2020-03-11 - What's Up, Doc?


Ava has a checkup with her doctor, and they catch up regarding RESCUE-related things, including the cyborg's forthcoming upgrades.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Mar 11 00:00:00 2020
Location: RESCUE Campus - Disaster Zone - NYC

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Theme Song



The door to the examination room slides open as the wheelchair outside closes to a certain threshold, and the labcoated woman in said chair rolls on in. Roni does not look up right away, however, but is concentrating on the tablet in her lap, flipping through and reading test results. Her tone of voice is a mite absent-minded, as such.

"Afternoon, Ava. Sorry I am late. I have been going over your latest test results, and the sims from the latest iteration of the improved limbs and systems. How are you doing, stuck on the earlier-generation gear and the helmet?" Roni inquires, getting started on the appointment as she continues checking the last few things on the tablet.

"Still functioning," the cyborg replies in her factual manner without any extra sugar-coating. The good doctor is sweet enough already.

Standing when Roni enters, Ava begins their long-practiced medical routine. A smartphone wordlessly slips from her natural hand into her pants pocket and the bionic woman starts to undress. "Headaches still come, Advil knocks 'em down. I'm on three pills daily now."

Veronica glances up and frowns slightly. "Damn. I was hoping with over a week to adjust to the new situation the headaches would have abated. I think our only chance at this rate is the new system, post-implantation. And that's likely to be headache inducing all its own." Done with her tablet for now, she rolls closer and looks over the undressing cyborg, assessing her movements and solidity.

"I'm sorry we haven't got that nailed down. But Nadia and I have the surgery planned. As soon as we nail down the last elements of the upgrades, we can get started." Veronica explains. "Recovery from the surgery itself should be minimal, near-zero. But adapting to the new unit … you remember. There's just no way to know until we're in it."

"I'll manage," the tawny woman reassures. From an outside perspective the bionic vet might be moving well, with her natural parts appearing comfortable and natural in their range of motion and even a better-than-average dexterity to her artificial replacements as Ava tugs off her coat then works on her shirt, baring herself from the top down. To a more practiced eye however, "better-than-average" is still a far cry from natural, and knowing where the anchors attach her prosthetics to healthy muscles and tendons, the illusion is further reduced. Her dependence upon the feedback missing from her helmet is evident in how Ava's head turns to aim her sole remaining eye towards her false arm while trying to tug her shirt off around the bulk of her helmet, and there's none of the previous fluidity with how she's standing. Her core is working harder to maintain balance and even, subtly, she's leaned her hips back against the exam table to focus on one task at a time. And yet, the cyborg doesn't complain.

"'Sides if you keep rebuildin me I'll get another hundred years outta' this body. How's yours?" she asks with a look back down to the seated doctor once the black cotton of her shirt is above her eye. Veronica has the cyborg's torso half-exposed in profile. If she wanted to check shoulder ROM or lower ribs, now's not a bad opportunity.

And Veronica's eye is very, very practiced. And the sensors in the room are monitoring everything, the recordings saved for later digital analysis. "Just you always remember our deal, Ava." Veronica murmurs softly, though in no way so softly the cyborg can't hear it. She rolls forward, getting an up-close look at the seating of the two legs and the state of irritation and inflammation of the flesh there. It's very minor, but it's not zero, which it would have been with the upgraded units that were ruined in Ukraine.

"My body? Or my headache?" Veronica questions, smiling at her friend and patient. They've had a good long time to find their balance in that relationship. It's a challenge at times, but they make it work. It's their life; both of them.

Catching the doctor looking down, Ava's pants drop a second later and the cyborg muscles herself backwards onto the exam table, once again favoring her organic side but no longer relying on it completely. For whatever her prosthetics might lack compared to their successor, they are still progress from the wounded soldier the brunette doctor first met. "Understood. If it's big enough to matter, I'll tell you," she replies, staring directly into Veronica's brown eyes to assert her point. Her underwear stays on for now, and her pants remain caught above her knees, leaving the bionic women's mounting points not quite fully exposed still - but close. More exposed are the myriad tattoos, monotone and colored, that traverse the white-browed woman. Each one in its own way tells a story, some more obvious than others.

