Brushing chestnut hair away from the chrome datajack implanted behind her ear, the dwarf took a moment to prepare herself for the transition, that moment when she would leave her slight frame and instead experience the world through electronic, high-flying sensors. Truth be told, she enjoyed piloting her drones, interacting with the team through encrypted commlink chatter, rather than being on the ground and face-to-face.

In the air, there weren’t as many distractions. Unhelpful feelings like anxiety and hunger melted away, replaced by air speed indicators and pressure sensors. Properly-equipped, she could stay airborne for as long as she could stay awake. With finely-crafted machine parts operating at nearly the speed of thought, time seemed to slow, meaning she could spend what felt like hours high above the skyline in what her clock would only report as ten minutes.

Plenty sociable in person, it wasn’t that she disliked the company of others, but rather that they were too complicated for her to keep track of – she wanted to spend her brainpower elsewhere, not figuring out the exact intricacies of interpersonal relationships, which seemed to shift from moment to moment. When a machine was unhappy, there was a clear cause and resolution, and she appreciated that straightforwardness.

Not that fixing problems with her drones was often easy, but once the problematic component could be identified, usually half the battle for its repair had been won. She spent most of her waking life either piloting craft or constructing them, always trying to push the envelope of what was possible with her machines. Ultimately, she wanted to ensure that her handiwork was as flawless as possible – if something failed during a run, it was going to be due to flawed human emotions, not mechanics.

With a slow exhale she connected to her favorite drone, feeling the familiar tingle across her mind as her thoughts and sensations inhabited the new space. Somewhere far away, her body slumped down on the couch, a soft smile on its lips.

Header photo taken in Korea by @noealz