Felix landed on Max’s lap just as he tensed to get up. His white equipment fluids and blood were leaking out of his missing back half. Dr. Floyd gave him a sour look.
“Secure him to my work bench. Take a two hour.”
Max grabbed some cloths and flipped on the hot tap half a minute before Dr. Floyd arrived at the sink to scrub up. Max tossed one cloth on a lower shelf by a power outlet, the rest he set down on the work bench, pulled a shaver from the drawer, and held Felix firmly on the single cloth. The buzz of the device triggered Felix’s struggles, but Max was quick. A bald inch ring appeared along Felix’s parting line that wound over his back half. On this lower shelf a large bottle of saline fluid stood ready. Max’s deft practiced hands scooped it up and washed the loose hair off Felix with the solution.
Max was pressurizing the last of the pneumatic clamps onto Felix when Dr. Floyd strode in, hands up like a surgeon. Felix growled and hissed at the him. Dr. Floyd simply smiled at Felix and began laying out some tools as he inspected the damaged components. Max returned with a kit of spare parts just as the last of Felix’s cover plates were removed. Quite a bit of machinery was hidden up inside the organic outer layers, but so much was also missing. Max remembered some of the early experiments Dr. Floyd had made him run on Felix that had necessitated these components in the first place. Felix’s fury now was so even-keeled by being always-on simmering rage these days, that it made Max want to stay and comfort him, despite the occasional hissing. Max thought it best to simply let the good Dr. do what he did best, since he’d had many years doing just this sort of operation in the last corporate war.
Max wadded up the messy towel with the hair on it and got out of the lab. He dropped his terry-cloth hair ball in an incinerator and washed his hands. At his locker, he grabbed out a drink pouch. At the door, he didn’t look back. The morning breezes and sunlight were calling and calming him. Only reluctantly did he let his mind wander into what all he’d just see drift up into his mind’s eye for processing.