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Microneedling/dermapen: what can it do? [litterature review]
Like, it can fix any scar? Depressed acne scars AND raised scars? And fix stretch marks? And normalize pigmentation? And it works on all skintones???
Do you want a pony or a unicorn with that??
It all seemed a bit too much, too magical with no drawbacks, so I did what I was taught in uni: go to medline, and read everything!
This took a while, and you should take what you read with a pinch of salt (bc, I didn't exactly finish uni or got any diploma lol) but microneedling really seems to be as good as they say!
My current conclusion: the rumors are true!! So if you want to improve your skin, depending on your budget, get a dermaroller (disposable, less gentle with the skin) or even better, a dermapen with replacable tips (100 USD), at least until the RF-dermapen become more accessible (they do microneedling AND sent electricity at the same time, and they work even better! but 700 USD, nope)
It is easy to do at home (disinfect with 70% alcohol then use lidocaine cream off walmart or amazon for anesthesia) and it works at least as good and potentially better than far more expansive things like laser or plasma!
Microneedling is like the HG for all skin issues. So whatever you issue is, there must be some research about it: read the matching publication and copy their protocol. If they say every 8 weeks at 0.5mm, do every 8 weeks at 0.5mm. Play it safe. Don't improvise unless you have supporting evidence for what you want to do.
2 papers are recommended reading regardless of what you want to do, because they explained everything very clearly and they will help you understand other stuff. If you want the full version of any paper, like for your specific issue, copy the DOI link paste it into sci-hub.scihub.tw
And now the actual long wall of text!!
First, what is microneedling?
A classical wound may be defined as a disruption of tissue integrity. Wounds, caused by trauma from accidents or surgery, that close via secondary intention rely on the biological phases of healing, i.e., hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling (HIPR). Depending on the wound type and severity, the inflammation phase begins immediately after injury and may last for an average of 7-14 days. Concurrent with the inflammation phase or slightly delayed, cell proliferation is stimulated followed by the activation of the remodeling (maturation) phase. The latter phase can last as long as 1 year or more, and the final healed state is represented by a scar tissue, a cross-linked collagen formation that usually aligns collagen fibers in a single direction. One may assume that skin microneedling that involves the use of dozens or as many as 200 needles that limit penetration to 1.5 mm over 1 cm(2) of skin would cause trauma and bleeding followed by the classical HIPR. However, this is not the case
Microneedling doesn't damage the skin, but allow growth factor and cells to go where there are needed, to fix any scar:
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976400/ (RECOMMENDED READING)
the needles do not create a wound in a real sense, but rather body cells are fooled into believing that the injury has occurredDepth depends on the desired effect, with 1.5 mm for scars, and less for collagen and wrinkles:
The advent of the concept of microneedling dates back to 1995 when Orentreich and Orentreich described dermal needling in the form of subcision for scar treatment and then independently in 1997 by a plastic surgeon Camirand who used tattoo guns without ink to take-off tension from postsurgical scars.[1,2] Microneedling technique was given further shape by a German inventor Liebl in 2000 and a plastic surgeon Fernandes in 2006 who self-designed a drum-shaped device with multiple fine protruding needles and used it for percutaneous collagen induction
A simple dermaroller has evolved over the past decade through a variety of advancements. The current market is booming with an assortment of devices based on needle length, drum size, and automation
Dermapen [Figure 3] is an automated microneedling device which looks like a pen. This ergonomic device makes use of disposable needles and guides to adjust needle length for fractional mechanical resurfacing. The tip has 9–12 needles arranged in rows
The amalgamation of microneedling with radiofrequency has further expanded the prospects of application of this technology. Insulated needles are used to penetrate the skin and release radiofrequency currents from the needle tips producing thermal zones in the dermal structural components and accessory glands without damaging the overlying epidermis
Microneedling radiofrequency (MNRF) technology does not damage the epidermis, and is therefore, safe in darker skin types. Its indications include scar treatment, hyperhidrosis, skin tightening, rejuvenation, and many more
The skin should preferably be prepared preoperatively for at least a month with vitamin A and C formulations twice a day to maximize dermal collagen formation. Vitamin A influences 400–1000 genes that control proliferation and differentiation of all major cells in epidermis and dermis, and Vitamin C is essential for production of normal collagen
Treatments are performed at 3–8 week intervals and multiple sittings are needed to achieve the desired effect on the skin. The final results cannot be viewed immediately because new collagen continues to be laid down for approximately 3–6 months after treatment has ceased.
