“If I had known you were going to ask me to do this, I wouldn’t have worn a tux,” he grumbled, elbows deep in a gooey mess of pulsing plastic tubes, tangled wires and soupy coolant, “and I would have brought my own damn tools, Becca.”

“You don’t think they’d have noticed an operator and his tools in the middle of all that pompous finery? You’re a brilliant mechanophile but leave the diplomacy to me,” the brunette chuckled, ashing her cigarette on the discarded metal dome.

Their silence was punctured only by his occasional grunt of frustration and the dim electric hum of the plasma tubes spiderwebbed far above them.

“Gregg,” she asked quietly, tucking her lighter into the hem of her stocking. “What are you going to do when this is over?”

“Once these creepy things are dead?” Jerking his chin towards the distant hovering brain as he twisted his hands just so. “Ah, got it!”

Pulling back he sighed and swiped a hand over his forehead, leaving a streak of dusty grease.

“I’m going to be human again.”

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