“Okay, you’re all set.” He said through his rebreather. “I’ll run diagnostics to make sure we have good contact with the bone”. “Arigato Kubota-sensei. Now take that shit off so I can actually hear you.”
With a pop and a hiss Kubota unlatched the mask, slowly peeling it off his ancient hide. “It’s for sanitary purposes Tobias. You know better than I what infection can do in transdermals” he said, waiving his steely fingers towards the scars on Keller’s cheek. “And quit calling me that shit. I’m not your teacher”.
Kubota was a legendary biohacker, the Horiyoshi 3 of cyborg arts. Clients wait years, even decades, to lay on his table. Of course, a privileged few can avoid the velvet rope for an impromptu session. Even though his work was sometimes extravagant, his parlor was not. Nothing was around Shinjuku anymore. Not even the Yakuza could bring in enough coin to restore the crumbling cultural icon. The studio was an exercise simplicity and hygiene. Plain parchment walls framed in black moulding, a faded noren in the back guarding the entrance to his engineering lab. In the center was a maroon upholstered table, a color chosen to look clean even when dripping with customer’s blood.
“Word on the strip is your show last night was quite the spectacle.” He shuffled away to toss his tools in the sterilizer. “You should come by for a proper session. You know, when you’re not recovering from a night of noise and mycosynth. I could rig up a custom piece just for you. Make you a better musician!” His voice trailed off as he walked deeper into the lab.
“Once things cool down a little,” Keller shouted over the hum of the sterilizer. “It’s getting harder to even gig outside of Schengen, let alone get out for new mods. ArTek thinks they have a monopoly on what we can–”
“You need to get out,” Kubota interrupted, running as fast as his 180 year old legs would allow. “Tanaka security are looking for you. They’re 5 blocks out.”
“Tanaka? I’ve got no beef with them.”
“You do now, Asao here says ArTek just inked a new deal to provide bioprocessors in exchange for a place on the board.”
“That mother fucking piece of–”
“Shut up and go out the back. Asao-san will take you to a safe house where you can coordinate your next move.”
“You know” Keller interjected, “the father of modern modification should really work on his own legs.”
‘Why?” Kubota chuckled, “no one is chasing after my crusty ass. Now go!”