Mechanics 'R' Us


marlowe_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Mechanics 'R' Us
Synopsis Monica— worried about the status of her arm and of Jiba— comes to a friend for a check up.
Date April 15, 2018

Yamagato Building

As the first recipient of the YX Cestus Prosthetic Limb, Monica has been tasked with putting it through its paces. So it isn't entirely unusual for her to show up in the workroom with… interesting problems. But finding bugs is what beta testing is all about.

Tonight is different. She is different. No greetings when she comes in the room, no smiles, no jokes, just a blank stare into the middle distance and a walk that might be described as robotic. She comes over to her team's work area, her arm clunking against a table. "Who's in tonight?" Probably no one, but Jiba knew there was some urgency after tonight's work. Especially given that Monica came here before seeking proper medical attention for her wounds.

«Due to the unusual circumstances filed in Miss Damaris’ initial report, a request has been sent to Miss Terrell to assist in this work order,» Jiba’s voice enters in audibly, seeming to come from the air around Monica but also within her head at the same time.

There’s nobody else in the workroom at this hour, given how Yamagato insists on the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Mostly. Depending on one’s definition of healthy. But also, Monica’s team usually isn’t needed on such an emergency based basis.

The double doors to the workroom open minutes later, admitting Marlowe in with the appearance that she’s just changed out of her working out appearance to that of a standard jumpsuit. A tablet’s in her hand similar to the many that are used in the company. Hers just happens to have a spangly red cover on it with a couple of Japanese characters on it. “Hey Moni,” she greets lightly as she peers at the screen, “got a call that you need a tune—“

Marlowe stops in her tracks and in her words, once she’s looked up from the tablet screen to look at Monica. At the arm. But really, at Monica. “Up.”

Her free hand pulls away from the tablet and covers her mouth in a bit of horrified shock. Even so, Marlowe approaches where Monica stands, her eyes wide and taking it all in. She’s normally the one responding to Monica with a barrage of chatter, as it has been since the earliest times. Years ago, Marlowe was one of the first to help engineer the YX Cestus prosthetic. Now all of that’s pushed aside by the weighty silence, until she turns to examine the arm. Monica’s seen that look on Marlowe’s face before, seen the way the woman’s eyes seem to find exactly where she needs to place her hand on the arm.

Marlowe doesn’t say very much for a moment. Then, she asks quietly, “Exactly, what did you do?”

"Thanks, Jiba," Monica says as she leans heavily back against the table. Her hand drags down her face before falling back to her side. "Hey," she says, voice echoing through the empty room as she addresses the voice in her head, "are you okay? After all that? I'm so sorry I didn't stop her before she got to you." It might be odd to some, feeling guilt over an A.I. but it's been a long time since Monica thought of Jiba as anything less than another teammate.

She straightens up when Marlowe comes in, making the effort to look less haggard. It clearly doesn't help that much. "Yeah, it might be a little more than a tune up. Not sure," she answers as if this isn't weird at all, though. Her hand— the flesh and blood one— moves to support her weight so she can move the other for better access. The silence is noted with a glance over to Marlowe as she examines the arm. There is some surface damage, but obviously that's not what Monica is concerned about. "It wasn't responding earlier," she explains, "some kind of hiccup. I was hoping I just needed to turn it off and back on again…"

Any attempt at levity, though, goes out the window at the question.

"Turned down the wrong street."

«You’re welcome,» comes the polite, automated voice in reply to her thanks. Jiba is silent for a moment at the directed question, belated in answering, seemingly like the A.I. is processing a reply. «Technopathic abilities and their countermeasures are a large part of the security programs in the system. However, as with all new encounters, there was an unanticipated development. Do not worry, Monica. The communications are now secured and data analysis is in progress.» Perfectly practical. She might not know the true extent of the intrusion unless she were to dig a little deeper. If she wanted to.

