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Current levels, in 2178, were approaching the predicted exponential section of the curve. Since the Era of Neglect, either side of the millennium, the ozone layer had steadily disintegrated. It had seemed eminently sensible to develop and construct robotic servants for the cause of humanity. Amongst other projects, these ‘gadgets’ would be able to take the brunt of exposure to the atmosphere, if all else failed. The major flaw in such thinking was the inability to curb human propensity for improvement of life’s comforts. Over time, the robots were fast-tracked to a self-generating, engineering evolution. It took on its own destiny while the ruling humans were distracted with everyday problems. By the time the mass protests really hit home, the Cyborgs had something to say about how things were going to be.

Emerging from the stalemate of mistrust, a new future was shaped by what became known as the Rift Incident. A huge magnetic anomaly suddenly appeared from an underground source in the Rift Valley. The Cyborgs began the excavation and uncovered a device which was transmitting a signal to Jupiter space, more precisely to the surface of one of its moons – Ganymede.

Rodriguez and Harley met during the former’s final year of learning, officially described as how to prepare for his dreaded Stringent Evaluation. This was required before accreditation to the Planetary Corps could be considered. Harley had been ‘born’ long after his protégé; in fact he was commissioned just before the great Cyborg-Human conflict erupted. It was always a humorous source of verbal defence for Harley whenever Rodriguez was dismayed that he might not make it. “Come on Cam, I am only three years old and I squeezed through, you’ve been around long enough to know everything. You’re from the good old days.”

Their selection for the investigative mission to Ganymede was based on Borg-Human compatibility as well as pure aptitude requirement. They excelled in this inter-species harmony, and those tests were fiendishly devious.

The only other human aboard, Doctor Christophe Rivet, was tasked with making sure Rodriguez stayed fit and healthy. He kept his dislike of the Borg under control most of the time. One notable exception was Harley’s lack of respect when referring to his family name. “I am not a device which was designed to fasten two pieces of metal together. Are you incapable of retaining data? For the millionth time my name is Ree-vay. Rivets are what are used to construct your ‘species’. Having got that off his chest, he silently mulled over why he’d grown to despise the Borg High Command.

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