Can We Fix It?


alia_icon.gif aura_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Can We Fix It?
Synopsis Alia's got repairs on her mind… but not the obvious ones.
Date March 22, 2019

Raytech, Alia's Lab

Alia’s desk has been mostly cleared off of the odds and ends of side projects and other research, and, spread out on the large wood and plastic monster is a set of small tools, a multimeter, and up out of reach from small hands on a riser, a soldering iron… and on the table, in a plastic tote, is a disassembled robot vacuum. Looks like Alia is planning on some repair-and-modification work…

Alia, for her part, is dressed in her normal casual way: t-shirt, jeans, leather soled shoes being the only concession to static electricity and fashion she is making… other than her new hairdo, courtesy of Raquelle.

The invitation for Aurora to come visit Alia at work was one that the little girl loved the idea of. Anything that lets her see what happens in her dad's building makes her happy, and she likes Alia. There are very few people she doesn't like, to be fair. She skips along holding Richard's hand firmly in her grasp. As they approach the office, one of the Spot <™> robots whips around a corner ahead. Although there is no screaming from the child, there is a very sudden move to dart backward, around Richard's legs, to put him between her and it. She crowds the back of his leg.

Elisabeth, a few steps behind the two just because Aurora was skipping, has a sudden mental image of the little girl cat-poofing and climbing her father's legs with a screech, perching on his head to out of reach. The impulse to suddenly laugh battles for supremacy for a moment with the immense amount of guilt she feels for the child's leeriness of robots of any flavor. She has to cover her mouth and cough into her hand. She winces just a little and says brightly, "It's all good, Pixie. Lookit, it's going the other way."

“Hey, it’s okay,” Richard’s voice joins in the reassurance, giving her hand a gentle squeeze as she darts around behind his legs; twisting to look back to her, and then back to watch the little quadrupedal robot clatter along down the hallway. “Like your mother said, it’s over there. They’re harmless, too, they can’t hurt you.” A gentle tug, moving towards the door, “C’mon, let’s go see Alia.”

He’s dressed in his usual suit and tie outfit around work, although the jacket’s unbuttoned and the tie’s been loosened, because he’s not going to be more formal than absolutely necessary.

Alia, for her part, had put an exclusion zone in the maps for the local Spots around her office for the day. No need to borrow trouble. She didn’t think to include the halls though, an oversight on her part. Which makes the ‘feel’ of one getting that close noticeable to the technopath, who is, well, facepalming BEFORE she opens the door realizing exactly what likely happened. Because of course it did, that is her luck. Still, She drops to a crouch to offer a hug to the little bundle of energy once her clingy fit drops to a reasonable level at the very least. “Hi. Sorry, forgot to tell them not to come by the hall.” She offers to Aura softly.

She’s so not sure how to bring up the idea she had in mind today anyway. Either this will go well, or perhaps the Felix the Cat impersonation will materialize after all.

Aurora's wariness has eased slightly over the weeks she's been here, but not to the point that she's comfortable with them. Only to the point that she doesn't run screaming anymore or crouch into tiny hidey-holes where she keeps silent and still as a mouse. When the little bot scuttles away, she peers cautiously around Richard's legs without releasing her death grip on his hand. Only once it's completely out of sight will she allow her father to tug her lightly along. No skipping though.

When Alia comes out of the office, the little girl's expression eases and she grins. A quick glance back down the hall again to make sure that Spot is gone, then she goes ahead and releases Richard's hand to quick, fast, and in a hurry throw herself into Alia's hug. "'Lia, did you make the robot go 'way? What if they don't listen?" With both her arms around the technopath's neck, she wishes she wasn't still on the floor. "It's scary when they don't listen. An' you're here to make 'em listen, so that's okay. An' Daddy an' Mummy is here, and Mummy beats up robots real good. I never seen Daddy beat up a robot," she realizes. Turning to look at her father, she demands"Can you beat up a robot real good?"

Elisabeth covers her mouth and can't help the snort of laughter. "Yeah, Daddy, can you beat 'em up real good?" she teases Richard. Because up to this point, Daddy has been Superman.

“I’ve beaten up a few robots in my time,” Richard admits, flashing a grin down to his daughter, “Your mom and Aunt Alia here remember, I’m sure. Your dad used to be a pretty dangerous hero-type back in the day. I once beat up a bad guy driving a giant robot crab, now that was an adventure…”

He nudges Liz’s shoulder with his, “You remember that big robot in Alaska, too?”