Micropunctures are created using microneedles which produce a controlled skin injury without actually damaging the epidermis. These microinjuries lead to minimal superficial bleeding and set up a wound healing cascade with release of various growth factors such as platelet derived growth factor (PGF), transforming growth factor alpha and beta (TGF-α and TGF-β), connective tissue activating protein, connective tissue growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor (FGF). The needles also breakdown the old hardened scar strands and allow it to revascularize. Neovascularization and neocollagenesis is initiated by migration and proliferation of fibroblasts and laying down of intercellular matrix.[8,9] A fibronectin matrix forms after 5 days of injury that determines the deposition of collagen resulting in skin tightening persisting for 5–7 years in the form of collagen III. The depth of neocollagenesis has been found to be 5–600 µm with a 1.5 mm length needle. Histological examination of the skin treated with 4 microneedling sessions 1 month apart shows upto 400% increase in collagen and elastin deposition at 6 months postoperatively, with a thickened stratum spinosum and normal rete ridges at 1 year postoperatively. Collagen fibre bundles appear to have a normal lattice pattern rather than parallel bundles as in scar tissue.
CIT-8 (CIT: Collagen Induction Therapy, Medical type) has a needle length of 0.5 mm (500 μm) and helps in collagen induction and skin remodellingIt is safe to use on Fitzpatrick 4su+:
MF-8 type has a needle length of 1.5 mm (1500 μm). This creates deeper microchannels on the whole epidermis and dermis and at the same time destroys scar collagen bundles.
Microneedling is an effective modality of treatment, especially in patients with Fitzpatrick's IV and V skin types because it overcomes the side effects of scarring and hyperpigmentation resulting from other procedures in which the epidermis is compromised
Microneedling creates micro channels, some of which persist after 24h, and which can be used to deliver proteins:
All imaging techniques confirmed the formation of microchannels in the skin, which were partly still detectable after 24 h.
This may be why minoxidil applied the next day is 10x more efficient (!!)
A dermaroller of needle length 1.5mmVery useful if you have a scar in your hair or eyebrow!
All patients were instructed not to apply minoxidil on the day of procedure and to resume its application 24h thereafter. The patients were also instructed to apply minoxidil on a clean and dry scalp and not to use hair oil
The mean increase in hair count in the targeted area of one square inch at the end of the treatment was significantly greater for the combination treatment group (12.52/inch2) compared to that for the minoxidil alone group (1.89/inch2)
Optimal time for penetration of the molecules is 5 to 30 min, and hair growth happens in the preauricular area even without minoxidil:
The optimal time for massaging pigment particles and labeled platelet-rich plasma (PRP) down 1.0 mm micro-channels was between 5 to 30 minutes after MN
The average hair count in a 10 mm spot size at baseline (88.3 ± 22.5) increased at the 12 month evaluation period (133.6 ± 13.8).
Microneedling with PRP is as efficient as Er: YAG laser 2940 nm for atrophic scars
microneedling could be as effective as a fractional laser when combined with PRP and when used for more sessions
Microneedling is safe in POC:
In ethnic skin, traditional skin resurfacing procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy can be effective but can also be associated with prolonged recovery and risk of complications. These complications can include a higher risk of dyspigmentation and scarring
Microneedling may offer a more advantageous safety profile, particularly in the skin-of-color population (Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI), compared with more conventional resurfacing modalities
It could be better for mixed POCs, as the Er:Yag laser only gives "fair" results in Fitzpatrick 3-4:
All patients showed improvement in scars: excellent in 1, good in 1, and fair in 7 patients
The results are better with microneedling, even if using a dermaroller where over 2/3 have better than fair results:
Seven out of the total 50 patients (14%) showed an excellent response to dermaroller treatment, while 26 patients (52%) had a good response. Fourteen patients (28%) had fair response, and 3 patients (6%) had poor response
Microneedling works on all type of scars:
Microneedling was investigated in experimental settings for its effects on atrophic acne scars, skin rejuvenation, hypertrophic scars, keloids, striae distensae, androgenetic alopecia, melasma and acne vulgaris ... Microneedling showed noteworthy results when used on its own and when combined with topical products or radiofrequency. When compared with other treatments, it showed similar results but was preferred due to minimal side effects and shorter downtime
For raised or depressed scars, it normalizes them, for colored scars, it fixes the color:
Preoperatively there were 64.3% with depressed scars and 35.7% with elevated scars. The clinical response of height of scar postoperatively was 100% flattening with the surrounding skin surface. Results showed that all atrophic and hypertrophic scars showed improvement, and color of the scar which was darker or lighter than the surrounding skin got the same color as the surrounding skin after microneedling therapy.
