A Visit to the Specialist
Summary: Nimara makes a visit to her cybersurgeon, who maintains her cybernetic arm, and he tells her something she doesn't necessarily want to hear.
Date: 16 July 2013
Related: None
Nimara 

July 3013 - Dr. Bradfield's Office


Dr. Bradfield worked out of a small clinic office in a Valen high rise. His office was pristine, with a large, welcoming area that had tended, potted plants and a large, wrap-around desk. The desk was high, hiding the computers and the registration staff behind it. She had been visiting him since the accident, and the office had yet to change. The walls were white and covered with cheap paintings from mostly desperate artists. Some pamphlets lied around, discussing the advantages of cybernetics over bone regrowth, as well as other prothetics. As always, there was a thumb pad for sign in at the center of the registration desk, which was a black device with a green pad for its center.

"Senator Demoore," Angelina, the middle-aged reception clerk, said when she entered.

"Afternoon, Angelina," Nimara said. She placed her thumb against the pad. A read-out above captured her name, birth date and her medical record number. She tapped the screen to accept. "You know Nimara is fine."

"Yes, but you wouldn't believe how some of the patients act these days if you don't use their titles."

Nimara smiled. "No harm."

"He'll be right with you," she said.

***

He had never been one to keep his patients waiting long, especially ones who had been coming to him for so long. When Nimara had her first surgery, Dr. Bradfield was young, with chestnut brown hair and sympathetic brown eyes. His face was unmarred then by the passage of time, but as the years had passed, salt began to pepper his hair and laugh lines made their debut around his mouth and eyes. He had grown a mustache, which only added years on his face, but his smile was always kind enough.

Nimara took her usual position and sat on the long table, covered in black leather. Removing a cardigan from her shoulders, she always wore a tank-top, one that made accessing her left arm easier. The cybernetic had not been entirely entwined with her skin and muscles. An access point had been created: a hole was manually drilled in her shoulder and an adapter — which was nothing more than a smaller hole within the first that would lock in a thick pin and connect the wires of the mechanical arm to the other adapter buried beneath her skin that controlled her nerve endings.

It was common on these visits, then, that the arm was actually removed. It was painless. The implant she had received was an older model, even then, that did not process pain properly. Nimara could sense pressure, but tactile function was not apparent and the adapter never registered pain or other sensations in her mind. Ticklishness, pin-pricks, pinches and other smaller sensations were lost on the limb. The device had been muffled some years ago, masking the hydraulic whirring of the joints; while they were still present, they were faint.

"Nimara," Dr. Bradfield greeted, walking in with an old-fashioned lab coat and her chart in hand. "Has it been six months?"

"No, actually," Nimara said, skipping the greeting. "My arm was asleep this morning and didn't come online for almost two hours."

His thick brows came together. "Really? Mind if I take a look?"

A panel existed at the curve of the arm's shoulder, which he opened and pressed the button. Nimara winced by instinct alone and the arm detached. He took it it from her body, leaving the unsightly stump of a shoulder that was left. It was bulbous and lumpy, with deep scars where she healed. Her left hand flexed as she looked down at the space that was empty..

The doctor became a mechanic. He began to open panels and he produced a screw driver to work at another to investigate the wires. "You know, Senator. This model is very old."

"I know," she said.

"And we've come a long way with this sort of technology."

"But I like how it works fine."

He closed a panel. "The processor looks like it'll need to be replaced."

Nimara's brows rose. "What?"

"This technology is old, Nimara," he repeated, "and these parts wear out much sooner than the newer models. Have you seen them?"

"I have."

"May I ask your hesitation?"

"They're advertised that they can detect acute sensation."

He smiled to her. "Meaning what?"

"Meaning I could feel pain in that arm again."

He brought over her arm and began to settle it into the adapter. "This isn't about the arm. Did you talk to that specialist I mentioned last time?"

"You mean the shrink?" Nimara asked, her lips curling into an unpleasant smirk. "I'm not crazy."

"You're not at all," Dr. Bradfield said. "It is not uncommon for a person to experience an extreme trauma from the kind of accident you had."

"It was eleven years ago," Nimara said.

"And while your parents at the time enforced the new arm, they didn't care your mind," he said. "If I remember correctly, you haven't gotten on a horse since."

"Why bother?" she asked. "I'm not a Knight."

"Do you really think Senators won't need to ride a horse?"

Nimara paused and the cybernetic clicked into place.

"It's your choice," he said. He walked to his desk across the room and placed a pamphlet. "But I think this would do well for you. It senses pain, but also all the tactile functions you're missing. It also is far more agile and doesn't operate on hydraulics. It will function as well as your other arm."

She took the pamphlet in her right hand and stared at it a moment.

"Consider it."

"I will," she said. Her first instinct was to tear the pamphlet up into pieces. She paid the front desk and walked out of the clinic. By the time she reached the vehicle she had taken, she drew her head back, and released a breath. She lifted her left hand, the fingers all metal and moved them around. They didn't move as easily as her right; they were more stiff and swollen. She pressed a button to turn the ignition of the car before she closed her eyes and let it drive her back to her home.

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