Ascension: System Check

My return to wakefulness was slow, blunted by what could only be a heavy dose of painkillers. It took a real effort to focus on anything. Restfulness was very attractive. With an effort of will, though, I managed to sit up and look down at the injury that had, presumably, put me here.

I was later grateful for the analgesics, because I was only faintly puzzled when I tried to move my arms. My left arm was bruised and scratched but seemed fine. My right arm was swathed in bandages and failed to move at all.

What did move, however, was a slim aluminium construction anchored to my right shoulder. It moved with a near-inaudible whirr, its skeletal design folding out into a tubular sketch of regular anatomy. The hand at the end turned, opened and closed almost naturally. My right arm remained resolutely still throughout this, but eventually I was able to fold the metal prosthesis – that appeared to be the best word for it – flat against my normal arm.

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