Time: (?), 0832
Location: (?), August Body Shop
Interactions: Schyler, Paige, Noel
Equipment: Office Casual
The first time Bailey slipped on nitrile gloves professionally. Cooler than room temp when she first put them on, focusing intently on every small detail from the instructor. Her palms were not sweaty at first, but the gloves stuck to her skin instantly. Lead Domestic Emergency Medical Technician Lincoln gave step-by-step instructions as if none of the recruits had ever observed first aid being applied or at least watched a virtudoc. Plasma suture kit, biogel hemostatic agents, tactical trauma surgical kits. The items splayed out in organized manner on the table before her. The augmented reality lens made it seem as though she were a lone student with her mentor, interfacing directly with a singular neural link. True reality, she stood as one of two dozen aspiring field medics in a half-empty room, LDEMT Lincoln nowhere to be seen without the lens.
Hope, inspiration, passion. Distant memories of pleasing her demanding parents while also serving her country and saving lives. The virtual instructor takes a trained hold on the trauma kit before him, inviting holographic bodies of nondescript virtue. That was the first lie. No movement, silence in a sterile environment, no realization of impending death in the victim's patient's expression. With prompting, Bailey took her first step toward mending the physical damage of the hardlight body. The façade of operating on digital lives lasted only a week before dolls made their way to the tables, no AR to suppress the formaldehyde. Paid volunteers who will receive cold hard credits for their bodies to be fixed of their government-inflicted contract injuries.
One year of intense emergency medical response training by the AutoAmerican Army. Three years of field service, applying her learning and resources and experience and energy into keeping semi-robotic comrades alive enough to lob their weak flesh and gray matter back into the fray. Many that return look to be less of themselves, magnified by her augmentations as they are less human when they rejoin the fight than they left the last. Decimated muscles are completely replaced by actuators, cables hook up to their hearts, carbon fiber 3d models patch the splintered skulls. Recycling losses.
"I've been saying cold, dammit!"
Schyler's exclamation and jerking of her head to the side forced Bailey's hand tool out of her mouth. Bullet-riddled soldier bodies in various states of agony and incapacitation were replaced by the quiet din of the August Body Shop. CR-Pop group Xióngmāo Medved played from a neon pink retro-styled radio, its volume lowered with the intensity of Bailey's tool lessening.
"C'mon, you're about to freeze my throat. You tryna put me out of a job?" A woman, slightly younger than Bailey, laid upon the augmentation table before Bailey. A doll that's known the doc for years, relying on low prices and discretion since their first meeting. Bright blue eyes scan the operator, an expression of concern with no minor part of annoyance.
"I wasn't kidding when I said it will get really cold," she answers apathetically. "Unlike most implants, you need cryo injections to keep from overheating and melting your esophagus from the inside-out. Didn't you read your Songbird Maintenance notes?" Bailey leaned away in her backless stool, observing her patient-client. A neutral expression to some, resting bitch face to others, keeping a deceptively keen eye for side-effects. Bio-metrics scrolled through her vision, connected to the bio-monitor within Schyler.
"Yeah, well, is there any way to make it not hurt as much?"
"Besides making it... not cold? No." One end of Bailey's lips curled into a sadistic smile, squeezing the trigger of her tool a few times to blast cryo particles into the air.
"Fine, then let's get it over with. Still don't understand why you don't let me go under for these check-ups." The girl lied back onto the reclined seat, fidgeting slightly to get as comfortable as she can on the plastifoam seat. She opened her mouth wide expectantly, squeezing her eyes shut in anticipation.
The cryo-injector buzzed, and spinning like clockwork, folded into the length of her forearm. "Actually, we're all done. You made it through the worst and last bit. Grats." The augmentationist kicked the floor, sending herself and the stool flying across the small office to her desk, a practiced effort as her jack disconnected from the augmenting booth and whipped irresponsibly into her wrist. Before Schyler could say another word, Bailey looked over her shoulder to the patient-client.
"And yes, same as usual. I look forward to your payments every Thursday." Turning her attention to the PC on her desk, she immediately tuned into its files and messages. "Paige will see you out.
With the mention of her name, a young girl of similar features to Bailey appeared in the pneumatic doorway. "Come with me, please! How was your visit?" "Yeah, yeah..." The two of them exited the office, leaving Bailey alone briefly. And brief it was. As soon as the android form left the area, a holographic version of Paige appeared behind the augmentationist, attempting to look over her shoulder.
"She's really nice! You've known each other for a long time, do you think--" The child-like cybercom looked excitedly at Bailey, barely paying heed to the work or messages onscreen.
"No, Paige. As a professional and personal moral, I don't date patient-clients." Bailey eyed the girl, barely adjusting her orientation to show how serious she was about not entertaining such thoughts. With a light sigh, Paige pixelized and Bailey was alone again. As alone as one can be with an omnipresent virtual companion. Reaching to the screen, the doc swiped and tapped away until a courtesy reminder from Alexa chimed in for the charity luncheon. Surplus don't hold luncheons. Augmentationists like Bailey were expected to accept the invitation, if not out of self-interest. Reputation and networking is built at events like that, and Bailey would be remiss to decline.
In a few hours, huh? Gotta make sure to wear something appropriate. She looked down at her attire. Spatters of blood and oil mixed in her surgical apron. The hiss of her office doors opening caused her to turn around in her stool, concurrently hearing Paige's voice in her head. "Noel here to see you. Their regular appointment." As per her personality programming, a girlish giggle was overheard with the words and Bailey gives her best retail smile to the regular.
"Mornin', Noel. How you feeling today?"