Alia picks AUrora up with her as she stands up, grinning a bit. “If they no listen, they get scolded. Bad bot, no story time.” She grins a little. “… I’m glad we don’t need to Big Heroes nearly as often anymore.” She states with some fondness, even as she moves inside so everyone can get out of the hallway. The disassembled robot vacuum on the desk is down to the very bare bones for parts…. And an extra LCD panel, a modified outer shell, and a really damn good speaker are also on the table. Alia’s up to -something- obviously…

“So, wanna help me make a more friendly cleaner?” Alia offers to the one clinging to her. There may be a silent prayer to whatever powers may be that Aurora doesn’t try to cling to her neck like she was clinging to Richard’s leg a few moments ago.

Oh damn. Elisabeth's face is priceless — she had forgotten about Richard's robot antics in friggin' South America, though she does remember the one in Alaska ver well, thankyouveryfuckingmuch. "Yep, I do indeed remember," she sputters with laughter. "Daddy shadowed in and stole all its inside parts and dropped them on the floor, Pixie. He's pretty darn amazing." She winks at the man.

Aurora, for her part, is much happier up on Alia's arm. She looks positively gleeful and gives Richard a radiant look of hero worship. "You sqwunched all its parts, Daddy?? PRIMAL!" That is very very exciting indeed. But Alia's comment about needing big heroes makes the little girl get just a bit more serious. "We awways need people to fight, cuz not eve'ybody can, 'Lia," she tells her companion sagely. "Gotta pertect the ones who can't."

Her arms tighten just a bit on Alia, but the robot is broken down, so that's okay. It's busted. "Can't we build radios instead?" the little girl asks, skeptical of the real need for 'better' robots. "Is it like buildin' radios? Unca Kain an' me built radios."

Yes. Dropped them on the floor. That’s absolutely what Richard did, as far as anyone knows, anyway.

He smiles widely both at his daughter’s praise and at her serious statement, nodding, “That’s exactly right, little rainbow… we’ve got to protect the people who can’t fight.” Stepping in after her, he glances to the parts on the workbench, eyebrows lifting a little. “Probably a bit like radios. It’s just a vacuum cleaner, nothing to worry about.”

A robot vacuum cleaner, but.

“Agreed.” Alia says simply to the bit about protecting others. “And some injured, hurt. Need help keeping house clean.” She grins. “Like radio. Electronics.” She smiles and walks towards the table. “… wanna make it friendlier too. Less scary .So face. And voice. Help me make it something pretty?” She asks with a smile.

And like hell is she explaining what she knows of the story of Richard and Robot Part Squelching. Nope. Not going there. Not at all.

Elisabeth made a point of keeping it simple, dammit! Aurora's commentary on needing fighters and why makes her throat a little tight, though. The kind of tight formed of guilt at all the child has seen and lived. Setting her jaw firmly, though, the blonde merely smiles and hopes Aura never has to fight.

Aura, blissfully unaware of how her thoughts might be taken, simply rattles on with an air of suspicion as she eyeballs the vacuum. "Daddy said Spot is just a cleaner-upper. That he can't do nothing else cuz robots have to be pro-ger-ammed." That's the right word, right? She scrunches up her face, trying to remember if that's right. "That means told what to do ev'y single minute and ev'y single move. So they don't do what they don't get told and they not supposed to think for themselves."

Hazel eyes cut toward her father. See, she was listening! Aura beams at him. Then she looks at Alia.

"But that means the robots we knew, bad peoples told them to do bad things? So … if you wanna make good robots, we gotta have peoples like you!" The little girl has formed some conclusions of her own. "An' you gotta figure out how to make it so no bad peoples can tell robots what to do." A firm nod.

“That’s why you always have to be careful to know what robots you’re dealing with,” Richard says gently, “Like, a Spot or a vacuum are pretty harmless - they couldn’t hurt you even if they were trying. I think even you could pick up a Spot and just toss it away. Strange robots you need to be careful to find out what they are and who programmed them first.”

He flashes her a smile, “Just like a gun or a knife, kiddo, it all depends on who’s on the other end.”

Alia doesn’t… quite correct a couple misconceptions about how much oversight a robot needs, but does nod a little towards Richard. The described situation is true enough. “My job, make sure programming has no… surprises from programmer. Or write new program to make extra sure of no surprises. “ She smiles a bit… and will later show Richard the other reason she was tearing the robot apart and going to be likely updating the firmware on all of the ones in the building later. NO reason to panic, just something Luther will appreciate she did later.

