The Knightwing


asi_icon.gif marlowe2_icon.gif monica_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Knightwing
Synopsis In celebrating reasons to give thanks, a new opportunity to do so comes in the form of Monica's next prosthesis.
Date November 28, 2019

From a distance, the city of Detroit looks to have remained like a fly trapped in amber over the last decade. Its sprawl has not grown much, its iconic buildings remain tall, its skyline largely unchanged. But from a distance, appearances are deceiving. That Detroit hasn’t changed since the Second American Civil War is nothing short of a miracle. But at its heart, in its streets, and under its roofs Detroit is more alive than it has ever been. Thousands of formerly abandoned properties were seized by the US government, offered as resettlement shelters for tens of thousands of fleeing civilians following the civil war’s conclusion. But the story of how Detroit clawed its way back from the brink is impossible to discuss without mentioning the serendipity of it all.

Prior to the civil war, Detroit was in a state of disastrous decline. Businesses within the city were folding, beginning in 2006 with the economic instability caused by the Midtown explosion and spiraling out of control as America did over the following five years. All of the major automotive companies in Detroit collapsed during this time, unable to be bailed out of their insolvency by the struggling US government. Detroit’s population fled en-masse to where there was work and those who couldn’t afford to or chose to stubbornly remain behind watched as the city’s infrastructure and industry imploded. It was this desolation that spared Detroit. When the civil war came, Detroit was not a strategic target. There were no active military installations, no government facilities, no industries to leverage for the war that would be worth the effort required to make them operational. Detroit slipped under the radar, and in doing so became a bastion for the future.

Following the civil war Detroit was populated by refugees and survivors. With nearby Chicago in ruins, Detroit became a hub of the new America that was rising from the ashes of war. The arrival of the tech company RayTech Industries started what is known as the Detroit Renaissance. As one of the few major cities untouched by the war, Detroit became a focus point for the rebuilding effort, for active resettlement, for the reconstruction of the American way of life. Detroit’s silhouette hasn’t changed, but once empty veins now pump with blood, a once dead heart now beats with the life of commerce and industry. It is perhaps fitting that the RayTech Tower — once bearing the General Motors brand — rises higher than any other building in the city.

It is within this complex of glass and steel that innovation is reborn. RayTech’s growing partnership with Yamagato Industries has opened the city up to an economic tsunami the likes of which haven’t been seen since the end of the second world war. It is no surprise, then, that the pursuit of bleeding edge technology begins here in the heart of RayTech’s enterprise.

That those seeking a new start find it in the city of renaissance, in the city of resurrection.

Where what was old can be new again.

SSOR-1 Secure Surgical Operating Room, RayTech Renaissance Tower, Detroit, Michigan

"You're sure I can't get you anything else? Post-op reports say you need to drink a lot of water. For hydration and lubrication." Marlowe sounds serious enough, all jokes aside. Clad in a sterile suit bearing the RayTech logo down one sleeve, she bends over her friend prone on the operation table, having waved off some of the robotic arms in expectation that Asi is not still controlling them - not like she’s swatting the hardworking technopath away.

And Monica wasn't given a mere stick to bite down upon, although if she really wanted one she could have had one. But Marlowe made sure every possible comfort that could be given safely was available, even if it was at her personal expense. Seeing the successful surgical process through was her objective goal, but subjectively… she wants to see her friends alive and well.

Monica is alive, that much is certain. The surgery was harder this time, with friends around she was more aware of how much she wanted to scream and worked at not letting herself. The tense staring at the ceiling was the best she could do and even now, she's working at unwinding herself. She hopes the tears on her face blend with the sweat she can feel spotting her skin— but she can't help if they didn't. Too late now.

"I'm good," she says to Marlowe, although there's a breathlessness to her voice. It might leave the impression that Monica's definition of 'good' and other people's are not the same. Lifting her new prosthetic, she closes the hand into a fist and opens it again. And that is good enough for her.

The arms and tools have all done their work, and all that's left is the human aspect of things.

Almost, at least.

Asi looks over a monitor reporting on the arm's function. All the statistics are within acceptable parameters— the response time of the neural interface so low that to most it might as well not exist. But was it enough? Monica was not most people. She went beyond. She's silent as she lets out a long exhale from her nose, starting to let the tension of the procedure seep out of her. Her shoulders ache, but she knows it's nothing like what Monica went through.

