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Scene Title (Un)Becoming
Synopsis That part of me isn't here anymore.
Date April 28, 2019

Yamagato Building

«Blood pressure is 180 over 40»

I beat my machine

«Beginning EndoCell injection»

it's a part of me

The operating theater is dark, though what light there is has been focused down on a single operating table by a halo lamp. Reflections of the room stand ephemeral in the glass walls surrounding the laboratory, and white-clad technicians stand around with a pair of luminous tablets, while a pair of articulated white-plated mechanical arms outfitted with surgical tools spin up into activity with whirrs and clicks.

it's inside of me

Monica keeps her eyes straight ahead, trying to imagine a better place. Her breathing is careful and steady while she works on not remembering last time she was here. As soon as the noises begin, she starts to shake despite herself. Her hand— the one that is her own— curls into a fist, fingernails digging into her palm.

I'm stuck in this dream it's changing me I am becoming

«Beginning WireNeural disconnection sequence.»

The me that you know she had some second thoughts

The mechanical limbs swivel into position, focused on Monica’s outstretched prosthetic arm. The light from the halo lamp gleams off of its polished frame, where YX CESTUS is stenciled in sharp, black lettering. Each arm goes about unseating tiny screws smaller than a grain of rice, while smaller forelimbs on the machine pull the outer housing out so that the wire bundles within can be unplugged. Each popping disconnect feels like a nerve being plucked out.

She's covered with scabs and she is broken and sore

She doesn't look. She can't look. Her lips quiver and she clenches her teeth together. Blood starts to pool in her palm, a little more with each pluck, as if sharing the pain might somehow make it easier.

It doesn't.

Monica told herself she wouldn't cry. Anything but crying. She is not going to cry.

The me that you know doesn't come around much

«Initiating cerebro-spinal disengagement.»

That part of me isn't here anymore

One of the mechanical limbs performing this surgery latches onto and corkscrews out a cylinder of metal that has a bundle of hair-thin fibers extending from the end. A tiny knot three inches down the bundle indicates where the hardware connects to an entirely different bundle of fibers of an organic nature. A laser scalpel flashes briefly to life, and the connection is severed in a sudden burst of blinding pain, followed by a haunting numbness.

All pain disappears it's the nature of my circuitry

Monica's breathing speeds up, racing toward a panic. She didn't think about this part sitting in Kimiko's office. She didn't think about it until right now, when she can do nothing but anticipate the pain just before it hits. Her head tips backward as she lets out a scream toward the ceiling, her heels digging in as if to bore holes under them.

The emptiness that follows is worse.

She can't manage to catch her breath.

Drowns out all I hear there's no escape from this

«Disengaging synthetic muscles.»

my new consciousness

Monica can’t feel when the housing is manipulated now. There’s no haptic feedback, no simulated pain or temperature experiences. She watches through a thin and gauzy haze of mild sedatives as bundles of ropy, carbon-fiber muscle tissue suspended in heat-absorbing gel is extracted from the mechanical arm and dropped with a clang-slap into a metal trap.

The me that you know used to have feelings

Turning her head, she looks over at the arm. It was never hers, she realizes that now. It felt like hers for a while there. She thought of it as hers. Squeezing her eyes closed, she turns her head away, sweat sliding down her forehead toward her cheek. None of it was ever hers.

But the blood has stopped pumping and she's left to decay

«Disassembling digits.»

The me that you know is now made up of wires

The assembly machine’s manipulator arm splits into four pieces, each armed with a screwdriver and tiny forceps, each one working with mechanical precision to lift and displace screws and disassemble the fingers and hand of Monica’s prosthetic arm. Each piece of carefully distributed into a rotating series of metal trays at the base of the assembly arm, for proper storage.

And even when I'm right with you I'm so far away

Looking over again, Monica makes herself watch as the arm starts to come apart. It wasn't enough to take it, they have to tear it to pieces here in front of her. But she has to watch. To remember that it was never really her.

I can try to get away but I've strapped myself in

«…and upper arm.»

I can try to scratch away the sound in my ears

Piece by piece, Monica watches as the Cestus is taken apart from the wrist down. Artificial bones made up of a titanium alloy woven like a wicker basket are removed from the mechanically separated outer housing. Gyroscopes and servos are dismounted from brackets, separated into small metal bins with delicate clinks and clanks. All that remains is a cylindrical knob mounted onto the humerus.

I can see it killing away all my bad parts

Uncurling her hand, her nails pull away skin and blood and she looks that way instead of at the husk of the arm. Her arm. The arm. Her fingers shake as she watches them, but she starts to feel distant from it. She floats somewhere just above, watching her body fight for steady breathing and steady hands. For a moment, she feels a sort of empty peace.

It is, however, only a moment.

I don't want to listen but it's all too clear

«Final stage of disassembly.»

Hiding backwards inside of me I feel so unafraid

When the Cestus had been put on, Monica was given no anesthetic so that the nerve-ending attachments could be assured to connect properly. The human mind wasn’t meant to interface with the artificial like this, doubly true for SLC-Expressives. Today, Monica has some measure of pain killers for the procedure, but even that does nothing to fully separate her from the horror of screws being worked back out of bone, for the blood that comes and the way the hoses slid in place gurgle as they slurp it up. Yamagato made her, and it is Yamagato that unmakes her.

Annie, hold a little tighter I might just slip away

Monica makes a keening noise as the screws and hoses work away. She shudders at the sensations, even though she tries to stay still for the procedure. Even she has her limits.

Aside from the physical, there is something else they gave her, something she came to cherish more than the money, the comfort, the arm, all of it. She knows what comes with the final stages. She told herself she wouldn't cry. Through the trauma and the pain, she managed it. But there's one loss she can't accept is coming. She can't bare to accept it.

A tear falls from the corner of her eye. A single tear.

It won't give up it wants me dead

{Goodbye, Monica}

Goddamn this noise inside my head

Then, it’s over.

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