Lucretia de Loccia/Biomechanics
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The following is a transcript of a diary kept by Lucretia de Loccia.
Pain. I have come to hate pain. But, as long as things hurt, then at least I know the nerves still work.
I put the finishing touches on the new armor last night. It's rather ironic that it was based on a design for Crey's so-called "tank" operatives... and used mostly Crey materials. Ah, if only my former employers knew what their tech was being used for...
The test fitting was ... well, lets just say the corporation still isn't putting much effort into 'comfort' or 'ergonomics'. It's obvious this stuff wasn't designed for someone with a slim waist, round hips, or boobs. But, I've managed to do enough machine work to get it to fit relatively snugly... of course, it means I can barely wear more than unmentionables underneath. What with the lack of ventilation, that's kind of a plus. Put that on my list of 'fixes' to the design, I guess.
Mating the armor to the legs was a bit harder. I've worked and worked and worked at getting the armatures, power supply, and processors into something that looks like an attractive pair of legs. But they're still bulky.. so the outer covering down below is little more than a shell. Good thing most of the people one runs into in the Rogues tends to aim for the head.
The right arm turned out rather well. After living with the bare skeletal prosthetic for years, it's nice to finally have a covering over it, something that looks like a real arm, even if it's clad in ceramic and titanium, and has obvious linkages coming off the knuckles and forearm. Combined with the new control glove for the left hand for the 'boys', and the tactical helmet, and you might think I was just another super-criminal.
Of course, that illusion goes down the tubes as soon as I try and get intimate with anyone. Ever try and cuddle with close to a hundred and sixty pounds of machinery?
No, really. Everything from the hips down is more robotic wizardry. Beats using a wheelchair... but when people find out, they either look at you like you're a freak, or.. they look at you like you're a helpless victim.
I suppose I'd better backtrack. As you've probably surmised, I used to work for Crey. Was one of their top robotics engineers. Got my hands on all sorts of fun and useful stuff... then they stuck me on the 'Rikti Projects'.
Now, these don't actually exist on paper. They shuffle numbers around to hide the research from the auditors... but yes, Crey is going great guns on deciphering Rikti technology. They had me working on a Protector-deployable 'portal', much like the Rikti "Comm Officers" use. Theoretically... you could carry it in a backpack.. set it up, turn it on... and the main portal back at HQ would link up and you could send troops or supplies through it.
It... wasn't very reliable. And thinking back, we should have instituted some kind of safety protocol around a live portal. But. hey.. it was a slip-and-fall accident, right?
I slipped, and my legs ended up IN the portal field... I sat up and turned to the left to try and regain my feet... not realizing where my body parts were.... and the damn thing overloaded and cut out.
Leaving both my legs from the thighs down, plus my right arm, shoulder and all... somewhere else.
The emergency response teams were quite professional. They had the blood loss stopped and the wounds cauterized within a minute or two. But they never found my missing limbs. They probably ended up as a snack for an eyeball, or on some alternate world someplace.
Be that as it may... they wouldn't.. COULDN'T... file a workman's comp claim. It was a black op. But I figured.... hey, hazard pay, the company would make it good, right?
Was I wrong. They put me on the programming team, said since my brain and left arm were still good, I was still an asset. But you know what? It was like they made the accident out to be MY fault.
I managed to steal several designs for 'workdroids'... basically autonomous boxes that we were thinking of using as 'exploratory' robots... they could be folded into a cargo crate and either shoved thru a portal or air-dropped. At the beginning I only had enough resources for one robot... and it was very primitive.
I soon realized I'd need money, and materials... but there was no way I was going to stay on Crey's payroll, and have them shove me in some back office someplace, away from the public eye. So I quit.
Then I started stealing.
The workdroid proved to be rather useful in this regard. It could be 'delivered' to an unsuspecting business, then would activate and grab materials or saleable items after the building was locked up. I'd programmed it to defeat most burglar alarms, and most buildings were only secured from the outside... from the inside they were easy to open. Trojan Horse strategy, and it worked.
I managed to gather enough resources for a very primitive pair of leg prosthetics, and the skeletal armature to replace my right arm. Again, the workdroid proved to be wonderful.. it was the perfect waldo for my missing arm for all of the delicate machine work... and it followed my CAD designs to the micron.
The problem was... neural interfaces are extremely tricky to work out. It wasn't until I started experimenting with 'neural net' heuristic systems that I managed to build an interface that stopped hurting when in use... the pain feedback essentially taught the system which nerve endings to use as sensory interfaces, and how much I could stand. I finally got it to the point where walking was only a dull ache, like an ongoing low-level electrical current, but the first few attempts were... agony.
Then when it became readily apparent that I needed more load-bearing strength, I scrapped the prosthetic design, and took the knife to my own flesh to graft each leg to my hips, just as I'd done with the shoulder. Well, OK, it wasn't me doing the work, but Abbott, one of my 'bots. It wasn't fun, as I had to stay conscious to guide the process, and you can only deaden so much pain with local anesthetic. But I managed it. Twice. And I somehow managed to not destroy neural sensation in the process.
Now, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just go ahead and neuter myself; I left my private parts alone on the off chance I'd NEED them someday. But realistically, I doubt I can bear a child in my current state. No matter how many times I have urges to... attempt the process.
I suppose I should be glad - many people in my condition have no sensation at all down below a certain point.
But I do. I might only be partially human. But I'm ALL woman... and I've always been blessed (cursed?) with a high sex drive. That's probably the hardest thing to bear. I've yet to meet a man anywhere that didn't either screw his face up in disgust... or worse, get a hungry predatory look. You should see some of the Freakshow. Those shade-tree cyborgs take one look at me, and then they just... stare. It's creepy, like I'm some kind of bio-mechanical goddess of theirs.
I still fantasize about having perfect legs. Maybe someday, there'll be tech available to build them. In the meantime, I'm still building robots, and still paying for it with other people's money.
I just wish it didn't hurt so damn much.