Valora Chronicles: Downtime Prior to UOW Friday Night Clash 12


Somewhere in the Nuclear Contamination Zone, Los Angeles and Surrounding Locales:

Valora made her way through what was left of Los Angeles slowly, deliberately. Every step taken as if she were walking on some strange foreign planet. Which, to most people, it might as well be. But not Valora. Even with most of it destroyed, Valora knew exactly where she was and where she was going. Every few steps, she spared a glance over the stats scrolling through the HUD in her helmet. Stats that gave her everything from her body temperature, to the rate her body temperature was changing, how long she had in the suit, radiation levels, vital signs, and a whole host of other information all available for her. She rolled her eyes a bit. “So this is what Tony Stark feels like.. Except he has a power suit and I’m stuck in this just so I can go home..” Valora turned and made her way down to her first stop, which was the remains of a cemetery. As she entered, she closed her eyes for a second, letting her photographic memory rebuild the cemetery for her. She made her way slowly, counting rows before making a couple of turns and finding her way to her destination. She paused and looked at the charred and damaged ground before her and sighed. “Hola, mom.” She said, very slowly and awkwardly kneeling down on one knee as she had an idea. “Hey Sam… hypothetically.” Samantha’s voice cut her off. “No, Valora.” Valora clenched her fist and sighed. “You don’t even know what I’m gonna fuckin’-” Samantha’s voice cut in again. “They will not let you remove anything from there. As for what you’re going to ask.. I can make an educated guess but go ahead and ask.” Valora bit her lip in frustration and nodded. “Hypothetically… how long would it take you to decon say… a handful or two of dirt?” Samantha sighed sadly and glanced at Abbigail before speaking back into the mic that connected her to Valora’s suit. “They won’t allow it, Val.. you went to med school, you know how quarantine works. It’s why you loaded up on iodine before heading in..” Valora sighs. “Yeah, and the fuckers gave me another dose before letting me in. Abs… you once asked me why I hated playing the hero… take a good fuckin’ look.”

She looked around letting the cam take in the devastation and nodded. “Heroes aren’t remembered for their wins, kid… they’re remembered for when they fail. Heroes have to win every fuckin’ time.. The bad guys just need to win once.” Abbigail leaned close to Samantha and spoke into the mic. “Bullshit. I can think of a few million people who are alive today thanks to you… Fuck’s sake Valora.. You moved faster than anyone else.. Faster than me and I was on some weird Warhammer super soldier formula.. There isn’t another person on Earth who could have done what you did.”

Valora stood up slowly and nodded. “Yeah… just woulda been nice if I could have moved a little bit faster..” She said as something that no camera picked up, something she would never allow herself to admit, even to herself, happened.. A tear ran down her cheek. She blinked in surprise as she felt it.. And moments later tasted the bitter, salty tear on her lips. She needed to change the subject. She smirked as an idea came to her. “So Sam… scale from 1 to 10.. How does Vastrix’s toy impress you?” Samantha’s answer was as quick as Valora expected it to be. “Well I suppose my first reaction is to ask why Warhammer decided they needed suits capable of withstanding this level of radiation in the first place. But it does the job and it’s allowing you to visit your childhood home so I’m grateful for that at least.” Valora walked out of the cemetery, with a handful of dirt in a special bag she brought along for this purpose and smirked. “Always plan for the worst, then you’re never surprised or caught off guard.” Abbigail’s voice chimed in. “You are just a fountain of optimism, aren’t you?” Valora laughed. “I’m a realist.. One of these days I’ll tell you how I start every day.” Samantha nodded as she glanced at Abbigail, cutting in here. “Val.. we can come back and do this again, but you need to start heading back now.. Kara and Kronin are coming and you still have to review Kronin’s records.”

Valora sighed and nodded. “I already did but I’ll take another look on the plane.. But I don’t think his sister is going to like what I have to tell her.. Neither will Kronin for that matter.”

