There were 9 of us driving a fucked-up 8 seater, an old hydraulic you wouldn’t have believed could hover, much less fly, but one of us had got it on cinderblocks and then up and running, I can’t say who because I wasn’t born yet, but I remember flying over the old cities, you wouldn’t know it but the smog was thin enough in those days to make each block an archipelago.
The centaur was Cil, and she was our Bob Dylan and our Henry Rollins both — she was driving the machine. She’d gotten her legs chopped by fucking choice during the transhuman riots, I don’t know what the point she’d made was but she made it all right, and had a lot of different legs and wheels and rotaries but the body she was known for was the fuckin’ centaur, and I’ve seen it live and up close and there’s no point in lying to you, you see a 9-foot butch with a ginger dreadlock mohawk staring down at you from the body of an android horse, you cream your jeans, there’s no other suitable response.
Mufti was the other turning heads, she was a four-armed cyborg bounty hunter who’d met Cil in a bar when they both needed someone. Mufti had brought Johnny on with her — Johnny was an Aboriginal ex-surfer with a problem, namely the semi-sentient tape-eels that had taken up residence in his nervous system and digestive tract, giving him extra-sensory perception and a serious existential streak, but also no way to get ahead.
There was Floyd, he was the android butler proper - probably too square for our set and maybe just enough naive; he didn’t quite fit but who did? I forget where he came up from.
There was Cil’s personal Guru but really he just sprouted truisms and scored us drugs; we couldn’t stand him so we called him Fuck. He had one parlor trick where he could Ohm and float, and his beard was impressive but other than that he smelled worse and talked a total skeeze. Guru Fuck rode backseat and we couldn’t shake him loose.
There was Woof and Mr Box, and I’m not sure how to even lock down their function. Woof was a bipedal basilisk, sort of an ape-lizard with bad posture and Mr. Box was a goat-rabbit with a knack for shamanism; it kept him small and nervous. Both were what happens when it’s 30 years after a gene-war. They were serious lower caste, not even near-humanoid, but they kept to themselves and ate little. I think they just liked the comfort of numbers.
There was me and there was Laura. They called me Muscles, or Skin, or Face — I’m not sure where those others came from but the Face was because of my face. The bones growing out of it. I sand them down now, you hardly notice. But I was young then. You know how adolescence is on your damn bones.
There was Laura. She’d come up with Mufti, and made her weaker. We were all a little in love with her, and she deserved none of it. She reflected back our light. I remember sitting next to her on the front seat while Cil careened between skyscrapers. I remember her hair at sunset. I remember perfect times.