seestheman: (Default)
Clara Murphy ([personal profile] seestheman) wrote in [community profile] visionsdidappear2014-04-18 09:46 pm

Ten Years Later Meme Continuation

Characters: Clara and Alex Murphy (with potential NPCing going on).
Fandom: RoboCop (2014)
Rating: Potentially PG-13? This is RoboCop, after all.
What?: A week after this thread, Clara busts Alex out of OCP and they head out on the run.


The past week felt like both the longest and shortest week of Clara's life (tying with the week before her wedding, the week before David's birth, and the week leading up to Alex finally coming home from China). She hadn't slept much, devoting all of her time to sifting through what Dennett had given her, which was slightly overwhelming (and eyeopening, considering the fact that there were pictures of just how much of Alex was still organic and...there wasn't much. And she knew that, he had told her years ago, but seeing the evidence was a blow she hadn't expected), and getting in contact with Kim to see if there was any way the younger woman could help.

And the bright side was that she could, as long as Clara could get Alex and the cradle out of OCP's clutches without getting caught, and get to an airfield in Indiana that Kim's company apparently had some sort of contract with. From there it would simply be getting on a plane and flying to California, where she would meet them and then things would (hopefully) be okay. Or as okay as they were likely to get, all things considered.

So Clara sold her hatchback and bought a delivery van, and packed up a few basic things (and non-basics, but still important in case they were never able to come back home) into a suitcase along with the boxes Dennett had given her. The last thing she did before locking up the house and making sure everything was off and/or unplugged was text David to remind him that they loved him and not to pay attention to what he heard on the news. She couldn't bring herself to look at the series of texts she had gotten from him in response. Maybe later, after things were safe again and she didn't have to worry about putting him in danger.

Which is how she ends up pulling up near a ramp close to OCP's loading dock in a nondescript white van and climbing out in dark clothes with a navy blue baseball hat (one of Alex's, from an undercover operation years ago) pulled low in an attempt to hide her face from any overhead cameras. She checks and double checks her surroundings, making sure there isn't anyone around to spot her, and heads down a hallway to where she sees a number of crates (and it briefly floats through her mind that maybe they dismantled him on top of decommissioning him, just to keep her from doing this). She quickly glances at each one, finally spotting a large one that has “RC-2000” stamped on it.

She holds her breath and lifts the lid, which has yet to be nailed shut, up and to see Alex on the cradle, looking like he's fast asleep (like she'd seen him a million times before and has missed more than she could possibly say). With a relieved sigh, she quietly closes the lid, double checks that it is, in fact, on something she can roll, and starts pushing him down the hallway and eventually out the doors, down the ramp, and, with a little bit of effort and a lot of relief that the van came with a fold up loading ramp, gets him in and secured before hightailing it out of there.

The drive to her first destination before Indiana goes smoothly. No one's following her, no one's tried to pull her over, it's...calm. Too calm, if she were the paranoid type. She drives into an old, dilapidated warehouse, opens up the back of the van, and reverses the entire process it took to get Alex into the van in the first place. Before heading back into the van to get the tablet and instructions that came the various things Dennett gave her, she removes the lid from the crate, just in case she bumps something and accidentally wakes him up before she can get back to his side (which she doubts is going to happen, but better safe than sorry).

Once she gets back to his side to see that, really, she had nothing to worry about, she turns on the tablet and starts following the instructions, letting out a silent thank you to Dennett for thinking ahead about this. She presses a button that appears on the screen and looks down at Alex, hoping that she's gotten this right and he'll wake up.
yourmove: (096)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-04-23 06:28 am (UTC)(link)
Alex, on the other hand, has it easy for the planning, the confiscation of OmniCorp property and the trip: he’s offlined for all of it, oblivious to the creak of the van’s suspension and the sway as Clara takes turns and hits a few potholes along the way.

