The Techie Is In

Participants:

leroy_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title The Techie Is In
Synopsis Leroy is sent to check up on the YX Cestus Prosthetic Limb. It may or may not be someone trolling him.
Date April 13, 2018

Cresting Wave Apartments: Monica's Apartment

Like all the apartments here, Monica's is high tech and lavish. The d├ęcor is all glass, grey and white. It's clean and open and way too much space for one person. Which is probably why it remains uncluttered with little evidence of anyone living there so long as you stay out of the bedroom or the kitchen.

In the sunlit sitting room, an oversized bird cage dominates one wall. In it, there is every amenity Monica could find for it. It all comes from all over the world. The bird is spoiled. And he is also a Timneh African Grey who answers to the name of Foggy. He may just not answer in English.


Years ago, when Leroy first signed up for Yamagato, working in Japan, he didn't sign up to do cybernetics. But the versatility of his field meant getting tossed at every goddamned thing they felt he might be capable of working on.

Cybernetics are fascinating, but he definitely doesn't know a damned thing about biology beyond the anatomy he had to cram years ago. What he does know is Monica's arm. He's had to mess with it, in groups, multiple times. But now he's being sent for a house call, a house call he does not want to make. You can avoid talking to someone in a group, but not when you're being sent to make a solo house call.

Today he's in his usual black Converse II and blue jeans, and his shirt is black with the Dexter's Laboratory logo over the chest.

He's wearing his Yamagato lanyard as he rings her most likely soothingly futuristic bell.

This shit is awkward.

Monica is some, like, what, super important business woman who has a super powerful robot arm for some reason? And he has to make conversation with her while he runs maintenance on it?

This is some bullshit! Monica is fine as fuck, he didn't sign up to have awkward conversations with cyborg diplomats and go straight to their apartment.

What the fuck Hachiro. "It's a company run by fucking nerds!" he audibly exclaims. He's technically a nerd, but he at least knows that you don't just make house calls to cyborg diplomats and then not have shit to say except 'can I open up your arm? Cool? Okay.'

The bell is quite soothing, and it's strangely echoed from deeper inside the apartment. That doesn't happen on the other apartments. Just this one. The reason becomes clear when Monica comes to open the door.

She is, in fact, dressed like a business person, but without her suit jacket because there is a big, grey parrot perched on her arm. The non-cybernetic one. Monica tilts her head when she looks over at him, like it's taking her a moment to place him. It's clear when she realizes he's from the team, but she still has to glance to the lanyard to remember his name.

"Jackson," she says, friendly enough, "What can I do for you?"

Foggy, from his perch on her arm, makes a whistle that sounds distinctly R2D2 in nature.

"Miss Dawson." Leroy says in his most respectful and professional tone, staring at the parrot. "Is that an African Grey parrot? Why do you—" there's a pause, and he just shakes his head. "Sorry, um, I have to do some maintenance on your arm. They sent me here to do that, I don't know why they sent me and not one of the others, but here I am." He sounds almost like he's apologizing.

There's a long awkward moment where he says nothing, and then asks, "So… you do business?"

That was corny as hell, shit. Too late now.

"Well, come in," Monica says, stepping back from the door to usher him in. "You have a work order?" This might be a tease, seeing as there's a crooked smile, but her tone carries all the seriousness of a strict, by-the-book business person.

"Foggy, cage," she says to the bird, turning to give him a clear shot from her arm across the apartment to where a big cage sits. He doesn't go in it, just on it. "He's a rescue." She explains, even though he didn't quite get the question out. "And now he's spoiled rotton."

The bird responds with a laugh.

The awkward silence brings her attention back around to Leroy and she smirks a little. Especially once he gets the question out. "Yes, I do business," she says, "and you do tech."

"I don't normally make it a habit of showing up at women's apartments uninvited, normally I'm busy with machine learning and improving cyber attack defenses. There's a lot of different paths to it. I've been working on designs for a new processing architecture, designs for supercomputers… you can't just make an antivirus for technopaths, you know?" Leroy rhetorically asks, matter-of-factly.

He walks in, and watches the bird fly to its cage with a bit of surprise. He also watches her a bit, clearly uneasy about this whole situation. But he reaches back to pull a fannypack of tools around to his front. "I don't normally wear a fannypack either, by the way. But they insisted. Starting to think they're fucking with me."

"So…" clearing his throat. "Where's a good place to sit so I can take a look?" After a brief silence that lasts for a fraction of a second, he quickly adds, "At your arm." as if saving himself with clarification.

"Usually they send me down to the workrooms," Monica notes, because this is true. So she might also think they're hazing him a little. Although why, who knows. "Who did you piss off this week?" she asks with a chuckle.

"You're working on protection against technopaths?" This gets her attention, genuine attention, too. Because she is a cyborg. Technopaths are a potential Issue. "How's that going?" She waves for him to follow her into the kitchen, where there is a small counter-high table and stools. She perches on one, setting her arm on the table like this is the most normal thing in the world.

Maybe it is for her.

"I think they're getting tired of me sleeping under my desk. I didn't come here for a multi-million dollar apartment though, I came here to work. I like the apartment, but I can't be rushing over to the office every time an idea strikes me." Leroy doesn't sound like the most relaxed person in the universe, taking a seat next to her to start taking tools out.