For now, she smiles, and looks over at the boards. “… Sword, robot, superpower, how you use it matters more then how it made.” She offers to Aurora. “Using one to clean up after everyone is helpful. Small, but helpful. Like someone in the room.”

"I'm not allowed to touch knives an' guns, Daddy. 'Specially guns. Unca Kain said lots of funny things when I bringed him one." Kain's creative invectives when he's around Aurora continuously cracked Elisabeth up and she is forced to stifle another snorted laugh. "Oh God," she murmurs. It's possible she had no idea how much time Aurora had actually spent with Kain in the Wasteland.

Aurora is clearly still skeptical about getting her own hands on the broken-down robot while she explains the facts to her father. But it's parts. Those, she's not afraid of. The little Spot robots that run around, though, are itty bitty versions of the ones that everyone in the robot place were afraid of. "What are you gonna do wif it now that its guts are all over the table?" she asks, unable to quell her curiosity on the matter. "FIxin' stuff means the guts gotta be all spread out so you can find the stupid part that's causin' all the trouble an' beat on it wif a hammer."

The shades of Uncle Kain in those words. And, truth be told, of Richard himself. It causes her a flashback to the day he first got back from his own 6 months missing in time….

It's in a pair of black jeans and a t-shirt that Cardinal strides back out into the open, waggling the phone in his hand. "Hey Alia," he greets, before asking in Liz's direction, "Where do you keep the hammers?"

Donuts. Oh, Alia… you're a sweetheart. Liz takes the bag with a grin, and then she pauses. "Well… now that it's just hit me. How did you know he'd been returned to the timeline?" No, wait…. "The phone?"

As they regain the main level of the house, Liz looks toward Cardinal with a puzzled frown. "Hammers?" It appears the blonde is not quite all the way awake. Apparently she slept REALLY hard, because she actually still looks rather bleary-eyed. "Richard, why do you want a hammer?"

"The phone. Not tied to his name. But his." Alia nods. Did… Alia pull a devious act on the shadowman and he just now realized it? Probably. "Had to have some way to track potentially stupid things?" Alia offers as her explanation, in her tradtional few words as possible, even as she hands a coffee cup to Cardinal. "other than me, and Liz, nobody knows, phone, yours."

"I've got some modifications to do," is Cardinal's easy response to Liz's question, laying the phone down upon the counter before stepping over to accept the cup of coffee.

Liz is desperately trying not to crack up laughing. Aura is so damn serious about this information. But as soon as that memory flashes through, she fails utterly. Oh my God, she is her father's child! The surge of laughter hits her hard and she's practically bent over howling with it, for no apparent reason.

“Hey now,” Richard objects as if he knows exactly why Liz is reacting this way, arms folding in faux-offense across his chest and both eyebrows raising sharply over his shades, “I’m not that bad, lover…”

He’s grinning even as he says it, shaking his head, “That’s exactly how it works, Aura, take it from me.”

Alia meanwhile is giggling pretty hard, despite holding onto Aura. Because yes, that same memory came to mind. “Close enough.” She finally states. “And if you want to learn sword ever…” Alia offers even as she sets Aura on a taller stool so she can still see. “Gonna reconnect the wires after putting new chip in it. Then gonna attach a speaker and a screen to be its face.” Alia explains pointing out each piece as she mentions it. She pauses. “Less hammers in this.” She nods.

Elisabeth's giggles are literally uncontrollable for a couple of long minutes. To the point that she's wheezing just a bit and wiping tears from her face by the time she pulls herself together. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry… Oh God. I'm so sorry," she gasps between bubbles of laughter. "I just had this picture in my head of the two of you standing over a phone or a laptop with a hammer in your hands, oh-so-serious about 'making it work,'" she tells him with air-quotes. "Oh," she laughs another long series of giggles and then waves both hands in the air. "Sorry! But man…. I needed that." Release of a different kind, just genuine happiness.

Aurora watches this whole interplay with wide eyes. "I never seen Mummy laugh so hard," she marvels. The fact that her mommy can laugh like that is something the petite one has appears thoughtful over. Because there's a robot scattered in parts around this room and there are more in this building… and Mummy never laughs when there's things to worry about. It changes her perspective a little bit, makes her think real hard. She (stage-)whispers to Alia, "Mummy din't laugh like that at home, neither. I like it when she laughs. Do you think maybe now that she laughs hard, she might sing too?" There are lots of things Mummy doesn't do lately, but maybe things are really better here than they were at home. Certainly they're better than the last places.

