At midnight the streets were almost as well-lit as daytime. Digital marquees with advertisements covered most of the buildings along the main thoroughfares. Colorful advertisements reflected off puddles of dirty water that collected on the ground from the intermittent rainfall. Even along the smaller streets and alleyways you would find bright neon signs pointing toward shops, cafés, tattoo parlors, sex clubs, or any other adventure a traveler might be seeking.
People moved back and forth along the sidewalk, with their heads down mostly keeping to themselves. It was a walking city, and everyone had somewhere to be. The roads were reserved for autonomous taxis and shuttles, and mostly carried tourists and long-distance commuters. The people who walked the street at night lived, worked, and played in the city. Anything they wanted could be gotten for the right price or with the right connections, and there was no reason to ever leave.
Elle strode along the sidewalk at a brisk pace, weaving in and out of slower traffic. Her legs were modded; servo motors were embedded within her knee joints, with visible metal braces running several inches down her calves and up her thighs. She had gotten them two years prior, to alleviate pain from an old injury. The recovery was long and difficult, but now her legs were stronger than ever. She could run without pain for the first time since she was a teenager, and they even gave her a few inches of height, raising her from a respectable 5'10" to an imposing 6'2". She'd been addicted ever since.
Body mods were all the rage in the city, and most people were modded in one way or another. Even amongst the Normals, who preferred to stick with all their original parts, many had implanted hearing aids, which were small and cheap and unnoticeable unless you looked for the telltale scar behind the ears. There were clinics where you could get eyes, ears, hands, heart, stomach, kidneys, or whatever else the doctors said you needed and could afford.
The mod shops were where the real work got done though, no doctors, no questions, just honest work for honest pay. Elle's shop got plenty of business to pay the rent, and still have a little extra leftover. People who fixed their physical problems with mods were often surprised to learn that they had new problems, like corrosion, frayed wiring, and firmware updates. The more they modded, the more maintenance was needed, and a whole industry was born.
Since getting her knees done, Elle had become an expert on the subject, and working in the shop allowed her to indulge in additional mods for herself. She never thought twice about having her left hand amputated and replaced with a mechanical one with synthetic skin. But the one she was most proud of, was her most recent change. She had a red artificial eye surrounded by a socket of metal where her right eye used to be. She could magnify her vision at will, which came in handy for her work, but she loved it more for how it made her feel. The knees and the hand could be hidden, but modding your eye like this was a statement. When she looked at herself in the mirror, she saw someone who was not entirely human or machine, and she felt incredibly sexy.
Elle turned a corner down a narrow deserted street. In the middle of the road was a mass of fur and bones, a cat or small dog maybe. Something couldn't get out of the way in time, and became another victim of this fast-paced world. It would be gone by morning, swallowed up by the street cleaners and forgotten.
Elle reached a drab apartment building, punched a number on the keypad and entered the stairwell. She took the stairs two at a time effortlessly up to the fourth floor, then down the hall to her humble apartment. Opening the door she was greeted with the floral scent of perfume.
"Just in time. I was about to go to bed." Tara was waiting for her and gave her a small smile.
"Sorry, babe. I had some things to take care of at the shop." Elle tossed her satchel on the floor and they embraced. "I'm glad you waited for me."
Tara was wrapped in a black nightgown that hugged her petite body snugly. As Elle ran her hands down her back she could feel that Tara wasn't wearing anything under the thin material. Elle's body started to respond and she couldn't wait to get Tara into bed.
"Well don't let me keep you from the shop, if you'd rather be there than with me." She pulled away in a show of mock disgust.
Elle took her by the hips and pulled her close. She leaned down and their lips met. Tara was at least six inches shorter. They were physical opposites in many ways. While Elle was tall and lanky and strong, Tara was soft and feminine. Tara was a pure Normal, not even a tattoo. She wanted to stay true to herself, she would say, but she still found Elle's mods fascinating. Elle satisfied Tara's rebellious fantasies, while Tara gave Elle domestic bliss that was lacking in her life. Elle needed someone to take care of, and Tara wanted someone to take care of her.
Elle broke the kiss and said, "Maybe I should take a shower first. It's been a long day."
"I like you just like this." Tara stroked Elle's cheek, with her fingers lingering on the metal housing around her eye.
Elle scooped her up in her arms and carried her down the hall into the bedroom. She loved how easily she could do that. She sat on the edge of the bed with Tara in her lap. They kissed each other passionately and their tongues intertwined. Elle ran her prosthetic left hand up Tara's thigh, while she ran her fingers through her long dark hair with her right. She had more feeling with her right hand, but her left was more useful for what was to come. Elle laid Tara on her back on the bed and pulled her robe open to reveal Tara's lithe, sexy body. Her breasts were small and perky, and her nipples begged for attention. Elle kissed and licked all around one nipple, before taking it in her mouth, sucking and nipping at it with her lips. Then she repeated the process with the other one. Tara closed her eyes and surrendered to her feelings.
