A heavy rain pattered down across the tiled roofs of Hanamura. In the darkened streets, nothing stirred, as the residents of the Japanese city sought shelter from the roaring storm. In the center of the metropolis, the bright walls of Shimada Castle loomed, striking a sharp contrast against the stormy grey of the sky.
Within the Castle walls, all was quiet, as the majority of the Shimada family were out of the country on a vacation to the Alps. The few servants that remained stayed quiet and out of sight, giving the imposing structure an air of antique elegance. Inside the shrine at the Castle’s very center, however, the situation was very different.
The ancient hangings adorning the shrine’s walls were ripped by vicious sword blows, and pools of blood dotted the walls. All this was nothing, however, compared to what lay in the center of the room’s floor—a young man, shredded by countless sword wounds. Despite these grievous injuries, the man was still alive, but unless he got medical attention soon, he would soon die.
Genji Shimada was the man’s name, and he was the son of the Castle’s master. For years, his name had granted him anything and everything he could have wanted—but now, his name had cost him his life.
Darkness began to encroach at the edges of Genji’s vision, and despite his best efforts, it refused to leave. Panic—which had always been lurking in the shadows—began to consume the young man’s thoughts, and in a fit of desperation, he began crawling towards the room’s exit. He didn’t get far before his screaming limbs gave out and he collapsed on the floor in a heap.
Giving up, Genji succumbed to the darkness, and as the final vestiges of life left his body, a single thought consumed his mind: “Why, Hanzo—why did you kill your brother?”
The blackness swirled, all-consuming and all-encompassing. Genji reached out, trying to grasp anything that could give him an anchor in this void, but there was no use—he was utterly alone in the darkness. So this is what it feels like to die…
Suddenly, a faint light broke through the darkness. Immediately, hope flared up in the young man’s soul—there was still a chance! Struggling with all his might, Genji attempted to push himself through the dark morass in the direction of the light.
For what seemed like hours, Genji made no progress through the darkness, but then, slowly, the light drew closer. Invigorated by this progress, Genji struggled harder, pushing through the viscous void.
Over time, the light came closer and closer, and eventually, a faint noise began to accompany it. At first, it was indistinct, but then… “Give me a scalpel!” a distant feminine voice commanded, “And go see…so long…implants aren’t ready…lose the patient…”
I’m being operated on, Genji realized, They’re trying to save my life. Immediately, a true hope began to dawn in the young man’s heart, and he pushed onward with a renewed vigor. He would survive—no matter the difficulty.
“Oh, there you are,” the feminine voice broke through the silence again. It was closer this time, which meant that Genji was heading in the right direction. “Do you have everything?”
“It’s all here,” a heavily accented male voice replied, “But are you sure you want to do this? We’ve never made such heavy modifications to a human body.”
“You see the state he’s in,” the first voice replied, “It’s his only chance at survival.” There was silence for several seconds, then the woman continued, “Perfect. Just leave the implants on that table—I’ll take it from here.”
After this, all noise faded away, leaving Genji alone with his thoughts. Implants…why would I need implants? Was my body that badly damaged? Confused but still determined, the young man continued to struggle, getting ever closer to the ring of light.
“…need to cut…out, and replace…” the voices came again. They were even clearer than before, but many of the words were drowned out by a mechanical whirring. What are they doing to my body?
Worried, Genji pushed even harder, and then he was there, right at the edge of the ring of light. Grabbing out, he pulled himself through—and let out a cry of pain and surprise as a wave of agony tore through his body. “The patient is waking up!” a voice declared, but Genji ignored it, his mind consumed by the terrible pain.
“Anesthetics, now!” the original feminine voice demanded, and a second later, Genji felt a sharp object push its way into his arm. For several terrible moments, the agony refused to subside, but then, slowly, the pain went away. “Put him back to sleep,” the voice continued, “He shouldn’t be awake for this part.”
Immediately, there was a second prick at his arm, and Genji felt the darkness descend once more. This time, however, it was the warm and welcoming darkness of sleep, and he let himself succumb to its embrace. Just before he closed his eyes, however, his gaze landed on the nametag attached to the head surgeon’s uniform.
“Dr. Angela Ziegler…” Genji thought as he drifted off to sleep, “What a nice name…”
Many hours later, Genji woke up again. This time, however, he was completely pain free, and was lying on a nice, soft bed rather than a hard hospital gurney. Looking around at his surroundings, the young man found that he was in a dimly lit room that was devoid of any furnishings save the bed he was lying on, a small mirror mounted on a nearby wall, and a tiny security camera up in one corner of the room.
“Where am I…” the young man muttered to himself. “And why am I being watched…” Curious, Genji pushed back the thin sheets covering his body…and let out a cry of surprise, as he saw that his legs were made of metal!
Convinced this was just a terrible prank, Genji reached out to feel the strange limbs—and gasped again, as he realized that his arms had suffered the same fate as his legs. Leaping out of bed, the young man ran over to the mirror, desperately hoping that this was all just a trick of the light.
Peering into the glassy surface, Genji froze in disbelief at the sight of the metal monstrosity staring back. “No…it can’t be…” the young man whispered in disbelief, “I’m a cyborg!”
To be continued…