Microneedling can be associated with RF and preceded by lactic acid:
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31592915/ (RECOMMENDED READING as it gives the precise protocol for RF)
Combination therapy resulted in significantly better clinical outcomes, including better scar smoothness and smaller scar size.AestheFill is apparently a polymer of lactic acid with a pKa of 3.86: this is why they needed 4% of lidocaine
The MFRF device (INTRAcel; Jeisys, Seoul, Korea) delivers monopolar radiofrequency energy into thedermis through 21 microneedle electrodes. Themicroneedle design has a solenoid structure, with alength of 1.5 to 2.1 mm, a diameter of 300mm, and 21 insulating pins, except for a 0.3-mm tip. It has aninsulated needle body and a noninsulated tip. Thelength of needles can be adjusted to 0.8, 1.5, or 2.0 mm
The PLA used was AestheFill (REGEN Biotech Inc.,Seoul, Republic of Korea).
PLA was applied to the acne scars on one side of theface. The patients received an average application ofone vial per session by using a 9-mL dilution
All areas were treated with 6 to 8 con-secutive passes of MFRF at 35 W for 90 ms.
As the insulated needles confer added protection to the epidermis from the heat generated by MFRF, this treatment can beused safely with less risk of hyperpigmentation inpatients with Fitzpatrick Types III or IV skin
Collagen production begins within 6 to 8 weeks of injection and lasts for 9 to 12 months
In addition, the results of this study suggest that microneedles of the MFRF system penetrate the epidermis and enable physical transdermal delivery of macromolecules with high molecular masses that do not pass through the skin barrier in normal skin. In fact, PLA has a relatively high molecular weight of 140 kDa. It also has an irregular crystalline shape,which slows its physiological absorption. Micro-needles enable minimally invasive transdermal drug delivery
This seems more conservative than other MFR potocols that use 2x the power, 3x the time:
Before the MFR treatment, the face of the participants was washed with a foam cleanser, topical anesthetic cream (mixture of lidocaine HCL 2.5% and prilocaine 2.5%) was applied to the entire face, and waited for 30‐60 minutes to get local anesthesia. After sterilization of the face with alcohol 70%, the MFR (Secret 2.0; Ilooda, Suwon‐si, Korea) with 25 insulated microneedles was per‐formed according to manufacturer guides for acne scars with a me‐dian intensity of 70 W (range 50‐70 W), a median needle depth of 3 mm (range 2.5‐3.5 mm), a median radiofrequency conduction time of 300 ms (range 250‐300 ms), and a median needle conduction time of 500 ms (range 450‐550 ms).
30W seems more standard, even at higher depth:
Patients with predominantly ice pick scars and mixed scarring were given a needle depth of 3.5 mm on the first pass, 2.5 mm on the 2nd pass and 1.5 mm on the 3rd pass with minimal or no overlapping.
Higher energy settings (35 W-40 W) at depths of 3.5 mm with successively lower energy levels (30 W-35 W, 25 W-30 W, respectively) were used at lower penetration depths to prevent epidermal coagulation
The duration of each energy pulse can be set from 10 ms to 1,000 ms
The energy delivery system consists of a disposable tip with 49 gold-plated needles. The entire length of the needle is insulated and it delivers bursts of RF energy through the tip. The depth of the needles can be adjusted from a minimum of 0.5 mm to a maximum of 3.5 mm
Various studies confirm microneedling works for hyperpigmentation:
Microneedling is an effective treatment for both acne scars and associated pigmentation in patients with dark skin color. The treatment appears to be safe apart from transient redness, mild dryness, and small hematomas, however additional treatments may be needed in some patients to achieve more improvement in pigmentation
Microneedling with Tranexamic Acid works better than with Vitamin C for melasma:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32055507/
split face, comparative study conducted on 30 female melasma patients. After obtaining informed consent, microneedling with Tranexamic acid was done on left side and microneedling with Vitamin C was done on right side of face
TXA (trans-4-aminomethyl cyclohexane carboxylic acid) is an antifibrinolytic agent which blocks lysine-binding sites on plasminogen molecules. It is also being used as a depigmenting agent
TXA is available as a 500 mg/5 ml ampoule. About 1 ml of TXA is drawn in a 2-ml syringe and diluted with 1-ml normal saline to get a concentration of 50 mg/ml of TXA.
