I woke up. I couldn't say or do anything for that matter, but I was awake. And at least that was something. My eyes twitched all around the room as I tried to remember what happened. Then I did. There was an airplane, I remember that. And there was fire, and things falling, and then hitting me. I remember those too. I also remember being dead.
A doctor came in to fix some machine attached to my head and beamed at me like I had just gold medaled in the Olympics. All I had done was open my eyes. But that was saying something for a dead girl. As the weeks passed, however, I learned that I truly hated this man. I also learned I was a skinner, I was dead but my brain was dumped into a machine. My life could never be the same. My parents did not survive the crash (even though it was an AI plane, which was never supposed to crash) and their bodies could not be put in these artificial things because they were too old. So now, I am an orphan skinner. Great.
My name is Geiva Foxx and my life, starting the day I walk out of that hospital is going to be hell. The day I was allowed to leave, I could talk and walk and think for myself. I could look and learn and be a happy normal child. Okay, Doc. Since I was technically out of school, and my parents had left behind a decent amount of credit for me to collect, they thought the taxi driver should drop me off and leave me there, let me live on my own. They had insured that I would get the fortune my parents left for me, why wouldn't I get it right? Well, some people think I'm not me. And I don't blame them.
When I got home I went to my room and laid face-down on my bed. I didn't need it anymore, shutting down didn't mean sleep, but I missed it. I tried so hard to feel sad, my parents were dead and now I had nothing to do, but I couldn't. I am a machine. And machines don't feel. But just then, a message popped up on my ViM. It was from someone I didn't know, and never met before. But it popped up and I saw a girl—let me rephrase, I saw a female skinner, and she looked at the screen and then she said something that stunned me.
"You are not a skinner, you are a mech. Don't let anyone tell you that you are just a copy. It is not true. You thought for yourself to answer this, right? You don't have to be Geiva Foxx anymore, be who you truly are now. A mech, embrace it. It's better than anything you could have had as Geiva Foxx. I am Lia Khan, my friends and I help mechs understand their lifestyle and thrive off of it. We also take in mechs who are alone, and scared, and just looking for something. So think for yourself again, if you want to change your lifestyle, whenever you want, come to the address I sent with this. We will take care of you."
I rolled over in my bed and three words popped into my mind: She gets it. Finally, someone understands! I had to find her; I had to get to them, whoever they were. These strangers that I trust. These people who I don't know and don't know me want to help. They want to make my life better. I walked out of my house without a second glance, got into the family—scratch that, family's dead, my car and punched in the address. I got into the back seat and let it mold into my body and I closed my eyes. I thought about my old friends and family who would never be able to accept me the way I am now. And then I thought about the new friends I was going to make that would become my family. And then I tried my best to smile, because even now that I'm out of the hospital, smiling is still a tricky thing to learn.
The car slowed and finally stopped. I sat up and looked at the mansion. It was, well, a mansion. A large brick one at that, with more than one pool it looked like. And a plane. I shuddered. The girl who was in the message came out carrying a clear box full of smaller little black boxes. I got out of the car and gave her a small wave and an attempted smile. She gave me an attempted laugh which had us both smiling. Then she looked serious and said, "Hello, Geiva, I am Lia Khan. I was in the video message you should have received earlier. We are here to give you the best life you can get with your new self. All of the others are inside with Jude; he was one of the first mechs and has helped all of us. I wish I could say that there is no judgment here and we are all best friends, but that's not entirely true. But don't worry, as long as you truly embrace being a mech, I'm sure you'll find a niche somewhere with all of us and as for the judgment, well, there's a hell of a lot less in here than there is out there, for now. But how about you go inside, I think they're having some sort of gaming tournament. I'll be in there with you in just a moment and don't worry about getting lost, I'm sure you'll be able to hear them. Is that your car?"
I just looked at her, stunned at all of the information she had just thrust upon me and waited to process it. Then I looked at her and replied, "Yes."
She smiled and said, "Excellent. Jude will be happy, we've been running low on transportation. I'll bring it around back for you. And, Geiva?"
I was a little concerned, thinking I had something stuck in my teeth but I just looked at her and tried to make my face questioning. She smiled big and said, "I hope you enjoy it here." I smiled in return and said a quick thank you.
I headed towards the door of the mansion, opened it up, stepped inside, and took a deep breath. "Finally. I'm home." And for the first time since the crash, I knew it was true.