V wasn’t left handed. That wasn’t a criticism or downfall, it was just a fact. She did almost everything with her right hand. She shot with it, drove with it, it was even her preferred hand when flipping someone the bird. Her lack of ambidextrousness wasn’t something she had ever considered a disadvantage until now. But as she stared down at the mangled remnants of her right arm, the merc began to see a problem.
Her lack of limb right below the elbow didn’t hurt, thankfully. Not like the bruise on her ribs from the Maelstromer's bat or her definitely broken nose. It wasn’t bleeding either. Not like the bullet graze on her shoulder or the knife still buried in her thigh. The only things leaking out of her missing forearm are wires and sparks. The rather large blade she had installed there was also absent, much to her dismay.
A pretty early addition to her collection of chrome, the Mantis blades were a personal favorite of V’s. First thing she had bought after squaring her debt with Vik, she even had the ripperdoc install them himself. Asking a close friend to slice your perfectly healthy arms off below the elbow and swap them for cybernetic replacements sounds insane. Even more so when those replacements contain blades capable of opening a car like a tin can. But here in Night City, a little insanity was necessary for day-to-day living.
As her mind drifted back to the day the blades were installed, V got even more irritated. These sons of bitches were expensive! What self respecting rippedoc in all of Night City was gonna sell her half a set of Mantis blades?
“Stupid piece of shit…” The merc grumbled as she lashed out from her seating position, kicking the recently decapitated head of a Maelstrom member away from where it rested next to her boot. Pain shot up her leg, instantly reminding her of the knife she had somehow forgotten. Ouch.
“So this is it, huh? This is how you go?” The voice of her cerebral stowaway snapped V out of her fog of pain. “Beat to shit in a shipping yard, surrounded by dead gangoons and missing an arm. Fucking amateur hour.”
“Not quite nuking a corp tower but I’ll take it.” V chuckled, turning her head to look at the construct sitting next to her. “I’m not dying, Johnny, fuck. We’ve been through worse.”
“Sure, kid. But you’re not going anywhere any time soon, so unless you’ve got someone to call, we’ll be here when more of those ‘borg fuckers show up.” Johnny gestured to the sorry state the mercenary was in. “You’re not in any shape to go down swinging.”
“Ugh, fine. I’ll get someone.” V began to fumble through her jacket with her one good arm, sending another lance of pain through her body. After a full minute of groaning and searching, she removed her phone with a triumphant flourish, to an audience of one unimpressed Johnny Silverhand. Scrolling through her phone, a soft smile formed when she reached the contact she was looking for.
“Really? Your fucking output? Not a doctor? One of your merc chooms? Hell, even one of the Aldecaldos might be better than the porn editor.”
V glared at Johnny as she struggled to navigate her phone with her non dominant hand.
“Alright, got somebody better? Why don’t you call them, Silverhand?” she said, tone dripping with sarcasm. “Oh wait, you can’t. Because you’re dead. So shut up and let me text my girlfriend.”
“You’re not gonna just call her?”
“She might be busy!” V replied, scandalized at the suggestion of interrupting Judy’s work.
“You’re so fucking whipped.”
Her attempt to flip him off with her missing hand was unsuccessful.
Johnny shook his head and walked off, disappearing behind another shipping container with a tingle of static. Smirking triumphantly, V turned her focus to the task at hand. One hand, specifically.
Phone delicately balanced on her unstabbed thigh, she began the arduous task of tapping out a text to her girlfriend.
Judy: Are you drunk rn?
V: rude! no, why would yu say that
Judy: No offense babe but you normally text like you’re still a corpo
Judy: All Formal And Shit. Four extra Ys is unheard of
V: maybe im tryin something new out for my hot techie gf
Judy: Yeah maybe...i did say you need to loosen up
V: you can loosen me up any time ;0
Judy: Alright whats really going on? Are you working right now? Whats with the weird spelling?
V: just finished actuallyy.
V: textin with my left hand
Judy: Are you hurt?
V: yeah im a little shop ip
V: ship up
V: shit up
V: shot uo
V: they shot me jude
Judy: Fucking lead with that next time you gonk!
V: my bad
Judy: Stay where you are, I’m coming to get you
Leaning her head back against the cool metal of the shipping container, V felt relief wash over her. Judy was coming. Everything was gonna be okay. The green haired woman made her feel safe in a way nothing else in this godforsaken city could. That girl meant everything to her and she was gonna be damned if she made her amazing girlfriend come all the way back here, past all these spent shell casings and loose body parts, to get to her.
