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One Flesh, One Bone

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Constant light had made her so tired, and after all these years under the lights she was barely sure of her own presence. She had recently entered adulthood but she felt old as anything - old and used up, ready to be binned. The one proof of her reality was squirming and tiny in her arms. She kissed its face. It just blinked and drooled. It's already a little Ga Ga, she thought. Maybe it does stand a fighting chance.

Her pregnancy had been long and dull, much of it whiled away in hospital beds, staring at GlobalSoft logos on the ceiling. Sometimes she had caved in to pressure from the nurses to busy her mind with cheerful games and videos, but for the most part she just lay there. Replaying scenes from her childhood. Replaying old shows, long since wiped from the files as per cultural renewal regulations, but burned into her mind like lasers.

She hadn't thought about what happened, but now, with her wrinkled red newborn held close, it all came back. Nine months later, it was coming back. His clothes were heavy and thick, like plates of armour, harsh against her bare skin. Those black leather gloves, the way they'd pinched and squeezed. He was young and smooth, a cold white thing with the power of an artificial creature - there was no more colour in his eyes than in his silver hair, which unfolded from its slick and turned with sweat to tight, bouncy curls. He was just some copper but he dressed like a boss. She was just some new girl in a GlobalSoft sex parlour, but he paid to fuck her as if he intended to kill her. She'd never know his name.

And nor would the thing, the baby. They were just three people caught briefly in an awkward situation, really. She wasn't cut out for sex work and wouldn't be going back there. And she wouldn't try to keep track of the kid as it was absorbed into a Ga Ga infant module. Why should she care? Let it go and grow up with the benevolent, faceless 'net for a mother. In a few years' time it would be happily consuming with the other Ga Ga girls, working hard to qualify for a good job with the corporation, wearing pastels and going to v-gigs at weekends.

(Or maybe it would be needled by the mystery of its parentage, held back by the chip on its innocent shoulder and the derision of its classmates. Maybe it would put questionable objects in the wash to turn all its pastel clothes black, and sew them in secret with things it found down the back of landfill sites. Maybe it would nurture a shameful desire to sing and make noise, and let its curls bounce where they liked, and maybe even fall for a wanker in jeans who'd call it Scaramouche and they'd -)

A kid with no family would be the perfect kid. Easy for GlobalSoft to paint with its own ideology, and to protect from ever crossing paths with creepy coppers in leather gloves. Surely.