"Alright, here you go," she said, pulling a cart like a hotel porter, but lacking any of the delicate control as it bumped over the floor. On it was a set of armour not unlike the one she was wearing neck-down. The whole thing was hoisted up on a metal frame in a spookish manner; the helmet crooked downwards at the toes. Were it not for the arms folded at the side you might have just assumed it was evidence that a crucifixion had been carried out yesterday in this very room.
The base layer was a straightforward enough matter, two pieces for the legs and torso. "That feel alright?" she asks, taking a step back.
"Yeah, it's good," you comment, hopping a bit to get a feel. "Not the same as my pyjamas, but it's fine."
"You've got to wear them in for a bit, actually," she says so matter-of-factly, "then you'll want to sleep in them."
Hard to tell if she was sarcastic or not, but you guess you'd find out later. "Okay, this is fine."
"Good. Next, exo."
Exo. The tricky bit, they said.
Standing with your arms at forty-five-degree angles from your body for a full number of minutes while someone else mounts something metal on your back. The tricky bit.
"Okay. I want you to be careful now." Yeah, sure. "Put your right arm out."
You do so. What was all the fuss?
"Okay. Can you punch into the air in front of you for me?"
You begin to swing, but then the exo kicks in. It was as if your hand had become possessed, and had decided it no longer could bear being attached to your wrist. The forceful jab lurched you off your feet; when you panic and compensate, your foot had decided to follow your hand’s lead. A split second later and you had frozen yourself in a mid-air pose, fit for a painter's canvas. No body part of yours could now be trusted with this thing on.
"No shame," she says, maintaining that calculating tone of voice. "Bring your arm back slowly, and to a horizontal. I need to adjust some of the fittings until it fits your measurements. Same with the rest of the exo."
Slowly and methodically you bring yourself back to a standing posture, arm outstretched and flat to your side. Behind you, she fiddles with some of the braces and slides.
"Alright, do the punch again." she asks, stepping back.
Today was going to be a long day.