David Sarif saw himself as a practical man. He held stock in science, what could be seen and proven, what could be calculated and understood by logic. But even he had to admit there was something magical happening before him.
He was standing in the darkened observation suite of the surgical wing in Sarif Industries, the company he had built from the ground up. It had been well over thirty-six hours since they had suffered an attack from some unknown black ops group, led by three heavily augmented soldiers. In their wake they had left several dead; only a few were fortunate enough to be alive and wounded, and five of Sarif's top scientists were missing without a trace.
And now Sarif's head of security, Adam Jensen, lay in the operating room as the CEO watched. Two doctors and a nurse, the second of three teams working in shifts, hovered over the ex-cop, feverishly working with a multi-armed medbot. Working, not to save Adam's life-that part was already secured four hours ago-but to turn the man into a augmented one.
The blinding operating lights bleached Adam's body practically white, as though the sun were radiating out of him. Sarif allowed himself a wry smirk at the simile that was all too apt. Secretly, if he were to turn off all modesty within him for a moment, he thought he must be going through what Galileo felt when he had his revelation about heliocentrism, or when Michelangelo saw what would become the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel materialize in his mind. It did not matter to the industrialist that he was not an astronomer or artist himself; he was seeing something brilliant happening in front of him, and it was because of his company, his work.
The medbot's arms were constantly moving, snaking over Adam's body with infinite care as Sarif Industries' state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs were grafted into place.
"Steady, steady..." one of the doctors cautioned as flawless metal and microfibral muscle were fused to the prone torso.
Sarif could not really be spending all his time overseeing the operation. His company was going through its biggest crisis ever, and he had to keep on top of damage control. Phone calls and emails from friends and relatives of the dead and injured employees were just the beginning. The proud corporate skyscraper overlooking Detroit was horribly battered inside with the destruction caused by the black ops soldiers. The fires were quickly put out, and the broken glass and metal were removed, but the scorch marks and bloodstains were harder to clean up. The smell of burning bodies was the worst offender. Trauma counselors were called in and put on 24/7 standby for bereaved employees, and the PR team was raking in overtime hours by keeping the vultures of Picus TV at bay.
The real acid-soaked rock salt being rubbed in the wound was the onslaught of Purity First and Humanity Front, their spiteful jibes finding an audience with Picus' top news stories whenever Sarif could or would not respond to them.
"This is what they get for messing with humanity!" one protestor had yelled into the camera, her eyes alight with righteousness.
"It's God's work," another had emotionally stated. "Just like the Tower of Babel. Their pride has brought this upon them!"
God's work. Sarif snorted to himself. If divine workings were happening anywhere, they were right here in this operating room.
Sarif knew he could not sit by and let those Luddites squawk on. Every minute was a precious opportunity that Purity First and William Taggart were using to their advantage to argue the evils of augmentation technology. Still, he could not help stealing down to the observation suite every instant he had free. He was, after all, getting the first look at Dr. Megan Reed's research, the very research that was supposed to be unveiled to the world on the night of her and her team's deaths, being put into practice. And who better to demonstrate it than Patient X himself...
"Sarif, are you serious about what you're doing here?"
Sarif gave only a fractional turn of his head to acknowledge the arrival of Francis Pritchard. The ponytailed hacker was undoubtedly one of the best cyber-technicians in the world, which made his employ more than worthwhile in Sarif's business, but he lacked social finesse.
"You're gonna have to be more specific, Frank."
Pritchard then saw what Sarif was watching, and his breath caught in his throat. It was a man, hooked up to a multitude of tubes and life support equipment. All exposed skin was covered in square patches of a fine mesh that were partially submerged in the dermal layer. An oxygen mask was strapped to the mouth and the eyes were wrapped in bandages, concealing much of the patient's face. Blood was indiscriminately everywhere; on the patient, the doctors, and the surgical tools-some of it was older, already browning, while more was a fresh, vibrant crimson.
"Is that Jensen?" Pritchard asked. Logically he knew it must be, but so much of the patient was covered that he had to confirm it.
"Yes," Sarif replied.
"I'm pretty sure I heard that all he needed to pull through was surgery on his head, abdomen, and left arm."
"To 'pull through,' yes. But just being alive's not enough, Frank. I made the call."
Pritchard narrowed his eyes at Sarif. "It's one thing that you're throwing our top of the line prototypes at this guy, this, former flatfoot-but to cut off parts of him that had nothing wrong with them to begin with? You're taking that clause in his employment contract rather far, don't you think?"
Sarif's gaze finally left the operation to face Pritchard. The eyes that met the hacker's were hardened with unshakeable resolve. "You know I appreciate your candor, Frank. It's one of the reasons I hired you. But I know what I'm doing. Adam needs this-his body can take it."
"The Icarus Landing System, the Typhoon, the nanoceramic blades? You're dumping practically everything this company makes into this man; he'll qualify as a human arsenal by the time you're done. I know he failed to protect us during that attack, but I would've thought a pay cut or a suspension was more likely than being turned into Frankenstein."
Sarif frowned at Pritchard's choice of comparison. He crossed his arms, with the augmented metallic one, ornate like the armour of a medieval knight's, resting on top.
