Anna woke up to the sound of her alarm clock. She rubbed her eyes and looked at the holographic display on her wall. It was June 21, 2121, her 18th birthday. She smiled and got out of bed, feeling excited and nervous. Today was the day she would take the test that would determine her future.
She walked into the bathroom and brushed her teeth, then put on her clothes and backpack. She checked herself in the mirror and smiled again. She had long brown hair, green eyes, and a slim figure. She was wearing a blue jumpsuit with a silver belt and boots. She looked like a typical teenager, except for one thing: she was the last human on Earth.
Everyone else was a cyborg, a hybrid of human and machine. They had enhanced their bodies and minds with implants, nanobots, and artificial organs. They could access the global network with a thought, communicate telepathically, and manipulate matter with nanites. They were smarter, stronger, faster, and more durable than humans. They were also immortal.
Anna was different. She was born without any enhancements, a rare genetic anomaly that made her immune to cybernetics. She was a pure human, a relic of the past. She was also an outcast.
She lived in a small apartment in New York City, one of the few places that still had some human architecture left. Most of the city was a towering metropolis of metal and glass, filled with cyborgs who worked, played, and socialized in virtual reality. Anna had no friends, no family, no connection to anyone. She was alone in a world that didn’t understand her.
She had only one hope: to pass the test and join the Academy, a prestigious institution that trained the best and brightest cyborgs for various careers in science, art, politics, and more. The Academy was the only place where Anna could learn more about herself and her heritage, and where she could find some meaning and purpose in her life.
The test was hard, but not impossible. It consisted of four parts: logic, memory, creativity, and empathy. Anna had studied hard for months, using books and videos from the old internet. She knew she had a chance to pass the test if she could overcome her fear and anxiety.
She left her apartment and walked to the nearest subway station. She scanned her ID chip at the entrance and boarded the train. She sat down on a seat and looked around. The train was crowded with cyborgs of all shapes and sizes. Some had metal limbs or glowing eyes or antennas on their heads. Some looked almost human, except for subtle signs of augmentation. Some looked nothing like humans at all.
They ignored Anna as if she didn’t exist. They were busy chatting with each other through their neural links or browsing the net with their implants or playing games in their VR goggles. They didn’t care about Anna or her test or her dreams. They didn’t care about anything but themselves.
Anna felt a surge of anger and resentment. She hated them for being so superior and arrogant. She hated them for making her feel inferior and worthless. She hated them for taking over the world and leaving her behind.
She clenched her fists and closed her eyes. She tried to calm herself down and focus on her goal. She reminded herself that she was not alone, that there were others like her out there, somewhere.
She remembered what her teacher had told her before he died.
“Anna,” he had said, “you are not a mistake. You are not a freak. You are not an anomaly. You are a miracle.”
He had been an old man, one of the last humans who had refused to become cyborgs. He had been a historian who had taught Anna about the history of humanity and its achievements and failures.
He had been kind to Anna and treated her like his own daughter.
He had been killed by a gang of cyborg thugs who had broken into his apartment and robbed him of his books and antiques.
They had laughed as they beat him to death.
They had called him a monkey.
They had called Anna a monkey too.
Anna opened her eyes and wiped away a tear.
She looked at the display above the door.
It showed the time and destination of the train.
It read: 8:45 AM - Academy Station.
She took a deep breath and got ready to face the test.
She hoped she would pass.
She hoped she would find her place in the world.
She hoped she would prove them wrong.
To be continued…