Elle brushed her synthetic hand gently against Tara's sensitive lower lips. Elle loved the little noises she made when she gently stroked up and down. Her fingers oscillated rapidly in a circular motion, much faster than any natural hand could ever do, and the enhanced stimulation drove Tara wild. Elle began kissing up and down Tara's neck as she continued to work on her pussy with mechanical efficiency. When she found Tara's opening, her vibrating fingers slipped inside with minimal resistance.
Elle thrust in and out of Tara, slowly increasing the speed of her finger oscillations. She continued kissing and biting Tara's neck as she fucked her more urgently, carefully and deliberately building Tara closer and closer to orgasm. Tara cried out with every thrust as if she was experiencing this ecstasy for the first time. When she sucked in her breath sharply and arched her back, Elle locked their lips together. It was this moment that she lived for. Those brief few seconds when Tara was teetering on the brink of an orgasm, and she was completely at Elle's mercy. She could slow down and leave her like that, tantalizingly close, or she could continue her frenzied pace and push her over the edge.
There would be no stopping Tara this time. She bucked her hips over and over, crying out loudly as Elle continued to apply gentle pressure to her clit, until Tara collapsed on her back, panting from exertion. Tara took this opportunity to pull off her leather tank-top, remove her pants, and peel off her soaked panties. She pulled Tara's long hair back out of the way and climbed over her face. Tara didn't say a word and never broke eye contact as Elle lowered her pussy onto her waiting mouth.
Tara licked and sucked Elle's cunt with masterful skill. She ran her hands up and down Elle's thighs, fingering the metal rods and supports that wrapped around her knees. Elle began thrusting her hips rhythmically, rubbing her hard clit against Tara's mouth, and leaving her wetness all over her face. Tara gave muffled moans as she enjoyed her face being used for Elle's pleasure. Elle grasped both sides of her head and continued thrusting until she couldn't hold back any longer. She threw her head back and let the long-awaited orgasm finally take her, crying out with ecstasy.
They both collapsed together in each other's arms, covered with sweat and each other's fluids. They laid silently for a few minutes before Elle reached into the drawer of their nightstand.
"I hope you're not tired yet," she said as she pulled out her favorite toy. It was a long smooth dildo with a leather harness.
Tara wanted to rest, but she still had a little energy left, and she knew how much Elle enjoyed this. She sat up and helped Elle cinch it down to a comfortable fit, then lubricated it really well with her saliva before getting on all fours. Elle took a long look at Tara as she assumed the position, ready for Elle to penetrate her, to dominate her. She rubbed her hands over Tara's nice round ass and hips, then gently teased her wet opening with the tip of her fake cock. Elle savored every moment watching Tara's pussy open up and slowly take in the entire length.
When her hips pressed up against Tara's ass, she pulled back slowly and began pumping in and out at a steady pace. Tara moaned in sync with each of Elle's thrusts, as they slowly increased their tempo. Elle was getting aroused watching Tara slide up and down on the thick shaft, so she used her free hand to stimulate herself. Tara started moaning louder, as Elle pushed deeper and faster. Elle's fingers continued to oscillate rapidly against her clit. After another minute of this they both reached their peak, and came together simultaneously. Elle leaned forward and grasped Tara's breasts as they both trembled with pleasure.
With their bodies spent, they collapsed together into the bed, holding each other close. Tara's back was pressed tightly against Elle's chest, with her arm holding Elle's tightly under her breasts. They fell asleep in each other's arms.
Elle splashed water on her face and watched in the mirror as the water droplets cascading down. Her hair was shaved on one side and dyed a rich burgundy color. It complemented the red shine from her artificial eye. She reached up and touched the metal housing, marveling at how seamlessly it merged with her natural skin. She flexed the muscles around her eye, an action she was still trying to get used to, and her vision zoomed in smoothly until she could see the pores in her skin. She felt more than human, augmented and improved.
She knew her body was capable of more, and she wanted it. She could mod her other hand, or her shoulders to give her greater strength, or she could improve her legs. Her eye was only a base model; she could replace that with something better. Her shop offered her opportunities to see all the new tech and so she could decide what would suit her best. She was interested in something more advanced than any of that though, something with the power to enhance her body and mind, an experimental treatment whose potential was yet to be fully understood.