In total, 1 ml TXA (4 mg/ml) was applied on the left side and 20% Vitamin C was applied on the right side of the face, and the procedure was repeate
Both TXA and Vitamin C are effective and safe treatments for melasma. But, TXA was found to be more effective
However, the result wasn’t statistically significant due to a small sample size
Tranexamic acid (TXA), an antifibrinolytic drug, is now gaining popularity as a depigmenting agent. It is a synthetic lysine amino acid derivative which mainly blocks the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin by inhibiting plasminogen activator. This results in less free arachidonic acid production, and hence a reduction in the prostaglandin (PG) levels as well. Thus, by reducing PG production, TXA reduces the melanocyte tyrosinase activity and plays an important role in the treatment of melasma, ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation, and other postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. It has been tried topically, orally, and intradermally in the management of melasma with minimal adverse effects.
Various studies confirm microneedling + peeling works better that microneedling, itself better that peeling, even with trichloroacetic (TCA) acid:
The combined technique (dermapen and Jessner's solution peeling) showed the best clinical improvement with the least number of sessions followed by the microneedling technique and lastly the jessner's solution peeling for treating atrophic acne scars.
Same for microneedling + glycolic acid:
The combination of dermapen and GA peel is more effective than monotherapy.
Addition of sequential 70% glycolic acid peel to microneedling gives better scar improvement as compared to microneedling alone. In addition to this, it also improves skin texture
Same for PRP:
Although a single treatment may give good results, combination between skin needling and platelet-rich plasma is more effective, safe with less number of sessions in all types of atrophic scars.
Same for Vitamin C and hydroxyapatite for stretch marks (fillers for the associated skin depression, the pictures are impressive!):
Subjects presented with red (n = 25) or white (n = 10) striae on their buttocks, thighs, knees, abdomen, and breasts
CaHA filler was diluted 1:1 with lidocaine 2% without epinephrine. A maximum of 3.0 mL of filler was injected per patient at all skin depths using a 23G needle. This was immediately followed by microneedling and topical application of 20% ascorbic acid. Microneedling with ascorbic acid was repeated after 1 and 2 months.
Subjects were very satisfied (n = 22; 62.9%), satisfied (n = 8; 22.9%), neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (n = 4; 11.4%), or unsatisfied (n = 1; 2.8%) with their treatment results. Analysis revealed a significant correlation between Scar Scale scores and Patient Satisfaction scores
Same for subincision:
Two weeks after subcision, FMR treatment was performed on both cheeks of each participant. Second and third FMR treatment sessions were performed within 4-week intervals.(if you want to learn how to do subincision at home with a syringe, check https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7394107/ )
Clinical assessment by two-blinded dermatologists showed statistically significant improvement in the combination (FMR+subcision) group (P=.009). Patient satisfaction was statistically significantly better in the combination group (P=.001).
There is no need to stop tretinoin:
The present established standard preoperative surgical care, so far advises the stoppage of oral isotretinoin 6–12 months before any dermatosurgery. This was based on the early reports of keloids or delayed wound healing, in patients on isotretinoin during surgery documented in 1980's.[8,9] Surprisingly, this recommendation stemmed from 9 cases reported from different authors
However in 1985, Roenigk et al. had performed dermabrasion in nine patients on isotretinoin and reported normal “initial” skin healing. However, despite this observation, for nearly two decades, stopping oral isotretinoin before dermatosurgery was the medico-legal standard practice, unchallenged.
The only microneedling case enrolled and subjected to 7 sessions of therapy had pigmentation which resolved.
Of interest, in this prospective interventional study – “102 Fractional Er: YAG laser resurfacing, 19 conventional full face CO2 laser resurfacing, 19 Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, 8 skin biopsies;” had no keloid/hypertrophic scar formation or delayed healing. All the above were collagen-specific interventions
However, there were minor reversible outcomes such as pigmentation, erythema, and acne. If one compares our study and literature, which could serve like control data, the occurrence of reversible events in isotretinoin group is comparable
This study with 504 interventions done in patients taking oral isotretinoin with – glycolic/salicylic/combination acid peels, fractional Er: YAG laser resurfacing/fractional CO2 laser and conventional CO2 laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion had a single documented keloid in glycolic peel group. This was probably idiosyncratic. The second case of keloid following radiofrequency ablation of compound nevi however could not be explained.