"You are a trooper, you know that?" she asks while she carefully unhooks the diagnostic equipment from the arm, monitors behind her going blank. The technopath was satisfied with the installation, a fact she confirms with the ghost of a smile that only touches the corner of her eyes.

There's still something on her mind. She offers her arm out, ready to help Monica up into a sitting position. She clasps her hand on the inside of the cybernetic's forearm, her eyes lightening to a brighter shade of blue than normal. "How does it feel? Any complaints?" Asi asks, her gaze just slightly off.

“Sorry I’m late,” says Richard as he strides into the recovery room in suit and shades, “If I’d missed the Thanksgiving meal I would’ve been gelatinized by my wife. Took the jet after we ate as fast as I reasonably could…”

Seeing the ‘patient’ moving and talking, a smile warms his expression, “Looks like the operation was a success, though. You doing alright, Moni?” Casual as he’s acting, there’s legitimate concern and caring in the way he looks at her, walking over to the bed, the others getting friendly nods of acknowledgement— but it’s Monica he’s most worried about.

Marlowe seems reluctant to destroy the relative sterility of the environment, but with the procedure complete she gives in to the inner urge. Gloves peel off, cap and mask pull away revealing only a light, natural made up face peering down. And a wetness in her eyes that threatens to ruin even that. Even Asi can see it from her position. "You're a tough one, Monica Dawson," she says almost chidingly as she reaches over with a clean sponge to dab at the beaded sweat. When Richard finally arrives, Marlowe turns to greet the man, the benefactor. "Please tell her thank you for letting us borrow you so soon," she says as she clears her throat lightly of the welling sense of released strain.

Eventually the attention turns back to Monica, specifically to the way she handles the new arm. The designer-engineer of the Knightwing cocks her head slightly off to a side, as if listening to the quiet mechanical sounds of parts whirring with each motion. And then abruptly she asks, "How's it look, though?" It was always a Thing with Marlowe, that the Cestus was, well. Aesthetically hefty. Hidden death triggers would do that.

Monica accepts Asi's help up, letting out a small groan at the shift. "I try," she says to the compliments, her smile crooked. Tired, but crooked. "It's not so bad once it's over," she quips, letting out a wry sort of chuckle. "It feels good, Asi. I'll have to put it through its paces soon to give you a real answer, though." She doesn't mind letting the technopath poke around, she helped make this possible after all. And she would know if something was wrong. Her attention shifts when Richard comes in, though, and she lets out a relieved sigh. She never had any doubt he would help— they'd had each other's backs enough times to know that— but she wasn't sure he would come himself.

She reaches out a hand for him when he comes over, and she gives him a warm smile. "I'm great," she says. Of course, they've had each other's backs enough times for him to know that she's covering. It isn't an easier surgery. And shockingly going through it more than once didn't make it any easier. "I'm glad you came. You know, even though— You know, the Japan trip… went long," which happens when you have to go into hiding from the government, "and when we finally made it back you were— busy." She doesn't mean busy. She means married. But it's suddenly hit her that they're in a room with witnesses. "I just have to find my footing." It's an old habit, and not a great one, to fade away when she doesn't know how to handle something. Punching things is a lot easier than interpersonal shenanigans.

Marlowe's question makes her laugh lightly, and she turns to look in her direction. "You know it looks great, come on."

"I think it looks like a work of art," Asi chimes in, her head turning slightly in Marlowe's direction with a flicker of a smile, her focus still somewhere inside the Knightwing. Once the small weight test of Monica pulling herself up is complete, she turns the cybernetic hand over, palm up, her fingertips still on the side of the arm. For moral support, surely.

"Open and close, finger by finger," she directs in a murmur, trying to be as least obtrusive as possible while she conducts her final fussing. The technopath is silent for a beat while observing the communications between nerve endings and technology, head lifting a touch to finally add, "You know," in a teasing voice. "I'm not even sure why I let you go through all this trouble. Now you are definitely going to be a pain in the ass to win against in a fair fight."

Don't worry, Marlowe, they'd only a little rough on the new arm.

"Good to see you, Ray," Asi adds after, though she doesn't go through the facade of actually looking his way to acknowledge him. The light neon of her eyes has swiveled back down to the arm itself to help with her focus on it.

