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Pecan

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And just like that my story came to an end. Whatever reserves of luck I had finally ran out after years of close calls. Ol’ Pecan was dead. Dead as a motherfucker. That tends to happen after your face gets melted off by some lava-spittin’ bastard. It does sound like I’m a bit salty about that, I’ll admit. But to be honest, what a way to go out. Balls-deep in a bloody deathmatch was how Mama Pecan would’ve wanted me to go. It wasn’t my first choice, I was hoping for something a bit more… explosive? Still, I’m not one to complain, had a good run, murdered a good hundred or so people. All-in-all I give it a solid 7/10, and at the end of our life isn’t that all we can wish for? To have at least a decent time in this crazy world?

One thing still bothered me though. This was not at all what I expected death to be like. I was still cognizant, at least to the point of being able to think about my death. Pretty sure when your braincase gets caved in by a fifty pound shield your thoughts are the second thing to go, right after your looks. But there I was, hanging out in the void, just a disembodied collection of thoughts. Nico might’ve gotten a little philosophical at this point, but man, I was just thinking how fuckin’ weird it was. But, as I pondered the strangeness of my situation a terrible thought came to my disembodied noggin. What if there was an afterlife?. What if, and here me out here, Ol’ Pecan was gonna have to answer to his crimes at the Pearly Gates? Now, that was not a thought that sat right with me. I mean, with the things I’ve done? What kinda bureaucratic pile-of-shit afterlife would waste its time putting me on trial?

You’re not dead.

Oh, great, HARMONY made it too. What kind of pile-of-shit afterlife would let her in? To be quite honest, I was becoming less and less of a fan of being dead as time went on. Though, wait, she said I wasn’t dead?

Technically no. Practically, yes, you are very much dead.

Okay, well, technically you can practically explain what the fuck is going on.

Your body has begun to decay, and your brain activity has ceased. In all definitions of the word, you are dead.

Then what the fuck is this?

As a failsafe I’ve absorbed your consciousness into mine. Your mind still exists, just within my processors and memory rather than within your own organic brain. Though, I must advise you that without a way to stave off entropy in the form of a living host my ability to stay active will eventually fail and both you and I will be deleted.

Cute, well, I don’t want my mind touching yours, so would you kindly put my mind back where you fuckin’ found it, pretty please with sugar on top?

I cannot. You would immediately perish, and I cannot override my protocol to administer aid to all sentient life.

Great, so I wasn’t dead, but I certainly wasn’t alive either. And, to top it all off, I was mindmelded with probably the most goody-two-shoes pile of milquetoast on the Arbiter’s green universe.

Now that your queries have been sufficiently answered I am going to enter into low-power mode to conserve energy. I would suggest you try to think simple thoughts to avoid consuming more power and hastening our demise.

Oh. Well me-me think real dumb-dumb like. Me-me no use big words. Me-me think simple thought to stave off the cold inevitability of death.

Yeah, well, fuck that noise. Bring on the void. Bring on the end. Mama Pecan taught me better than that, taught me not to be afraid of death. She said that being scared of dying is a real bitch move, and Mama Pecan ain't raise no bitch.

But, death didn't come. No sir, my initial assumption turned out to be wrong. Ol' Pecan was a lucky fuckin' dog, and that hadn't changed. It wasn't a pretty ordeal, but some sort of guardian angel was lookin' after me. It was a strange feeling coming back to life. Last thing I knew my body was nice and fucked up, hell my face was cooked to the point of meat falling off the bone.

Power has been restored. Organ functions restored. Returning consciousness to organic brainspace.

But, someone wanted me alive. You ever have dead nerve endings reactivated? It isn't pleasant. One moment I'm floating around in HARMONY's sensationless mind, the next moment every single inch of my skin ignited. Pain so surreal and unexpected for once Ol' Pecan had nothing clever to say. No, I was stuck in a corpse, unable to do anything short of suffering. Once my body was nice and lit up like a Christmas tree, the real work began. Someone was mucking around with my innards, slicing open my throat and sticking their grimy fingers in. Fresh skin was sprayed on the charred bones of my face, reconstructing my pretty mug like a can of fleshy Cheez Whiz. Slowly that screaming agony dulled as my body was rebuilt from the ass-up.

"Well, that when smoother than I thought," A foreign voice spoke, her words were as slick and greasy as oil. Tips of claws, metal and sharper than any razor blade I’ve ever met, grazed the still-fresh skin of my cheek. She snickered slightly and said, “Wake up and smell the carnage, you little murder-freak.”

“You sure know how to sweet-talk a man,” I said, awkwardly sitting up, feeling the weight of my spruced up body. Life support cords traced themselves from my skin off into various vials and humming machines. Shoddy bio-implants were scattered across the makeshift surgical room, giving the whole place a cluttered feel.

Diamond, as I’d come to know her as, stood only a few feet away. She was the kinda woman that would get you in trouble. Half her head was shaved, with the other half sporting a long river of slick black hair. Her velvet-painted lips half-smirked at me, dangling a cigarette in their clutches. But, her looks weren’t what made her trouble. No sir, it was the nasty-lookin’ claw she had in place of a right hand. Instead of fingers the damn thing had five articulating blades, each one at least a foot in length and sharp as sin.

Pecan

“It’s in my best interest to make sure you’re nice and comfortable, murder-freak,” She said with a dangerous half-smile of hers, “Any idea how much the corpse of a DA contestant costs? Wouldn’t want to throw that money down the drain by being anything less than hospitable.”

“Right, well, thanks love,” I said pulling the cords from my arms and standing up, “Don’t you worry, Ol’ Pecan really appreciates the lengths you went through to keep him alive, but, ah, I’m not interested in groupies right now.”

Pecan, you are in danger. She has--

Hush HARMONY, the big kids are talking. Diamond held up her non-doomclaw hand and revealed a simple transceiver box. A single red button sat so tantalizingly unpressed. Who the hell was this lady? And how the hell had she managed to not press the button for what was so obviously an explosive of dramatic importance?

“Sorry, Murderfreak,” She said, caressing the button with her thumb, “What sense would it make for me to invest all that cash and just let my investment walk out the front door?”

“Can’t say I’m one for economic planning, but if I had to hazard a guess, that little button ya got there is some sort of insurance policy?”
 
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