dcrypt_icon.gif hector_icon.gif mayes_icon.gif


Scene Title Automaton
Synopsis Alia is given a body.
Date January 20, 2011

Reclaimed Zone: Warehouse 47

She and Colin have gone over some of the details already. The government is in the middle of some important research surrounding robotics for purposes of security. Enforcement. Naturally, Alia already knows a little bit about that — interfering is what got her here in the first place. What the outcomes of her help will be have been shrouded in continual mystery, save for the outcomes of what will happen if she doesn't. A coma, for her physical self, emptily beating its heart and breathing its air.

It comes as a jolt, access to a machine that's a little like a blind man getting his eyes back. These are cameras, of course. These things don't have eyes. A wire connecting to Colin's laptop allows for both a microphone to pick up on the noises of the warehouse, as well as speakes for Alia to 'talk' in her own weird ways.

She also has legs. Four of them.

The warehouse doors are shut against the cold winter air, but inside, it's still chilly enough for Mayes to bundle herself in her woolen coat, brown with fur lining its collar and cuffs. She's pacing just out of viewing of the robot's eyes, observing the creature machine. It's a pared down version of the things stalking Midtown, no engine of its own but wired to an external powersource, and attached to a rigging above by industrial chains wrapped in clinging-vine wiring.

It takes moments for the eyes to focus enough for Alia to make out people, faces, and distances. She checks to see what, if any, programming this 'new machine' has so far as she gets used to the newfound, and very welcome, new flows of data. For now she doesn't make comment. She also has no idea who this small handful who occasionally cross her vision are.

'The Inventor' is a stout man in a thick woolen overcoat that hangs long and heavy and black about his legs to keep out the cold. He still has his shoulders hunched as if a chill is creeping through, though, stationed some feet from Mayes at a deliberate distance, gloved hands braced into fists at his sides and scarf matched to the same graphite grey of his dashing three-piece suit.

His hair is ruffled short and dark, more sensible than he'd probably care for it to be. His goatee is tidily trimmed. His eyes are blue.

The expression on his face is poisonously unhappy. The same look persian cats give people on their way to being stuffed bodily into a cold soapy bath.

As for the machine, extant programming is virtually (ho ho) non-existant. The most basic of wire armatures is there in the form of default controls to integrate one system into the next — infrared and default cameras, locomotion, sensors. But no guidance system. No controls. No AI. A discarded nautilus of mechanical complication.

Through the speakers, Alia will be able to pick up the sound of a sort of approach — Mayes' heels clicking along cement as she moves around behind the machine, towards the laptop. There's a noisy tap tap of polished fingernail against the microphone, barely audible in the wider warehouse, but scratchily thunderous in the space that Alia is settling in. "You can speak, my dear," comes Mayes' voice, for the first time, as opposed to the anonymous, occasionally oddly Capitalised typing from before.

"How are you getting on?" An older woman, a distinctly Oxford Britishness to her accent, and hell, maybe familiar if Alia was the type to listen to the news and Mayes' opinion on things like Evolved housing, if not as likely since after her capture. But she almost automatically gravitates beyond the field of view.

The laptop lets out a sound much like feedback at the tapping on the microphone. It takes a moment for someone to realize, most likely, that it's a scream. "LOUD damn." The voice calms a moment, before Alia speaks again in a more even, almost synthetic tone. "Systems online. Nice to see again… though gentleman there looks… uncomfterable." The head moves a little as if to gesture towards Hector. "Systems all interconnected. Need one cockpit of complex?" She notes with almost a bit of sass indicated in the tone as she already apparently starts already figuring out some subroutines to handle certain nessesities, like focus and iris control for the camera so she doesn't have to actively think about it.

The fact that she is looking and speaking and the servo sizzle of cameras adjusting is audible in the massive cavern of this terrible grey warehouse is enough to have Hector looking all the unhappier and more uncomfortable. That is to say: the fact that 'it' is working.

The look in his eyes is positively mutinous, sabatage, sabatage, sabatage written into every hard angle about him.

But Mayes is here.

So he stands right where he is, like a good boy.

"He's just anxious," Mayes enthuses, without bothering to flick a blue-eyed glance the engineer's way. "You're currently flowing through the wires and inner-workings of one of his most powerful inventions that the United States government has had the privilige to utilise. I don't think anyone has been quite so intimate with his work in the past, beyond our own researchers and their reverse engineering."

Now she glances, sweeping a look up and down Hector, before peering at the robot. "You have about twenty feet of cabling to work with. Feel free to move. Stretch your legs, as it were."

Remains silent for a moment as she digitally looks the linkages over, and then states simply, and perhaps shocking. "Lady Mayes, Rome not built in a day. Robotics not exactly a speciality of mine." The legs move slowly, stiffly, as Alia tests the underlying firmware.

Apparently, she does watch the news. And maybe a bit more. "… Sir Hector Steel, Mechancial Adept?" The tone from begining to end sounds far more HUMAN then anything she's said to Mayes, even as she tries to get the feline shape to turn. It's an awkward, and likely painful, sight for someone who likely built this machine for grace.

"Hah," says Hector to Mayes and Alia, both of them conveniently classed together into the same region of sheer disdain so that he doesn't have to differentiate between them in tone. Or address, really. Hah. Mayes is a comedian and Alia knows who he is. He shows his teeth into an appreciative grin. How nice for them.

