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Day 2: Street Doc

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Fun with Cyberpunk.

“This will hurt.” Cutter latched the head brace across Rixer’s forehead. Three metal nubs on the inside of the half-circle bar bit into Rixer’s skin.

“Gah!”

Cutter flashed a row of too white teeth and let out a satisfied chuckle. Rixer lay spread eagle on a modified dentist chair from the early twenty first century. He was sitting back slightly, watching the doctor secure thick metal clasps around his arms and legs. Like his head, each bit down into his skin. The cushions of the chair had rotted out decades ago. Now only stained leather over hard wood supported the thug.

Surrounding Rixer inside the abandoned warehouse were cluttered workstations. Rows of luma-bulbs had been affixed to their undersides, casting a soft blue under-light. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Cutter darting between the stations. The doc was old and a bit weird, Rixer thought. Cutter had shaved his head, but grown out a thick graying beard. He wore an all white mechanics jumper that was cinched at the wrists and ankles. His left hand was an ancient cybernetic replacement that was complimented by a discontinued datajack implanted into his left temple. Rixer watched the street doc hammer the keys on dying computer decks. Many of which were missing keys.

Mumbles escaped now and then as he read the information on the monitor before taking off to another station. Thick cables snaked around the legs of the sturdy metal tables, ran along the floor, then climbed up the rusted support beams of the building. The old tech made Rixer nervous.

“This gonna work? This drek looks like it’s gonna go vapor.”

Cutter flashed Rixer another toothy grin before slipping on a bulky set of VR goggles. He looked over Rixer’s body. Prodding at the thugs thin, sinewy muscle. On a monitor behind the doctor, Rixer could see the an x-ray layout of his own body. The dense dermal plating that was woven across his chest created a dark spot on the screen. As Cutter moved up Rixer’s body, the image followed. Long strands of wire crisscrossed through his limbs and led up to a bundle at the base of his skull.

Running along the right side of Rixer’s head, just beneath the skin, where four dark squares. From each a network of fibers had been attached to specific points in his brain. “How long have you had these skillsofts?” Cutter lifted his VR goggles and pushed back Rixer’s hair to check the skin.

“A few months. Best cred I ever spent. Some hacking upgrades. A killer driving algorithm. And I splurged for…”

“They have to come out.”

“Frag you man! I just got ’em!”

“They’ll interfere with my procedure.” Cutter removed the goggles, pressed a button which caused the chair to lay back flat, and then slipped out of Rixer’s periphery.

Rixer struggled against his bonds. The metal nubs in the head brace dug deeper. “I’ll turn you to meat, man! You didn’t say shit about havin’ to pull my ‘ware. Yorin called and vouched you were up and over, man. I don’t care how sly this tech is. Let me out!” As the thug pulled harder the latches tightened.

Laughter from Cutter bounced around the warehouse. “Yorin. He was the tweaker on the BTLs if I remember. Long list of contacts and an easily modulated voice.”

Sounds of tools banging and the quick test of a whirring saw made Rixer flinch. Sweat mingled with blood trickled down his brow. “OK, man. Deals off. I’ll even let you keep the cred. Wiz?” Rixer’s voiced cracked and he made a small chuckle. The Street Doc’s footsteps echoed throughout the warehouse making it hard to pin point him. Rixer’s eyes darted back and forth, but he could only catch a glimpse of the white jumper sporadically.

“Funny. Your friend friend Yorin said the same thing.” Cutter leaned over into Rixer’s face, a splatter shield pulled down over his own. The light from the luma-bulbs caught Cutter from beneath, throwing his eyes into deep shadows. His warm breath fogged the plastic into neat little circles. “And I’ll tell you what I told him. You’re serving a higher cause. And I’ll just take the rest of your money once I’m done with you.” He lifted his cybernetic hand, now replaced by bone saw shining in the light. It kicked to life.

Shock rippled through Rixer when the saw entered his head. His eyes bulged and his mouth opened wide in a silent scream. His jaw popped out of socket from the strain. Cutter removed the strip of skin and hair, revealing the four skillsofts attached to the bone. Rixer heard, more than felt, a screwdriver popping the implants from his skull. Once free, Cutter collected the dangling skillsofts in his hand and then yanked. Rixer’s skull echoed the wires popping free from the connections to his brain. His body burst into an explosion of senses as his brain fought to understand the surge of electric impulses. He gurggled and felt his tongue go numb.

As Rixer’s vision was dimming, Cutter whispered into his ear, “With a bit of cutting, everyone can become perfect.”

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