2015-02-18 - The Big Offer


Sergeant Marie Ava Posey is out of the hospital and trying to rehab, figuring out the rest of her life with her injuries. A civilian doctor in a wheelchair comes and offers her the impossible, and promises it can be done.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: 2015-02-18
Location: Unnamed military medical rehab facility

Related Logs


Theme Song



With list in hand - on tablet computer, anyway - Dr. Veronica Kelsey comes rolling down the hallway of the rehab center. "I'm sorry, doctor. Johnson is clearly not ready for something like this program. The last thing I want to do is set back his psychological adjustments." She looks to the man walking with her, waiting for his acknowledgement.

"There was one more subject that had matched the profile. Patient number one-seven-nine-nine-three-one-seven." Veronica mentions. "Do we have time to visit her, today? I am willing to come back another day, but it would help me to do it all today if possible."

The doctor frowns slightly, more from concentration as he checks his documents, then he glances down at the doctor. He doesn't know - cannot know - what this Kelsey woman is doing. But he has to admit she is very thorough, and medically diligent as much with the patients' psychologies as with her experiment and their physical condition. "This way. Posey, Maria Ava. You've read her chart."

Around the corner they come, into the rehab room, Veronica rolling behind the male military doctor. He leads the way. "Sergeant Posey, excuse me." he offers, stopping by one of the padded workout benches, interrupting the ongoing physical therapy session. "I am hoping you won't mind speaking with another physician. Dr. Kelsey here has a special program she is working on. She'd like to discuss that with you, if you are willing?" He waits for an answer, because he can't leave a non-military medical staffer with a service member patient without their consent.

The Sergeant is heard before she's seen, grunting her way through her workout between panting breaths. She's not taking it easy, and her PT regime won't let her anyway. Garbed as much as she can be in the attire of her old life, the woman looks to be perhaps in her mid to late 20s despite that her chart says 32 and her hair is a salty greyed white, and her sweat-soaked black gym clothes are an exact thread-for-thread match with at least half of the center's patients - standard-issue Army PT gear. Except, as she turns around, that the 'ARMY' print in the middle reads something different: RANGER.

A single intense, focused green eye lands first on the male doctor before moving to Veronica in her chair. Her former uniform hangs limply in places - across her missing shoulder, through her missing thigh - and the black eyepatch on her left side doesn't quite cover the fresh and jagged scar slashed across it. Hispanic perhaps by complexion, though again on her chart it's only 'Other', the woman's jaw sets in thought for a moment before she turns back to her exercise. "Sure - knock yourself out."

The woman in the wheelchair rolls forward a bit, her gaze lifting from her pad to concentrate on the woman Ranger before her. "Afternoon, Ms. Posey. Pardon me, Sergeant Posey. That was rude of me, I apologize." She is clearly a civilian, not used to using ranks, but trying her best to be respectful and owning up to her own mistakes.

"My name is Doctor Veronica Kelsey, Sergeant Posey. I am here representing a special project with military clearance and funding. Our goal is to find soldiers injured in combat, whom we believe we may be able to help. Our intent is to prove the means, we hope, for those soldiers to resume better, more fulfilling and physical lives. Possibly even giving them the capability to return to full duty status."

Ss if well aware of the temptation of what she offers, Veronica tries to dim that hope a bit. "Please understand, I cannot promise anything. But I would like you to consider an evaluation. If you are willing, we will evaluate your current medical and psychological state. If you meet our criteria, we would enroll you in the program. All of your medical bills would continue to be covered, now by the program. And you would receive a stipend as well."

Now Veronica waits for the questions. There are always questions.

The wounded sergeant has enough time to force herself through a couple more reps as she listens, her body shifting and swaying as all of it is recruited to help her overworked and shaking arm. About halfway through, the Ranger stops and sets the weight down. Like so many parts of rehab, it's deceptively small and easy-looking - at least to her. A death-glare of frustrated dissatisfaction passes between woman and dumbbell before Posse turns back to the chair-bound doctor, flat-faced with impatience. "You're a mouthy one ain'tcha? Speak plain at me: what're you selling?"

"I'm not selling anything. Sergeant Posey. I'm asking you to consider signing on to this project. It's a risk. I won't lie about that. You won't be the first test subject." And from her tone it's easy to tell none of those others has been an unqualified success. Veronica shrugs slightly. "I know what it's like to have your entire life change, through something that you have no control over, and no way to go back." Her meaning is obvious, and she doesn't belabor the point.

"The point of the project is integrated assistive technologies. A significant improvement from even current generation top-end prostheses." Veronica explains. "The plan would be systems that would make you the equal of your previous physical capabilities. Not just walking, but running and jumping. Even kicking. Lifting, punching, full martial arts. And restoring your stereoscopic vision."

Yep. She's actually talking about remaking Posse as a bionic woman.

Posse's brow furrows on one side - the skin around her eyepatch flexes slightly but not as much. Nerve damage perhaps, or weak muscles?

"And how's that gonna' happen, you have a genie in a magic lamp or something? I've read about what fake parts can do today - didn't have s*** else to do while in a hospital bed."

