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 Work in Progress (Solo)

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青 水男


Number of posts : 6
Age : 27
Registration date : 2012-07-29

PostSubject: Work in Progress (Solo)   Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:03 pm

Ai was on break. He had a week off from doing anything at the Shino Academy, and had returned to the carpenter’s workshop near his old home in the Rukongai. His bulky arm was bothering him lately, and over the past month, he had been communicating with the old carpenter about a replacement. He and the old man had brainstormed about how to do it, and they had come up with a simple idea: They would make him a better arm like a manikin’s. Quite the intelligent one, Ai had roughed out some plans on paper, detailing the basics of the pieces they would need to craft. Nonetheless, his design was both farfetched and ordinary enough. They began with making a dummy set of feet for himself, to replace the wooden blocks that he had.

Running was sometimes crucial for a Shinigami, and with his half-feet, he was incapable of doing such a thing, and even walking some days was quite tedious for him. But the plans for the feet were in motion. The whole of the new work was to be done in parts, with the feet first, and his arm last. And so far, the crafting of the feet was tough.

The initial design had been three wooden blocks connected by three ball and peg joints, however the base portion of the foot did indeed work, the two toes did not, and flopped back and forth, causing him to trip over his own new feet. And back to the drawing board they went. They modelled the toes with springs attached to them, but the toes would either snap up or down or not release, and back to the board it was once again. Trying to solve the problem, they extended the bottom of the toe to touch the base, and eventually figured to place a strong spring inside to make sure that it would return to that position when not in use.

Once they were perfected, it was off to testing them out properly. He spent an afternoon teetering and tottering around on the new feet for a while, and they had to go through another three pairs just to get the proper wood right, eventually settling on oak for the material, since it was more capable of handling the force. And once the toes had been successful in the preliminary testing, it was out to the more open areas of the district to continue testing.

It was a bit of a rough start, since the streets weren’t as flat and soft as the workshop floor. He wavered a bit in his movements, but managed to walk a full twelve blocks before becoming comfortable enough to walk briskly for the first time in years.

“Are you feelin’ good enough ta’ run in ‘em new feet o’ yours?” The carpenter asked him.

“Yes sir, I think I might fancy trying to run once again.” He replied.

Gently, and with some ease, he took some brisk steps ahead, then made a sort of awkward sprint in a zigzag down the street some more until he finally gained some balance. When he felt comfortable, he tried to break into a run, and instead tripped and skidded a few feet down the street and broke one of his wooden feet. He managed to get back up, and hobbled back to the carpenter, and then had him help go the rest of the way back to the workshop. Once there, the carpenter began his repairs to the foot while he pulled up a cigarette and took a deep draw on it.

“This model works pretty well. I think I overtaxed myself trying to run so soon though. It might take me another year or two before I can manage it.” Ai mentioned to the carpenter, taking his smoke from his mouth. “Maybe we can get to the arm afterwards too? Do you think that’d be okay?”

“Hrm? O? Err, yeah, she’ll be finer than before in jus’ a few.” The carpenter grunted. “You still piping that strange junk?”

“It’s better than the stuff from before. It’s non-flammable, doesn’t leave an odour on you, and is supposedly less likely to stain your teeth and give bad breath.” He replied. “I like it more than your sweet-grass pipe, or regular cigarettes with lighters and smoke.”

The carpenter shrugged his shoulders and finished his work before returning to him and strapping the foot on. Ai put his feet down and stood up again. He paced a little more around the workshop before settling in a standing position in front of the drawing boards again. He looked at the plans. They seemed simple enough, instead of being a single solid piece of wood, the new arm would have an elbow, wrist, thumb and three fingers. If made correctly, it would have a total of thirteen joints, though with the issue with the toes, it was possible that the design could need to be reduced to only two or three joints.

The carpenter helped him with removing his old prosthetic arm, which was bent into an ‘L’ shape, where it was often just able to bounce off of his diaphragm when he walked. The arm was attached by a hook in the sleeve, so when the carpenter removed it, only the hook remained on the harness to jut out a little. Without the arm, he began to undress himself, to get the harness off of his torso so it too could be worked on for the new adjustments. He untied the obi, and set his zanpaku-to off to the side of the workshop, and hung the kimono and obi up, leaving him wearing only his breeches, black silk underpants that stopped just above the knee to reveal his lower legs.

If one looked, they could see that the toe-apparatus was indeed made of wood and leather, having to be the wooden portion of the foot, with leather straps on the top, sides and bottom nailed into it to provide a sandal-like design that further wrapped around the shin once from the back up to the calf and was clasped into place with a special rivet. He even enjoyed the new look of the wooden replacements. Though they were less detailed, they were still very spiffy. The oak had been sanded, polished and varnished smooth, and the toes were only two, one long one that comprised of what would have been his four smaller toes, with an individual larger toe. But that wasn’t the least of the workmanship, as the carpenter had also lined the bottom of the whole apparatus with soft leather, to reduce the wear on the foot as he used it more often.

Now he had only to look forwards to the carpenter’s work with the new arm. In a state of semi-undress, he waved to the carpenter and left the workshop. He wasn’t actually needed now, as the old man would work on a lathe and fashion the parts himself, and there was nothing the cripple could do to assist with only one arm. He drew in another breath from his cigarette and then fiddled it between his fingers. He stood out in the open yard that separated the workshop from the carpenter’s home and sat down to relax a little more before he had to return to the academy.
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