Conform or Die

Part II – Moirai Games

Sunday, August 4th, 2120 – Pulling the sleeve to her elbow, she dug her nails deep into the thin flesh on her wrist. A narrow piece of metal protruded when she scratched, permanently placed only millimeters from the surface of her transparent skin. The neon lights reflected against the metal, focusing her misery in an endless crosshair. After tonight, Ryn was ready to rip out the NeK, but they would know the second she did it. The risk is too great. Gritting her teeth together, she froze the urge. The willpower she once had was diminishing to nothing, just like her life and grim world around her.

Ryn slid into the front seat of the sleek vehicle next to Dari. Each seat cushion lit up with a brilliant neon fuchsia from the touch of human warmth. The Moirai was everywhere. A subtle whining from the engine filled the silent space. Ryn was happy to leave the rave, but she wouldn’t dare let Dari see that. Ryn and Dari have been best friends before each could speak a fluent sentence. But the two women were peculiar. Dari Vov lived at the raves. A week without one would launch her into a deep depression. The lights and music were Dari’s vice. That’s what they wanted. Not Ryn.

Keeping her head forward, Ryn tucked a strand of red curly hair behind her ear. She began tapping the screen as she scanned through multiple music mods for a relaxing tune. She couldn’t handle the obnoxious. A blue glow tinted the shallow valleys of her pale face. At this moment, she knew the commercial ads would drive her mad if the vehicle remained in control. After the rave, Ryn’s body rushed with exhaustion. Heavy music beats traveling up and down through her veins caused fatigue. She wasn’t sixteen anymore.

“I don’t know how many more of these parties I can do,” said Ryn. She pushed her eyes down to play with her boot zipper, avoiding Dari’s reaction.

Dari re-positioned her hips in the bucket seat. Facing Ryn as her hands rested against her knees.

“Ms. Lacie! It’s the NeK connection again, isn’t it?” asked Dari.

Ryn Lacie was a polar opposite of Dari. This only fueled their friendship. At 21 years old, Ryn wished to be accomplished and a real professional. At least, something more than was already decided for her. This was how she explained the dream to her mother. Soon, she would get the chance to change everything she believed to be a failure. Soon, Ryn would make a different path for herself. Convincing her best friend Dari of this was a different story. Ryn was bold and rambunctious; Dari avoided making waves. The opinion of her best friend mattered most.

“You know I hate that thing.” Ryn let the bucket seat suck her in closer.

An instrumental tone waived through the air. This was comforting to Ryn as she attempted to remove herself from a memory she didn’t like.

“It doesn’t bother me.” Dari ran her hands through her hair, “just conform Ryn, you don’t have a choice.”

Ryn gasped. “Says one who is losing life every year you don’t go to Moirai.”

“Does it look like I care!” Dari let her hand slip from the screen, mistyping the home address. “One for one, that puts me closer to leaving this hell, anyway.”

The silence was deafening as Ryn stared toward the darkened street in front of the vehicle. Ryn cleared the excess saliva from her throat as she switched on the oxygen supply.

“Great, she probably heard you. Look.” Ryn pointed to the street corner less than 50 feet away.

Standing motionless was a Kyrios with a flat expression focused toward the two women. The cyborg presence increased outdoors when curfew grew closer. Dari broke her attention from the vehicle screen, squinting her hazy eyes to study the child.

“Geez, they always appear so young. I like how she dresses though.” Dari let out a small chuckle, “should I ask if I can borrow her jacket for my next party?”

Dari’s comment didn’t amuse Ryn. She raised her eyebrows, “yeah right. You ever wonder why the Moirai makes them appear like a 12 or 13-year-old?”

“Not really, I’m curious why they are all childish girls.”

Dari went back to focusing on the vehicle screen. She corrected the address and tapped ‘drive’ on the monitor as she adjusted her position back into the seat. A woman’s voice echoed through the vehicle as it rolled forward, silencing the music Ryn had selected.

We confirm your destination; a 13.7 minute commute.

As the locks engaged on the vehicle doors, Dari flipped her wrist over to study her ExPose. It is 11:16 p.m., forty-four minutes until curfew.

“Dari, you’re my friend. Will you please consider going to Moirai?”

Dari did not remove her attention from the ExPose. The corners of her mouth curled into a sarcastic smile, highlighted by a soft white. The city’s neon lights poured thin streaks of vibrant colors through the book-sized windows as the vehicle reached maximum speed. Lights covering the women in rotating shades.

“What will I gain from that? If they want me, they will find me.”

“Maybe we can go together in three days?” Ryn leaned her head back, shifting her green eyes in Dari’s direction.

“Not likely. Will you leave it alone?” Dari shut off her ExPose and turned to face away from Ryn. Dari’s black biker jacket gave off a pinch of noise as she crossed her arms against her body.

Ryn sighed as she watched a silent video flash onto the screen. Another advertisement of the Moirai Corporation. Each time she saw a sponsored video, the small hairs on her arm stood up with disgust. The Moirai were everywhere and Ryn was only a pawn in their game.

The vehicle voice echoed once again. You have nine minutes remaining.

Dari and Ryn ignored the message.

With the destiny games reaching year five, the cyborg presence increases and the stress levels rise. Many people, to include Ryn’s family, have no clue what to expect with the constant changes or how this will affect their family.

Moirai officially kicked off the Kyrios and destiny game when Ryn was 15 years old in the year 2113. Luckily, Ryn’s parents do not have to take part, but the mandatory destiny that is chosen for children born on or after 2098 can affect the life for each parent.

Ryn struggled with the change for two years, especially when her parents had to drag her into the Moirai for the first time so they could all receive the mandatory installment of the NeK. Although the Moirai often share the positives with the NeK and diverting destiny, many humans believe the cyborgs never understood what makes a human unique. What was once a method to help humans has progressed into something uncontrollable and much darker.

You have arrived at your destination, thank you for using Moirai.

The vehicle’s voice startled the two women.

“You want to stay over Dari?”

Dari wiped the sleepiness from her face, turning to face Ryn. “No, I have to work tomorrow. I’m going to stay at my mom’s tonight.”

Ryn liked the way Dari’s hair was a mess but always appeared to be neat. “Okay, I will put your mom’s address in for you.” said Ryn as she reprogrammed the vehicle. “Call me tomorrow?”

“You know it. Later little lady.” Dari told her goodnight without making eye contact and turned back to face the door.

Ryn put her hood on, tucking in any loose piece of hair as she stepped out. Within a few seconds, the door closed and secured itself while the lights inside dimmed. Ryn stood in the middle of the road to watch the vehicle fade into the night within seconds. Just as she was about to turn away, the chirping of a Kyrios caught her off guard. Ryn turned to her left to confirm. This time there were two of the girls, standing side by side on a path just off the street. Each expression was the same, flat and intimidating. The two girls were covered in shiny metal objects, sewn into or hung from the pants and jacket. A shimmer of cascading neon lights. Each girl had perfect hair, tied back in a bun that sat on the base of the head. Metal strands woven in and through the hair to make the perfect sphere.

Crap. Ryn said to herself. As she scurried to the front door of her home, she flipped her wrist over to view the time on ExPose, 11:35 p.m. Ryn stumbled up the stairs to the door, sliding her wrist against the door guard to release the lock. As she stepped inside to silence, she let the door close slower than usual.

Leaving the Kyrios with a splinter of expression, Ryn lowered her eyes. Soul daggers piercing the metallic night. With hope burning her fleshy orbs, promise over-saturated each corner with song. Goodbye to artificial control.

Thanks for reading! This is a chapter of a running speculative fiction series. Go here to start at the beginning


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