They're all just so damn...human.
Blair was talking now, but Sylver could barely focus. The room felt like a caffeine high. At least, what she imagined one would feel like. The cybernetic enhancements to her body prevented her from experiencing biological highs or lows. But the equal tension and rawness flowing through the room’s inhabitants made Sylver’s skin buzz.
Blair was perky as ever, bright outfit and infectious smile clashing with the severity of her friends’ outfits and faces. Sylver pushed her own silver hair back, just needing something to do with her hands. The woman called Nova…when she walked in the room earlier, moods shifted. She looked tired—no, not tired…worn. Sylver’s ice-blue eyes softened. She could sympathize. That look…it came from something lodged in deep, like a mental splinter; it came from being afraid of what was under your own skin. Even as she considered this, Sylver’s enhanced nervous system forced her heart rate to a calm, balanced level, staving off the jitters she got when reflecting on her past. Sylver crossed her arms involuntarily; she wasn’t sure if she felt better about sympathizing with that kind of situation or nervous that there were two people living with ghosts on this team.
I shouldn’t be here… Sylver stared down at her black, combat boots. No matter what they’d done or who they’d been, everyone here had been a hero or was trying to be one. Coward. That angry voice in her head echoed. It wasn’t wrong. Sylver was just running. She was always running. Running from Nyte, the organization who made her—or broken her…either or; running from what they’d made her do; running…from situations like this, where she was on the brink of lying to herself, making false promises that she deserved to find her niche, her people, and belong. These people wanted to be good, or to honor someone, or to just freaking fix the world. Sylver just wanted to sit in a room and not feel like a virus, hiding amongst healthy bodies. Her whole life, people had just been targets to mark off, jobs to do; for the last ten years, she’d been on the run, putting on a mask, faking it. And now she was here, in a room of people who wanted to know why she wanted to save the world.
But she didn’t. She didn’t know what she wanted.
Sylver nearly jumped when Blair grasped her in a tight hug. “You are going to do amazing up there. Trust me! Go do your thing!" She said sweetly, before sliding into her seat.
Silence. All eyes on her. Well sh1t. Here we go…
Sylver got up and made the seemingly mile-long march to the ring case. She picked the one with her name and balanced it between her pointer and index fingers. She’d probably been quiet longer than she should have, but now that the ring was in her hand, its weight…she looked up, started speaking, and took off the mask of fear she’d worn for so long.
“Ya know…this ring, this place…all of you. I wasn’t even sure what I was doing here till just now. I know Blair wanted me to be here, and I wanted to be here because it made her happy. But I didn’t know why it scared me so damn bad.”
She slid the ring on her finger and felt herself stand a little taller.
“My name is Sylver. I named myself that after a random singer I heard in a bar the night I escaped. I was Number 13, Project Vampire. I was created by the organization Nyte to be a perfect weapon, a fusion of biological engineering and cybernetics. And I am…a cyborg. Most of me is…” Sylver paused. She’d never been so honest with strangers, even if she did sound like a teleprompter. “The thing is…this ring, this team, scared the mess out of me because I’ve never had to choose my own life and be ready to accept the consequences. Until ten years ago, I did whatever I was told. What I did was who I was. I killed and sold secrets and destroyed lives…I’ve helped rewrite probably most of the history you’ve all grown up with. That’s what Nyte was about—rewriting world power for the highest bidder. And for the last ten years…I’ve just been hiding. I’ve been pretending to be a thousand people, because I’m good at that.”
Sylver looked around the room, and her eyes fell on Blair. “I’m not very good at being human, or even being a hero for that matter. But my life is my own now, and I want to figure out what that means. I want to use what I’m good at to give other people the chance to choose their own lives. And you’ve all given me a great place to start, so…thanks.”
The walk back to her seat was much faster, much lighter. She sat and briefly squeezed Blair’s hand. Sylver whispered, “Thank you.”