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Literature / Hack Alley Doctor

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Hack Alley Doctor by fearlessLi is an ongoing Cyberpunk Web Serial Novel set in world where ‘mods’ (body prostheses) have become commonplace, and so have ‘mod-docs’—a profession akin to a fusion of doctor and mechanic.

It’s only 2034, so although exotic prototype mods have been developed, including those with combat and espionage applications, most prostheses are merely more advanced versions of the types in use today, meant to help amputees or the disabled live a normal life. And given the story’s many references to submerged cities and unchecked crime, it’s no surprise there are people who’ve lost limbs in the chaos.

Derrick Yu, an orphan with a mysterious past—and a new face—is apprenticed to an unlicensed mod-doc, who serves the local Chinatown populace’s prosthetic needs.

The story focuses on Derrick’s struggles with keeping their mod shop afloat, made difficult because the owner is lazy, and Chinatown is plagued by the White Leopards, a Chinese gang reminiscent of the Triads (although they insist they aren’t one).

There are elements of Medical Drama and Gangster Fiction, and it’s hinted in the story synopsis that Derrick will eventually become a Vigilante Man.

Hack Alley Doctor was first published in 2021.

This series provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Hack Alley Doctor is set in 2034, as per the synopsis, which is merely a bit more than a decade away from the initial publishing of the story online. The world seems to extrapolate on the climate crisis, as parts of New York City have already become submerged, and superstorms ravage the country.
  • The Apprentice: Derrick is an apprentice mod-doc, learning under Tony. He goes from tweaking a prosthetic leg’s dampeners to saving his own mentor from multiple stab wounds.
  • Artificial Limbs: Derrick starts off the story with a prosthetic arm. Hack Alley serves many patients who have prosthetic limbs and organs.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Tony and Derrick are both unlicensed mod-docs. Tony because he no longer has his license, and Derrick because he’s presumably never been licensed, or his license is invalid, on account of having assumed a new identity. The Hack Alley docs' main work revolves around installing and repairing mods, which include implants and prosthetic limbs.
  • The Big Guy: Ping, one of the White Leopards, is described as an “absolute unit” with a voice that rumbles like thunder. He wears a custom-made exoskeleton in his first appearance, and is big enough to wear a shield on each arm.
  • Cyberpunk: The world of Hack Alley Doctor leans towards the dark and cynical side. Derrick’s home of Chinatown is plagued by crime and gang violence, and it’s implied that many other cities around the country have a similar problem. While Brain/Computer Interface haven’t been developed yet (or at least haven’t appeared in the story yet), Artificial Limbs are common, along with other mods like radio cochlear implants.
  • Powered Armor: Ping, a large man himself, is outfitted with a heavy-duty exoskeleton “common in multi-purpose manufacturing plants.” The exoskeleton is strong enough to let Ping unhinge a door without noticeable effort on his part.
  • Weapons of Their Trade: When Derrick uses a scalpel attachment as an improvised weapon when answering the door late at night.