mixed with gasoline, and the after taste was even worse.

Sage 8 Sage 9Still, it was all she had down here. Sure there were fish aplenty in the underground lake, but Sage had no idea how to cook, she’d never needed to learn. She was as likely to set herself on fire as she was the fish.

Sage 13It was time to get to work. Plan her next move. She had two bounty hunters to eliminate, and had less than two weeks to plan and execute. Usually for her this wouldn’t be a problem, but as of late she was struggling to pull things together like she usually would.

Sage 20 Sage 19The information was there, she was just no longer seeing it. Her mind was wracked with confusion, symbols and numbers that she recognized only months ago were now foreign to her.

Sage 21 Sage 14Flight codes, door codes, security clearance. All things needed to successfully pull off a ‘Hit and Run’ assassination, she was unable to obtain.

Sage 18It was driving her insane. It used to come to her so easily, a plan figured out in hours, right down to which guards to kill and which ones to bribe, what disguise to wear, which escape route to take and which ones to booby trap. Now, she had nothing.

Sage 22Perhaps I need a break to clear my head. She thought to herself as she stood up and went for a jog. Heart-rate was normal, brain activity, muscle activity, bone density, organs, blood vessels, joints and tendons, all normal.

Sage 17She went back to work after her run, but her struggles continued. A hacking job she should have been able to do while sleeping was causing her troubles. At one point she nearly got pinged, she severed her connection just in time before her location was scanned.

Sage 15Sage 16“This isn’t working.” she muttered to herself. “Why isn’t this working?”

Sage 30Sage 11Sage 12Her head still racing with unanswered questions, she went for a walk. There was enough to do around her to pass the time.

Sage 24 A small gap in the intense weather up on the surface allowed her to make a quick phone call with the manufacturer of her implants, positive that they were broken in some way.

Sage 28“No ma’am, our implants are top of the range! Guaranteed for a hundred years!” the service representative claimed, and it was true. It was against San’Dreki law to lie about the capacity of their products, it could mean life or death to those that install them.

Sage 27“Then what is wrong with me?” she shouted through her phone.

“Perhaps your body is rejecting the implants.” Suggested the man on the other end of the phone. “You should come in and we can check them out.”

“They’re not being rejected. This is not that, I’ve had that happen before this feels different.”

“Then I’m sorry. Without further testing we cannot help you with your problems. Do you have any other concerns?”

Sage sighed, and hung up the phone.

Sage 29“No. Yes. Maybe?” she said to herself as she clutched the back of her neck.

Sage 23What is happening to me?

Sage Sage 2Resigned to the fact that she would get no work done today, she picked up her rod and went fishing. It was another one of those skills that she was terrible at, but there was just something peaceful about it that she couldn’t explain.

Sage 3 Perhaps it was that fish had survival instincts, when they were on the line they would swim down into the rocks and try to break the line. It was a battle of wits, could she trick the fish into thinking it wasn’t on a line or would the fish ultimately win the day?

Sage 4Well, it’s no ‘Catch of the Day’, but it’s a start!

Sage 31Back in her hideout, Sage sat down and listened to the radio. Was there information to be learnt here that she was missing too? All she heard was static today, no hidden codes embedded within that she could decipher.

She thought back to when she was in the Imperial Palace, and hearing the emperor’s plans to wipe out her people. She felt nothing at that time, no anger, no concern, nothing. She should have burst into that chamber and slaughtered him in his seat right then and there. Yet she didn’t see herself as San’Dreki, she was a monster – most San’Dreki had no more than thirty percent of their body as implants; Sage was at just over ninety percent.

She wondered if this may have been causing her problems, but she had been like this for a long time, why would it start happening now? As she turned off the radio and was considering heading off to bed, a thought occurred to her.

Perhaps I don’t want to do this any more?

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