When a vehicle accident claims Celeste’s life, her research runs the risk of dying with her—except Celeste’s synthetic body program is all about second chances. Transferred into an experimental body by her colleague and would-be girlfriend Lissa, Celeste is back and in the form she always dreamt of. She’s ready to extract revenge on those who want her dead and those who want to outlaw synthetic bodies altogether. But with a mysterious benefactor funding Celeste’s continued research and horrific experimental cyborgs showing up on her doorstep, Celeste quickly realizes there’s more going on than she understands… and the answers will rock the foundation of her whole world.
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I didn’t expect one the night my executive limo crashed on the way back from a fundraising banquet with the Esstek Foundation. Despite throwing a lavish fundraiser, we’d learned in private that the number one research grant Esstek offered had already been granted to LifeSciences, Inc, for their work on cloning back on Earth.
It was the best grant offered in the galaxy. Why had I even allowed myself to hope it could be mine? My work on cyborgs was groundbreaking, but now my prototype would sit on the table without a brain to go inside it. We were out of money, and therefore out of time. Cyborg research was incredibly expensive, and few were willing to put their bodies on the line for unproven technology. Even those who had lost limbs in the war had found solace in less permanent wearable technology that they could take off at the end of the day.
I stared out of the window as my assistant poured another glass of champagne. I sipped at the liquid, the bitter burn comforting. How stupid, to have ordered champagne when it was clear we were unlikely to win. Hubris was the weakness of scientists, the ability to dream that we can be more than we are becoming twisted until we believe that we are more than we are; somehow invulnerable to such petty mortal concerns as financing.
The lab would close. There was no doubt about it. All that remained was to go back to the office, pack up our things, and hightail it back to Earth or one of the nearby colonies. The colonies always needed good scientists and doctors. The pay was enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life. If I could just forget my dream—
I closed my eyes, blocking out the inside of the limo. It was too painful to bear, the thought that my life’s big dream would never bear fruit. It had been a long shot to even think of developing a technology that so few would need under the guise of helping everyone. Foolish to think I could help myself someday. I was ready, if the technology ever was. Willing to become the first person ever to endure a full body transplant into a cyborg unit. I’d even made a living will, outlining my wishes, should I die before my time. The courts would be more likely to approve the surgery if it was performed on somebody who had no other choice. That’s what I told myself, anyway.