The first bionic implants were only available to wealthy individuals, but as the technology matured it grew more affordable. It was initially used to counter the effects of age or disability, helping its recipients lead longer, more productive lives. The next generation of implants could be considered augmentations, not only replacing but in many ways outclassing normal human body parts. Sharper senses, stronger limbs, and more efficient hearts and lungs created a cybernetic elite – the precursor to contemporary augmented and transhuman castes.
On the other end of the spectrum are the simplest bionic systems. These are usually inferior to their natural equivalents but are easily affordable, and extend the useful lives of all but the most destitute. Due to their simplicity they are surprisingly durable, and having outlived several owners, many now show signs of damage and inventive, if clumsy, attempts at repair.
In the poorest city sectors obsolete bionic systems are more easily obtainable than healthy human body parts. Some people voluntarily trade the latter for the former to pay debts and avoid imprisonment. Those who lose their liberty can do the same for smaller benefits, though they have less say in the extent of their donations and the quality of their replacements. This fleshgiver retains enough of his old body to keep working, but leads a much reduced existence. Among the free, such cases speak of extreme financial desperation; among slaves and prisoners, they say more for their captors’ greed.