He pretty expertly knows how to navigate her arm, comfortably remove things, shut off processes where required. He mostly removes one of the pieces of plating, and then starts to run some basic diagnostics on a little tablet computer he has some wires hooked into. "Technopaths are tricky, because they don't all work the same. At the end of the day, improving machine learning and predictive algorithms is the key, I think. I'd say it's going pretty well."

"All of this," he motions his head around the room, as if to note the technology. "My specialty is this stuff, the digital, the hardware, the future. Technopaths have their abilities, there's the intuitive engineers, the god fucking knows what else, but me?"

He smiles pretty confidently at her, starting to make her fingers cycle through movements, as a basic test. "I understand the science, I understand the applications of research. If I wanted to do some really dumb shit, I could invent a smart toaster. An ability can only get you so far, hard work will get you further. I never felt held back by lacking an ability, it's only a matter of time before my tech catches up with technopathic abilities."

"Remember," he holds up a single finger, still working with his other hand. "They still have the limits of the human mind, the human mind can't outpace machines forever."

"So they sent you here?" Monica can't seem to decide if they're doing him a favor or punishing him with that one. Could go either way. "You need a workroom in your apartment. Network to your work computer. Then you don't have to run anywhere."

She watches when he starts to open up her arm. It's odd, because she can feel it. And it feels odd. "You're not gonna fuck up my arm, are you?" A sideways glance in his direction implies that this is not a joke. She can punch with the other arm, too, or so the rumors have it.

"I can see how that particular ability could be trouble. You let me know when you have something to test run. And a technopath willing to prod at it, I guess."

Monica listens, her head tilted as he talks about abilities versus hard work. "I agree, actually. My ability, for instance. I'm a lot more comfortable with the skills I've studied than the ones I haven't. I might be able to use them, but understanding them opens up how I think about them, how I can apply them. Without the science behind any of that, I wonder how comfortable the technopaths and intuitive engineers are. How creative they are."

Those last words have her lifting her eyebrow, though.

"Until you get an Expressive with a computer brain," she says. Dryly. On account of the hardware she has in her own brain these days.

"Every computer has its limits. But the thing about the human mind is that it's currently significantly more powerful than a computer… well." He doesn't finish that, he just moves on. "A long time ago, a lab ran a massive supercomputer of interconnected computers, using massive amounts of power and energy, and all of that could only run something resembling human thought for about a second or so, if that much."

"There's a limit, unless you augment your brain cybernetically, which is very difficult to do without the proper resources, even if you are Evolved." He starts to unplug things from her arm, shaking his head. "Your arm's fine. Even if I did fuck it up, I'd just fix it."

"I'm a computer engineer, I don't just program. I can make the chips, build a motherboard. What I do is a lot harder than just computer science three." he explains, and then quickly adds why that's important, "A workroom is a little hard, I need it to be completely sterile when I'm doing something like making an entire microchip from scratch. Difficult stuff to add to a room."

"I wish I could get a technopath to cooperate, but it's difficult to trust a technopath to test technopathic security, then it defeats the purpose. But we'll have field tests one day, I'm sure it'll come up. My main concern is them stealing source code." He starts to close her arm up now, screwing things shut where they're supposed to be.

"That wasn't so bad." he reassures. "So…" he shrugs, allowing some silence to linger. "Guess I should get the fuck out, huh?"

"That was back when a computer took up a whole room, right? I bet we could do better than that now." Monica glances down when he starts to unplug, then back up at him. "That's good to know. That you could fix it." Would she even know anything had gone wrong? Maybe not, unless it went really wrong. Still, she curls her fingers in a wave, and back out again.

"Oh, I see. You don't mean just ideas, but ideas." There's some difference between the two versions of the word, but she seems to have hit some kind of understanding. "Then I suggest a sleeping bag or fold up bed for the office. At least a pillow." She smiles there, more friendly this time.

As for the idea of a trustworthy technopath, Monica can only nod.

She knew one once.

Currently Unavailable.

His reassurance pulls her from her thoughts and she smiles again, dimmer this time. "Not bad at all. But maybe you should put a reminder in your phone to get out of the office sometimes. Just for the future." She moves to stand, since the work part is over. "I guess," she notes as to him getting the fuck out, "but hey, say hi next time we have a round table."

"I have blankets and pillows under my desk. I think some people think I'm overachieving, I think they just don't have enough passion to get it. So many people are here for the perks, the apartment, the money. I'm here because we're building the future." Leroy explains, and then laughs a little when she mentions the room sized computer. "Oh, no, these were modern computers, a few years ago, an entire room full of them connected to each other. That was only a fraction of how powerful the human mind is, a fraction of a fraction."

"Everyone's mind." He looks a little coy, turning around to lean his back against the table. "I mean," when she says 'I guess', he looks as if he's about to say something, but has a moment of silence as she finishes her sentence. "Sounds good."

"Yamagato does like to promote a healthy work/life balance," Monica says, a sort of wry humor about her. Maybe it's an inside joke. But she steps over to the door to pull it open again. There's the sound of feathers fluttering, but Monica points a finger in the bird's direction.

"Don't even think about it."

But then, back to Leroy. "Oh, so not super long ago. I get it now." And she's very appreciative of the human mind and its capabilities. One hand stays on the door while the other gestures toward it. "Thanks for the diagnostic, Doc."

"I mean, I guess looking you over wasn't so bad." Leroy says with a smile, before taking her gesture and heading out, zipping his tool bag, aka fannypack. "See you around."


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