Killing Time OST – 23c – iBroker Souls

<< 23b – iBroker Souls

Finishing the reboot chip hadn’t been that bad; despite my not working on it for about eight months, it kept developing in the back of my mind. Obsessions died hard. I thought I perfected my updated model and I tested it extensively in a controlled environment. Since the human body – especially Lorelei’s – was everything but controlled, my reluctance to put it in her hadn’t faded at all.
“I’ll be right here,” Gabriel said in my ear. He waved from the other side of the glass.
In the room with me were a couple of certified nurses that Eliot cleared to work with us. I had run them through the process three times and they had patiently complied. Part of it came from the obvious respect they had for my work; they didn’t know my identity but the complexity of the operation spoke for itself. The other part of was a mix of professionalism and Gabriel’s guiding hand.
“I’ll keep you sane.” That was what he had said after we punched each other. Though I urged to hammer his face again every time Lorelei and him came back from training all sweaty and laughing, he did his best to keep his word.
Hence, the detached nurses who reined in their enthusiasm, and his watchful presence behind the glass.
The last time Lorelei lay strapped with anesthetics slowly dripping in her veins, I had taken tech out of her head. The thought I would put some back in – a hundred times more of it – sickened me to my core. My heart didn’t care if my reason pulled me through planning all this: I hated what I was about to do because deep down, my instinct said it would break her and me both.
I hated myself for it. I hated her for leaving me no other choice.
I kissed her forehead and a tear ran down my cheek.
A tear. The only thing I hadn’t seen on her face since I told her about the nanobots. Someone had to weep for this.
“Forgive me.”
The people around me remained still and silent until I picked up the first syringe of nanobots. Only then did the nurses moved in closer to take their position by my side. One of them disinfected a patch on Lorelei’s neck. My needle hesitated.
“She wants this,” Gabriel murmured.
I looked straight at him through the glass. “She thinks she does.”
He hadn’t seen Lorelei chasing down the night’s terrors with a glass of scotch.
I took a deep breath and shut out all my emotions, diving into the zone where I had learned to operate at full efficiency. I stuck the needle in my patient’s neck. Nanobots which sole purpose was to carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles entered her blood stream. It would reduce the effect of blood loss during the more invasive procedures and double my patient’s VO2 max.
I gave the syringe to a nurse while the other one sprayed healing agent on the puncture wound.
Implementing so much tech in one individual usually happened on the course of several surgeries. I had sixteen hours so the order in which everything went in had been carefully thought out to maximize recovery. What to put in had been an issue as well. An artificial heart would maximize oxygenation better than nanobots but I refused to replace any of the main organs.
Not in this context. No matter the arguments my stubbornness had caused. I bowed to my patient’s request for a lot of things but held every inch on that particular subject.
I carefully aimed my mechanical syringe over my patient’s chest. The needle slowly disappeared between two ribs until it pierced a minuscule hole in her left lung. It injected military-grade nanofilters that coated the internal wall of her lung.
A nurse changed the cartridge of the syringe. The other sprayed healing agent. I repeated the process with the right lung.
Gas-based anti-intruder measures: pawned.
The next step consisted of cutting open her limbs one by one to replace her muscles. The ones I put in had been organically grown around a web of metallic fibers; they never tired. Ever.
A nurse rolled an organ preserver in. Surprise hit me and then, gratitude. Sheer gratitude.
“I wasn’t sure I would get them in time,” Gabriel said.
It wasn’t the standard hospital ones that kept organs alive for a week to facilitate transplants. These were military grade devices planned to preserve organs’ soldiers were obliged to temporarily forfeit for an array of reasons.
“Six months,” Gabriel confirmed. “There’s enough space for everything.”
I gingerly lay Lorelei’s bicep in the container. “We might survive this after all.”
“Thought you’d need a hope boost midway,” he teased. “You’re doing fine.”
There was no way in hell we mattered enough to the secret ops for them to procure this. I didn’t know how Gabriel got the containers but he either owned or called in a lot of favors. I would help him pay them off.
“We can’t tell her,” I said. “Not before it’s over.”
“I concur.”
Adapting to this amount of tech required a lot of will and I wasn’t going to shake hers by dangling her humanity in front of her eyes.
I injected bone strengthener in her bared humerus before attaching the artificial bicep. Once the nerve connections were stabilized, I moved on to the next muscle. Time flashed by while I doubled the solidity of each bone, tripled the stamina of her muscular system and gave her superhero strength.
“I need a break,” I said once all the incisions were covered in healing sealant.
“Me too.” Gabriel looked very pale. Investigating a dead body wasn’t quite like seeing someone you knew operated on.
“You’re doing fine,” I mocked.
Gabriel laughed, making me realize I needed that too. I had to let some steam out because in fifteen minutes, I would start implanting a handful of chips in my patient’s brain. One of them was called the “reboot chip” but could turn out to be a kill switch.
Suddenly, steam wasn’t the most urgent think to let out; my breakfast was.

24a – Remission >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “Killing Time OST – 23c – iBroker Souls

  • Jenn

    I honestly don’t know if I could do something like this…on either end. You did fantastic with the discriptions. Although I think you got the wrong muscle for a leg. Isn’t the bicep part of the arm, not the leg?
    Loving it!

    • Aheïla

      Yeah, it was a pretty gruesome scene. That’s why I wrote Vexx as referring to Lorelei as “the patient” throughout; detaching him from the fact he’s cutting open the woman he loves.
      And I never mentioned which limb was being cut open first, just the muscle and the bone which are both part of the arm. 😉

  • ralfast

    I like how Gabriel has taken the father figure approach to dealing with them. It is certainly an interesting approach.

  • mish

    Ah , so you confirmed Vexx’s love for Lor in your comment above ! So where does this leave Gabriel ? Very interesting description of the surgical procedure !

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