The results of this study, further enhance the already accumulating evidence, about the safety of procedures in patients receiving isotretinoin and further provide additional evidence that the current recommendations for avoiding procedures may not be valid and need revision.
First Contact - TOTAL WAR - Part 206
Smiling to himself Super Secret Agent Secret Most High Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd trotted out to his vehicle. He had spent two days immersing himself in documentaries about Terran espionage, taking close notes. He had discovered there were four types of agents, but it was easy to decide which kind he was.
Saboteur, which looked like a lot of work and seemed to damage a lot. While the escapes were amazing, and seemed to be the focus of the documentary, he knew there was only one of him and when he'd checked the Underground Railroad it had been converted to mass transit. While he was capable of using explosives, nerve gas, and other methods, he decided that was too risky.
Kinetic, which involved seeking out enemy spies and killing them with hand to hand and knife techniques. That only took two documentaries about a secret agent named Born for him to decide that he wasn't cut out for kinetic spying. Plus, those documentaries mainly focused around a spy who was slated for termination by his own agency then attacking the agency until it left him alone.
Terran spycraft seemed really risky to Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd.
Theft or discovery of information was the third. That was more Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd's speed. Just go in, look around, maybe copy some stuff off of a computer, and then walk away and blend into the crowd. That last part would be difficult, but Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd knew if he made it out of sight he'd just change his pelt color and pattern and be home free.
Then there was the hybrid.
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd knew he was a sneaky spy. Which meant, from everything he had seen on the documentaries, he'd need gadgets.
First of all, he needed to make sure he had a proper vehicle. All spies that were involved with Terrans had to have certain things with their vehicles.
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd had looked up the nearest vehicle customization service with the highest customer rating and decided that was who he wanted to make his vehicle more spy-ee.
He got in, settled down on the white leather couch, and brought up the car's VI.
"Where are we going today, boss?" it asked.
"Dale's Totallly Legit Chop Shop," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
"Uh, boss, are you sure?" the VI asked.
"Of course. They seem as if they can perform the vehicle modifications I want," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
"You know, you're just renting this car. You can't get mods done to a car you rent," the VI said. "Oh, they also sell cars. Make sure they transfer me."
"Of course," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd answered. "I am ready to depart."
"Uh you have your guns, right?" the VI asked.
"Yes," he told the VI.
"You might wanna have them in your hands. This is a rough part of town," the VI answered. "It's an Urban Wars Simulation Zone," the VI paused. "Uh, boss, you're no SUDS'd."
"What's that mean?" Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said, frowning.
"You don't have a neural imprint copying system. If you get shot in the face you're gone, you don't get reprinted at the nearest facility," the VI said. "Once you're dead, boss, you're dead."
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd frowned. "Wait. If a Terran is killed they just come right back?"
"Yeah, boss, some places guarantee an hour or less," the VI said.
"And it's that dangerous?" Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd asked.
"It's an Urban Combat Zone Simulation, from the old Urban Wars just prior to the Glassing. There's bushes there that will eat you if the cybergangs don't get you," the VI answered.
"Hmmm, perhaps I should call them?" he said.
"Naw, let's get you an escort. Hang on, you'll have a call coming in," the VI said, pulling out. "I'll drive around while you talk."
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd's datalink pinged and the words "INCOMING CALL - LONESTAR SECURITY" popped up in his vision. He answered the car.
"Ya'ahrd, Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd, Lanaktallan Spy speaking," he said, proud of the way he was able to emulate the Bongistan accent.
There was a 'snerk' noise. "Um, it's Captain Half-feather, with Lonestar Security. You were interested in a protection plan?" the voice asked. It was an odd voice, deep and resonant with an odd timbre in it that demanded almost immediate respect.
"Yes, personal and property," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said. "I think I'd like some armed guards. Do you have a 'secret agent from an enemy nation during a time of war' package?"
"Well, Mister Ya'ahrd, let me check," the voice said. "Hmmm, mmhmm, ah, yes, we do. And, running your credit, it appears you also qualify for our Foreign National Supervillain plan with optional volcano lair."