The little girl doesn't wait for an answer to her query, instead, ready now to be put down. She's a big girl, after all. And Daddy said no need to be afraid… and Mummy is laughing. Really hard, too. She starts picking up little bits and pieces of the machine broken down on the table and peering at them intently, manipulating them in her small hands to see if things fit together.

“I’m telling you, threatening a laptop with a hammer works, Liz,” Richard argues, though he’s grinning since the reason that it works is usually because Alia immediately takes it away from him to fix it without the hammer having to actually be used. That counts as it working, right?

He nudges her in the side with an elbow, then, before wrapping that arm around her with a chuckle. “You’re terrible,” he murmurs fondly, and then turns back to watch his daughter exploring the parts and bits.

“Lili likes building things too,” he notes, “Maybe I should get you two some science kits to play with.”

They must be taking after their grandmother.

Alia refuses to dignify Richard’s claim with comment. Instead she looks towards Aura, and considers the question… and she makes a motion in the air before the speakers … start playing a song…. A song being sung by Elizabeth. In particular a cover of Silent Running. Alia makes no comments at all, but instead just smiles with encouragement, as Aura reassembles some of the physical components (it’s not like she’s didn’t make sure there’d be plenty to put together… and honestly, this is something even Richard could do most of the assembly on without her!)

The bubbles of laughter are softer now as Elisabeth lays her head on his shoulder. "You knew that already," she teases with a lightness to her that only rarely shows yet. Her position lets him feel the subtle stiffening of her muscles when her own voice comes from the speakers. She casts a startled look at the technopath's back.

Aurora's reaction, however, may be worth the price of admission in this instance. Her whole face transforms from simple contentment and rapt absorption to a brilliant, joyful grin. "Mummy, you're singin' on the radio!" Her head tips and her eyes drift toward the wall, seeming just slightly out of focus, like she's not really seeing what's in front of her. More like she's looking inward. "It's so pretty," she murmurs, apparently enthralled with a sight that, although once a mainstay of her world, she hasn't seen very much in two years.

“Oh,” Richard murmurs, looking down to Elisabeth with a soft smile, “Did I mention that the Liberty album got pretty popular while you were gone?” His hand strokes down her opposite shoulder soothingly, and he looks back down to their daughter as she makes that joyous observation.

“That’s right,” he tells her, “Your mother’s an amazing singer.”

Alia smiles, just a little, as she looks over her shoulder. “Social media phenomenon before and during the thick of it.” She states with a wee touch of both pride and happiness. “Brought a lot of hope in hard times.” She then gently nudges the next ‘right part’ closer to Aura’s line of sight without directly saying it, even as she makes sure some of the more finicky stuff is put together right and ready to slide into place as one assembly…

“… You and Adelaide, top 50s” Alia adds, offhand.

What? Wait… what?? Elisabeth looks taken aback and a little bit flustered. "Are you…?" She looks up at Richard, blushing a deep rose color. "You're serious?" Blue eyes flicker between the two adults. "I … told her to go ahead and use what she wanted to for her album," Liz admits. Except for certain ones. "It was a thing? Like… a real thing?"

Aura tips her head and looks toward her father, nodding sagely. "I know. Me an' Yggy watched her sing at her job a lot." Her hazel eyes flicker about the room as if she's watching things move and shift. "She used to sing at home a lot too, but not no more." She shrugs, a little sadness in the pragmatic words. "On'y when I'm sad now." She turns her attention to the pieces in her hands, absently still seeking parts that go together despite the fact that her attention continues to get pulled to something more internal that only she can see.

Oh baby, Elisabeth flinches, feeling the cut of that. Clearly that is something that will have to change.

Oh, ouch. Richard winces as well, pulling Liz in against his side a bit. “You need to sing more when you’re happy,” he murmurs, leaning down to press a kiss against her temple, “You always used to love that.”

Drawing back, he breathes out a chuckle, “And yes, yes it was a real thing, and yes she used it. Like Alia said, did pretty good, too. You might even draw a crowd if you held a show…”

Alia remains quiet. She’s got nothing to add, and nothing she can really offer for either that Richard isn’t already, other than to keep the music playing, and putting various bits together with Aura… She’ll bring up possible options for shows or recording later. For now, perhaps, something smaller.