A couple days later, Isle de Valora somewhere in the Caribbean:

Kara Reinhardt stands on balcony looking out over the island. Next to her, Valora leans against the wall calmly drinking a mojito. Kara looks around again before glancing at Valora somewhat suspiciously. “So how exactly do you afford your own damn island?” Valora smirked. “No offense but given that you’re a cop, I think I’ll take the Fifth. Now, what did the first doctors you saw say?” Kara sighs and shakes her head. “That my brother’s fighting career is over. That if he is lucky, he’ll eventually be able to walk normally.. But if he falls the wrong way he could renjure the spine and never walk again. Also, you know refusing to answer the question doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, yes?”

Valora smirks. “Fine. We’ll leave it at I’m really fuckin’ good at my job. Getting back to the matter at hand. I think they are probably right. Kronin was lucky he wasn’t paralyzed already. Getting back into the ring and fighting isn’t an option without...a lot of help.” Kara was silent for a long moment before she looked around the room and then back at Valora. “What kind of help?” Valora shrugs. “Cybernetic help. He’s going to need added protection.. If we could find a way to speed healing maybe even some low level tissue regeneration, that would be helpful too..”

Kara shakes her head in disbelief, Valora tilts her head. “I’m sorry, would you prefer me to lie to you?” Kara laughs a bit despite herself as she gathers herself. “No, I was just thinking.. For the longest time my brother was convinced you were just another.. I believe the term is ‘garbage wrestler’? And it turns out all along you’re a genius.. You could have been a great doctor.. Why fight for money?” Valora smirks. “Because I’m also a sick puppy… also in case you didn’t hear, our very own Fuhrer has decided that since I’m Mexican I’m a murderer. A criminal. A rapist. I could have become a doctor.. And cops would still harass me because I look like my name is Valora Salinas… and I’m coming to rob your house. My mother kept her head down, didn’t make waves.. She lived her entire life as a second class citizen. I decided to fight back… and trust me, I know what your brother used to think of me.. Gave him fits when the ‘garbage wrestler’ kicked his ass.

Kara smirked and nodded. “I think the two made each other better, which is why I’d rather not see his career end. However, I can’t see him agreeing to end up like Vastrix.” Valora nods. “I can’t I blame him.. But I’ll bet he’d hate being locked in a wheelchair more. Luckily, he might have more choices..” She said as she glanced over at Samantha. “What do you think? Is your pet project ready?”

Kara’s eyes followed Valora’s as she turned to look at Samantha and raised an eyebrow. For her part, Samantha leaned back against the wall and narrowed her eyes ever so slightly. “It’s not ready yet and you know it isn’t ready yet.” Valora shrugged at this and nodded. “We can at least tell her about it.. This situation with Kronin.. this is what came up with this idea for.” Kara glanced back and forth between the two women. “I’m glad you two know what’s going on, mind cluing me in?” Samantha sighed and rolled her eyes turning and heading down a side hallway into a room, gesturing for Kara and Valora to follow. They came into a room that looked like a lab of sorts and Samantha turned to face Kara and nodded. “You’ve seen how cybernetics is usually handled. I wanted to see if I could work out a system that was a little less borg in Star Trek and left the patient looking and moving more like a human.” Kara nods. ‘That’s possible?” Samantha smirks. “When you’re as smart as I am, whole new universes of possible open up for you.” She turned briefly and hit a few keys on her keyboard. An image of a human body comes up on the wall screen, showcasing a human body. “Basically, rather replace organic body parts with metal and the like, I insert a few fairly small cybernetic interfaces at key points in the body. These part are infused with nanites. Nanites that I specially program with the patient’s DNA. It greatly reduces instances of rejection and similar problems. Ideally, what this also will do is allow the nanites to repair the damage. In the case of Kronin, for example, the nanites would ideally… regenerate spinal cord tissue and repair the damage done.”

Kara listened nodding as the information was given to her as she crossed her arms across her chest. “So what isn’t ready?” Samantha nods. “The second part the system.. I needed something to maintain the nanites, work with the human host in a symbiotic relationship, and everything. I only came up with one solution. And I stop talking here until we set some ground rules.” Kara raised an eyebrow and sighed. “One a scale from 1 to 10 how illegal is this?” Samantha shrugged a bit. “Depends on where you are, I guess.. It isn’t technically illegal, but corporations are the only ones messing around with it and I’d prefer not to have simple minded, unevolved apes trying to steal my work so they can try to make super soldiers.” Kara smirked and nodded, letting her German accent out a bit as she nodded. “I know nothing…” Samantha smiled and nodded. “I came up with an A.I. It was the only solution. However, since an A.I. is a sentient life form, I believe it has rights.. Mine works with me because she chose to, not because I’m forcing her to.”