Veronica shakes her head. "No. No magic djinn lamps." She rolls forward, then reaches into the breast pocket of her white lab coat and produces a card, which she offers to Posse. On it she can see:

Dr. Veronica A. Kelsey, MSE, MD, PhD
Founder, CMO, CEO
Cybernetics Unlimited Engineering

Posse twists and wiggles in her chair to turn most of the way around and reach out with her good arm, stopping a few inches short at first, then groping the rest of the way at air until she takes hold of the card. Bringing it up close to her one good eye, the soldier reads intently.

"That's a lot of titles, Doctor. So you make fancy cybernetics? Put that in writing and I'm in."

And Veronica glances at the military doctor, who has been staying back out of the way, before she then flicks something on the tablet in her lap and then offers it to Posse, putting it right at her hand this time so there can be no mis-aiming due to lack of proper depth perception.

"Here ae the contracts. When you're done reading, sign and date each one, and then hit send. That will activate the contracts with the offices, and you will be effectively released to the program." Veronica explains. "Whether that's tomorrow, or two months from now, if you sign, the van will be here within twelve hours. My number and email are on the card. If you have questions, let me know. If I can't answer them over the phone or by email, I'll come out here personally. You have my word."

Posse sets the business card in her lap to empty her hand, then closes it around the tablet, accepting the device carefully. She gives the verbiage only a brief glance before returning her gaze to Veronica. The seated doctor finally has her full attention.

"That's a tall offer. Why me?"

"Because your physical profile before your injuries, and the nature of your injuries, matches an established and agreed-upon profile." Veronica answers, in science jargon. But then she shrugs. "And because my impression is that you have the strength of will to face the challenges ahead and pull through, rather than my ending up trampling over your last shred of personal strength and snapping the string." Because she would know all about that.

"That sounds like ''Classified''," Posse responds dryly. "You've got some much less damaged goods to choose from here."

Dr. Kelsey shakes her head. "Being entirely honest, Sergeant? Yes, the project is classified." She cannot say 'we are being backed by DARPA, but that's likely damned obvious even to a Ranger. Maybe especially to a Ranger. "But the nature of your 'damage', as well as your psychological state and profile make you one of the best candidates." She doesn't want to point out that the disparate nature of Posse's losses means a single subject being a viable candidate testbed for multiple very different technologies they are trying to perfect. But she will, if she has to do so.

"I'm not going to push you into this." Veronica comments. "That's not who I am. I see an opportunity for us to help each other. You help me, by being the willing test subject and partner I need. I help you by doing the absolute best that I and my team can do to help make you physically whole again, and try to put you back into the field where you clearly feel you belong." She's not judging; it's not her place to judge and she doesn't have the personal experience. It has to be Posse's choice.

Posse gives the doctor a long look, fixing her with a one-eyed gaze, flat-faced and steady. Her breathing stops for several seconds, then a slow breath escapes out her mouth. "And you really think you can do that? Not 'whole enough to work chairforce flying a desk', humping in full battle-rattle, in and out of vehicles, and passing marksman quals?" Her tone is quietly skeptical and guarded. She doesn't dare hope.

Veronica meets that gaze steadily and without looking away. She understands this is important. And she doesn't answer right away; she lets the other woman have her say, voice her doubts. They are valid and worthy and should not be made light of by her; they won't be. "You don't know me, Sergeant." Roni comments; statement of the obvious. "But I think you can clearly see how important this kind of work would be to me, personally as well as professionally."

Veronica shifts in position, pulling velcro straps and putting them in place around her legs in multiple places, and around her waist. She checks a few things with a tug or a twist here. And then she taps a control … and her chair transforms, as she stands up. Or rather, the exoframe that the chair has become stands up and brings her with it, until she is now eye to eye with the powerfully built soldier sitting on the padded workout table in front of her. Then she holds out her hands, proving she's not giving any commands, and walks, turning this way and that, around the table until she returns to her earlier spot.

"Yes, Sergeant. I genuinely believe I can do that." Roni grins. "And I'll make you a deal: you give it your all, and I'll give it mine. If we fail, I'll sit still and let you pummel my face in to vent your frustration." Brave geek.

Posse's eye grows large and round and she stares with rapt focus as the doctor stand, move, and even walk around the room with the aid of her chair. Her head rocks backwards in an impressive anti-nod, until Veronica makes her offer. Posse's composure slips as she doubles forward and sputters a laugh. "Pfft! What kind of wife-beater jarhead do you take me for? Don't bullshit me, doc', we're going to give whatever it takes; failure is not an option."

And Veronica reaches up a gentle hand to touch Posse's cheek, making sure it is the cheek that has an eye in it, so as not to startle or upset her; yes, she's smart and self-aware enough to be that careful. "I don't take you for a wife-beater, jarhead, Ms. Posey. I swear I don't. But at least now you know how serious I am that I think we can do this. And that'll help you have faith in me, and in the project, even when it is frustrating and feeling hopeless. I know how that can get."

That said, Veronica steps back, keys something on the exoframe's side, and it transforms back into a chair with her seated in it, still strapped in. She then releases those straps as no longer necessary. "I'll leave the pad with you. You consider it. Questions are welcome. Email them to me. If you decide to sign … as I said, the van will be here in twelve hours."

Posse watches impassively as the hand comes up and her face flattens into a stiff mask while she listens. The gesture might not have its intended effect, but the sergeant is polite enough to wait until Veronica removes it herself. With the tablet still on her thigh, her hand moves to rest on it idly, navigating easily with the feedback from her leg, and the wounded Ranger nods her head once in acknowledgement. "Roger that."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License