Darcy Abriel's latest erotic romance, Haevyn, blends steampunk, science fiction and steamy romance to create an unforgettable story. Heroine Haevyn Breina is a humanotic — part human, part machine — in a futuristic dystopian world where she sexually serves high-ranking military officers. To understand exactly what being a humanotic means, we asked the heroine to tell us a little bit about her transformation and the world in which she lives.
This is a very difficult subject for me. The reasons I became humanotic are complex, and becoming humanotic is not something I undertook lightly. In fact, my best friend, Grisha, who is not humanotic, tried to talk me out of it. But in the end I didn’t feel I had a choice. You see, there was my brother, Bhrett, to consider. Undergoing the surgery would bump my pay grade, and as I was the sole supporter of our household and a woman, there weren’t a lot of choices for me to pursue. My connections in Regulate command would also be elevated to assist commanders rather than captains. Additional power was a welcome perk–in case I needed to call on those connections to help my brother.
I’ve already given so much of myself that sometimes it’s hard to look in the mirror because the image I see doesn’t reflect the changes I feel inside. Women have no rights in Quentopolis and accepting the sacrifices in order to advance have become a way of life for me. I can’t afford to show any weakness.
Forcing people to become humanotic is an insidious control mechanism used by the government–the Politico Concilium. The modifications can too easily turn into an addiction for some. Some lose their humanity entirely. Families are destroyed. Some will do anything in order to pay for another surgical procedure.
My brother, Bhrett, became addicted to modification. As a child, he had a weak constitution. My parents, thinking modifications would help, worked extra hours at the factory to pay for surgeries. One surgery, one modification of his humanness, led to another and then another. Now he is obsessed with becoming more perfect. It’s never enough. I fear for him because it has become an almost uncontrollable addiction. And in Quentopolis, 69% is the threshold between remaining a free man and becoming chattel. You see, machines have no rights in Quentopolis — not even human-based ones. Once classified at 69% humanotic, the law considers humanotics chattel. Their property is confiscated by the city, and they are taken into custody until sold to the highest bidder.
Perhaps we should be grateful. The threshold used to be 49% until the laws were recently revised because of a metallitionist rebellion. There are still those working toward complete freedom for all levels of humanotic, but change does not come easily or quickly in Quentopolis.
I grew up in the Moondown Water District. One doesn’t climb out of the manufactory district without a fight. But I’ve been diagnosed with manic risqexcerinia. I can’t stop myself from taking risks–extreme risks. So far, they’ve paid off.
When my parents died–killed in a manufactory fire — and I became the sole provider for my brother, I got a job in a textile mill by “negotiating” — sleeping with a humanotic senior supervisor. Not a pleasant experience, but one thing led to another, and soon enough, after helping on a government undercover operation, I was offered the chance to join the new Compsociate branch of the Regulate military. This was the first time women were offered an opportunity to join the Regulate. I couldn’t pass up the chance to better my position, even though the rest of the Regulate refer to our unit as military whores.
Compsociates are, to state it baldly and when not cloaked in political jargon, military courtesans, although they call us intimate attaches. For me, it was a step up from being the mistress of a brutal humanotic factory supervisor. I leaped at the opportunity. Then I was offered the chance to upgrade to the Compultech Tracing Unit. Accepting that position required modification at the Factorium–the main government research facility and every Quentopian’s nightmare.
More money, a 1% humanotic adjustment, and access to some of the highest-ranking officials in Quentopolis. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity for advancement.
Being humanotic puts a citizen in a different class. Humanotics are far from being less than human, and are considered more so. Body beautiful and mind strong. Even humanotic chattel are admired and highly sought after by the Elite of Quentopian society.
My particular modification, when I engage the ability, enhances my senses and emotions. I am more sensitive to the environment around me, to people, to situations. When I am attached to the newly modified Intellometer, the machine will translate the energy of what I experience onto punch cards that are then provided to the Concilium for use in further research, experimentation, and development.
Sometimes living with these new enhancements, and what I see others do, scares me. It’s too tempting. I don’t want to be classified as chattel, but the power that being humanotic provides is addicting. I have more energy, more strength, although not as much as some. I want to keep my percentage low. I won’t give up my freedom, what little I have of it. My brother’s percentages already ride the edge. Each trip that Bhrett makes to the Factorium scares me.
When the terror gets too much for me, it’s Grisha I turn to. He knows me better than anyone. In his arms, I can forget for a time what I have become and the dangers I confront in order to survive in Quentopolis. Grisha is a simple fisherman, and I love him dearly. He grounds me, and he never judges me.
But someone new has entered the picture. Grisha convinced me to accompany him to an illegal fight. That’s where I saw the masked humanotic warrior. I’ve never been attracted to humanotics, but there was something about this one. Yes, something ... dangerous and exciting.
Being humanotic, I must harness my emotions. Grisha is everything I am not. But this fighter, he seems to draw on the very thing I fight to control ... and wish to forget. Being humanotic. He makes me more aware of my modifications. He fires my senses to an extreme I’m not certain I want to deny. The attempt for control in and of itself can be an exhausting exercise.
The humanotic fighter is so beautiful he makes me want to be more humanotic. His sleekness, his power, his sexuality. I can’t stop thinking about him, and reassessing who and what I am.
Living in Quentopolis is not easy or uncomplicated. Every day I am challenged by the cruelty, by the sexuality, by the risks I take. Be it modification at the Factorium, or sexual interaction as a Compsociate Tracer, or trying to convince Bhrett to ease up on his modifications, or spending precious time with my human lover, Grisha, I am Compsociate Haevyn Breina, and I serve my city to the best of my ability. I am as free as a woman can be in Quentopolis.
And when I look in the mirror, that has to be the woman I see.
I apologize. I’m on duty in a hour and I have to get ready. My uniform to press, the Intellometer to prepare, and my current commander, General Yeska doesn’t like to be kept waiting. May I suggest to find out more about Quentopolis and the humanotic experience, you may wish to visit www.humanotica.com.