Tinkering: Part One

From the Story Arc: Trench Warfare

Previous Story in the Arc: Look to the Sky: Part Three by Agn Stratonik (Wednesday, April 27, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: My Father's Son: Part One by Agn Stratonik (Tuesday, June 14, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005)

“Damnit,” I yelled as I pulled my finger back from the construct. As I held my finger in my opposite hand, I looked at what it was that I was building. “A mobile suit of armour…this is indeed my greatest work,” I whispered as I looked upon my work. I had just shortly returned from business in China. Brigadier General Chao had summoned me for business I was unaware of until I was able to sit and speak with him. My thoughts drift;

^ Agn…take this, ^ Chao said as he handed me a manila folder with unknown contents. ^ What is it? ^ He smiled, ^ These are the schematics for a prototype that a group of military scientists were working on. They saw no real implementation in practical military use, so they scrapped it. I thought you could make some use of it. ^ ^ But isn’t this illegal? ^ ^ Don’t be so naïve, my friend. This is considered garbage to the military now. We have technology so advanced that even if another country got a hold of these schematics they would not even pose a threat to us. And it is not like I am giving it away to another country, but to a Colonel in the Red Army. There is nothing wrong here and everything is by the book. Understand? ^ I smirked at this man’s clever ingenuity. ^ Why are you giving this to me? ^ He reached out and grabbed my hand, like that of a loving father, and pointed to my eye patch. ^ To prevent that from happening again. I’ve been accessing your medical reports, Agn…A shattered humerus, dislocated patella, shattered wrist, dislocated vertebrae in your lumbar column…how long before you sustain an injury that kills you, or maims you. If you sustain a severe enough injury, there is a possibility that you will never walk again, no matter how powerful Dr. Jadwiga’s medical techniques are. Take this technology and work with it and use it. It would make me feel a lot better. ^ I stand up sharply and render a salute to him. ^ Yes sir. ^ As he begins to return the salute, I embrace him in a hug. ^ You can always count on me to do as you ask, my old friend, ^ I whisper to him.

My thoughts return to normal. Once again I begin working on the prototype. It is a suit of living armour, resembling that of many heroes in Paragon. I work diligently to make it better and perfect. Motion scanners in the faceplate...Energy blasters that run from the wrists to the hands...Jet boosters in the boots. “Comrade Khrushchev will be jealous,” I muttered with a chuckle. I never found myself to be the scientific type, but my father’s genes are mine. The first time he showed me how to create a small household robot with the sole purpose of fetching the mail, I knew I had stepped into a world I could not avoid. At first it was an electron battery here, or a stun rifle there, but I was able to give myself sight again through my tinkering. My arms are not the feel of cold steel, but that of skin, real skin, no matter how synthetic it may be. Truly my father lives in me, which is why there are forces out there aimed at making me pay for his sins. With so many new additions to the CCCP making the newspaper and busting heads open left and right, I feel like all there is time for is for creating technology.

The shuffle of footsteps breaks my thoughts. I turn around to see Althea, resident hostage of the CCCP, as I had come to call her. Do to my business in China, I missed much. Althea was kidnapped and a huge rescue was mounted to save her. Why do all the fun things happen when I’m gone? I take a good look at her and turn back to my work. Her pale skin plays tricks with my eye, making it hard for me to look at her, but easy to pretend like she’s not there. No matter what Fei Li or any of my comrades say, she still hasn’t proven anything to me other than that she is a liability that must prove herself otherwise. She stood behind me with her arms folded as she grasped her biceps, her head bowed as if she had just been told really bad news. “Why are you moping about,” I inquire. “I am not moping, comrade. I am just curious as to this place. What is it?” I turn and look at her. “I’m sure it is painfully obvious that this is a laboratory. I donated funds to have this section of the HQ built so that I don’t have to go to Steel Canyon just to work in a laboratory. Many of our comrades are also into technology. If ever you feel the need, you’re welcome to these facilities as well.” “Ah,” she said nodding as she walked closer to me and gazed upon the prototype I was constructing. “What is it?” “A suit of armour. I’m going to use this to help protect my body from too much damage. Also, it will give me the ability to fly after some upgrades. I’ve always wanted to fly…” She looked at me briefly and touched the chest of the prototype.

I furrowed my eyebrows as I stared at her, wondering her intentions. She merely smiled and turned toward the laboratory entrance to walk out. I said nothing as I watched her leave. I turned back toward the prototype the lay on the table in front of me and thought for a moment. “I guess she does talk…maybe even more than I do.” And my work continued…