Suspension Of Disbelief


hector_icon.gif iago_icon.gif

Scene Title Suspension of Disbelief
Synopsis The day prior to the Argentina cell's end, one last routine maintenance session goes south when Hector and Iago fail to be forthcoming with each other.
Date December 30, 2009

Cerro de Hierro Negro

Crank crank crank.


"You've been sleeping in it again, haven't you?"


Goggles up over his brow, lab coat not bothered with at all, Hector glances away from the compartment he's unbolted long enough to lift a lens and squint at the scarred join of flesh and machinery that constitutes Iago's thigh.

He doesn't touch — not there, anyway — but the sidelong look he casts over at his stalwart companion before he drops the lens and picks up the socket wrench again is one of unconscious, longsuffering disapproval. They've done this dance before.

The pair of them are in one of an indistinguishable multitude of cavern workspaces. Iago has his metal calf propped up into a specially designed support on a specially designed table, trou abandoned in favor of boxers to expose the full span of spit and polish that constitutes his once destistute (and indeed, entirely absent) leg. The leather recliner the rest of him is in is raised to account for the height of the table, and the leg itself is — well. A work of art, in a way.

Bunches of elastic black cording and slender hydraulic pistons do the same work God designed human muscle with more power and greater efficiency. Silver and bronze smooth hard edges; portions of the knee and clawed, skeletal foot even look to have been gilded at some point or another. It would be elegant if it wasn't so terrifying.


Hector's seen it thousands of times before and is no more afraid than he is in awe of his own work. He is, however, taking unusual care in how he pries the cap off the knee with a flathead. For the especially astute, not only is he taking unusual care: he looks distantly nostalgic. And is smiling faintly to himself.

"It was the horse." Though not denying that he's slept in it. Setting his head back against the recliner, Iago occupies himself with digging out a small plastic pill container from a pocket, twisting it open with a small rattle of the antibiotics within. A couple are tapped out onto his palm, downed without water, and he attempts to relax.

It's not a human leg and doesn't try to look like one, but all the same, Iago takes in a quick breath when the metal cap is wrenched away, as tenderly as it is. As if expecting it to hurt. It doesn't, naturally, the leg more than adequately supported to prevent unnecessary twinges to where metal turns to flesh, but they call that psychological, and the muscle in his thigh tenses in tandem. Like most things that register on an emotional level, it's never quite enough to distract him, and his eyes go from Hector's hands up to his face, as much as eye contact is one of those things that are a sometimes necessity.

"What is it?" he asks, a slow blink accompanying the words.

"Hmmnnrroothing," comes out at a sort of mumbling, grumbling denial of anything being it while Hector narrows another wary look at inflammation and corrosion in such close quarters. Horse his ass. No use arguing though. Iago's taking his antibiotics and a quick squeeze off an air puffer sends dusts and bits of grit whirling out've the open knee. A few fine black hairs drift after it, lending some credit to the horse excuse after all. …Brow faintly knit, Hector opts to ignore them.

A puff of air from his own lungs clears lingering fuzz away, and the two adjacent compartments up the thigh and down the shin respectively flip back without protest. "I was just thinking, you know. About the original prototype, and how a toggle got switched to bionic woman mode or something — I can't even begin to recall why I imagined that would be a good idea. Just that it was two hours before I found a ladder tall enough to get up into the tree — " It's hard not to chuckle, but he manages to quash it down into a snort as he draws a latex glove over his left hand and sinks it thoughtlessly down into a tub of grease. "It wasn't funny at the time."

Somewhere halfway through, Iago rests his head back once more and regards the bright lights and past that, the mottled stone ceiling with an appropriate amount of apathy. His sound leg is braced casually against the table, toes curling and the chill of the mountain's interior stands hair on end. There are scars, too, recent and old, and as often as his bionic leg needs to be doctored— perhaps it would be better to have them both be machine. The rest of him. All of him. Slice out flesh, replace it with iron and gold, wires where veins run and oil and grease for blood.

Of course, drinking would probably be out of the question. So. So. He rolls his head to regard Hector again and asks, instead, "Have they talked to you?"

Left hand suspended over the tub at a stiff pause, right wrapped carefully round mechanical knee, Hector…hesitates. There's a minor fuss at the corner of his mouth — a twitch at his ginger-touched goatee to precede another at his brow, and at the end of it all he has the audacity to inquire, "…What? Who?"

There's a sick-sounding plop when excess grease clods black off the ends of his fingers and back into the pot that sort've stirs him back to reality, and with tell-tale unease, his eyes flicker a little too quickly back to Iago and his recliner. Damn. What has he already said? Did he ask who? Surely not!

"No," he decides on another uncertain delay. This time when his eyes flicker, it's to the aforementioned toggle. The same one that initiates the process by which the dock is broken between metal and flesh.

Eventually, eventually, Iago's attention slides back off Hector, and as far as his usual lapses of silence go, this one errs on the side of unsettling. There's no growl or sneer in the face of what is a reasonably obvious lie, words coiled back up and kept within as Iago instead regards the security installations in the corners of the room, unblinking beady black eyes as is standard procedure within a mountain bunker led by a reasonably paranoid master.