Tipping her head into the affectionate touch as if soaking in the reassurance, Elisabeth smiles faintly. "I still do," she admits in a low voice. She's just still been too anxious to be genuinely happy very much yet. It's something she will change for their daughter … because that hurt.

When he suggests she should hold a show, though, Elisabeth looks vaguely uncomfortable. "Uhm… I don't think that the optics on that are… well, hell. I don't even know. Maybe sometime. Let me figure out how to handle the publicity of the new job first?"

Aurora is determined to figure out the small pieces. She's not necessarily getting them right, but it's something like a puzzle and she does have the diligence to keep trying it. "'Lia, why does this piece go there but this piece doesn't fit there?" She offers the offending piece to the technopath. "Ricky said you hadda great big veloc'rapt'r in the basement," she announces.

“New job?” Oh, that’s a stray comment that brings Richard’s eyebrows both upwards towards his hairline, body turning a bit to look at her bemusedly, “Already found employment, hm…? There goes my hopes of getting you working down in the acoustic and harmonics division.” That’s mostly teasing - she doesn’t have the patience for lab work and they both know it.

“Have a velocraptor. Yes.” Alia replies to Aura, grinning impishly. “Big enough you could ride it, maybe with Ricky and Lilli!” Pick your thing to worry about most: That Alia didn’t say -where- the dino was, that Alia implied it could be made a rideable, or the fact that Alia totally neglected to mention it’s a robot too…

“As for part… because it fits over here.” She slides the gizmo onto the back steering axle where it goes. “Different ones for the back then the front. I didn’t make it.” She shrugs. It’s obviously not a Warren design either. Devi maybe? WHo knows. Either way, Alia then goes to assemble… a secondary board that she’ll slot in in a bit… this one needs to be out as when she hits a test button on it, it makes a friendly little ‘beep-boop~’ sound. “… Hmmm. what color is that?” She asks Aura curiously, a little screw driver in her fingers as she gets ready to try tuning it up or down until it’s something Aura seems to like.

The little girl studies where the part goes and wrinkles her little nose. "That's dumb," she announces. She has opinions about lots of things. Her hazel eyes go up to Alia's face and she looks very intrigued. "Does Carl get to ride it? Has Walter seen it? He'd like to ride it, I bet! He lives dinosaurs!" She tips her head at the question and considers. "Almost Unca-Felix orange. But his is more pink and has snaps. That looks like a punkin." There's a pause. "Can we have punkins later?"

Elisabeth shifts her weight on her feet, still leaning a bit against Richard's side as they watch Alia and Aurora, but she looks a little abashed. "Well… you didn't really want me in the lab, right?" Cuz he didn't. She'd be nuts in a week. "And uhm… I got a note from an old friend. And …" She reaches up and scratches the side of her head with this somewhat uncertain grin. "Marcus Donovan asked me to LT for his new SCOUT. Desk work, logistics, not street." She pauses and lifts both her eyebrows and somewhat indignantly adds, "I think he sort of called me too old to be on the streets!"

She sounds like on the one hand she thinks she ought to be offended… and yet Richard knows her well enough to see the amusement and perhaps … relief? That it's not expected of her position.

Don’t think that Richard didn’t hear that, Alia! He shoots her a deeply suspicious look, but she’s answering questions for his daughter so he slides the ‘questions about where the raptorbot is’ in a mental box to deal with later.

Besides, there’s the issue of Liz’s new job to keep his attention!

“I see,” he observes, a low chuckle shaking his shoulders, “I should’ve known Donovan would be pouncing… you always were some kind of cop at heart, Liz. Desk work, eh? Well, he can use someone to keep his eyes off pretty backsides and on the job anyway, and you’ve always been good at that too.”

Alia considers this as she adjusts the speaker a little with the screwdriver. THe tone changes some, a warmer sound to those without the synthesasia that goes with Aura. “How about now? And no, no riders yet.” Alia grins a little grin. She hasn’t quite told Aurora what her plan for this specially modded vacuum is, but Liz and Richard both likely have some ideas!

Aurora purses her lips and shrugs slowly. "It's more yellow," she informs Alia. She doesn't seem to have any idea there's subtext happening and the conversation between her parents? Totally oblivious. Her little hands keep picking up small pieces and testing out whether they fit together.