The cradle emits a series of beeps as Clara fiddles with the tablet. Something clicks along the base of his neck and spine, and for a few long seconds, Alex doesn’t move as the locks connecting his armor to the cradle disengage. His eyes finally flutter open, blink, as he stares up a ceiling he doesn’t recognize, rusted struts and old bird nests littering the beams. His HUD lags behind by several critical seconds that would’ve been unacceptable by Dr. Norton’s reckoning and for awhile, he stares up and can almost think this is how I used to see the world. It’s blank, missing the constant stream of information and ongoing simulations from battle to something as simple as rerouting around traffic.

This doesn’t look like an asset liquidation facility. Call it a hunch, but Alex feels that even with the budget cuts, the facility would look better than this. He wouldn’t be staring up at the warehouse ceiling and wondering when – not if – the roof would come down on his head. There’s still something called safety standards in Detroit.

The sound of a shoe to the side prompts Alex to turn his head. He stares at Clara without recognition as the facial recognition software finally comes online, the markers for eyes, nose, and mouth flickering red. They ping back that she’s concerned, biometrics reading an elevated heart-rate to back that up.

“You succeeded,” Alex remarks. His face twitches like he wants to frown but he’s not sure if he can. Alex settles for trying to get off the cradle, servos protesting as he manages to sit up. “New hat?”

He thinks he might be aiming for humor but underneath that all is the question: had he seen it before or is this another thing about Clara he forgot?
yourmove: (083)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-04-26 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
Alex pauses to verify he didn’t doubt her, a blank face for Clara’s smile that looks a little forced around the edges if you ask him. Yes, he did doubt the odds. The probability hadn’t been in her favor, to be as polite as his programming allowed.

“I think so,” Alex doesn’t sound at all ashamed to admit it. He offers Clara the graphene hand, his flesh one reaching back to push off the edge of the cradle. It’s not meant to be used like this. It’s supposed to swivel on its stand, from horizontal to vertical, and it’s decidedly awkward levering his chassis out this way. He has a moment to wonder why Dr. Norton hadn’t told her how to properly operate the cradle, why he didn’t do it himself, and then it clicks back into place. He didn’t because he can’t. Clara’s the one here and she might not have decades of experience behind her, but she’s here because she cares.

He’s still processing that.

His leg whirrs as he gets one knee bent, then the other, and does his best to keep the majority of the weight off his wife. She’s gone through ten years of a cyborg for a husband with all its ups and downs – Alex knows at the very least he doesn’t want to squash her after all that.
yourmove: (026)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-04-28 09:02 am (UTC)(link)
Alex straightens to tower over Clara, his head swiveling left and right to check out the warehouse. It’s one of those dumps that, in theory, should’ve been bulldozed as a safety hazard decades ago, but true to bureaucracy, still hasn’t happened yet. Clearly. He wonders if he should file a report on it, only to realize that’s not his job anymore. He doesn’t have a job anymore. Undercover work’s been out of the question for over a decade now and with the DCPD phasing out the RC-2000 program, he can’t even say he’s a cop anymore, either. No idea yet on how to process that. Alex focuses on the present, filing it away with a processor that’s seen better days.

“I’ll be mobile. You have the glucose solutions?” He assumes she does. It will eventually be an issue when those run out and the reality sinks in that he can’t eat and drink like she can. Clara knows he gets his daily nutritional intake differently – she’s probably seen it, if Norton had shown her when he was offline – and that it won’t be as simple as stopping to pick up groceries.

Glancing at Clara, he once again feels a vague sort of surprise to see the ten years on her face. He can recall moments years earlier, crystal clear in HD quality from his visual logs, where she hadn’t had some of the stress lines. Her hair had been different, too. It’s cut a little shorter now, a little more severe.
Edited 2014-04-28 09:02 (UTC)
yourmove: (044)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-05-05 08:25 am (UTC)(link)
"Ah," Alex says simply. He takes the idea of possibly starving to death very well: no flicker of oh no behind those flat brown eyes. It might even be one of those times his lack of reaction could be calming instead of frightening: if he's not worried, why should Clara be? "Better check with Kim first. Going back would be a bad idea if they've discovered the theft."

