“Good morning Lewis.” One of the numerous rodeo clowns said with a smile
“Morning,” Lewis replied as he hurried toward his private locker room. The technicians had certainly taken their time examining all of his cybernetics. He sighed as he transitioned into a run, while he admitted that with this particular bull, Lewis would never have been allowed to skip the examination. He just wished that the technicians had been swifter in their examination.
The bull that Lewis was going to ride was named Metalus. It was the only cybernetically enhanced bull in any rodeo, which was the reason he had to have his own cybernetics certified. He was approaching his locker room when he caught sight of his manager waving him down. Lewis slowed to a brisk walk and once he was within arms distance asked, “Everything okay?”
“Where have you been?”
“Getting my exam,” Lewis replied as he waved his metallic arm in front of his manager’s face. The limb wasn’t Lewis’ only cybernetic alteration, it was merely the most obvious.
“That’s right your exam.”
“It’s required, Russell.”
“I know it is, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Russell said argumentatively.
“Is everything ready for my ride?” Lewis asked as he walked into the gym he was using.
Russell followed briskly answering, “Of course it is. Now hurry up, you don’t have a lot of time.”
“I know I’ll be right there,” Lewis said as he started to prepare for his final ride of the competition. This was the first time he was attempting to ride Metalus, of course, he had never considered it until he needed the arm. In fact, to even make an attempt at riding the bull, a rider needed to have cybernetic implants. One of which was required to be an entire limb. While most decided to have at least one of their legs replaced, he had chosen his dominant arm.
He thought it would be the best way to keep himself attached to the bull for the full eight seconds. Though he did have cybernetics embedded into his legs which would help him match any bull’s motions. He wasn’t sure if those would ultimately be able to help him for his ride of Metalus, who had his own implants to buck riders foolish enough to make an attempt.
Once ready he ran to the bucking chute and caught his first glance at his latest challenge. Metalus certainly seemed an apt name for a bull that was more metal than flesh. All of its legs were cybernetic, and it had a glowing red eye centered in the metal that wrapped half of its skull. When they locked eyes, the bull snorted issuing steam from the metallic nostril, forcing a shiver down his spine.
“If you get bucked off, remember to use the safety phrase. Or that will be your next residence.” Russell said as he pointed to the black bag hanging on the outside of the chute.
Another shiver ran down Lewis’ spine as he stared at the body bag. “I’m going to go the full eight seconds.”
“That would make you the second to ever accomplish it, Lewis. I still can’t believe you insisted on this.”
Lewis laughed as he shrugged his way to the chute. “Sometimes I even wonder what I’m thinking about.”
“Be safe, Lewis.”
Lewis nodded and mounted the dangerous bull. Once secured, he looked at the screen and waited for the countdown to begin.
He took a deep breath in through his nose.
9… 8… 7…
He released the breath through his nose slowly.
6… 5… 4… 3…
The bull started to buck in the confines of the shoot.
Lewis’s cybernetic hand tightened upon the rope, and his legs began to squeeze the bull’s side. And he could feel the metal and flesh beneath his legs.
The chute opened, and Metalus rushed from the confines not wasting an instant to try dislodging Lewis.
The cybernetics in Lewis’ legs were working, he could sense all of the subtle motions the bull made and was he was able to match each and every one of those motions.
The bull’s cybernetic legs began to exert more force with each kick, buck, and spin. All the while Lewis’ legs kept up with each motion allowing him to sit with perfect balance upon the bull.
4… 5… 6… 7…
The bull, seemingly knowing that Lewis was about to finish the ride, performed one last buck with all its strength but his legs and cybernetic hand managed to keep him upon the bull. But Lewis knew he needed something else to secure a better score. So he spurred Metalus, just as it bucked he lifted his legs away from Metalus’ side before clamping them back down upon the animal’s side.
The bull stopped moving instantly, and Lewis looked up and saw that he had done it, he had managed to ride Metalus. He looked out into the crowd and smiled as he began to dismount. Russell ran out into the arena with his own wide smile splitting his face.
As Russell clapped Lewis on the back, “You did it, you’ve just become the second person ever to last the full eight seconds.”
“Let’s just wait for my score before we get too excited.”
“We already have a good reason to be excited, Lewis.”
“Shh…” Lewis said as the judges announced their scores for Metalus. The first judge’s score was a nineteen, while the second one scored the animal at twenty-one for a total of forty. Lewis stood and waited for his score. When they eventually came, the first was a twenty while the second was a twenty-two, giving him a score of forty-two.
“Lewis, your ride scored an eighty-two. That beats Hanson’s score of eighty-one.”
Lewis patted Metalus’ rump saying. “That was the best eight seconds of my life.”