"Do you know how I lost my arm, Frank? I was seven years old, riding my bike, and one day this car-driver was this drunken asshole-knocked me onto the road into the path of a guy on a motorcycle. He tried to avoid me, but couldn't stop from running over my arm. I was conscious for a long time while people were screaming and waiting for the ambulance to come. And it hurt like hell, but what got to me more was the sight of what was left of my arm. Bones shattered, skin torn up like paper pulp, and muscle-just gobs of meat. And that stink of blood-my blood--suffocating me. I'd never seen anything more disgusting and scary in my life. Movies just don't prepare you for it. I couldn't believe that that was what's inside of us, and how fragile it was. When I woke up in the hospital and saw my prosthetic arm for the first time, I was... relieved. It felt right. It felt natural."
The irony of the word had no chance of being lost of Sarif, and he had let out a scoffing sort of laugh as he said it.
"I saw the potential, for man to rise above what it already is to become something incredible. We wouldn't be at the mercy of nature, but taking command of our own evolution. We've gone as far as we can with the flesh, so now we move on to the next step."
The CEO then held out his metallic hand, glinting from the light in the operating room. "The first prosthetic arm I had was a primitive thing. Clumsy and plain. Some kids made fun of me. But I adapted, and with time traded up to better and better models and now I have this." He curled his fingers reflexively before making a tight fist. "No mess of blood, no having to worry about being cut or bruised or wrinkling with age, or feeling so much pain you black out."
While the way Sarif spoke was not to the level of zealous mania that was often seen in religious leaders and dictators, it was nonetheless founded on the same genes of stubborn resolution.
Pritchard remained warily silent as Sarif turned back to watch the operation.
"Adam isn't Frankenstein. Think of him as more of our Six Million Dollar Man. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster."
"Certainly costs more like that than a ghoul assembled from corpses, I suppose," Pritchard muttered.
One of the doctors turned to the observation suite. "Mr. Sarif, we've successfully attached both prosthetic arms and legs. The Rhino Dermal Armour mesh is absorbing much faster than we expected, and the patient's still doing well."
Sarif smiled. So much incredible data was being gathered from this procedure, this single person. The doctors continued to be stunned even now with the ease at which Adam's body bonded to the augmentations. Even without Megan and her team, Sarif was hopeful that they would unlock the secrets of Adam's miraculous genes before long, and be able to bestow them to all of humanity, just as Prometheus bestowed fire to the mortals.
"Good. Move on to the next augmentation."
Even though only the doctor's eyes remained visible, Pritchard could see he was hesitant. "What about the...limbs? Disposal?"
Sarif stroked his chin with a silvery hand before answering. "No. Take them to storage. We'll need them if we're going to continue with Doctor Reed's research."
The doctor nodded and said something to the nurse, who then moved to a spot behind the operating table. Pritchard could not make out what she was doing. When she eventually came into view, she was pushing a cart that had four medical coolers stacked on each shelf. Pritchard could only see the contents of the top cooler: a whole human leg. Some blood was present at the point of amputation, but besides that, the limb was pristine, from the top of the thigh to the tips of the toes. As the nurse left the room with half of Adam Jensen, looking disturbingly not unlike a hotel porter pushing a room service cart, the doctor Sarif had been speaking to was now off to the side, selecting a new subroutine in the medbot.
Now there was a view of Adam's new limbs. Sleek and black like obsidian and carbon fiber, Sarif Industries' newest military-grade prosthetics were as efficiently deadly as they were elegant, a far cry from the clunky, older models that much of the world used.
A moment of silence passed between the two men in the observation suite, their forms dimly lit from the glow emanating from the room below. The medbot's arms were now all equipped with needles threaded with hair-thin induction wires.
"He's not going to be happy when he wakes up," Pritchard intoned as he watched the medbot begin to sew into Adam's torso, weaving a grid that was the basis for the GlassShield cloaking system.
"Not at first."
Pritchard's eyebrow went up. "You expect Jensen would actually be happy to find that more than half his body's been augmented?"
"I expect that when he wakes up, he'll have one thing on his mind: finding the ones responsible for killing Megan Reed. If he wants to do that, he's gonna need the abilities beyond that of a normal human being, and not be held back by an obstacle like flesh. By doing this, not only am I getting the best head of security a company could ask for, I'm also giving Adam everything he'll want. Trust me, once this is all done, he'll be glad he got augmented."
A/N: While the voice of David Sarif really threw me off (kept making me think of a middle-aged ex-Californian surfer dude), I did think the character was potentially a really interesting one, especially with his choice to strip much of Adam's human self away for his own benefit, and never seeming to feel bad about it. I tried to come up with what his point of view, his justification for being so pro-aug would be, and while I can't remember the source off the top of my head, I recall it being said somewhere that Sarif had lost his arm in a childhood accident, so I decided to go with that as part of his backstory. (The "Ask Pritchard" bit on Eidos' tumblr said that Sarif deliberately replaced his arm with a prosthetic to "play better at the company baseball games," but I take that as strictly a joke, so...yeah.)
Reading into the detailed descriptions of the various augs Adam has really makes you realize how much invasive surgery he must have received. It's quite effed up. :p Also, I'm nowhere near being a medical expert, so if anything about the surgical descriptions are off, please forgive them.
***SEPTEMBER 6, 2012***
The wonderful doubleleaf created a comic of Apotheosis! You can check it out at her deviantart site. :D