He almost said "my theft", Alex catching himself at the last minute. Speaking of himself as property was more accurate, true, but it seemed to bother his wife, her biometric readings spiking and showing agitation. It wasn't as if he could check himself, either: part of being decommissioned meant that he could access past databases but nothing current, no live wifi access, no current feeds. The DPD station was a blank instead of a bright network, pulsing with updates.

Instead there's Clara, standing there with her hair pulled back in a severe ponytail and the tattered hat pulled down over her eyes. She looks at him, unable to completely cover up her nervousness, and Alex has one of those rare moments where he's himself again. He has his old perspective.

It says he needs to man up for her. Wipe away those thoughts of sitting here and waiting for OmniCorp to find him.

"Did you need me to drive?" Alex focuses on that for now.
yourmove: (020)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-05-13 07:01 am (UTC)(link)
Alex rotates his wrists, checking the flexibility rating on his limbs – everything checks out. The truth is that all his…issues have been solely internal, software problems instead of hardware. The servos, the stabilizers, everything like that? It’s built to last longer than his battle AI and his subroutines. Physically he’s the same as he’s ever been, ignoring a few loud clicks here and there that hadn’t existed four, five years ago. He’s still fully capable of taking out a warehouse of hostiles.

It’s the rest that suffered. He looks at his wife and he doesn’t register that tight look crossing her face, making the fine wrinkles that formed around her eyes more pronounced. He doesn’t go up to her and touch her shoulder, give her a comforting squeeze that says I’m in this with you.

“You won’t get very far by yourself,” Alex remarks with that cool bluntness he’s mastered over the years. “With you unaccounted for and my crate missing, you’ll be the chief suspect. OCP security will have you pinned before you make it to the lobby.”

Odds were they might shoot on sight, claiming trespassing rights. Certain laws had changed over the years: some became more flexible but mostly they became harsher, likely to piss people off and fart out the criminals Alex and Jack had tried so hard to keep under control. The fact is a corporation like OCP would well be within their rights to shoot Clara on sight and work out the nasty little details later. It’d been like that even when he was first rolled out as the police department’s finest. Likely they would have ED-212s and EM-210s at OCP…and he’d barely lasted against the obsolete models. Clara wouldn’t have a chance.
yourmove: (016)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-05-19 06:24 am (UTC)(link)
Alex nods. It makes sense. It might even be a good place to start if Clara hadn’t made off with a cyborg that still had some OCP trade secrets they didn’t want wandering around, unaccounted for. Standard procedure would have been a proper memory wipe, life support shutdown (after he was offlined, because that was considered humane), and then dismantling of any particularly sensitive hardware. Now that OCP is probably on red alert, they’ll be watching the loading docks. It won’t be easy.

“I understand. Not getting the solutions would make the rescue pointless.” Alex pauses, then continues. “The loading docks won’t be your best way in. I’d suggest running things through with Kim and seeing if she has any alternatives.”

Kim’s “good people” according to Dr. Norton – was, because the doctor is in the past tense – and she might still have an eye on OCP. It’s the closest thing to a life preserver Alex can throw to his wife.
yourmove: (048)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-05-27 08:50 am (UTC)(link)
Next week would be, unfortunately, too late. Alex could go a few days without the glucose solutions at best and that wasn't factoring in the loss of efficiency as what organs he had left began to shut down. There was a reason he had been on a strict regimen with the nutritional intake and blood cleansing.

Alex did that rare, uncanny motion with his shoulders, the closest thing he could approximate to a shrug with a graphene chassis.

"Could always try going through waste disposal."

The corner of his mouth didn't quirk in that almost-grin he used to hit Clara with, way back when he was capable of pulling her leg. If it's because he checked the schematics while she was talking or he had the presence of mind to steal the idea from Star Wars, she'll never know. At any rate, Alex seems to be taking the suggestion seriously.
yourmove: (091)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-06-02 08:32 am (UTC)(link)
Alex doesn't find a problem with that. "Contact Kim and have her send you the latest schematics. I can model an approach simulation based on that and we can head out."