Once her initial examination is complete, Marlowe looks Monica right in the eyes. She can read the skepticism that’s there, the obvious disbelief of the woman’s excuse. “You definitely went down the wrong street,” she says evenly, “and you’re still going down that road aren’t you? C’mon, Moni.” Marlowe flicks her fingers against the metallic and carbon fiber arm in a light chiding smack. “This here? This looks like you scraped it against metal going at some high velocity. What was it a fall? It’s no paint scratch,” she observes.

It seems even Marlowe’s avoiding the troubling topic of the arm not responding, though Monica can see her lips pursing in that way she gets when she’s thinking through things. The engineer turns away to the tablet she’s set down, tapping the screen in several spots and typing on the digital keys. Finally, a break in the typing comes when Marlowe addresses the air between them. “Jiba, I need the diagnostics to the YX Cestus between… 1700 and 2230 hours please.”

«Report sent, Miss Terrell

“Thanks Jeebs.” Marlowe is still looking down at the tablet screen and then she frowns, tapping at the results. “So you said there wasn’t any response earlier… what happened? And no, no. Turning it off? No, that’s… it’s connected to you, Moni. You don’t just reset it.”

"Call me sentimental, Jiba, but I do worry about you. I mean, the communications, too, of course." But Jiba first. Monica accepts his answer, though, not digging deeper for the moment. Because they have an audience.

She looks back at Marlowe, meeting her gaze. The disbelief doesn't seem to cause any embarrassment or guilt. Or even acknowledgement. But she sees it there, for sure. "I live down that street, Mar. I have since I manifested. This is what you know," she says with a gesture to the room they're sitting in, "and this is what I know." Her finger taps against the high velocity damage.

"The physical damage shouldn't be too bad," she says, swinging topics, "nothing we can't bang out, anyway." She leans over, trying to peek at whatever it is Marlowe is writing. Even though she's not likely to understand it. Be it technical jargon or emojis.

"It was a joke, Mar, I know we don't reset it." She knows that much. But it also gives her a moment to formulate an answer. "I don't know, exactly. There was— probably an SLC Expressive there. Nosebleeds from staring too hard aren't normal unless you're like us." As to the nature of the SLC-E POS, she doesn't speculate.

As if to acknowledge the sentiment discreetly, Jiba’s response is a short two-tone chirp in Monica’s mind. Thank you.

Marlowe waggles her finger at Monica, similarly not brooking her counter argument. “Just because you lived on a bad street doesn’t mean you need to go putting on a cape and mask, you know. Still, I know the feeling. Can’t help yourself but be a hero.” She smirks at the other woman. But it dissolves into focus on the arm, because she’s technically on the clock at this point. There’s a few words Monica could make out, but her notes are for the large part in shorthand or Japanese, or both. The fingers pause in tapping at the note about an SLC-Expressive. Monica can see she’s sussing out the possibilities.

“There’s a block of time where Jiba cut communications,” she eventually notes, turning the tablet screen so Monica can see a chart of numbers and percentages that abruptly drops to zeroes and dashes indicating a lack of data. Then it starts up again. “I mean, mechnically speaking your arm was fine.” That part is spoken with a sense of pride. The engineer is damn proud of her work. “But here’s where you’d get a little worried. This spike,” she points to where the numbers jump and then drop. “Like, to put it simply, either this was a penetrative electromagnetic shock of sorts, trying to short out your arm that got past the nonconductive elements… or the digital equivalent of it. Overload. From an external source.” Does it make sense? To Marlowe, it does.

Marlowe’s mouth purses in thought, and she reaches over to gently place her hand on the section that was punctured by the guard wielding the kitchen knife. It’s an odd sensation that registers in Monica’s brain, a little bit like a tickle, a little bit like an itch. What she sees is the material of the arm warping beneath the touch as small sparks of blue lightning dance out from where Marlowe touches the armored frame. If she looks up to Marlowe’s eyes, she’ll see the woman’s irises have turned a molten golden color. And where the energetic sparks touch, the arm’s material starts to fill back in and mend itself to the original condition.

