Spinal Set by cliff-rathburn from DeviantArt
“What’s her name?” asked one of the assistants.
“Does its name matter?” Dr. Seoul asked. “I’ll help you there: no. Now, hand me the depression needle.”
The doctor held out a rubber gloved hand and one of the masked and hooded assistants slapped into his hand a thin rod almost no thicker than a strand of hair. Stiff. Cold. Metal.
Dr. Seoul turned back to the operating table, which was more a full-body sling or harness than a table.
Suspended above the floor in the metal harness like nothing more than car, face down, arms and legs splayed, back curved into the S-shape of the harness, lay a human form. Overhead a dozen lights beamed bright, sterile white light that banished all shadow. The body in the harness had no hair, either on its head or covering its privates. Its naked flesh was a porcelain shade and texture. Unreal. Fabricated. The latest in prosthesis. Smooth with beautiful features. Very expense.
After placing a hand on the human-like body’s head, Dr. Seoul bent over the body and examined a particular spot at the base of neck where the spinal column would end at the skull.
“There we go,” the doctor mumbled to himself.
He inserted the depression needle into a tiny pinprick of a hole. As the tip entered there was a wet squeak, a sucking, then…
Dr. Soul stepped back as air hissed from the body.
The body opened. Dozens of panels on the backside of the body lifted up.
“Never gets old,” Dr. Seoul said with a small squee, his hands coming together, his rubber-sheathed fingertips lightly touching.
Another assistant standing at a terminal a half dozen paces away, just inside the cone of surgical light, started tapping away on a holographic keyboard that hoovered in front of her.
The lights over the surgical harness spread out and mechanical arms descended. Tongs more dexterous than human fingers spun from the arms around automated screwdrivers, whirling saws, and pen-sized lasers. Those finger tongs plucked at the porcelain flesh panels, pulling them away from the body, revealing the cybernetic innards inside. A metal endoskeleton. Rotating pistols. Articulate ball-baring joints. The only two things of real human tissue: the brain and the…
“She still has a spine.” One of the assistants sounded surprised. A nearly unbreakable metal skeleton and yet a fragile spine? “How common is bone in these bodies, doctor?”
“Living tissue is limited to the brain,” Dr. Seoul answered. The brain was safely encased in see-through plastic, wires running and weaving along both hemispheres.
“In all my years working with Synths… I’ve seen a beating heart but actual bone. Fascinating choice.” The doctor shook his head.
Six arms spun down, lined up laterally, and grabbed at the body’s spine and unplugged the bone from thirty-three ports, the underside of the bony vertebrae affixed with metal protrusions, plugs. Lubrication dripped from the bones.
The body didn’t move through this process. The pealing of the flesh. The disconnecting of the spinal cord from the plastic-encased brain. Pain didn’t seem to affected what the doctor had called the Synth. Not far away, another assistant monitored a clear tablet displaying a variety of pulsing vital trackers.
“Do you think they… she feels pain?”
Dr. Seoul’s hands fell away from his masked face, his arms limply falling to his sides. His posture slumped in exhausted outrage. His eyes rolled.
Swiftly, the doctor knelt down and his rubber hands struck out. Each grabbed one of the body’s two breasts. His fingers squeezed. Twisted. The porcelain cups came away in the doctor’s hands. He handed them to yet another nearby assistant.
“All the parts are interchangeable,” Dr. Seoul reminded the assistants. “Depending on the accessories, the Synth can be anything it wants.”
Dr. Seoul put emphasis on the word ‘it’, his attention on the body in the metal sling, the skin pealed back, the metal skeleton glistening wetly with aqua lubrication.
“Enough. Shall we get to the annual tune up, hmm?”