“Do you think I’d miss this? And it looks great,” Richard observes as he steps over, reaching out to clasp Monica’s offered - fleshy - hand warmly as he stops beside her, looking the new cybernetic prosthesis over, “Very sleek. More you than the other one.”

“And hey, we’re all busy these days.” A crooked smile down to the patient, “I know Liz would love to see you stop by, when you’re all recovered of course.”

A look back up, “Asi, Marlowe. Good work, and— thank you. I’m glad Monica has friends like you.” Genuine warmth, and appreciation, there.

Like a proud mother, Marlowe doesn’t hide her smile too much but some things just leak through. “There will need to be more test trials for the various functions and operations,” she reminds lightly, and for once doesn’t seem overly concerned on Asi’s suggestion that they’ll be fighting with it. She glances sidelong to Richard, chin lifting in pride. “Couldn’t have done it without your help either, Mr. Ray,” she replies in gratitude. “Perhaps, regarding those tests, you’ve got an R&D floor we could move to for such occasion.”

From Richard, she looks to Monica as well as Asi. “That is, unless you’re all eager to make it to the doorbuster sales over at the mall.” Black Friday, it’s still a thing, she’s heard.

"I'll still let you win," Monica says to Asi's concerns about future sparring. "Sometimes," is added with a quick wink and a crooked smile. But at least while she teases, she also follows directions, opening and closing her hand a finger at a time. All seems well, at least in simple actions like this one. The sparring will test the arm on a whole other level, especially once Monica lets to play with the accessories Marlowe has given her this time.

Richard's compliment gets a more genuine smile and she looks from him to Marlowe and back again. "I got to have some creative input with the designer this time. Plus, she's got a good eye when no one is honing in on her projects." But her expression turns a little more serious when she settles her attention back on him. "I'll come see her when I'm back in town." Which is a vague promise, but she does mean it. She just likes a fluid schedule, especially in her post-Yamagato life. She points a finger at Marlowe, nodding to her point. "She's right. I'm lucky to have all three of you." She doesn't say it, but she suspects they all know she has all their backs no matter what happens.

"Lowelowe, who needs a lab when Detroit has all these parkourable buildings," she adds, pushing away the more serious parts of this conversation in favor of grinning over at her friend.

The sometimes earns Monica a glance from Asi, like she’s reconsidering the silent final touches she’s putting on the arm. The crooked smile is returned with an echo of one, and she shakes her head as she smooths her hand flat on the forearm of the cybernetic, eyes closing to better mask the flare of inner light that occurs in them as she strips a piece of herself away to monitor the symbiosis between machine and woman and handle any diagnostic corrections the arm can handle without outside maintenance. It’s no Jiba, and it might not even be necessary. But it makes her feel better, ultimately.

The technopath’s eyes open again as she pats the arm and lets go. “You know, I did not celebrate enough American holidays when I was here last year,” Asi remarks all-too-thoughtfully in regards to Black Friday. “I would not be opposed to a night off.”

She’s not exactly a people person, but those sorts of people fared better at that particular event anyway, right?

“I think we’d all be more comfortable if you ran through some tests before you tried jumping off any of my towers,” is Richard’s rather dry - if amused - comment in response to Monica’s words, his eyebrows raising a little, “Pretty sure that Marlowe here would throw a fit if you broke this arm that soon after getting it. Not to mention the rest of you.”

He chuckles, then, noting, “And, since I haven’t said it yet, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.”

“Her ability to break things is exactly what I like about her,” Marlowe remarks to Richard with a short laugh and a warm pat on Monica’s not-robotic arm. “That being said… don’t you even, Monica Dawson. Not for at least 8 to 10 hours. You need sleep and recovery after the procedure.” And the aforementioned water, which Marlowe swipes up a bottle off from a nearby tray and hands off, holding it specifically for Monica to grasp using the new hand. It’s all a short series of tests for the ease of natural movement.

Still. “Okay fine, four hours. But after that, I’m calling you all back so we can go check out the city and that new department store.” She pointedly looks from Richard to Asi, the expression enough rather than her physically pointing from her eyes to theirs. “That’s the deal.” Marlowe then breaks the seriousness of her stare after with a lighter smile, nodding to Richard’s sentiment and sighing in satisfaction. “Happy Thanksgiving!”

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