To his credit, he doesn't add the simulation also includes factors like Probability of Injury/Death. Alex might be obsolete but he's still covered in armor: Clara, on the other hand, isn't. In almost every model, she dies first. Alex keeps that to himself as he steps away from his wife and heads to the van to inspect it. In his mind, there's nothing more to do. He has a vague idea that he should pep-talk Clara, but that's all it is: vague.

Maybe he'll come up with something better than business talk and silence in the van. It's the longest conversation they've had in ten years, after all. They're approaching new ground and that isn't even covering breaking back into OCP.
yourmove: (096)

timeskipping

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-06-12 08:45 am (UTC)(link)


* * *


Alex spends most of the trip back to OCP with his eyes closed.

He's learned that accessing things like older schematics, his priority queue list, even CCTV feeds bothers Clara. Not that she doesn't expect him to do it. That's a part of him, she knows that, but she explained to him a few years ago that she doesn't like that "spaced out" look he gets when he does it. So he keeps his eyes closed, the visor up, feeling the rocking of the car as it bounces over pot-holes and takes detours.

"Uniform fitting okay?" Kim pulled in a few favors and managed to get one janitorial staff uniform, for Clara. She didn't ask if he wanted one: it wouldn't fit and Alex couldn't even remember what it felt like to think about outfits and clean clothes. "We should be getting close."
yourmove: (008)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-06-19 07:35 am (UTC)(link)
Alex opens his eyes, glancing sidelong at his wife. "There might be a line to get in. Just get in line, eyes forward. It's a Wednesday, they might not check too hard with the badge."

Or they might decide to be efficient employees and check it like they're supposed to. Alex can't say for sure and his probability software can't, either. It's out of date, glitchy, and all he knows is running simulation after simulation and it comes back with the consensus that Clara will either be arrested and/or killed. Granted, he had thought that about the theft, too, and she carried that out without a hitch, ignoring the glucose solution issue. It's not impossible, just improbable.

And Clara continues to surprise him. She isn't the woman he married ten years ago: she's carried out what OCP will probably label theft or, more likely, corporate espionage if they can come up or forge links to another rival.

"Better pull over so I can get in the back," Alex remarks as they pass warehouses and factories. Any closer and they'll hit the more populated areas. He knows he won't pass the peer-in-the-window test if he stays up front with Clara, no matter how much Clara weakly reassures him he could still pass as normal if they put a clothes and a hat on him.
yourmove: (030)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-07-29 02:34 am (UTC)(link)
Alex intends to stay put. It's one of those things he's generally good at, following directives even though his appropriate force responses are bugged. But when he sits in the back and his enhanced hearing starts to pick up on voices, he starts to revise the present plan.

" - Let's hurry up and clear the vans. Dunno about you, but I'm starving - "

" - it's five minutes, you can't wait? - "

" - Who cares? - "

He decides to risk cracking open the back door and immediately sees the two OmniCorp employees strolling toward the first in the line of vans, their heads down and bent over a tablet that, no doubt, has a list of what should be in each van. Alex briefly entertains the idea of pacification before filing that aside. Clara doesn't approve of that sort of thing, even ten years later. Even non-lethal incapacitation is unacceptable because if isn't the bodies in the way, someone will look for the workers if they're gone too long.

The chunk-chunk of the machinery in the garage masks the sound of Alex slipping out of the van and for a cyborg, he could move fast when he wanted to, much faster than people thought at first. He darted between vans and headed for the trash chute. Instead of crinkling his nose and going "Christ, this is a career low", he open the first one in line and slips inside, going up to his knees into filth. It's a mix of rotten food and motor oil, so strong that it actually makes his tear ducts water. (They're somehow still functioning).

