Like Petals From A Rose

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Robin

This morning, coming in to work, the atmosphere is different. The usual hour-lingering scent of cooking meals is gone, and I can smell only cleaning supplies and soap. I call out, "Is anyone there?" My slightly shaky voice echoes across the massive workplace areas. Then, my chip-enhanced eyes catch sight of a shadow darting across the wall to my left. I tiptoe around rows of unmoving conveyors to find the source.

Crouching behind the grill of a workstation, I find Jacob Williams. "Don't- yell- like that- again!" he spits at me through gritted teeth.

Jacob was never a friend of mine in Primary school. He never paid attention, assuming he would be able to make up knowledge later. He never imagined that a few years later, in Middle Academy, the airbus he was riding would crash into a post, leaving him and 11 others cyborgs. He's been bitter ever since.

"You could have gotten us discovered!" he hisses at me. I step back. "What do you mean by ‘us’?" I ask. "I'm in no danger of being ‘discovered'. I'm not doing anything wrong. I showed up to work, perfectly on time, and no one's here and-" My voice catches, and I stop talking.

"Us. The Cyber Rebels."

"The what?"

"Unfair conditions. Discrimination. Half of the city's cyber-workers. Protesting. You should come."

"Where exactly are the 110 cybs that you speak of?" No longer scared, I move my weight to my human leg and smirk.

"Look behind the workstations."

I step back and glance around, even though I'm positive that I would have noticed over 100 workers. Then, I blink, not believing my eyes. Hiding behind the grill of every one of the 75 work areas is a cyber-worker. Some I recognize, wearing the light green polo of food preppers. Others, the dark blue of waste collectors. I even see a few laborers dressed all in brown.

"So," Jacob says. "Care to join us?"


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