"Your call," Ava offers back, outwardly stoic but for her, what passes for relaxed and casual.

Roni sighs, meeting that gaze firmly and refusing to budge. "I can't make it better, for you or anyone else, if you won't tell me the truth. I'm not asking you to whine, Ava. And you know me well enough by now to know I'm not going to force-feed coddliing to you." She may want to, but she won't. But the whole goal of this project is tech not just for Ava, but for others with their own needs for cyberlimbs and other prosthetics.

"Headache is not great." Roni admits. "Not sleeping well, and the emotional stress is pretty high. Doing what I can to work through it, but … that's not going to be easy. Getting easier with the replacements getting close to deploying." Then at least one of her failures will have been mitigated. But nothing will bring back those murdered men. "Pretty sure you didn't miss the memo, yesterday, about Neena?"

"I caught it from the reports," Ava acknowledges with a nod, her tone turning more somber and thoughtful. Far from a staring contest, the exchange of visual pressure seems to have happened naturally, maybe even by accident, and the bionic chief of security doesn't make any special mark of it as the conversation continues. Just as freely as it came, her gaze finds somewhere else to look - noting briefly the trim of Roni's hair.

"We need to get our workouts going again - wear your body out to match your mind," she advises. "You were on the front-line for that. What do you think?"

Veronica considers Ava's suggestion, and nods. "That might not hurt. Might help me sleep better, at least. And exercise is never a bad thing." And doing it with someone always helps keep her going and seem less like an isolated antisocial loner. "Let's try to set something up tomorrow."

When Ava puts the whole Domino thing back on her, she sighs and grimaces. "It was not easy, facing her. Hearing it all. Harder still … telling her my side of things. But she had to know what she's in for. She agreed to my rules. So, we'll see." One thing keeping her up last night was thoughts of just how much of her own thoughts and feelings she had exposed to someone who had already proven she could not be exactly trusted.

"You two already talked?" the cyborg realizes in surprise. "Good. What rules did you lay down?" she asks, then glances down at her half-exposed self, "and what's next to inspect?"

"One moment. I need to turn up the zoom." Veronica offers, and then she taps at her tablet a bit and peers close at Ava's face - her eye, in particular. That was the last she needed. Then she rolls back. "I'd like you to remove the legs. I want to check their sockets and seating separated, please." Roni explains.

While rolled back she considers. "She obeys you in all things, period. She never again takes a job while she's on an op for us, though I left it open for her to take things whenever she is off-duty for us. And I told her to donate every thin dime she got for the Russian job to the families of the murdered Ukrainians." Veronica does not bring up exactly how she worded that first condition, though. Nope. Not doing that. "Also, she's staying orange-badge, until we decide she has proven she can remain trustworthy."

Ava leans forward and works the release on her lower leg, breaking its seal with her mounting socket and allowing it to slip loose before leaning back and tugging her clothes off of the other socket at her hip. It's an old, old exercise for the cyborg to be doing one-handed - she doesn't even attempt to use her bionic limb for this. Just like that, things have regressed three, even five years.

"Nothing tough then," she considers thoughtfully, then concedes, "Those are the same conditions I give to everyone, on *every* mission." The second limb detaches and Ava lets her second leg fall away until it clears her socket before muscling it onto the table beside her with a grunt, entangled in her pants with her other fore-leg. Where the two prosthetics attached, crisp titanium and carbon stumps protrude from the tawny woman's body, grafted expertly to her muscles, tendons, and skin. Gone is the pressure socket, gone is the thick stretch sock. It is perhaps Roni's less dazzling but most critical innovations for the hard-charging amputee.

"She really fucked us," Ava grumbles, finally voicing her own opinion.

