05.24.3014: Cyber Roots
Summary: Ines checks in to see what Clive is learning about Hostile Cybernetics.
Date: 11 January, 2014
Related: None
Clive Ines 

Clive's research room
The scene has it all
24 May, 3014

There was some initial resistance from the Citadel because Clive is not a good forms-filler-outer. He gets distracted too easily. He neglects the 'obvious' such as name, date, etc; his handwritten scrawl is all but indecipherable; and spilling beer on the forms and then drying them out in front of the fire endears him to nobody. Well, some of the above might be slightly exaggerating, but only a little.

So, several form-submission iterations later, he finally received, shipped to the House, some crates containing the cybernetics from a couple of Hostile soldiers. Clearing a space on his worktable for them, he soon has them hooked up to probes, scopes, meters and sensors (and in one case, a large lead-acid battery). The curious passing by his workroom might see him late at night, delicately manipulating a skein of wires or watching a waveform on a monitor. Beer sessions with the boys are forgotten, food is an inconvenient distraction, and sleep is an unnecessary necessity. He stalks around his workroom, barefoot, his hair and beard a tangled mess, and bellows uncouth expressions of frustration when things don't work out to plan.

Clive might consider food to be an unnecessary distraction, but Ines knows mistakes can be made by a mind not properly fueled. It took many forms, and a few clarifications from the Lady to get those pieces here, and so she wants to be sure that he's not going to be messing them up, or accidentally exploding them.

The knock is a formality, she's going to enter anyway, with a tray of sandwiches and fruit, with a large pitcher of iced tea. She pauses once inside the door, looking for a place to set the stand she brought for the food, knowing better than to expect even a clear chair space for the tray in her hands.

Ines does indeed know Clive too well - there is nowhere to put the tray save the floor. Every possible surface is cluttered with papers, tools, models, half-finished constructions, materials, blueprints, electronics. Clive has a pair of jeweller's loupes set on the bridge of his nose, delicately working a probe into one of the pieces of cyberware. It's an arm of some sort, and as he works the probe in the 'muscles' twitch grotesquely in some sort of echo of death. He sighs, straightening up, setting down the probe and cracking his massive knuckles by interlocking all his fingers and splaying the palms of his hands up towards the ceiling. He peers at Ines over the loupes. "Young Lady Sir Ines," he mutters, "Are you here with the pig?" Wait, what?

"Ham," Ines replies with something of a ghost of a grin. One thing that's remained blessedly the same since Amran, has been the cousin by a Companion of her Uncle's. "So, Master Medina. Everything as fascinating as you hoped it would be?" she asks, handing over a half of ham sandwich and pouring him a glass of iced tea. She's careful not to go near any of his paraphenalia anywhere, but her dark gaze is still curious as it roves around. When it finally stops on one of the cybernetic pieces of Hostile, her face hardens, her expression flattening, eyes flat. She turn to him and raises her eyebrows.

Clive's mouth is full of sandwich, crumbs ending up in his beard. He swallows it down with a great gulp of iced tea, looking back automatically at the limb. "Pig. Someone's supposed to bring me a dead pig, so I can see how complicated it really is to integrate limb and flesh. I had to use maggots to clean the hostile flesh from this one." He indicates with the ham sandwich in his hand before taking another huge bite, "See, the cybernetic-flesh interface extends from here to here. It's not a simple interface like one of our prosthetics."

The scientist's cleaning methods do bring a little curl to Ines's lips, but she manages not to shudder… although she does look surreptitiously about for said maggots. Stepping around, she looks down at where he indicates, her brows drawing together. "So, what you are telling me is that instead of attaching their cybernetics to a stump, as we do, they attach it more like… a glove, or a sock?" She glances up towards him after a perusal of the interface he points out.

"More like roots of a tree into the earth," rumbles Clive, draining the iced tea and distractedly balancing it on a stack of no doubt vitally important papers, the top copy of which is about to acquire a cup ring. "It's way ahead of us." There's almost an admiring tone in his voice. "Why do you have an artificial heart?" he asks abruptly. The question is clearly directed at her, but who knows what he actually means.

