Chapter Seventy-Seven

It didn’t take the three of them long to figure out how Irian’s arm and leg should work.  Getting them attached, however was a different story.

“I’m telling you, a pressure socket will be easier!”

“And have his leg flop off during a battle?  Direct joins to the bone will be much stronger.”

“They’ll hurt more too.  He’s already drinking all day!”

“I’m still here, you know.  Besides, I have an idea.”

Elanor and James turned to look at him.  He had already undone the bandages around the stump of his leg and was fighting the ones around his chest.  He stared at them.  “Did you ever ask my opinion?  No, of course not.  But I have one, you know.  Tie them into my circulatory system.  Let the aether in my blood power them.”

They both looked at him in shock.  “That’s not safe!”

“And neither is a leg that would fall off during battle.  Direct to the bone would be safer, though it will hurt more.  If I can imagine that.  But you still never figured out power.  And James, yours are weak.  You fight with a gun more than a sword.  They handle linear impact but shearing torsion destroys them.  Only implantation will fix that, and the aether in my veins will power them sufficiently without going to this… nuclear you speak of.  I don’t like it.  It’s too dirty.”

“And do you know how long you’ll be down from the surgery?”

“Not a clue.  But I have to have help just to relieve myself.  And neither of you seem to understand what it’s like.”

“Well, Irian, actually I do.  You never wondered about these arms?”

“No, because you spoke of upgrading yourself.  I understood that you replaced them to gain an advantage.”

“No, I replaced them because the Prince cut them off.  Did you never wonder what happened to his face?”

“Of course, but I figured he was disfigured fighting the Harvest.  You’re saying it was you?”

“Yes, and he did the same for me.”  James removed his surcoat, then his shirt.  A complex strapping system tied both arms across his chest and back.  “They tie to the nerves at the ends of my stumps, and the hand designs are yours, Elanor.  He designed the system that controls them.  And yes, I do fight more with my gun.  So they work for me.  But try me with a blade sometime.”

“So you lost your arms.  What happened between the two of you?”

“I married his sister.”

Elanor stopped reviewing component lists and looked up.  “He never mentioned a sister.”

“And he wouldn’t.  He didn’t approve of me.  He didn’t approve of her marrying me.  And he sure didn’t approve of her leaving his laboratory.  When I confronted him about it, he pulled a weapon.  We fought.  I carved his face up pretty well.  Got him in the leg pretty badly.  But he was the better swordsman, and when I overextended myself, he took both of my arms off mid-bicep.”

“And what happened then?”

“She told him if he killed me she’d never speak to him again.  He told her that if I meant that much, then he wouldn’t, but that she wasn’t going to enter his lab again.  I think at that point she didn’t mind.”

“And where is this wife of yours?”

“Translation, working beside Namid.  You’ve met her, you just didn’t know it.”

“One of these days, you owe me an explanation on that.”

“Duly noted.”

“And why did he help replace your arms?”

“Guilty conscience, I guess.”

“Well, that’s all well and good.  Now can someone put an arm and leg on me?”

“You really should, you know.  I’m getting tired of carrying him places.”   Namid entered, carrying Cairbre.  She deposited him in Irian’s lap.  He immediately set up purring.  “Whatever you do, you might want to do it.  Our break is over.  They’re on the move again.”

Published in: on June 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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