"I prefer to think of myself as more of an artist. Most supervillains do."

Mayes' eyebrows shoot up when she reports that name across the speakers, levels out a little as Hector confirms himself. Her pristine nails tap against the support on which the laptop resides, watching more the movement of the beast's legs than she is paying attention to banter. But still, she does make a contribution: "Surely you don't believe that of yourself, Hector. That would imply the existence of superheroes, and I think we've seen quite enough of that nonsense for one city.

"And Rome may not be built in a day, Miss Chavez, but I do have a report to make by the time the week is out. You're doing very well, though."

The sound that comes out of the speakers sounds like muttering as a mis-step, causes the whole creature to lurch to one side a moment, before she gets the balance corrected. "I like AETOS better. Smoother ride." She grumbles. "Lamont Cranston mentioned you." She says cryptically, even as the beast of a machine gets its feet back under it. "… It WOULD help if I knew shape of critter." She can see… but seeing oneself is a bit more tricky when you got limited head movement, and no mirror. Not to mention it isn't exactly your normal body.

Even with that, a tweak here, a change there… a subroutine to interpret her command to move a little differently. It's actually painstakingly slow progress to get more than a very clumsy, almost newborn kitten-ish movement accomplished.

"Oh, but I am," says Hector, with conviction. "It's the truth. And so are you, my queen. Queen of the supervillains. A regular Nurse Ratched." He sizes Mayes up in turn when he says it, clear eyes forced hard away from the unsteady work Alia is doing on his precious cybercat's metal legs.

He turns the rest of himself too, not but a breath after, restless stir petering out after a few aimless paces closer to the computer.

It takes him a while and a few hard clamps at his jaw to say much of anything else. Possibly because Mayes uses the intervening space to pick him clean as fish from bone. "A little bird told me that the less you pretend to know, the more likely it is that you won't simply be dragged to the recycle bin once we're finished with you."

Mayes drifts from the computer as Hector approaches it, round around the tail-end of the cat-like machine and its spindly legs, an ice cold analysis of its gaining grace. Slowly. She comes to stand at the shoulder of one of the less SLC inclined of technicians, the ever interchangeable Phillip whose purpose in life is evaluating the damaged pieces coming out of Midtown and conveniently listening to royal supervillain narrative and today

He is manning the camera on the tripod that films these first steps. Clipboard under a wing. "I know that movie," she trills to Hector. "Ends in a lobotomy, doesn't it?"

There's a curious sound… as Alia pokes one part of the locomotion system she hasn't used yet. The next sound heard is one that should make everyone in the building wince as the creature's litteral tail sways down… then suddenly flies almost straight up towards the roof before slaming back downward, stopping bare inches before it hits the floor. The NEXT sound after this awkward moment is a simple Query. "What did THAT do?" Alia is unaware that anyone is MOVING behind her, limited to hearing, somewhat, through the laptop, and seeing through the cat.

It certainly does.

Temporarily consumed by self-pity, Hector is too emotive not to look tiredly crestfallen while he tips his goatee down to better see the laptop readout.

The few taps he eventually deigns to key in are glum.

He does not flinch at the tail cracking at his back, having perhaps grown accustomed to machines making inexplicably loud noises around him.

Mayes does jump, as she is prone to do around sudden noises, either because she's just like that or maybe developed a complex ever since she was shot at that one time. A hand flying to the fur-lined hem of her coat, eyes twitching wide before settling, and she instead manages a glassy smile as Alia's synthetically spoken question emits around the warehouse. "A tail. I'm not entirely sure what it does. I'll see to it that Colin uploads a few pictures of reference for you to study when you're back in your cell."

Cell. Her hand digs into a pocket, pulling out a cigarette pack. "I'll leave you in the capable hands of your wranglers. Gentlemen," she squeezes her talons on Phillip's shoulder, as she sends a look piercing towards Hector, "good work — I'll be just outside if you need me." Her cellphone is produced too, and soon, the clickclickclick of her heels indicates she's leaving.

Even verges into full view of Alia's cameras as she heads for a door to out, the same petite, white-haired public servant, in her real fur coat and stilettos, that's been recognisably in the media. She doesn't send a last glance for Alia and technicians, quite confident to turn her back on government employees and Evolved both.

Alia would blink if she could. Instead, the feline form she's in shifts uncertaintly. "Tail." It sways a little. The laptop's screen flickers as several equations are worked out, a VERY basic, if crude layout of 'estimated' size of the eye spacing is drawn out in a blink of an eye… followed by very educated guesses on the footing, and the tail's size from the force it puts on the balance are added in the same speed. The image vanishes as quickly as it was created, no trace of the equations or the drawing to be found on the system.

The robotic feline stumbles a bit more under the watchful eyes of the camera. It's clumsy still, making only sight improvements now to keeping balance, but still moving lumberingly slow.

It's not long at all before Hector tears his eyes grimly off the computer and departs wordlessly in the opposite direction. Not much for him to do beyond standing around being forced to watch his life's work being ridden around like a pink plastic tricycle. Also he has lobotomies to do a lot of thinking about, now.

One of the men in Mayes' lot breaks off to escort him when he goes, the rifle slung across the back of his kevlar vest marking him as — someone Doctor von Stahle is unlikely to break and run about the grounds from.

Life is hard.

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