Rolling her blue eyes at Richard, Elisabeth's grin still has a rueful edge. "We'll see how it works out," she replies. "To be honest, I'm … not entirely sure it's a good move," she admits. "But if it's not, I can always quit?" Or something…? She doesn't sound exactly sure. She glances at him and shrugs slightly. "If IA was to be believed, I was kind of a shitty cop. But I can definitely be good at reining Donovan in," she chuckles.

“At the time,” Richard observes dryly, “You were actively a terrorist while you were also a cop, so IA may have been a little biased there.” He gives her a playful shove, shaking his head, “You were a great cop. You even arrested me once.”

Not that the police kept him. But that wasn’t her fault.

Alia keeps adjusting the tone, more watching Aura's reaction, even as she smiles at the assembly being done… but towards the parents she offers a brief word: "when rules are wrong, good cop makes affairs angry.”

Elisabeth laughs and lightly shoulders Richard right back. "You make it sound harder than it actually was — you freaking cooperated rather than just shadowing on out," she points out with a chuckle. She does seem to ease some at their words, though. She may still be uncertain that it's where she wants to be, but… it's a job. And it's one she doesn't have to be on the streets for but is still helping people. Kaylee was right — despite the fact that she's tired to her soul of war and fighting, she's not the best with a quiet life either. "On the up side, I get to work with people I trust, and I get to train people to be good on the street. So… we'll see," she tells the two adults.

Aurora, still working on pieces in her hands, doesn't look up as the sound changes. "That one's not as nice," she tells Alia. "It's like red-orange. It looks angry." The yellows made her happier. It's an absent kind of observation, her attention more on what's in her hands.

Liz glances at Richard and comments mildly, "Did you know Devi's hot pink? Kinda cracked me up." The biker babe being such a girly color, that is. "Of course, Dad is apparently peach, so…"

“I didn’t exactly have a choice. I wasn’t lying about that bitch having persuasive abilities, you know,” Richard observes with a slight wrinkling of his nose at the memory, “I was just trying to reach out to another Evolved. God, I hope someone tossed her out a window during the war.” He pauses. Shit, his daughter’s listening, go back to being less mean about things.

“Hot pink, huh?” He flashes a grin, “I can see that, actually.”

Alia mean while is adjusting the tone back the other way, she's looking for happy colored tones according to the absolutely unsuspecting pixie. The technopath quietly glances Richard's direction full well wondering if he's going to get the same verbal surprise she did at the salon.

But, instead of commenting on that, she grins, widely, “maybe few weeks, we take Mr. Shadow back to arcade.” Her tone is 90 percent impish. And 5 percent distraction. That last 5 percent is perhaps honest glee at the idea of this whole group out having a good time.

Elisabeth snickers as Aura looks up from her task, her hazel eyes flickering between her parents. "It's not nice to throw people out windows, Daddy," she inform her father. Clearly he needs instruction in manners on this topic. It might be prudent of her father to remember that although she appears to be engrossed in what she's doing, the petite little girl is highly situationally aware. Constant vigilance has been a way of life for her. She looks up at Alia, and holds out a completed piece, asking, "Is it gonna run around on the floor? I like that color. But if it runs on the floor, you should keep it here. I don' think Daddy likes it when screamin' happens."

Snickers erupt into giggles. "Screaming?" Elisabeth looks at Richard. "Do I dare ask what the screaming was about?"

Blithely as she takes up a new piece of metal and inspects it, Aurora replies, "Spot chased me 'round Daddy's house." It's… a massive understatement to say that the little girl hadn't liked it. She shoots a disgruntled look at her father. She'd clambered up him like a monkey after he'd rescued her from the terrifying thing, but he'd laughed. She still isn't sure if she's quite forgiven him yet.

And it's then that Liz realizes what today's exercise is all about. Slanting the other two adults a look, she offers a thoughtful smile. "I see."

“She asked for a glass of water and the Spot heard,” Richard explains, trying not to smile at his daughter’s misfortune, “It was trying to be helpful.”

Clearing his throat, he adds, “You’re absolutely right, Aura, it’s not nice to throw people out of windows. Thanks for reminding me.” He catches Liz’s look and nods to her with a bit of a smile, before noting, “It’s only a vacuum, baby girl. You don’t see any scary parts in it, do you?”