"Hey. I never wore a cape or a mask. I had a hoodie and it was the best." Monica's history is a little less public than other people who testified at the tribunals, but people can find out if they dig. But still, when Marlowe drops the word hero, Monica visibly sags. "It's not like that anymore," she says quietly. And she stays quiet while Marlowe explains the situation with her arm, her gaze drifting, but her attention sharp. "I didn't see any other evidence of an EMP or anything. But technopath clogging me up with junk data or something, that's possible."

It made sense enough, perhaps.

"What can we do about it? If it's a… software issue, how do we make sure it's clean and working properly? I don't want to find out the hard way if there's something left behind." She glances to Marlowe at the touch, because it is odd. Her lizard brain still wants to see those dents and punctures as wounds but her arm only registers the touch as just that. A touch. She watches Marlowe's eyes change, then looks back to her arm to watch her fix it.

“Most people would say that the real heroes don’t wear capes or masks,” Marlowe counters with a warmer smile. “I was in support units during the war, helped in rebuilding efforts. The people would say I was a hero too.” And like Monica, she’d deny it. “It’s not that we don’t have heroes, just that they’re a little more fashion forward these days.” Like Monica and her Louboutins. That’s a thing. She doesn’t press the point, but takes care of the arm as she talks. Monica might be worse for wear, but in the long run Marlowe’s keeping the mood eased and calm. A doctor’s bedside manner, a barber behind the chair.

One by one, the dings and scratches are fixed with a little bit of care from Marlowe’s ability. The procedure not unlike a healer dealing with a wound, a surgeon at work but with significantly decreased recovery time. Within minutes, she’s restored the surface materials. The knife puncture is not visible, the gunshot grazes are buffed out. Marlowe flits her gaze over the arm in general, her eyes darkening back to their normal brown within a couple of blinks. She wipes at her brow even though there isn’t much sweat there, like this took effort. Just not as much as she dramatizes.

“There, right as rain.” She picks up her tablet again to make notes of the work performed on the arm. “It’s a good thing nothing impacted hard enough to make chips, because then we’d have to put in a requisition for some extra materials…” And from the way she makes a face, she’s not particularly fond of doing that. She’d much rather just have the materials there already and waiting. “So… on software issues, Jiba will have to get with the team handling the programming.” Her eyes jump up from the arm to Monica’s eyes. She adds quickly, “It’s literally not you, though. It’s.” Her finger taps on the the shiny tablet cover. “If I had to guess, a technopath would’ve been trying to use you, but security protocols in place managed to prevent them from doing real damage if they could bypass the checks. That would have been terrible.”

Marlowe bites her bottom lip. “I’m glad that wasn’t the case.” She pats Monica’s robotic arm lightly, the gesture meant to reassure the woman attached to it. “And honestly, Moni, if anybody managed to do that? Jiba and I would fight them! Nobody touches my girl friend without consequence. I might party like the best, but I can also kick ass like the rest.” She emphatically pumps a fist in the air.

"They usually mean firefighters when they say that. Cops. Soldiers," Monica says, dipping her head in Marlowe's direction. "I am in favor of a brand of heroism without spandex." It's a joke, but her tone doesn't quite make it there. She's worried. Tired. Haunted. But she does manage a smile for Marlowe's dramatics, mostly because she is truly grateful for her help.

"Thanks, Mar."

Monica lifts an eyebrow at her mention of requisitions, but sounds more amused when she notes, "Why not put in the req now, then have it when we need it?" But the software issues bring her frown back around. "Okay, Marlowe, I get that part. How long?" There's desperation in that question. She doesn't bother to hide it from her friend. "How long until it's back to one hundred percent? Until it's safe? And can we stop this happening in the future? Some kind of block against technopathy. EMPs. Hell, metal manipulators." She's in something of a panic, although that much she keeps lowkey.

The touch, the words, they are reassuring. Monica smiles. "I believe it. I've seen you mad."

