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Mirror: Chapter 1

CutOut Mar 30th, 2019 (edited) 203 Never
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  1. “Show me what you can do,” Ido said.
  2.  
  3. Adem sucked in a breath then exhaled. He shook his fingers before gripping the control panel, to loosen them up. After banishing his nervousness, all his concentration focused on the unconscious cyborg on the operating table.
  4.  
  5. Delicate mechanical fingers pulled back faux skin, unbolted paneling, and disconnected tubing. Moments later he put his own hands inside the cyborg's torso, gently tugging and dislodged the faulty components. The part replacement was quicker, as the young cyber-surgeon was retracing proven ground.
  6.  
  7. "Don't get too ambitious because you're closing up.”
  8.  
  9. "Yes, sir. Sorry."
  10.  
  11. "It's not me you'll have to apologize to if you make a mistake."
  12.  
  13. Once the surgery was complete, Adem excused himself and stepped outside. Ido found him, bleary-eyed and tapping his foot, underneath the clinic sign. He stood up straight and dusted himself off when he noticed the fatherly doctor.
  14.  
  15. "So?" Adem asked.
  16.  
  17. "So," Ido echoed, covering his mouth in thought. In reality, he was hiding a smirk and couldn't help teasing the serious boy. A moment later he revealed his smile, "Excellent work. Like my instructor told me: the hands don't lie. You have potential."
  18.  
  19. Adem breathed a sigh of relief, "Thank you, sir!"
  20.  
  21. "Please, call me Ido."
  22.  
  23. "If that's what you want, Mr. Ido. How is Mr. Gosling?"
  24.  
  25. "There is no doubt he'll make a complete recovery. His mind-body synchronicity is already climbing, so the chance of cybernetic rejection is nil."
  26.  
  27. "I had no idea that hot-swaps were this complicated,” Adem said, rubbing his eyes, “Makes you wonder how pit crews during a Motorball match manage it."
  28.  
  29. Ido's smile faded at the mention of Motorball, but his tone remained light, "Well, let's not compare civilian cyber-surgery to a sports operations. Athletes customize their bodies for hot-swapping while a civilian integrates completely."
  30.  
  31. "Why is that?"
  32.  
  33. "Quality-of-life. Sports players, martial artists, Hunter-Warriors--they all have to practice every day so they can maintain their mind-body sync. Cybernetic rejection isn't an issue because they change their identities to match their bodies. Civilians need their bodies to match their minds," Ido was slow to say the next part, “If you are asking me I would say you have a talent for both worlds.”
  34.  
  35. “I’ll stick to civilian surgery, thanks.”
  36.  
  37. Ido nodded in approval, sighed, and started smiling again. To the older doctor, Adem was a diamond in the rough and thought of the boy as smart, moral, and praised him for his work ethic. If asked, Ido would say, “The boy is mature for his age but still has young eyes.”
  38.  
  39. What he wouldn’t admit to was stalking the boy after-hours and getting information on him, he wouldn't tolerate another Hugo. It was his wish the clinic and Alita had someone cheerful around to raise the mood. Both needed it.
  40.  
  41. “Hello,” Adem stammered.
  42.  
  43. Ido rolled his eyes. No matter how much he sang of the boy’s praises, it didn’t matter if he melted into a puddle every time Alita was nearby. He resisted the urge to assemble his rocket hammer and smack him.
  44.  
  45. Alita’s eyes fluttered up from her feet, only now noticing Ido and Adem. It was clear she was moving on autopilot.
  46.  
  47. “Oh. Hello.”
  48.  
  49. “Hi,” Adem repeated, scratching the back of his head, “Uh, it’s a nice morning.”
  50.  
  51. “Evening.”
  52.  
  53. “Excuse me?”
  54.  
  55. “It’s the evening, the sun is setting.”
  56.  
  57. Alita motioned to the sky with her chin, and then shifted her Motorball duffle bag from shoulder to shoulder. The bag was as long as she was tall, bulky with gear, but she carried it like it was as light as feathers.
  58.  
  59. “So it is,” Adem muttered, hiding his reddening face, “Well, it’s nice.”
  60.  
  61. “Can I go inside?”
  62.  
  63. The young surgeon cringed and moved out of the way.
  64.  
  65. Ido shook his head as if questioning the universe, “Where did that promising young boy I was admiring go?”
  66.  
  67. “Hi, dad,” Alita said, tucking her bag on her back and hugging Ido.
  68.  
  69. “Welcome home, sweetheart. Dinner is waiting in the oven.”
  70.  
  71. At that, Alita resumed staring at her feet and shuffled inside. With her gone Ido deadpanned Adem. Adem squeezed his eyes shut and shrugged in a pitiful defense.
  72.  
  73. “I have to go, sir--erm, Mr. Ido. My sister is waiting.”
  74.  
  75. “How is Sarah?”
  76.  
  77. “She’s doing great! She managed to figure out how to walk again and soon she’ll be moving under her own power. I feel guilty about leaving her at home, so I was wondering if...?”
  78.  
  79. “Please bring her to the clinic. It’s fine, she’s due for cybernetic maintenance, anyway. Alita could use her company, and Sarah and Alita are similar in age.”
  80.  
  81. “I will.”
  82.  
  83. “After all,” Ido smirked viciously, “You’re no smooth talker.”
  84.  
  85. Adem drooped his head.
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