When Clara opens the van, she'll find it's empty, doors closed, the two employees passing by arguing about delivery or hitting a buffet.
yourmove: (066)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-08-22 03:05 am (UTC)(link)
He doesn't try to hold his nose: Alex registers the smell is probably defined as "godawful" but once again, there are silver linings to his dopamine levels falling. He knows, objectively, that the smell is offensive but that little connection that should send him recoiling back or holding his breath is gone. He merely logs it, accepts it, moves on. What he does know is that the liquids and sludge oozing into his joints will need to be cleaned out before they solidify. The part of Alex Murphy that's still him knows he better trot that out to Clara in the car, inside of standing here in the middle of a pile of garbage. Sometimes it's better to wait, as much as that goes against his programming.

He stares right at Clara, registering signs of stress and anger. Better explain himself. She's shown over the last ten years that she reacts badly to holding information back. Clara made it abundantly clear she wants to be in the know, even if she can't do anything with the information.

"I made a tactical choice. I chose the non-lethal route," Alex says. "Did you get the glucose solutions?"

It's surprising to him that they made it this far without detection. And he does think he'd like to continue to live. Starving to death or dying by blood poisoning isn't...preferable. He moves toward Clara, shedding chunks of garbage from his hip joints.

"You're unhappy," Alex states. He stares down at Clara almost curiously, as if she's a new specimen instead of his wife, and at no point does "I'm sorry for freaking you out" come out of his mouth.
yourmove: (067)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-09-26 07:01 am (UTC)(link)
Alex processes that, the very picture of unruffled.

“I’m incapable of ‘getting off’,” he decides to add for clarification, because clearly that’s the most pressing issue at hand. “But I apologize for worrying you. I’ll work to be more communicative.”

The apology from Clara makes him pause, Alex looking down at his wife with a slight furrow creasing his forehead as if he’s puzzled by something he can’t identify. He motions for Clara to follow him back outside, slogging his way through the liquid trash that oozes around his legs with a consistency that is instinctively toe-curling. Cracking open the door shows that there’s a guard at the far end with her back turned. The way her hips bob along with her foot indicates she’s sneaking music on the job (against OCP policy). Resisting the urge to march over and remind the guard she’s on duty, Alex opens the door and steps out, his joints leaking trash juice. The good news is whatever he has stuck in there seems to muffle the sounds he makes when he walks, his movements slightly jerky as he heads over to the van and climbs in. He makes eye contact with Clara, hesitating for a moment, before he closes the doors.

They’re just leaving the driveway through the gate when the alarms suddenly hit – either someone noticed the theft or they caught Clara’s face on the CCTV cameras. The lights slam down to an angry red as an alarm blares, loud enough to blast through the van’s windows.

Even as the van bounces into the daylight, Clara will see some of the guards running toward her from the side, one hand up and yelling at her to stop. The good news is the ED’s aren’t out yet. With the alarms, though, it’s only a matter of time.
yourmove: (081)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-10-03 09:26 am (UTC)(link)
Alex rocks with the motion of the van, his hand shooting out to brace himself. The danger of being brained is minimal thanks to his visor, but the instinct is still there and it isn't clear if that's him or something left over from Dr. Norton's days with OmniCorp. There aren't any windows in the back. Judgign from the bouncing and the tires squealing, he assumes they're going at a good clip, enough that he has to push away the [ ISSUE: SPEEDING TICKET. Y/N ] prompt that comes up.

Clara's voice is muffled by the wall between them.

"Yes," Alex says, ignoring the warning that says she's probably racking up multiple infractions at this point. In fact, Clara's driving is a very, very good reason why companies such as OCP were pushing for self-driving cars. "Despite the newer models of cars available today, I believe I can still do it."

A few more turns, more infractions and eventually the van comes to a stop. When Clara opens the doors, Alex register that it's dark enough that his nightvision filter kicks in. It casts his wife's face in a green light, outlines the other cars in the underground parking lot. It's old, but not that old - Alex spots the blinking red light of the camera before Clara does. This place, like much of Detroit, has its own CCTV network. Give the amount of turns they took and his wife's estimated speed, they're nowhere close to the city limits.

"We won't have long." He pauses again, one of those long hesitations that says he's struggling override ten years of life as an obsolete cyborg. "I'll deal with them."

