Side Effects part 2, or I've Got a Better Idea (Staren)

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Side Effects part 2, or I've Got a Better Idea (Staren)
Date of Cutscene: 13 September 2015
Location: Staren's Lab
Synopsis: Staren prepares to fight the cataclysmic dragon.
Cast of Characters: Staren

September 11, AU23

They're going to be fighting a dragon.

The vision -- Staren hates it when dark entities slip into his mind -- didn't explicitly say it would be a fight, but Staren can't count on it wanting to talk.

His phantom body will need to be as tough as possible. His flesh is weak, and in that world, weapons that bypass armor are more common than he would like.

He has a solution.

Staren lays down in the ego bridge and waits for chemically-induced sleep to take him. It's early, but he might need time to recover from... side effects. He has three days.

Staren awakens on a table. He looks at his hands, then sits up, swinging his legs off the table. The robot looks back at him from the mirror, while he sleeps in the ego bridge.

No, dammit! he thinks to himself. You're in here! He knows it academically, but he's just not feeling it.

As he goes about his day, he keeps catching himself thinking he's working remotely and trying to drop back to his body. Or forgetting he's in a robot entirely. He actually comes up to the kitchen at dinner. "What are we having for dinner? I'm starving." His mother gives him an odd look. "No you're not. You can't be." It clicks, and he embarassedly runs a hand through his synthetic hair. "Right. Ahaha." he laughs nervously, "I forgot." and shuffles back down towards the lab.

As he works on machines, he forgets himself too. Misused robot strength occasionally crushes components or yanks out a wire.

Something is wrong.

But is it enough wrong that he should risk two more transfers which might result in things getting even worse?

Besides, he's prepared almost as best he can. This is the toughest body he could possibly be summoned in.

As Staren stands up from the mecha he's doing maintenance on, lifts his head, and wipes nonexistant sweat from his brow, he finds himself looking up at the Star Hawk, his personal mecha.


<Hey, Priscilla?> Staren calls her private radio. <How large of a body can you summon...?>

September 13, AU23

Staren kneels over a metal box inside the cockpit. He's removed the chairs, and has had to hook up a lot of wires and cables (drones and nanomachines helped when he got tired of the occasional accident from improperly integrating with his robot body), and custom-wrote the interface software... but this should work. As the final step, he closes the panel protecting the wiring, and begins bolting the box in place. At last, he stands up, gathers his tools, and walks out. The cockpit closes behind him, and the machine begins powering up.

Staren grows impatient. He has to know if it works. He runs -- it is no more fatiguing than walking, after all -- to the robot body's usual resting place, and lies down and closes his eyes. With but a thought...

Staren opens his eyes to see the lab, close to the fluorescent-lit ceiling. In his peripheral vision he can see the shapes of the shelves of materials used for storage and dividing different sections. He raises his arms to look at his hands -- and a section of gantry is ripped from the wall, mangled like a coathanger, and falls to the ground, crushing a maintenance drone with a crash and a clatter. Uh, whoops. He looks at the mecha's hands. No, he reminds himself, my hands. He makes a fist as internal diagnostic programs come back all OK.

<Priscilla,> he radios, <I am ready.>