The Titanium Princess was in no mood for argument. I had christened her the Titanium Princess (or TP for short) many years ago, after a car accident had left most of her skeleton unuseable, and which had consequently been almost completely replaced by titanium rods and plates. It now works fine, and looks pretty good, too; I've even got used to the grease nipples protruding from her knees and elbows. Remember that scene in Terminator where Big Arnie cuts open his forearm and rips the skin away? I have nightmares about that.
Anyway, the only downfall of being married to a cyborg is that she causes mayhem at airports. Every time she walks through a metal detector the thing starts wailing like a banshee, as if Rommel had just driven the 2nd Panzer division through the thing.
We had not even begun our trip to Europe - it was Saturday afternoon at the Sydney Aerodrome, and we were about to embark on a flight that would take us to Turkey. We had nine weeks of adventure in front of us - Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czeck Republic, Holland Belgium, Ireland, and the U.K. - (I was deliberately avoiding France this time, after the famous case of the Cyanide Croissant - but that's another story).
We checked in, laid our bags on the X-ray machine, and I walked through the metal detector. I waited on the other side as TP came through. As predicted, pandemonium ensued. It looked, and sounded, like Saturday night at an Oxford St. rave club. About a dozen airport staff came running over and surrounded TP, obviously of the view that - at last - Johnny Howard's malignant obsession thet the country was about to be invaded by terrorists had come true. They can be so sly, these malefactors - even mutating into middle-aged female schoolteachers when required. I stood by, a healthy twenty feet or so away, and bemusedly wondered how TP would handle what would be the first of many identical situations - or, more precisely, how the airport security staff were going to handle a woman whose vocabulary is, er, extensive when she wants it to be.
"Madam," enquired one of the security men, "do you have any metal objects on you?"
"No, but I've got plenty in me," she replied. The security guy asked her to step into a little room off to the side. "I don't think a strip-search is warranted," she objected reasonably. "I have a letter here from my doctor that will give you the run-down on exactly where all the metal is." She eyed him with a look that plainly said "Don't fuck with me, Sonny Jim."
He hesitated, then waved over a female officer, who passed something resembling a black, plastic cricket-bat all over TP's body. The thing made noises like R2D2 having a heart-attack, while the male officer read the doctor's letter.
"All good, he eventually conceded, "have a pleasant flight."
We got our seats on the plane, and TP leant across and whispered "That was close. No way I'm taking my clothes off for any of these bastards. Good thing the Glock sits comfortably over my left hip."