His arms raise, rubs his hands over his face, finding bristle of unshaven jaw with his fingers, then up through better kept hair, carding it back. "Perhaps they should have," he suggests, and leaves it at that, suspicion, like many things, kept completely out of his voice which contains only thick accent and monotone. "By now, they should have." Runs his tongue over his teeth, before he, too, watches the engineer work on his leg with more attention than he usually does.

Aware of lengthy pauses and increased scrutiny, Hector is slow to ply his fingers into the gaps exposed by retracted plating. With the last application of grease already flushed clean, it's a simple matter of — slicking it all down in there. And hoping nothing snaps or triggers that will cause him to need a mechanical limb also while his hand's down in there.

"I don't think 'e likes me very much," said (presumably) of Kazimir, Hector frowns to himself most frownily. It's harder to lie to Iago. Although on second thought — his hand pauses, then resumes — Kazimir probably doesn't like him very much, so it's not really a lie so much as it is truth by virtue of omission.

"Nobody trusts me for some reason. I think it's the goatee."

"I trust you with my leg." That could almost be humour, and probably is. It's just delivered without even a hint of a smile or variation in tone, nor is he regarding Hector anymore. Once more towards security cameras, likely feeding a blue and wobbly version of this very scene into some computer somewhere. His metallic limb twitches as one as he shifts in his chair, briefly straining against its bracing system before the man attached to the metal relaxes against, vague discomfort crossing impassive features.

He juts up a chin towards Hector. "Did you recover the files their technopath deleted? I would not like Herr Volken to think we do not run a smooth operations down here." Then, a nod to the leg. "How much longer?"

"I suppose there is that," says Hector of trust and legs, even if it is borne of necessity rather than affection or — whatever is closest to affection that Iago is capable of feeling in the big gritty stone where his heart should be. No moving parts in that one, are there?

"Some of them," is confessed offhand and conspicuously without specifics while gloved fingers work grease in around the main rod, back and forth in — no nevermind. Best not to think too hard on that. Er. Too intently. Hector blinks unevenly at himself and only just manages to catch the last question to where he can reply with a semi-timely, "Nearly done, sir."

Some of them is not quite the answer Iago was looking for, and this time, his mouth does pull into a brief scowl, a hand gesturing vaguely as if to dismiss the man. He's not, obviously — he still has his leg, although now he does lever himself up to sit more, the contraption keeping his leg still creaking along with the movement. "You are done now," he informs the engineer, reaching towards where his pants are folded up. "I have more important things to be doing — necessary things, now that we have Herr Volken with us again."

Rough fingertips snag on his slacks, and he unfolds them with a brisk whip of movement. "I told you, didn't I. Of his return. And he has such plans." All of this, stated in his usual flatline tone, but he watches Hector carefully as he speaks.

"But — I'm not," disagreed somewhat ineffectually, Hector stays dumbly put for a beat before he realizes he should probably make use of the few seconds he has left and actually get done. Or at least, more done than he is now. Grease applied more haphazardly to the lower half than it should be, he nudges the compartment carefully closed with the heel of his hand on his way to stripping his glove off. Then the rest are clamped down clack-clack-clack and he's reaching for the socket wrench to start fastening things where they belong lest they flap open or fall off entirely in active use.

"You did mention, yes. Though I think there are a few things you might've left out by accident." There's nothing of extreme interest in Hector's expression when he says so, but his tone of voice bears some strong resemblance to muttery behind the back talk when he glances over in the process of flipping his spent glove into a trash bin.

Trou draped over his sound leg, Iago is leaning forward to undo leather straps that keep machinery in place and still despite thigh twitches and wriggling in recliners. He moves slowly but efficiently, as ever, but pauses a little over Hector's words as if his hands were stumbling. Then, smoothly slides a strap of leather free, and swings his leg up and off the brace. There's a clang as the metal heel hits the edge of the table, Iago shifting in his recliner to get sound leg through on pant sleeve with a rustle of fabric and the click of his belt.

"Really?" is all he inquires, before he scrapes his metal leg off the table, letting it fall heavily. By now, Hector is relieved of his stare, back half-turned to him as he focuses on getting dressed.

"Really," confirmed with irritatingly acrimonious flair in the form of upturned and splayed hands smudged with grease despite his best efforts, Hector kicks the trashbin flippy lid thing back down with his heel and paces away to a laptop open on the table's far end.

He posture is excellent.

Areas suffering from wear and tear are noted with a rapid series of taps across the keyboard and there is a curt ctrl s flop of the laptop being closed with about as much respect as he spared the trashcan. Done. Done enough to pace for the door like a passive aggressive wife who's found out about something naughty you did but you're not sure what and are apparently supposed to guess.

The slide of slacks pauses again as Iago watches Hector go, his brow furrowing now as he's quickly left alone in the workshop, and years of being actually married, once, misplacedly tell him he should follow his stout English companion in the wake of his brisk departure. Instead, he takes his time, getting dressed and pushing the one foot that needs it into a boot. If it mattered, he might follow. Incidentally, it does not. The recliner squeaks when he levers himself up off it, and soon, the familiar thunk-clang of boot and metal appendage moving in rhythm sounds out as he moves in an opposite direction.

As he'd said, he has more important, necessary things to do — and there's the question, undoubtedly a question, of the end of the world.

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