Kara nods. “Two questions.. I’m not a super nerd or anything but in science fiction doesn A.I. always end badly and two, why would people want to use this for super soldier programs?” Samantha smirked and nodded. “A.I. in popular science fiction is always on it’s own. Disembodied, locked in a robot or something. Isolated.. And usually humans are trying to force it to do a job. My system is a symbiotic relationship. The A.I. greatly enhances the host and in return, by being connected with the host, the A.I. gets to experience the world as a human. This brings me to the answer for your second question..Imagine coming into a room full of terrorists and being able to find your target, calculate the most optimal firing solution and shoot, resulting you in dropping 2, 3, maybe even 4 terrorists before they have time to even react to the breach. We’re talking pushing the host to bare minimum peak human ability and likely beyond that threshold.” Kara nods. “Demonstration?” Samantha smirks. “Not in here. Perhaps later.” Kara nods. “So what do you need to help Kronin with this procedure?”

Samantha thought for a second and sighed. “Firstly, a DNA sample so I can make the nanites. Then I need an A.I. that has agreed to the situation and is ready for it. That is going to be the hard part and it will take time.” Kara nods. “How long and can we start without the A.I.?” Samantha thought for a second, her mind running through calculations and such. “Without the A.I., I can program the nanites to focus on healing and repairing the damage. In layman’s terms.. I can confidently say he’ll be able to walk and do light physical work but he’ll still have to rehab as a athlete normally would. But he will not be able to get into the ring. I can’t guarantee that will be safe. There will also be surgery.. I’ll need to install the few cybernetic implants that will be needed.” Kara nods. “Alright. I’ll speak with my brother on this but I think he’ll be amenable. Please begin preparations and I’ll let you know what he decides.”

Kara turns to leave, pausing for a moment before looking back at Valora. “You ever wonder about what else might have been possible for you?” Valora smirked. “As a doctor? Stressful 12-15 hr shifts if not more, grossly underpaid because I’m a woman.. Dealing with sexist, misogynistic shitheels.. It’d be a lot like working as a wrestler only I wouldn’t be allowed to beat the fuckers bloody. So uh.. Yeah I guess I have thought about it and I’m happy.” Valora pauses here and looks down for a second. “Someone very important to me always wanted me to be the heroine.. I like to think she’d be happy now.. I started out fighting for myself. My own glory.. Now I’m fighting against a fascist regime for all the potential victims of said regime.” Samantha nods. “By the way, that reminds you.. The fascists seem to be pissed that you and Huckleberry lost to the Russians.. You’re defending your Submission title against Sato.”

Valora sighed. “Wonderful.. An ally… an ally who twist me into a fuckin’ pretzel.” Before Valora can continue, Kara steps forward. “I… can I ask your opinion on something else?” Valora raises an eyebrow and nods. Kara smiles. “I was… I want to get into the ring. Kronin is against the idea.. He says I’m too old to begin a career in professional fighting.” Valora crosses her arms across her chest and looks over Kara. “You went through the same program Kronin did, right?” Kara nods. “Yeah.. the East German government decided both my brother and I were suitable athletes.. Luckily, Unification brought an end to that.. But while my brother went into the military, I went into law enforcement… of a sort. I joined GSG-9. Counter Terrorism task force.” Valora nods. “Well… I’m already training someone.. But maybe you can help on that front… fuck it.. If Kronin won’t train you, I’ll help you.” Samantha chimed in. “I technically represent Valora and Abbigail as their agent. I can do the same for you as well.” Kara nods. “Thank you. Something to consider then.”

Kara left a short time later and Valora smirks. “At this rate i’m gonna need to find a place to open up another fuckin’ school…” Samantha smiled. “You’re enjoying it.. I never saw you happier than you were in that dingy, shitty run down gym in L.A.” Valora nods and sighs. “Yeah… I loved that place.. Eventually someone is gonna pay for that.”

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