After the loss of a limb, some people experience bereavement. Some people are angry. Some people adjust perfectly well. Some people have a hard time working with your particular family of prosthetics. Fewer than there used to be. The majority of people are fine with you, grateful for the advances that have produced you.
But I read the testimonials and I don’t see all that many people talking about it like it’s them. Theirs, yes. But not them.
A very few people experience a curious crisis of identity. They start believing that they aren’t human anymore. They have panic attacks, nightmares. They claim that not only are you not part of them but you’re a separate mind trying to take them over. A tiny minority actually engage in what’s being called re-amputation.
Footage of a man who hacked off his new leg with a meat cleaver. It took him fifteen minutes to get it all the way off. The pain was immense until he rendered the sensory apparatus inoperative. He has permanent nerve damage. The other leg doesn’t work now. He says he doesn’t regret it. He says incomplete but real human is better than the alternative.
The trees thinned out around her, the path widening, and then they fell away entirely and she came out into the fields, the grass whispering in the breeze and carrying the sweet smell of heather and the bracken that grew at the edge of the wood, mixed with the headier scent of honeysuckle. The light of the sunlamps was deepening into afternoon, and for a moment Nkiruka stood, breathing it in. She tilted her head back. Far above her, through the transparent ceiling, the stars shone in the night that went on forever.
She had not been born on Ashwina but on Suzaku, where the High Fields were drier and faded into patches of red desert, and the Arched Halls were–strangely–lusher and more humid, more like what people described as the equatorial jungles of Terra. She had grown up in those Fields and those Halls, had carried their dust and drifting pollen within her when she came to Ashwina to learn how to fight, to dance the death dances, to pilot an escort fighter. It had been an adjustment but she had made it. She would never love these lands the way she loved the lands that rested at the top of Suzaku’s great bulk, but she had grown to love them all the same.
Anything growing. Miracles in the black.
I am so, so happy to be back here again. And I love this character.