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd trembled with excitement. A volcano lair? He'd be the envy of all the other Secret Level Spies.
"Yes, that will do nicely," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
"Now, do you want the scantily dressed female Terrans bodyguards or the giant cyborg bodyguards?" the Terran asked.
"Yes," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd blurted out excitedly. "Oh, do you have ones that half their faces are menacing cybernetics and the other half has visually appealing villanous scarring?"
There was silence a moment. "Yes. Yes we do," Captain Half-Feather answered. "Well, it looks like we have a special on Cyber-Ninjas too. Would you like to sign up for that package?"
"Oh, that sounds exciting. How will I tell they're working?" Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd asked. "I saw on the documentaries that they're invisible."
"That's the best part, you can't! You know, Ninja invisibility," Captain Half-Feather answered. "Now, we're having another special on former Special Forces from collapsed nations, meaning their loyalty would be to your bank account rather than an active nations. They would have crude looking cybernetic that are actually quite effective."
"Can the leader have what looks like an animal claw injury on his face and like to drive giant combat robots and fight with knives? I am not a good knife fighter and it seems as if knives are the leading causing of death of spies right behind explosions," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
There was the 'snerk' sound again. "Absolutely, sir. I know just the man. Now, have you discussed vehicle options?"
"I would like a jet pack."
Another 'snerk' noise, and Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd just chalked it up to a verbal tic. "Very well, sir. Anything else?"
"A car with hidden hover capability, an ejection seat, machineguns, a rocket launcher, and armored," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd stated.
"Ah, you want to Burgerland Interstate rated vehicle with an ejection seat? Excellent choice, sir. Would you like to use your dataslate to select colors and vehicle type as well as uniforms," Captain Half-Feather said. "I'll put you on hold while I see what other things we can offer you."
"I'll bring up the dataslate, boss," the VI said. The dataslate slid out of the dash and lifted up in front of him.
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd was amazed by the different vehicles. Hover vehicles, some looking quite militaristic and deadly, ground vehicle, even tanks! There were two different jet-packs to choose from and Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd chose the one that had the simulated exhaust and made a loud roaring noise.
For colors he picked red and white, to appropriate the colors on his credit card. White armor with red highlights and a hoofprint on the shoulders. It looked quite snazzy with opaque face-shields.
Going through the options he discovered there was actually nearly a dozen islands just off the coast of the Hamburger Kingdom. He carefully mused over them and chose one. It told him that a representative would meet with him to create the floorplan.
His credit line, of course, was approved.
A package delivery drone dropped off the jetpack while he was picking all the options for his vehicle. An OCP SUX 9000, which got 1.5 miles to the gallon and had nearly 8,000 horse power. Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd wasn't quite sure what a horse was, but that was definitely a lot of them.
The vehicle would be delivered to the hotel he was at.
"OK, boss, have you ever used a jet-pack?" the VI asked.
"No, but many spies seem to use it, so I figured it was best I get one," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
"Of course," the VI said.
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd turned to the call and brought it back. "Are you there, Captain Half-Feather?" Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd asked.
"Of course, sir, we at Lonestar Security are here to meet your every need," the Terran answered.
"I, of course, will need minions. I will need one to help me determine which Terran historical and cultural landmarks I should examine in order to be able to properly determine how to defeat your star nation and species," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
"Of course, sir. I'll make sure you get a full complement of highly trained minions. Do you have any species preferences?" the agent asked.
"Oh, I would like a Digital Sentience computer hacker. Are any available for hire?" Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd asked, rubbing his hands together.
"Of course, sir. We'll have someone come by and finalize everyone," the agent said. "Thank you for choosing Lonestar Security LLC for your personal and property security needs."
"No, thank you, Terran," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said, and cut the link.
He rubbed his hands together again. It was all coming together. A secret base to perform his espionage form. He'd have personal security, and a really big exciting looking wasteful personal vehicle covered in weaponry. He was so excited he drew one of his pistols, gave the traditional Terran warning that he was going fire it by yelling "YEE-HAW!" as loud as he could, then firing the pistol three times into the air.
A few other Terrans joined him, giving out the same yell and firing their slug-throwers into the air.
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd felt proud of himself for how well he was fitting in.
