A tale of two Phanamite engineers, both introduced to the wonders of automatons. Unknown to their superiors, these two have been abusing the university’s equipment to create experimental body modifications.

Laurence, trained to be a duelist as a family tradition, has reached the peak of what his human body can achieve. Unable to operate, he has replaced some of his parts such that he can defeat his talented foes.

Garret, ravaged by a flesh-eating virus as a child, is severely incapacitated. By some miracle, the neurological effects seem to have actually improved his cognition.

Recognizing his limitations in controlling his self-modifications, Laurence realizes that he isn’t smart enough. He offers to work on Garret, teaching him to duel.

No one would treat Garret before, for fear of killing him, incurring the wrath of the Phanamites’ laws regarding the preservation of life.

Realizing how much he’s missed out on, Garret sends his human evolution farther than Laurence ever intended or thought was possible.

“Laurence, put this into the servo. I’ve fixed the power issues.”

“I thought you said it was experimental?”

“Do you want to win the duel or not?”

Laurence applies the perpetual motor, sending sparks throughout Garret’s apparatus.

“How do you feel?”

“Well, I’m still not dead, not yet.”

“Shut. Up. Get out there, and win, come on man! If this thing works, you won’t have any power issues this time.”

Garret steps into the illegal arena, hoping to double his and Laurence’s money. The nervous implant whirrs. Garret is itchy all over as his nerves rejuvenate. The metallic coverings dig into the gaps in his flesh, sometimes hooking into the bone. He’ll have to fasten the attachments later. They’ll loosen during combat.

He swings the sword attached to his right hand, allowing a computer to calibrate its weight model for it. By optimizing the expenditure of energy, Garret won’t ever need to decelerate, moving as fast as humanly possible. He amps his eyes until they feel like they’re on fire. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to react fast enough to his own bodily displacement. After the fight, he’ll have to put a covering on his eyes and shut them down so they can heal.