"The Cybernetics being the tree, and the flesh being the earth?" Ines tries to clarify. "Does it draw other things besides nerve impulses from the flesh, then?" With a slight grimace, she looks to the papers, hoping they aren't vital forms to be filled out in triplicate with the Citadel or any other such fastidious branch of beauracracy. Her attention turns sharply to Clive when he asks the question. "To keep your blood flowing through your body… blood carries oxygen which is vital for all of our organs… and Father said I never paid attention in classes."

Clive says, "No." Clive sounds impatient. "Why do you have an /artificial/ heart?" He picks up a device from underneath a bag of tools; it's a curious metallic device, roughly the size of a hen's egg but elongated along its axis, the smooth metal skin punctured with irregular but clearly designed holes."

"No." Clive sounds impatient. "Why do you have an /artificial/ heart?" He picks up a device from underneath a bag of tools; it's a curious metallic device, roughly the size of a hen's egg but elongated along its axis, the smooth metal skin punctured with irregular but clearly designed holes.

"As far as I know, for the reasons I just gave. If your heart doesn't work anymore and can't perform those functions, something has to in its stead," Ines replies, unruffled by the man's impatience. "Why do you have an artificial heart?" she turns the question back curiously to the asker.

"Right. Exactly right. If your heart doesn't work anymore. But not if you're a Hostile. If you're a Hostile you get it replaced because the new version is /better/. And I have no idea what this is or does," he adds, spinning the egg-shaped object on a preciously free corner of workbench. "It's some sort of internal organ. I have no idea what."

"So, in other words, we 'Inner Worlders' like to cling to our mortal flesh, and make it the best we can, while Hostiles like to replace their mortal flesh with the best that money can buy, so to speak." Ines looks at the arm, then back to Clive. "Are they still really human? Despite the claims of that prisoner made on the infosphere? If they're replacing even their inner organs… "

Clive looks blankly at Ines. The question doesn't parse. He shrugs, leaving questions of the human state to philosophers. "I could hook something similar up to you, given another few years and a long disclaimer signed by you." Wait, was that humor from Clive? He's still frowning at the limbs on his bench. "I'd need to practice on the pig first." From anyone else that would be an insult, but Clive is probably just not thinking…not thinking of such minor matters as politeness and context, that is.

"Live pig?" Ines asks, one eyebrow raising.

"Dead, until I can figure out some physical problems with the neural links. They seem more complicated than I had envisaged." Clive settles down on his high stool and raises the loupes into his vision once more. "You also asked me to look at jamming them. Unless you can get them to obligingly move into a Faraday cage, we can't jam them…." He stares for a moment, then his face grimaces, and he throws back his head and roars, "Damnation! Why didn't I think of that?!" Then, wrenching off the loups and turning to Ines, he says urgently, "Capture one. I need one captured and put in a Faraday cage." Because Ines can snap her fingers and do exactly that.

"What exactly is a Faraday Cage?" Ines asks, finding it difficult to maintain a straight demeanor. "If we could take it to the Citadel where the two Hostiles are being held, perhaps they could use it on the Hostiles in custody already."

"Too late! If they have command and control links up, they'll already know they are captured and they'll have been shut down. But if we can get one that thinks it's still free and doesn't know it's in the Faraday cage, we can intercept the signals they're sending and give them to our crypto people…" He waves a hand irritably, "Oh, it's a cage surrounded on all six sides with metal. Electromagnetic waves can't get in or out. You can have gaps; the smaller the gaps the better the cage."

Ines shakes her head. "Why would it have been shut down. /What/ would have been shut down?" she asks curiously. Giving a snort, she moves around towards the door. "I wouldn't be surprised if they kept trying to send signals out of some kind, to their own kind. Even caged." Her hands clench tightly. "They seem that arrogant. Thinking that they're technology is so far superior that they'll be able to circumnavigate any of our protocols." Forcing herself to relax, she gives a nod to Clive. "I'll have your pig brought in. In the meantime, the only we'll be capturing a Hostile for you is if they try to raid Honor's Keep. And I'm hoping they won't oblige in that matter. As for the Citadel letting ust take and keep a prisoner." One hand indicates one of the piles of papers nearby. "The paperwork I'd have to fill out makes that look like a weekend romance novel."

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