"Back to the Penthouse Lair, VI," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said. He paused. "Oh, I should name you. How about... um... Heinrich! That sounds properly espionage-like."
The VI made an odd noise. "Sure, boss. Heinrich it is. Is this acceptable?" the VI began using a thick accent that Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd found particularly pleasing.
"Yes, Heinrich, perfect," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said and rubbed his hands together again.
Terran space was so exciting!
The Terran at the desk let Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd know that the jewelry vendor was waiting for him. That made Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd tremble with glee. He couldn't wait to order his secret agent watches, cufflinks, lapel pin, and of course, shoes.
He was so excited he kept shuffling around in the elevator as he rode up to the Penthouse. An actual volcano lair! The other spies were going to be so jealous. He'd make sure to take image-shots of himself standing in front of the lava.
Oh, he'd need to capture someone so he could menace them and put them in a death-trap that they could then escape during an exciting battle with Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd's minions.
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd couldn't wait to stand on his balcony, shake his fist, and yell out "NEXT TIME, GADGET!"
The Terran jewelry vendor was a short Terran with black hair and strange eyes. Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd greeted him and escorted him inside.
"We have a wide variety of expensive and luxurious men's jewelry, gentlebeing," the vendor, a Mr. Lee, said, setting down a datacube.
"I have a few requirements up front," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
"Oh? Please, explain," Mr. Lee said.
"I will need a pair of cufflinks that explode when put together and put at the corner of a door. A watch with a laser capable of cutting durasteel cuffs. Another watch with a sonic device that repels giant carnivorous fish, since apparently they are a danger to beings in my line work," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said.
Mr. Lee raised an eyebrow. "Might I inquire what line of work you are engaged in?"
"Import and exports and antiquities," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said. He then leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially. "I am also a spy."
Mr. Lee displayed no surprise, nor any other real emotion, just nodded slowly. "Of course you are, sir."
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd rubbed all four hands together. "I will also need a watch that delivers an EMP burst, another watch that will hack computers, and lapel pin with a high definition X-ray camera to read the other side of playing cards, a belt buckle that shoots lasers, and shoes with hidden knives in them."
Mr. Lee looked down. "Um. That's going to be difficult," he thought for a second. "How about shoes with graviton assist that let you climb up walls, run across water, and leave behind different kinds of footprints?"
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd thought for a moment. Yes, those could be useful. He imagined himself dressed in all black with a cape and a hood with pointed ears, climbing up the outside of a building with a rope.
"I will also need a grappling hook gun. Perhaps hidden somehow?" he said. "Oh, and one of the hoof shoes should have a hidden comlink inside."
Mr. Lee nodded. "Of course, sir. Now, if you press your hand here, I can run a credit check."
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd did so, trembling with excitement as he signaled the bartender VI to bring Mr. Lee and himself a drink.
Mr. Lee looked down at the dataslate.
CONFEDINTEL - VERIFIED UNLIMITED SECURED CREDIT LINE (FOREIGN)
Mr. Lee looked back up. "Well, you'll of course want to open a line of store credit. We're currently offering a special with only 45% APR."
Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd bobbed up and down slightly. That was far less than his credit line back home. "Why, that is most generous, Mr. Lee."
"My cousin produces fine quality hand tailored suits, Mr..."
"Ya'ahrd, Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd," the Lanaktallan said, feeling pleasure at being able to use that line as he sipped his shaken not stirred martini.
"Of course it is, sir," Mr. Lee said, his face expressionless. Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd marvelled at the way the Terran was able to avoid showing any emotion on his face. He put a note in his datalink to practice such an amazing ability.
"If you would like, I can have my cousin come by this evening, make sure your clothing showcases your proper employment?" Mr. Lee suggested.
"Excellent. Thank you, Mr. Lee," Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd said. "How long till my jewelry is ready?"
"Oh, how does tomorrow sound," Mr. Lee said.
"Wonderful." Ba'ahn Ya'ahrd imagined himself cutting open a bank vault door and galloping away with the secrets to the Confederacy before activating his jetpack and swooping off in the sky with a big bag of money over his shoulder.
Mr. Lee left while his customer was obviously daydreaming. The strange looking creature was rich enough that he wasn't crazy, just merely eccentric.
But his money spent.
BWAH AHA AHAHAHAHAHHA!
TREANA'AD HIVE WORLDS
This has got to be the funniest thing ever. I'll show you guys later.
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