“Why do I feel like you’re about to do something stupid?” Johnny said, reappearing next to her.
The merc waved him off stubbornly. “Just gonna meet her at the curb, it’s fine.”
Johnny lowered his sunglasses. “You should not be moving right now, kid.”
“Pfft, whatever. I can walk.”
“There’s a knife in your leg....”
The construct chuckled to himself and put his hands up, resigned to watch whatever the merc had planned. Summoning all the stubborn fortitude left in her body, V began to push herself into a standing position. Keeping her one remaining Mantis blade extended, she used tech that cost her thousands of eddies like a cane to lever off the pavement and brace against the metal box behind her.
“Deep breaths, here we go” V muttered, more to herself than anyone but still got a lazy thumbs-up from the fabled Silverhand itself. Pushing off with her elbow, she half limped and half hopped towards the entrance of the shipping yard. Her awkward gait was punctuated by the occasional “ow” and the ping of a high tensile steel blade digging into asphalt.
Her very expensive crutch served her well and soon enough, V crumpled into a bench outside the main gate. She nodded curtly to the other occupant, a thin middle aged man currently regarding her with a mix of concern and abject terror.
“Don’t worry, it’s not all mine,” she said, vaguely gesturing to the blood covering her clothes, hair, and face. The man nodded with feigned enthusiasm before turning to face forward, shaking with very real fear. Sliding some sunglasses into place on her broken nose, V grinned through the blood in her teeth, lit a cigarette, and leaned back, waiting for her emerald haired angel to arrive.
After about 10 minutes of feeding Johnny’s nicotine addiction, the screech of tires drew their attention to the end of the street. Judy’s black van was speeding around a corner at full tilt.
V paused, calculating the distance across town and the time it took the van to get here. She let out an impressed whistle before softly muttering, “Eat your heart out, Delamain.”
Standing as straight as she could, V threw on the most dazzling smile her busted face could manage as the vehicle came to a sudden stop. Seeing Judy’s worrisome expression twisted something in V’s gut and the merc started to give her girlfriend a reassuring wave, before quickly realizing her mistake and tucking her missing arm behind her back.
This did nothing to reassure Judy who immediately threw her door open, filling the air with a tirade of angry Spanish too quick for V’s translator to keep up. Storming around the front of the van, the green haired editor softened when she saw her girlfriend’s pained attempt at a smile. She wrapped her arms gently around the mercenary and felt the injured woman melt into the embrace as she returned the gesture.
Well, half returned. After a moment, Judy realized why this comforting hug seemed wrong and gently pulled away from V, her eyebrows raised in a wordless question.
“Can we just go home?” V said, sheepishly. “I’ll get it fixed tomorrow.”
“As much as I would love that, you’ve got a knife sticking out of your leg. I’m taking you to Vik’s.”
The merc groaned dramatically, leaning heavily on her girlfriend as she helped her into the passenger seat. V cocked an eyebrow at Judy when the editor leaned over to buckle her in. Her argument was silenced by a peck on the cheek and a stern glare after climbing into the driver's seat.
As they slowly pulled away from the curb and into the street, Judy finally let herself relax. She knew V lived a dangerous life. Hell, V had almost died on their first date. But it’s always different knowing she’s hurt. Despite how jarring it is to see her girlfriend covered in blood (not the first time) and missing most of an arm (definitely the first time), it made Judy feel warm inside to know V called her for help. Now knowing she wasn’t in any life threatening danger, Judy recognized a golden opportunity to tease her poor passenger on the drive over to Viktor’s clinic.
“So,” she began, tauntingly. “You gonna tell me what happened? You normally don’t get this messed up by some street level gangoons. Losing your edge, querida?”
V threw her hands up, “Maelstrom jackass had a full chainsaw, Jude! Had to block it somehow! I know I have knife arms but a chainsaw is cheating!”
Judy snorted with laughter, almost swerving into oncoming traffic and earning a gasp of outrage from her wounded girlfriend.
V stared at her output with mock indignation, “What’s so funny about my missing arm, you heartless monster?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s just if you had a third thing, you could remake rock-paper-scissors. Something to beat the chainsaw.” She giggled and tapped her chin in contemplation. “Chainsaw, knife arm, and…... “
“Gun.” Johnny and V said in unison.