I’m relaunching The Weekly Fix, with a twist. For now, instead of a serial tale or a short story, I’m sharing excerpts from the stories in the forthcoming Fix the World anthology. This is a fantastic collection of twelve hopeful stories from sci-fi writers on how to fix some of the greatest problems we face as a world.
I tapped my temple. As if the fuzzy halo around my vision was a loose connection I could jostle back into place with a well-placed smack. I snorted at my foolishness. No, I needed to go in for repairs before I finished frying my malfunctioning ocular implant. If I went back on-grid, I would be eligible for the latest model, free. Hell, they would make me upgrade.
Under the new charter of rights and reqs, all dome citizens have a right to state-of-the-art health tech. Including regular upgrades to our implants and patches to upgrade our nanites. But that meant running standard scripts. Jono cracked my older model implant to let me run greynet scripts. Higher risk, higher reward. Which meant, I needed to drag my ass to Jono to get the malfunctioning circuit repaired.
Jono ran a legit mod clinic, licensed and everything. In legal terms, that only let him install recreational mods. Adjust a p-port for a new dick, sure. Add a little something extra to improve strength or boost speed, a-okay. Implant new mag links, fine. Even bionic limbs fell under rec-tech. But meddling with standard-issue med-tech like an ocular implant, not so much. Maintenance on an obsolete occ raised red flags. No one kept an older model ocular implant. Unless they intended to bypass the latest security upgrades. Most mod shops would report my dated tech to Oversight rather than keep it running. I paid well for Jono’s discretion.
Lucky for me, the fritzing circuit didn’t interfere with my control overlay. I struggled to make out much more than vague outlines of my room, but I pulled up my scheduling app. The digital assistant let me book an appointment under the guise of getting fitted out for a new hot-swappable dick. Then I caught a pre-programmed zoomer to Jono’s. Heck, Jono had been singing the praises of the newest model for months now. So, if I had the credits left after the needed repairs, I’d ask about having him kit me out down below, too.
The zoomer dropped me outside the familiar clinic. A chime sounded when I walked inside. The vague outline of the register appeared vacant.
“That you Klein?” Jono’s booming voice greeted me from the back.
“Guilty,” I called toward the back of the shop.
“Be with you in a tick,” Jono replied, “pop a squat.”
I shuffled to a seat to wait. The details blurred together, but Jono always kept his clinic as tidy as his private quarters were messy. That knowledge allowed me to traverse the waiting area with reasonable confidence. I found a hard-plastic chair by touch and sank onto the seat.
Not that I spent much time in Jono’s bedroom. Still, he had the big and bulky build I liked when I was in the mood for rough play. Jono might knock a few creds off the kit if I offered him a test drive of the new install.
I had more important shit to deal with than fucking my medic, but at the moment, I was a sitting duck with my occ all screwy. Thinking about banging Jono beat the hell out of wondering if Oversight was on my tail after I botched the exit on last night’s job.
I pressed my palm to my temple again. That did nothing for the misaligned occ or the ache in my temples from trying to adjust to my screwy vision. At least putting my hands over my eyes gave my brain a rest from trying to unscramble visual inputs through the busted chip. I sat in darkness until Jono’s shadow darkened the room further.
“You know, there’s no shame in going on-grid, K.”
I scowled in his general direction, my head spinning at the sudden movement. “I’m fine, thanks,” I snapped at him.
“Mm-hmm,” Jono hummed one of his ‘I don’t get it, but you do you’ sounds. Like he’d do if someone came in asking for any outlandish custom mod.
I gritted my teeth.