Dr. Goode
By Blackjack [Blackjack's Shadowrun Page: www.BlackjackSR.com] [BlackjackSRx@gmail.com] [@BlackjackSRx]

Posted: 1997-06-09

I am a cybertechnician.

I am a cybertechnician, yet I possess no cyberware of my own. I do my job well and, despite the rumors and slander which seems to cyclone around my job, I can confidently say that ninety percent of the cybertechnicians operating on the streets are as competent and honest as I am.

Many of my patients have died; so many that I lost count long ago. Incompetence had nothing to do with it. Neither did personal avarice. Many of my patients have died, but none have died by my hand. It was the ware that killed them.

I welcome you to my clinic. I hesitate to use the word ‘shop’. It seems to taint peoples’ thoughts with an industrial assembly line mentality of what I do. I personally possess no blue prints and my actions are guided by no manual.

You enter through a small, non-descript door which exits into a small, non-descript alley. Through subtle manipulation and a few outright bribes I managed to convince the neighboring businesses to move their dumpsters to a different alley, away from mine. The last thing you want to see as you walk into a cyberclinic is a dumpster sitting by the front door.

The door is glass and, yes, it gets broken a lot. My clinic is not located in the best section of the city, as is any clinic which wishes to cater to society’s shadows. It may seem idiotic to have such a door in such a neighborhood enclosing such a business which serves clientele such as shadowrunners. Yes, it will seem idiotic; unless you’ve ever walked into a streetside cyberclinic which had the traditional lead heavy door, the traditional ten hinges, and the traditional five bolt longs - and then had such a door thunder closed behind you. The fear of being caught up in a raid or a robbery doesn’t come close to the fear of being trapped in a small room filled with knives, chemicals, hoses, wires, claps, saws, and other devices one would normally associate with a horror movie.

I have no waiting area as I only perform one alteration per day. That is my limit. Usually, I stagger my schedule and only perform one alteration every two days. Such an arrangement gives me the comfort of knowing that I don’t have to cancel an appointment should one of my alterations take two days worth of surgery time to perform. On rare occasions the surgery may even take three or four days to complete. My record is a straight week during which time I did not eat or sleep; I simply operated. Many times you cannot even stop for a second lest the body of your patient decide to fail.

You enter into a medium sized room, dimly lit, with antiquated Marvel comic covers covering the walls. My initial decision to frame and display these covers was motivated by nothing more than the desire to have something other than desolate walls staring my patients in the face as they walked in. I soon realized the odd comfort this gave my patients. They looked upon the comics, their displays of fantastic power and immortality, and smiled. I could, and can, hear their thoughts:

Perhaps I will be like them.

Also in this room are two chairs; one large and comfortable and the other molded to the small, frail stature of my aging body. There is also a table, on which lies a small computer. A large trideo screen hangs from the wall. It looks very out of place when its technology is contrasted against the archaic paper medium covering the wall behind it, . The trideo screen is linked to the computer and on it I display information on the modifications the patient has requested. I can also bring up news or industry reports regarding the ware, price information, testimonials (many of which, I inform the patient, have probably been tainted with corporate bribes) and, after the viewing and reviewing is finished, the cost sheet for the complete procedure.

In this room, the patient and I talk as well. I inform them of the level of difficult of the procedure, the possible side effects, the results of past operations of similar nature, and so on. This is also the room in which I inform patients as to the probability of the operation killing them. Sometimes, I have to be very blunt with my words. “If you have this procedure done,” I tell them, “you will probably die.” Occasionally, I am even more precise in my statement. “If you have this procedure done...you will die.”

Sometimes this doesn’t even stop them. Even if I tell them that twenty other alterations of a similar nature have all resulted in death, they will tell me to do it anyway. Sometimes they will leave in anger, run off to some other clinic, have the procedure done there, and then - of course - die. I have never once been wrong.

In this room is also where the patient says ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If the answer is ‘no’ he either leaves or decides on another procedure. If the answer is ‘yes’, he pays me and I go to work. My fee is high, but, as I said before, I am good. Very good.

All fees must be paid in full and in advance. I give no refunds.

The hallway which branches off of the room is wide, dimly lit, and, again, covered with comics. I might as well tell you now that every room in my facility is covered with comics. And every room is fairly dark. Yes, this may not give off the impression of good sanitation, but can you tell me one runner who is comfortable in a neat, clean, well lit environment? In a runner’s mind, sanitation is associated with light. Light does not exist in the shadows. There is no need to worry, however. Despite its appearance, my clinic is as sanitary as an incubator.

Four doors line the hallway in symmetry, with a fifth located at the end. Through the first four doors lie state of the art recovery rooms. Usually only two are in use at any one time. They are equipped with the latest monitoring, sustenance, and pain reduction machinery. They are all sound proofed as well, shielding other patients from the cries of pain that technology and medicine cannot suppress. Each patient is permitted to use the recovery room for a full week following their alteration. After this point they are required to find another facility. This is all spelled out to the patient before they agree to the surgery. Also, before they even click over the cred, I require that they inform me of how they wish their body to be handled should the procedure prove fatal. No matter how ludicrous the request may be, I always follow through with it. I do this primarily for the sake of my reputation’s security; the last thing I want anybody to think is that I’m running a chop shop.

The fifth door, the one located at the end of the hallway, leads into the operating room. This room is the darkest and smallest of them all. It is small for a reason; I don’t want to have to go searching for my instruments across a vast array of countertops and cabinets. Since I always work alone, I need a room that permits the utmost of efficiency. I explain this to the patient and it always seems to make them feel better. They know their doctor isn’t trying to put on a show; he’s trying to do his job the best possible way he can.

In this room there is yet another door, large and heavy, almost blending in with the wall. This door leads to my office and to my infrequently used bed. Nobody enters my office but me. It is a very private place.

In the center of the operating room sits the most comfortable chair you will find on the face of the Earth. I spent two years searching for it. It reclines and raises into a perfect horizontal table, flat as a board, yet, when you sit in it initially, it is impossible to fathom that its pampering curves could morph into such an object. More than a few patients have described the sensation as ‘sitting in the lap of God’. Most of them don’t realize how much truth there is in their statement.

You now take your seat and I provide you with a pill and a small cup of water. Real water. Not that waste you get from the city tap.

I kneel before you and ask the question I’ve asked thousands of people just like you; people who just wanted to be better and others who wanted to be gods. I ask the final question:

Are you sure?

The answer is yes. You place the pill into your mouth....and swallow.

Now the easy part of my job begins.