Woman Under Repair

ex machina

Ava (Alicia Vikander) from the film “Ex Machina” (2015)

When they heard her laughing, they thought she might actually be hurt. It didn’t sound like real laughter. More like one of those novelty store laugh bags, mechanical laughing, maniacal laughing.

Mikiko hadn’t owned her life for the past three years, ever since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the one that had nearly killed her. Well, maybe it did kill her. Mikiko Jahn was dead. Who she was now was someone else.

Because she didn’t own her life, the door to her rooms wasn’t locked. Reintegration Team members Tashiro Momoru and Brigit Monroe rushed through almost side-by-side. Mikiko was in her living room, the only light coming from the television. She turned to see the pair run in and still laughing her strange, mechanical laugh, she pointed at the show being played and said. “Oh, hi. Glad you’re here. You’ve got to see this. It’s hysterical.”

She turned back and continued to watch the two men in the old American TV show battle each other to spectacularly ridiculous sound effects meant to convey the use of “bionic powers” in their electronic arms and legs.

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The Reconstructed Woman

under repair

© Mark mungkey Vincente – Found at coroflot.com

Mikiko Jahn never forgot that she was no longer human, although the casual or even careful observer would hardly notice. She was what Professor Daniel Hunt once referred to as “the happy accident” (he hadn’t realized she was listening when he said it).

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster was a lot more severe in certain aspects than was generally known. Three technicians, including Jahn, had been trying to shutdown Reactor One when it began to meltdown. Maki Yamamoto and Kondo Hirofumi made it out just in time, but a strong aftershock knocked Mikiko off her feet. Before she could get up, the heavy safety door slammed shut and the steel door frame bent making it impossible to open, especially during the chaos of a disaster.

Thirty-three percent of Reactor One’s core melted before it could be cooled, but even the slight breach of the wall between the reactor and the auxiliary control room allowed the searing nuclear furnace to burn her body beyond recognition.

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