Alex moves around the garage, dripping garbage choice as he reaches out and systematic crushes each camera in a hand and trusting Clara to pick out her new escape vehicle.
yourmove: (027)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-11-03 05:36 am (UTC)(link)
Alex turns at her voice as he wanders over, his footsteps echoing off the walls. It's the kind of minivan he remembers, somehow remembers, David telling them about. Something about them trying to have coffee together only David had nursed his cafe latte, eyes down on the table and his shoulders registering as classically agitated. He immediately starts lifting crates, the supplies that had been sliding around the back. Someone, a previous owner of the van, maybe, has left a ratty blanket that smells of Slim Jims and mothballs. He takes that with him, holding it out expectantly to Clara.

"Put the blanket on me," Alex forgets about reassuring or even something as basic as "thanks, you're a lifesaver". Climbing into the back of the minivan, he fits. Barely. Even with the seats down, it's a tight fit because even if he curls up, Alex is larger than most people. The chassis grinds up against the wall. If he keeps his head down and the blanket over his body, he could pass as maybe camping supplies. With the cybernetics, Clara won't have to worry about harsh, nervous breathing from his end, the blanket rising and falling and betraying there's someone else in the minivan.

The suspension, however, creaks ominously as Alex settles inside the back with the crates. It'll hang a little bit low, all the same. Hopefully a cop out there doing their job won't notice and go "huh, that's a little weird".

"Drive," Alex says, voice muffled from the back with the Slim Jim blanket tossed over him like he's luggage. "Put the radio on. One hand on the wheel, not two. It will make you look less obvious if you're more relaxed. Maintain the speed limit."
yourmove: (022)

Time skipping

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-11-15 07:09 am (UTC)(link)
* * *


The truth is while Clara does clean up her "I'm not a criminal, no sir" act, she's still obvious. Or at least Alex believes so, but the results speak for themselves: they don't get pulled over and eventually they make it out of the city, and the immediate danger zone. Alex spends his time navigating for Clara as best he can, although his GPS is outdated and doesn't account for new construction or traffic that requires rerouting. It does get her onto a stretch of road that's less crowded, the afternoon sky stained orange before he finally sits up.

They pull over at a rest stop. Aside from a few semi tricks, they're alone, and Clara makes sure to park behind the cover of some trees and a tall concrete wall that's plastered with old grafitti. Beer cans and used condoms litter the bushes. This place hasn't been looked after in awhile, as if someone threw in the towel and went screw it and let it rot. It's only value is the parking lot and the fact there's still functioning bathrooms. It's just a matter of braving them.

"Good job," Alex chimes up from the back. He has to unfold his body so he can stand up. While he's incapable of sore muscles, he does get sore joints and sticky actuators these days. It's a cyborg's version of old age. "I'll need you to inject some of the solution soon - I'm starting to feel diminishing returns on my efficiency levels."

In other words, Alex is feeling under the weather. Slower response time, his ability to critically analyze situations from how fast Clara should go to even her emotional readings. There's a reason he spends much of his time sedated. Cyborgs still need sleep, the downtime used to feed him as well so he doesn't need to waste time in the field. The glucose solutions Clara illegally took from OCP will last a few months, at best. He assumes it shouldn't take that long for Clara to work out a more permanent solution with Kim.
yourmove: (056)

[personal profile] yourmove 2014-12-09 10:38 am (UTC)(link)
Alex peers down at the bag, unfazed.

“It should be self-explanatory,” he says, and once again there’s that slightly too long pause where it occurs to him he shouldn’t have said that to his own wife. “I’m sorry. We should be able to figure it out.”

Looking at the end of the bag, he can see that it’s supposed to clip the tubing where it should feed along the cradle to the back of his neck, where his vertebra used to meet the base of his skull. These weren’t designed to be used out in the field, unfortunately. Dr. Norton of course had made sounds about it but he had died before he could tackle that issue. Alex’s eyes drift back up to Clara, her head bent down like they’re in a group huddle, loose strands of hair hanging tangled in her face. It reminds him all of a sudden of trying to figure out the IKEA instructions when they had their first apartment together. He can’t remember if attended David’s last birthday but somehow that other memory was…retained. Sometimes he wonders how much has been corrupted, how much data is irreversibly lost. Dr. Norton had tried his best but even Alex knows some of it isn’t coming back. There’s always been a vague unease, a sense that he’s not the man Clara married and it has nothing to do with the chassis.