“You were going to say medics too, right?” Marlowe adds in, because she knows at least that much about Monica’s background in the war. She moves to lean up against the table beside the woman, looking out to the work room area. The desperation earns her a sidelong glance, and for a moment there is silence as Marlowe thinks over all the possibilities mentioned. “Mmmm…” the woman hums the word with a form of pensive thought. “That’s going to take some time,” she admits after, “and there’s going to be a few tests involved.” The mention of her being mad gets a blink and Marlowe turns more fully to her friend. “What!? I don’t even. Pff.”

Oh, there’s been moments of being mad. Foggy knows a few choice phrases because of it.

“Anyway, metal manipulators ain’t got nothing on you, Moni,” she says after a short dismissive wave. “The arm’s construction is of a carbon nanofiber and protective nonconductive gel encased in—” She stops mid-sentence, glancing from Monica to the arm. “Hm… well maybe if we were to use something like flexible fiberglass, that could prevent a metal manipulator.” Her gaze lifts back up to regard her very concerned friend, and once more she smiles. “Listen, we’re here for you. And we aren’t going to just drop you off out there all alone. It’s why there’s a monitoring system in the first place, right? It might be a little weird to anybody else, but it’s all in the best interests of everyone. Especially yours.”

“People don’t really think about medics when they say that,” Monica points out. “Anyway, the point is that sometimes I find trouble.” It’s not always heroic. Lately especially. “I’ll be good for when this thing goes commercial. They’ll have all sorts of talking points.” Not everyone will have a body shop downstairs, though.

“If you don’t get mad, then how does my bird know how to swear in Japanese? Hachiro?”

While Marlowe explains how long things will take and how protected she is and isn’t, Monica looks down at her hands. They brush down her shirt, finding a damp spot from her bullet wound. There’s a sigh from her before she looks back up to Marlowe. “What you’re saying is… it’s a good thing Kay wants to bench me for a while.”

A flush to Marlowe’s cheeks darkens visibly and she cuts a glance away when Monica mentions Foggy knowing a few key phrases. “Um… well you don’t know! It could be from Elaine, or someone.” She flails a hand dismissively. “Anyway! The arm’s a part of you, Moni. And if a part of you got sick or hurt or whatever, we will always be here to help get you better. Yamagato takes care of their own.” Her head bobs firmly to this notion. “Which means if Kay thinks you need to take a break, and we need a bit of time to take a look at the arm and make some adjustments so it works for you without any trouble, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Marlowe wags a finger at the woman. “And besides, then you’ll get a chance to feed Foggy crackers yourself instead of him calling Jiba to call me.” She grins at that, given it’s just a tease. The bond between the women and the bird is a strong, fond one.

Monica smiles— a real one now— as Marlowe tries to pass the blame around. But she lets her off the hook.

"I didn't teach him that, he figured it out on his own." Foggy is very smart, after all. "I'm just glad Jiba rolls with it." Jiba's a good sport. So is Marlowe. Foggy is a lucky bird, really. "Makes me wonder what they talk about when we're not around." Quantum physics? Who knows.

Pulling her hand away from her wound, Monica sighs at finding blood on her fingers. "I appreciate it. Us taking care of our own. I'm lucky to have the team I have." Her gaze flicks up to Marlowe, making sure she knows that she's a big part of that. "But speaking of it, I need to go see the medics. They're gonna yell at me again." For patching herself up. For worrying about her arm first. For getting shot at, probably. "Wanna come with?" It's spoken like she might be going to see a movie and wants her friend to come. But in reality, it might be more for moral support.

“That must be it,” Marlowe snaps her fingers, latching on to that excuse. “They at least sing to each other,” she considers, given the bird’s tendency to be chatty. “I could’ve sworn he sings in Spanish though.”

The moment Monica pulls her hand away and looks down, Marlowe glances down to. Monica can see her tense visibly, eyes rounding at the sight. “Moni…” Those round eyes look up at her and narrow back down. “Just how long were you going to sit here without telling me that you were shot!?” The upturn of Marlowe’s pitch is normal for the excitable woman. “Jesus, that’s… Yes. Yes, we’re going to the med-bay, right now.” Her arms move to help Monica up and will remain there to help her all the way to the on-site hospital.

Luckily for them, Yamagato does take care of their own.

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