The Chrome City Announcement article was posted on January 19, 2015. It was the first reveal of cybernetics, a type of hardware that hurts the Runner when installed. This article also introduced what is being hailed as the long-awaited Haas-Bioroid "flatline identity".
|50||, Humanity Upgraded||Haas-Bioroid||Identity|
My latest entry for the "Tacky or Trendy?" file comes from SanSan, specifically the northern borough called Chrome City by most of the locals.
Bee Lopez is 23, with the shoulders and biceps of a weightlifter and the spiked hair of a streetbanger. She wears tall motorcycle boots, distressed 20th-century denim, a plasleather jacket painted with her crew's motif (a silver skull), and an HB-3500 PowerArt cybernetic arm in chrome. A skulljack peeks out through the stubble on the left side of her head, and her left eye is flashing silicon green. Her right eye, her original from birth, is a rich mocha brown.
"I lost my arm in an accident at the factory," she says matter-of-factly over coffee at a local dive called the Oil Can. Lopez is one of thousands in northern SanSan who works in the industrial district on the east side of the bay. "HB comped me an arm. My first was a trastajo, a ReaLimb, '22 or '23 I think. Wonky articulation, terrible sense feedback, and it had maybe half the strength of my meat-arm." "Meat-arm" is just one of the colorful phrases Bee and her associates use. "It also looked awful; I ordered it in 'flesh tone' and it came in looking like this crummy anglo arm stuck right up my Mexican ass."
Since the, Lopez's attitude towards cybernetics has changed considerably. "I had troubles with my arm but my doctors didn't do crap. So my friends, they send me to a chrome parlor right on the bay. I got there and I just about ran away screaming- everyone was like half-robot." I know the feeling; I got it the first time I set foot in Chrome City. "Right away the chopper is dropping these loco metal arms on the table in front of me. I'm like, 'but these are all metal, why can'tI just have my old arm back?' You know what he said? He said 'but these arms are better.'" Lopez laughs at the memory and holds up her PowerArt where it can catch the light and shine. I imagine that I should hear a whirring of servos or engines when it moves, but it's as silent and smooth as my own flesh-and-blood limb. "He was right."
Lopez is part of a fast-growing community in Chrome City and across the West Coast. They call themselves chromeheads, and they wear their implants as fashion accessories. Lopez's entry into the community was fairly typical: it starts with a medically-recommended cybernetic enhancement due to violence or accident or genetic defect. Some try to hide their replacements or make them appear part of their natural body. But increasingly, cyborgs see their implants as a chance to flash their personal style.
The man they call Sherman has had all four of his limbs and most of his skeleton replaced. He weighs nearly a ton. He lost both legs and an arm to bullets and lasers. He said he chopped the last arm off for 'symmetry.'
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