Veronica nods. "She did. And I told her so, in no uncertain terms." She made the woman tear up, and she didn't miss that reaction. She also didn't call it out. "She fought hard that day in Ukraine. Too little, too late, and I agree with that assessment. But that doesn't make it untrue, either. And she didn't hesitate before risking herself this past weekend, and that without pay or any offer of bonus or acceptance." Veronica doesn't bother pointing out that they may very well not have been able to end that scenario as bloodlessly as they did without Neena's assistance; Ava knows that as well as Roni does.

Veronica rolls back forward and leans in to examine Ava's stumps carefully. "OK. Irritation present, as expected, but relatively minimal. I am glad to see that your skin is not reacting negatively to the old alloys." At least not yet. There are reasons why they upgraded things, after all. "This week, I want to get a new simulator programmed for you, so that you can start training ahead of the new installation. Final decisions aren't in yet, but I can virtually guarantee you that we will be making more changes than just the replaced power cells, servos, and communication hubs. But we're staying with the milspec grade units, not the advanced civilian prototypes." Roni knows Ava is aware of those. She makes no secret of their developments, after all.

"Her heart's in the right place, but she's an idiot," Ava remarks in brief as the topic moves on. Leaning back on her elbows, she gives the doctor whatever time she needs for her examination. It's always nicer when the nitrile gloves don't come out. "So what I had but better? Anything new I should look forward to?"

"Short-term AG pods built-in." Yeah, Ava might or might not remember that abbreviation. It's a new one on Augmenta's gear load-out: anti-gravity pods, intended to lift big things up and neutralize their mass temporarily to make them easier to move. Also useful when applied to a beefy target to lose them their traction for the use of their massive strength. "Also considering short-run forcefield generators. Improved telescopics in the new eye, refinements on all of the sensors. I've already fitted sonar-scopic arrays into the limbs to allow you to get sonar imaging of your surroundings in zero light. You had to wear the suit to get that before."

Ava smiles - at Roni's generosity, at the doctor's inventiveness, or at what she could do with the improved tech is hard to tell. "Well damn you might as well just kiss me now. That is a wish-list," she remarks gratefully, then thinks briefly before nodding. "I can wait for that. What's next on the exam?"

"Let's test your zoom and pan and scanline accuracy with the old eye, and then we should be good for today." Veronica offers. "Oh. I wanted to ask: I came up with a design that would include two three-shot neuro-disruptor dart launchers, one in the arm and the other in the left leg. I wasn't sure if you would be interested, or if I should use that space for something else."

That said, eye charts form themselves on various sections of smart wall, ready for reading and examination, waiting for Ava to start reading them aloud.

"I can always use a holdout weapon but what's legality on those things?" Ava asks pensively, not quite ruling either way on the further upgrade. Pushing herself back up to a comfortable sitting position, the amputee turns her attention to the wall and works her way down a line at a time. The effect of suddenly losing half her vision - again - speaks for itself without the green-eyed woman having to admit it.

Veronica nods. "They are non-lethal weapons. So they effectively fall under the same federal and state guidelines as tranq rifles." Which are viewed as hobbyist items and tools, not weapons, and unrestricted even for convicted felons. "We're also going to upgrade the OS and interface for the eye's Augmented Reality systems. Again, we're moving beyond the need for the suit for at least basic functions there. And a lower-powered isolated-circuit cellphone transmitter will be embedded, with a failover to the suit when you're geared up."

Ava occupies herself reading the rest of the charts at least as far as she can while mulling things over then, after a lapse of silence asks, "Anything new for rain and oil changes?" Water-proofing and long-term field use. After basic mobility they're the requests that came up most often in the early days of the bionic vet's prosthetic developments, but as the reality of cutting-edge technology set-in, they've come less and less. Some designs took trade-offs.

"I had been considering tac sleeves for the limbs to seal them up. But that would render the hidden dart launchers pointless." After all, Ava would have to peel the sleeve away from the limb to clear the weapons for use. "I did finish a field strip and repair manual for the old design. I had planned to update it for the upgrades, and let you start practicing with it."

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