The side-effects of augmentation surgery may include but are not limited to: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent headache, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, puffy face, anemia, arthritis, weakened bones, increased appetite, weight gain, loss of sleep, mood swings, swelling and tingling of the hands and feet, acne and other skin problems, tremors, hair loss/unwanted hair growth. —Medic Field Manual, 7th Universal Union Medical Corps, RETRIBUTION-17 The painkillers I swallowed whole erected less problems than the operation that moved me to take them in the first place. Even if I took on over three- four times my daily dosage. It did not come to measure. The medics pleaded with me on some days, and attempted to usurp me through seniority as I was their patient. I waved them off; I was on my feet, I could speak and I could preform my job. A socio surgeon had no sway nor jurisdiction over the likes of KING, and neither did they change my mind. What they don't tell you about augmentation is that from the day they plant that junk into your gaping surgical cavity, you want to rip yourself apart. You want to claw at your body and tear it out of you. It turns you into a walking tomb, and signifies only one single truth: You're only one more procedure away from inhuman. Thankfully, I am not transhuman. My body, in the larger scale of things, remains at majority of flesh and blood. What allows me to digest, speak and draw breath is the metallic, synthetic voice modulator that separates my brain from my heart. In a manner of speaking, my head was removed from my body; My spine, at the base of my neck and just beneath my skull, was shattered and torn asunder upon the railgun creating a smoker's stoma at my temple. Without the procedure, I would be dead. There was no other way. Maybe it would be better if I didn't make it. Since the operation, I haven't had a good night's sleep. I often roll and tumble for hours before I can attain only minutes of shuteye. And so I end up having pills for breakfast. Some to stop the pain. Some to quell the vertigo. Some to just stay fucking awake. When I speak, I often try to pretend that the voice that bellows out from my throat, coaxed in mechanical static and contortion, isn't mine. It hasn't been easy. I don't expect it to get any easier. On some days, I think dying would have been a better alternative than having to chuck down dozens of pills a day to keep moving, with a chunk of cold steel bound to me around my throats like a vice grip. Alas, my implant does not impair me to smoke and drink, as if I needed more ways to kill my body. Maybe that was the plan. Maybe if I downed enough scotch and torched my lungs with enough cigs I would be unfit for transhumanization. But I'm not so sure. I don't even know if the lungs are a vital organ or not to those machines. At least the booze and smokes do a better job than the painkillers. I've come down to the last few ropes, and by a gut feeling I reckon I should begin docking down the days I have left. "I'm aware of the circumstances, Commander. But I don't want the position. My skills are better used on the field." When I first began interacting with High Command, it made me involuntarily shuffle my feet in an anxious dance. You get used to their presence after awhile. You never get used to the piercing green eyes that shadow your movements. "If I was asking you, I would have asked, Squad Leader." The beast spoke, and for the first time I realized how much my voice had now sounded like his due to the operation. That alone sent chills down my spine. "This order is beyond my jurisdiction. You are to be relocated to the capital for reassignment. A Universal Union liaison will accompany you on your trip to go into further detail." It didn't sound like I had a choice in the matter, and neither did he. Even High Command are just chess pieces, it seems. Of course, they are anything but pawns. "Your helicopter leaves in thirty minutes, Oh'nine-thousand. I suggest you make it aboard."