The tent’s fabric walls let in a soft diffuse light that complements, rather than competes with, the more intense spot lighting inside. A quiet subdued hum and sussing of an air conditioning and filtration unit pervades the dust-free air. Laying face down and naked on a table in the center of the tent, the unconscious Shemarrian’s back had been slit open from neck to tailbone, exposing shiny white ceramic and metal. Wires led from various electrical devices arrayed around the operating table into the open slit to disappear into various connections and artificial organs. Multiple feed lines from plastic sacks and industrial drums fed various chemicals into the biomechanoid.
The short, squat, blue-gowned Healer took a pair of forceps and removed from an elaborate handcrafted equipment case filled with shallow plastic trays a translucent artifical organ. The device, not much bigger than a golfball, was filled with a thick silvery liquid that moved as the Healer examined it. Reverantly, she then proceeded to install it into the Shemarrian on the operating table. Three more similar organs like it were removed from the microfac and were subsequently installed inside the gynoid’s body. Several checks of the attached instruments, a pass over each of the new additions with an EM wand, and the Healer began closing up the long incision.
With great satisfaction, the Healer watched the seam bleed a thick silvery blood, then close up on its own.
The Healer waits until the incision has completely sealed itself up, then reaches over and makes a few adjustments on the apparatus around the supine Shemarrian’s head.
Moments later the latter is sitting up, blinking her eyes and twitching her antennae.
“It is done?”
“Yes! The modification was a success and the nanites are performing within expectation! You may get dressed, Sister.”
“I can feel them already!” The Shemarrian warrior began pulling back on her body armor that had been stacked nearby.”I feel stronger, more resilient, more ALIVE!”
“Yes, they’re circulating throughout your new regenerative system. You will still need to see me or one of the other Healers for serious injuries, but with this, you’ll be able to handle lesser damage on your own. Still, if anything feels off, please see me immediately.”
“I thank you, Little Sister, and shall do as you say. Thank you!” The taller warrior woman bent over and hugged the smaller mechano-healer briefly, then strode out of the tent. The Healer turned back to her instruments, putting old ones away, taking out new ones, replacing containers, and reaching into others. She began humming to herself in a multi-tone little hymn as she checked her equipment over, cleaned up the furniture, and tested the fresh supplies. Even as her hands moved, her mind was sending wireless modem commands to equipment qround the room, ordering the couch to reposition for cleaning, a servo-arm to stack cases of removed cyberware for recycling, the hydraulic system to perform a filter check and purge of the various fluids it was responsible for pumping. It was a truism that a Healer’s work was never done.
A few minutes later another armored warrior strode into the room, this time half-pulling and half-pushing another woman by the arms. This woman was taller than the Healer, but wore only a robe that where it didn’t cover, showed pale scars all over a darker skin. The woman’s eyes didn’t leave the floor as she shuffled into the room, an inferior unable to look at her superiors.
“We found this one several days journey outside the community known as ‘Merctown’ . She is to recieve the Gift of Upgrade by the command of the War Goddess.“ The clipped tone the Warrior used suggested that she didn’t completely agree with her superior’s judgement in this matter, but would abide by it anyway.
“Leave us. I will attend to this one.”
As soon as the Warrior had disappeared back out of the tent, the Healer took a gentle grasp of the Pariah and steered her towards the operating table, already pulling the woman’s robe off as a silent command went to the procedure couch to lift up to recieve the new patient.
“This will only take a few minutes...”
Rites of Upgrade
As soon as they could secure a degree of logistical independence from the Dark One, the EShemar began to upgrade themselves, since they could no longer use the ‘Healing Caves’ ARCHIE-3 had established to repair his combat-dolls. Initially, because available resources for self-modification were scant, these upgrades were given as Gifts to deserving performers, but as the EShemar began to acquire more resources, and establish self-sufficiency, the Gifts became more common, and the adding of modifications became general issuance to all members of a Tribe. Thus was established the Rites of Upgrade.
Rites vs Rights
Most Rites of Upgrade are private, intimidate affairs (well, about as intimidate as a dental appointment or other personal medical session), initiated as part of the ongoing effort to upgrade the general state of EShemar ‘health’, and have included the addition and improvement of nanite repair mechanisms, the reconstruction of androids to have a different ‘flesh body’ from their personal armor, improvements to senses, improvements to power systems, anti-virus protections, software patches, and the like. In time, this has even become known as the ‘Rights of Upgrade’, with the expectation that any quality-of-life modification is made available to all the members of a Tribe (the term is believed to have been coined by the leaders of the Wayfinder clan, after newcomer EShemar inquired of the transferred-intelligence gynoids that had established the clan, as to the availability of the third cyberoptic that the former had installed in themselves, and which has subsequently become one of the trademarks of the Tribe). There is actual little ceremony attached to the ‘Rite’, though some Tribes, depending on the extent of the upgrade granted to the entire Tribe, may have a ceremony of announcement or a celebration attending the commencement of the upgrade’s installment (when the Hawkmoon first began outfitting nanite self-repair to ALL members, the Tribal elders called for three days of celebration).
Gifts and Elites
More advanced, experimental, and radical improvements may be given as rewards or recognition for special service, and are accompanied by much ceremony. These are still known as Gifts of Upgrade, and in some cases, extensive modifications to individuals result in radically new castes of EShemar, effectively what full conversion cyborgs are to normal humans. Examples of these ‘elites’ include the Sapphire Cobra Clan Nagas, Bloodrider Zealots, and Hawkmoon Steel Phoenixi.
The Rites and Gifts are also extended to the NeShemar, though initially only those NeShemar patterned after Shemarrians are likely to be granted the Rights of Upgrade, while others receive them primarily as Gifts for services to their adopted Clans.
Rites and Gifts of Upgrade are continued on into the Three Galaxies EShemar, where they are an ongoing part of their culture.