This is a sequel of sorts to a scene I wrote about eight months ago, itself a tangential piece relative to one of my works in progress. Before you read this scene, you may want to go back and read “Dust“. Enjoy!
The orange sphere arced through the air on the way to its target. Cora stood watching the ball, her “fingers” still out-stretched hoping to hear the satisfying flick of “nothing but net.” All her ears were met with, however, was the capricious clank of backboard, and rubber against the gym floor.
“Pretty close from half court,” a familiar voice shouted.
The last few months had brought a degree of informality between Cora and her commanding officer. Instead of snapping into a salute, Cora ran forward to pick up the errant ball and position herself back at the center line.
“I’d like to see you do better.” Cora pulled the ball up to her chest, her elbows flying out to chest pass the ball, but dropping at the last second with a little laughter, and a softer toss.
“A throw like that and you’d put me down in rehab with you,” He joked, passing the ball casually from hand to hand.
“No thanks,” Cora said, using her flesh and blood arm to wipe the sweat from her forehead. “Been seeing too much of you as it is.”
“I notice the arm’s sill gray.”
“Yeah, what of it?”
“You know the nanites can be rearranged to realistically mimic skin. You’ve got yours looking like a prosthetic arm from twenty years ago.”
“Mimic skin, huh? Like this?” Cora flicked her wrist and within in an instant she had a flesh and blood hand, attached to a dull gray robotic arm. She flayed her fingers to examine them.
“I could never get my nails looking this nice, even with a dozen manicures. See?”
She held up her other arm for comparison.
Her commander took her hand. It was cool to the touch, but otherwise felt perfectly normal. Her fingernails scratched his hand as she pulled back suddenly, another flick restoring the cold gray appearance.
“I keep it this way because I don’t want to stand out from the other soldiers. It’s bad enough I’m one of the only ones with a private room, I don’t need anyone else prying about the special hardware you’ve grafted onto me.”
“I’m no fool. This wasn’t just a new experimental procedure, the next generation in prosthetics or whatever line you sold me. You built me for a purpose, and I think it’s about time you told me.”
She swiped for the ball with the new arm and flung it toward the basket without looking. The ball was palmed in her iron grip as her arm stretched and arced, her eyes never breaking contact with her commander. When her hand was just above the basket she just dropped the ball, and was rewarded with the swish she’d been looking for.
“That’s why I’m here, Cora. I think it’s time for your first assignment.”