She finished changing and went to the kitchen for some breakfast. Tara's hair was wet and she was wrapped in a towel, while she enjoyed a bowl of cereal. Elle poured herself some coffee, then gave Tara a peck on the lips and sat down.
"Morning, babe," Tara said with a sweet smile. Elle returned the smile, but she wasn't interested in small talk. She had something important to discuss.
"Hey I wanted to get your opinion about something."
"Yes, I like the strap-on, but it does leave me sore sometimes."
They both laughed. "No, I'm serious. I'm thinking of getting another mod."
"Oh?" Tara hesitated for a split-second, but it was long enough for Elle to detect that she didn't approve. "Didn't you just get your eye done? I thought you had to wait at least six months to see if your body would reject it before doing more."
"This is different. It's new. Nanotech based. It doesn't work like these other things." She tapped on her knee to make her point, causing a hollow metal sound. Tara wouldn't make eye contact. This wasn't going the way Elle had hoped.
"What does it do?"
"It's supposed to enhance your mods. Provide more power, make them run more efficiently, stuff like that. They're still testing to see what it can do."
"Wait, you don't even know what it does?"
"I know it's supposed to improve everything. Not just your mods, but your whole body."
Tara continued staring at her food. When it was clear she wasn't going to speak, Elle continued, "I thought you liked my mods."
"I love you, and the mods are part of you, but don't you ever worry about changing too much? Every time you add something new, you lose a little bit of your humanity."
That was a typical Normals argument, and the last thing Elle wanted to hear right then was a sermon. "This is who I am. What's so great about humanity anyway? Humans are weak."
Elle knew it was a mistake the moment the words left her lips. Elle respected Tara for wanting to remain natural, but she didn't want that life for herself. It was too late to take back what she said though as the damage was already done. They finished their breakfast in cold silence before Tara left the room to the sound of a slamming door. Elle sighed, thinking about how she was going to apologize later. She threw the dishes in the sink, wrapped herself with her black trench coat, and left the apartment. She didn't need to be at work for another few hours, but she didn't feel like being at home.
The shop was empty except for Chuck, Elle's business partner. It was too early for customers and Chuck was busy tidying up. He was wiry and shorter than Elle, with muscular arms covered in ink. There were crude mechanical attachments on each forearm that he could deploy whenever he needed to work with tools, but they were retracted for now. The front of the shop was small and covered with posters and photos of various types of body mods and tech. There were catalogs sitting on the counters that lined the shop, each full of more pictures.
"Morning, Elle. I didn't expect to see you 'til the afternoon."
"Hey Chuck. Just felt like coming in early today."
"You tell your girl about the Juice yet? What did she think?"
"Uh oh. Feel any different yet?"
"Nah not really. Little tired maybe. Where do you keep the stuff?"
"In the back. Usual place. Don't take any more though. Maria said take your second dose after a week and that's it."
Elle considered his words. A week was a long time to wait. "You try it yet?"
"No way, I'm not touching that stuff. They only tested it on animals so far. She wouldn't even tell me what it was, aside from it's new and some kind of nanotech shit."
Elle headed through the doorway to the back room. She walked around the surgical chair where they performed procedures for customers. In the corner a messy office area was set up. She went behind the desk to a secure storage safe that was mounted in the wall near the floor. She punched in a code and opened the door to find a silver case, about the size of a shoebox. She pulled it out and set it on the desk. The only marking on the case was a large alpha symbol. She opened the case to see a mechanical apparatus with straps and tubes and a needle for puncturing the skin. Next to the injector was a glass container filled with a thick gray fluid.
She held the container up to the light and looked through the viscous fluid to see a silvery metallic sheen. Nanotech, they said. Two doses, separated by a week, was enough to allow it to set up a colony in your body and interface with your existing mods. What it did after that was anyone's guess. There was enough in the vial to treat five, or maybe six patients. Elle was so excited about it that she had stayed at work late the night before to administer a dose for herself. She expected to feel differently, changed somehow, but she only felt soreness where the needle punctured her skin. She wasn't sure what to expect. Would she be aware of them once they were established? Would they be aware of her?
She dabbed some alcohol on a cloth and wiped off the needle, then slipped her arm through the strap and pulled it tight. She lined up the needle with the red mark on her shoulder, left there from the night before. Taking a deep breath, she attached the glass vial to a tube and took hold of the squeeze trigger. There was a plastic catch on the trigger to insure that the proper dosage was administered during each use. Elle grasped the catch with her strong left hand and snapped it off. The last thought she had before feeling the sting in her arm was that Tara would never understand. Squeezing the trigger tightly, she watched the plunger mechanism depress fully. She felt a cold chill run through her arm, as all of the Juice drained out of the vial and disappeared into her arm.