Hasta la vista, Cyborg
Léster A. Alfonso Díaz
(Translation: Daniel W. Koon)
Axxón 102 - September 1999

          As she positions herself in the starter blocks, star sprinter Roxana Michael Carvalho Cruz does not realize that the end is near.
          I have followed Roxana all over the world for years trying to document any anomalous conduct which would allow me to put her out of circulation. Yes, because that is what we at the World Order Forces do; among other things to prevent the world from being overrun by cyborgs or humanoids. Because, quite possibly, Roxana Michael Carvalho Cruz is not a human being.
          I have been in the World Order Forces since the start of the 21st Century, back when the threat of cyborgs first began to surface. At first they were built for company promotions and were so flawed that you could tell at a glance that it was a machine in front of you. Then more advanced models appeared. A human-machine hybrid. A cyborg incorporating various control mechanisms which stimulated brain frequencies not present in a human. Some were 100% flesh and blood but still were not human. There are chains of molecules in their brains and muscles which correspond more to the parameters of a strong machine or supercomputer than to a living organism. As an agent of the World Order Forces I know all about this subject.
         
          It is a false start and the runners return to their blocks. This is the last heat of the 100 meter dash of the 2015 Third World Prize. Roxana turns toward the public which applauds euphorically. She is very popular, and that is no coincidence.
         
          No one is certain whether Roxana is a cyborg, not even me. But after five successive years of uninterrupted victories in over seven events, one suspects that she is. In 2010 she lowered the world record in the 100 meters to 10.15 seconds, a mark that an army of male athletes could only dream of. One year later it was down to 10.10. It all seemed to be programmed by a computer with the aim of lowering the record uniformly, 5 hundredths every year. I interviewed various specialists and they told me that it was possible for her to make times of around 10 seconds, especially with the help of legal stimulants. Long ago, in 1988 a woman clocked at 10.49 in the 100m, and she was not a cyborg.
          In the year 2013, the record was 10.08, instead of the anticipated 10.05. In breaking her pattern, Roxana seemed to be taunting us.
          Some time later, studying the history of the Olympic Games, I discovered that the champion in the 880m at Los Angeles was a certain Joaquín Carvalho Cruz, a Brazilian athlete. The coincidence in the last names caught my eye, although it could have been pure coincidence and the setting of such fantastic records merely an evolution...
          I know Roxana's biography almost by heart. She was born in Brazil in 1990, was adopted at age 7 by a childless family, a doctor and nurse. She began to run track at fifteen, and at twenty she was a world-class star. But I think that it is a faked biography. However, it is difficult to investigate more closely, because the forces of the World Order forbid it, categorically vetoing any investigation unless there is compelling evidence in the case.
          The law was approved after several scandals at the start of the 21st Century brought about by alleged humanoids who were nothing more than extreme cyberpunk, people who implanted metallic fingernails and fiber optic nerves in an attempt to perfect themselves and to approach the ideal of becoming perfect human beings.
          It is impossible to closely investigate or to try to disconnect a cyborg if there is no compelling evidence. But disconnecting them is easy: all it takes is activating an interrupter like the one I have in my pocket. It looks like a Colt .38, but it is not. Actually it is an emitter which inhibits the current-generating mechanisms of the cyborg itself. The superconducting polymers cease to conduct and what had until quite recently been a brain with hyper-rapid reflexes turns into a pile of scrap that sends out fewer than one impulse per second, with a minimal capacity to process and store information.
          The runners return to their starting blocks and jump around nervously. Roxana is also "nervous". She is a pretty, golden-brown Brazilian of about six feet in height. This is the most human she has appeared in a long while. But it could just be a facade: the people that made Roxana did a fabulous job. She is a highly advanced model. If Roxana had been around five years ago, then by now there must be ultramodern prototypes coming out of factories in North America or whatever part of the world. These ultramodern models could be anywhere, in orbital stations, in starships, holding the lives of hundreds of men in their hands or controlling armies or giant corporations. That is why we closely follow up on any possible cyborg made illegally who appears in the human world and, in case some evidence pops up...
         
          Now the starting gun fires and the runners are out of their blocks.
          Roxana is in front from the beginning. It is difficult to compete with the reflexes of a computer: the advantage she has is immense. The stadium roars as one when she crosses the finish line, raising her arms in a signal of victory and smiling to the public. But I have no time to watch Roxana's smile. I am running down the stands with my Colt .38 in one hand and my ID card in the other.
          The cheering crowd watches me with a combination of both surprise and alarm.
          I reach the lower stands and jump onto the fastest track in the world.
          The heroine watches in shock as I approach, pointing at her with my Colt .38. But there are things which a cyborg cannot understand, because Roxana is a cyborg, and within seconds she will be disconnected, disconnected for good.
          Because she has committed one error, one fatal error.
          Something must have failed in her programmed brain. Probably the superconducting polymers have aged. As I am just about to press the trigger, Roxana decides to check out the electronic scoreboard. I think she finally understands.
          No human being, no matter how fast, can run the 100m in five seconds flat...
         
          (c) 1999, Léster Augusto Alfonso Díaz
         
       
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