my vision. My own implants are failing, no longer able to heal my body or regulate it. I'm nothing more than flesh right now. I have no soldier-sharp senses, no wired edge for combat.
I trip over a chair, grab the table to steady myself, and when I blink everything is clear.
Right before me is a large aquarium. Something sinuously moves through the tank and presses against the glass. I stumble closer and a woman stares right back at me through the refracted water and solid glass with wide brown eyes. Sheets of her oak-colored hair twirl behind her head. Her super pale skin has an almost greenish tint.
The eyes hold me until my face presses right against the glass.
"Beautiful, isn't she."
Acolmiztli grabs my shoulder.
"She was a present. From one of my brothers. A gift from the Emporer Moctezuma the Ninth."
Her smooth stomach fades into the singular muscle and pilot fins of her tail's trunk. The wide fins are splayed out. They're delicate, yet powerful enough to drive all six feet
There is a huge amount of backstory that isn't explained in this piece. It's a mix of machine-augmented soldiers, gene-splicing, Aztec and Caribbean cultures, and an attempt to repel alien invaders. It's dense with associations, but in the end I couldn't tell if the good guys won, or even who the good guys were.
Read it, if you like a puzzle.
Because I grant "concession" to early sci-fi writers I expect a lot more from modern ones. The storyline is vague with an Aesop/Luddite type thread within it. Nothing special but I won't tell you not to read it.