It’s been almost 2 weeks and still the odd lingering itch of a phantom limb now replaced with a motorized metal shell bothers you to no end. Twitch. At the slightest intention the arm jerks into motion, the fingers shaking much like the spiny legs of an insect. Every now and again goose bumps litter your skin, remembering just what remained of your left hand after one hastily made move turned it into a fleshy mess. Twitch. You find your new metallic fist shut tight, both in rage and in possible malfunction.
While the rehabilitation technician assured you again and again that this is only a temporary feeling, your brain learns to accept it as natural part of you. Looking more closely, you can’t quite shake off the feeling that somehow this dull white and worn amalgam of plastic, metal and wiring reflects more about your current state of mind than anything else at the moment, but hey, at least now losing a keychain or spare change is no longer an issue.
“The Dextero 2 Model B carefully imitates the movements of a normal human hand without the problems of rigidity the human wrist normally imposes. You can now turn your wrist to a full rotation how many times you wish as the main titanium bone is untethered. As an added bonus you can also…”
“Can I feel anything I touch?” you hear yourself blurt out.
Not being used to interruptions, the technician blinks rapidly and says nothing all the while maintaining a somewhat puzzled look.
“What I mean is, does this new… hand allow me in any way to realize what I’m touching without me having to look at it?”
“It has magnetic properties.”
“The arm has an inner electromagnet that continuously discharges in small pulses, these pulses act as a sort of… radar if you will, but on a much smaller scale, the pulses then take the shape of conductive surfaces such as metal and water, feeling the surface area. Other types of materials are perceived differently. So while you do maintain a certain degree of awareness over your left hand-side, the feeling will be marginally different from what you perceive as a tactile impulse.
“Also…” his smile turns into a somewhat pained one “there might be minor side effects, as the parietal lobe in your brain gets used to this new feeling while it is learning to interpret electromagnetic impulses. Now, does that answer your question”… he looks in his file “36-8-B ?”
“In a way, yes… thank you.”
“The added bonus of having an intrinsic magnetic field is that it allows you to both stick to and repel conductive material such as metals or iron rich rocks for example. Such a function is usually only found on the new Mark V suits, made for deep space mining, and electromagnetic shields on the more advanced ship hulls. This is the first time it’s been applied in such a way, your accident was almost fortuitous, one might say. I doubt you would be hit again in a High speed maneuvering environment again. What you have there as your arm is bleeding edge technology. I almost envy you, 36-8-B.”
Envy… he says, this foreign object pretending to be a part of you, cold metal grafted onto skin and bone. Envy! The possibility of ever playing an instrument again or even tying a knot now of a difficulty tenfold to what was before something simple and intuitive.
As you walk down the dimly lit corridor of the facility, the candidate quarters just in sight, you hear a slight clink. You look down and see nothing. Something on the sole of your shoe? No. Your turn your arm to see, just on the backside of your “new and improved” hand, a shiny metal coin. Looks almost like silver, doesn’t it?
“Must be my lucky day” you hear yourself say and in the cold blue neon light you might almost be smiling.