Turning his attention back to the bag of glucose solution, Alex points with a finger at the nozzle, the seal unbroken.

“We’ll need a length of hose and tape to try to prevent leakage from the nozzle,” Alex actually sounds hesitant, almost as if he’s not used to thinking creatively. Cyborgs aren’t pros at McGuyvering, apparently. “Think of it as siphoning gas.”

Not an entirely accurate description. Still.
yourmove: (068)

[personal profile] yourmove 2015-02-12 12:33 pm (UTC)(link)
It says something of their current relationship that Alex doesn’t immediately point out that no, Mrs. Murphy clearly isn’t “alright” from her biometic readings. He just dutifully logs them even though there’s no one employed to monitor them.

He tears off a piece of duct tape as Clara gets her kit together, his eyes sliding from the purple glitter that would’ve gone against all of Dr. Norton’s aesthetics too her face, a ghost of a frown on his face. She’s doing that thing again where she’s acting business like, showing curiousity about his functions as a coping method. It’s happened in the past: the day he ran into that Hummer on live TV and lost an arm. She had asked the doctor about replacement limbs, his functionality. Her voice hadn’t wobbled too much. But pulling up those clips in a tab and he can see her face years younger, the tightening of the skin around her eyes, how Clara’s teeth are subtly grinding as she nods and blinks quickly, like she’s trying to hold back any tears.

He assumes this is more of the same.

“No. That’s not nutrionally sound,” Alex says, then pauses, and adds, “It’s a liquid food solution. Like NASA.”

He reaches out to touch the bag, running a graphene finger across its rippling surface for a moment. It could easily be mistaken for nostalgia, maybe resignation. That bag is literally his life. OmniCorp may have saved his mind and his face, but without that solution, that could easily change. Alex drops his hand, giving that awkward up-down version of a shrug he picked up in the few months after he woke up in the chassis. Even after all these years, something about it looks forced. The creak of the actuators say that they need attention that he doubts Clara is equipped to repair.

“I’m told it tastes like baby food.” Alex might have been joking, decades ago. “But I wouldn’t recommend trying it.”

The contents of the bag are limited, he knows Clara has a taste for hamburgers with too much bacon and not enough onions: the list could go on.
yourmove: (090)

[personal profile] yourmove 2015-03-17 09:11 am (UTC)(link)
Alex…supervises. He supposes that’s the only appropriate word to call it when you’re watching your wife putting together a feeding system out of tape and sheer spit. Ideally they would have the proper tools, a sterile facility to ensure there’s no contamination.

“He’s better off at college where he can focus on his studies,” Alex points out for clarification’s sake. They’re not close, David and him. He understands why on a logical level: he’s unreliable due to the glitches, he draws too much attention if he attends games, graduation, meets girlfriends. Sometimes it hurt – he remembers as if from a distance that it hurt more in the beginning. These days it’s on and off, depending how bad the corruption in his system is these days. (Sometimes, secretly, he’s almost relieved for the times where everyone’s comfortably flatlined, all logic and business and no room for anything else).

Once it looks like Clara’s done, Alex studies it. His HUD searches for possible leakage points and finds none.

“No. You’ll have to open my nutritional intake port and line up the nozzle. It’s here.”

Alex turns, getting down on his knees so Clara isn’t forced to find a box to stand on. He reaches up, tapping the little circle of graphene that’s approximately where his neck would’ve connected to his shoulders. It’s slightly raised, just enough to get fingers or a screwdriver under. He releases the lock on the port. The panel hisses up and then clicks open, revealing a gaping hole that goes deep, too deep for a flesh and blood neck. Alex resists the urge, faint as it is, to glance over at Clara. He’s never shown her this. A part of him had been humiliated by it, he guesses.