Alia grins a little. “And only one that will make pretty color beeping when asked. So you know it's yours.” She adds, though she had not been aware of the Spot incident. She smiles though and gives the time for the fact she said it was Aura's to potentially have some time to sink in as she puts the screen in the case.

Liz winces sympathetically at Richard, trying to hide a bit of amusement mixed with some regret. Poor kid. But the mental image is still kinda funny. Clearing her throat so as not to have their daughter's wrath turned on her for laughing, Elisabeth just diverts to Alia's comment! "That sounds like an interesting solution."

Aura looks up at Alia and asks, "You're buildin' a robot for me?" She sets the pieces down, reluctant to assist in such an endeavor. "The parts isn't scary… it can't think when it's in pieces," she points out. "But what if it goes together an' it turns bad?"

“Well, think about it logically, little rainbow…” Richard steps up behind his daughter, offering a smile down to her and then looking at the parts, “You can see everything in it there. Is there anything it could hurt you with? It doesn’t have any knives, or guns, or fingers to grab things, right? About all it could do is bump into your foot.”

Then he points out, “And if you and Alia are the ones who program it, why would it go bad?”

“If program changed, will change sound too.” Alia it seems has thought of that. “I can't even ride in it without setting that off.” She pauses, “could also just flip it over. No way to move then.” She offers matter of factly.

“Besides. Doesn't think. Just follows instructions really well.” Alia keeps a poker face while saying that one, however. Because she's seen things that she hopes to never see again on those lines.

Aurora sidles tight into the side of Richard's leg uneasily. She peers at the mechanic that he's pointing out, nodding solemnly, but she gives a dubious look at the idea that it follows instructions well. Spot did chase her!

But when Alia offers the idea of flipping it over, Aura wrinkles her face up in a thoughtful expression. Bad robots could get flipped over too… "it won't jump over?" The query is wary. "An' we won't put shooty things or burny things in there?" What the hell has this child seen or been told about?? Wasteland was definitely an education, even if she never got near them firsthand.

Elisabeth assures her daughter softly, "Baby, there will be nothing in there that you don't put in. Just like radios. You and Uncle Kain built them out of wires and stuff, and they only did radio stuff. The only things the robots can do is what you put in."

Slipping her free hand into her father's, Aura nibbles on her lip uncertainly. "Okay… you'll watch an' make sure nuffing bad happens?"

“Of course,” Richard reassures her, fingers squeezing warmly against her own tiny ones as he offers her a gentle smile, “Nothing bad’s going to happen, and you’ll know everything that you’re putting in there— since, see, it’s all right here! No secret weapons or shooty things or anything.”

One step at a time. “Your mom and I wouldn’t let you do this if it was dangerous, would we?”

Alia simply smiles, and while she adds the eye-screen in for it to make expressions (Happy, sad when needing a recharge, grumpy face when needing to be emptied or stuck), she also lets Aura look the disassembled frame over for ways it might be able to flip itself. Or maybe things it could do to damage its surroundings. The only obvious one Alia knew of had already been addressed: The battery pack has a very dedicated hard-wired board that keeps it from getting too charged or too much charge from being drawn at one go. No exploding battery packs here.

“Promise, this one safest one to date.” WEll of course it is, it’s been torn apart and put back together by the most paranoid of robots people in the whole world… because Alia doesn’t even ask what Aurora had seen or been told. The description alone has her thinking of what she’s already seen herself…

But then, what tool can’t be misused?

Well… there is that. Mummy certainly wouldn't let her in here if it was dangerous. Aurora still holds tight to her daddy's hand and shakes her head slightly in the negative. And then she sighs heavily. "Okay." And even though she's wary, she moves forward again to start touching the pieces and seeking pieces that go together. "Can we make the sounds again? If I gotta have a robot of my very own, I wanna pick the color so nobody can copy it." It'll make her feel safer.

Elisabeth bites her lip and has to look toward the door of the room. The little girl's courage both makes her proud and breaks her heart just a tiny bit. But it's a step forward, and that's a good thing. Swallowing, she looks back at Alia. Thank you, she mouths to the technopath.

As those tiny fingers squeeze, Richard’s own squeeze reassuringly in return. He looks over to Elisabeth with a smile, then back down to her, equally proud at his daughter’s courage. “That’s the spirit,” he encourages her.

One step at a time.

Alia smiles, and nods as she keys the sound again. She’ll keep adjusting it until it’s right for the little Pixie of Joy. It won’t fix everything, but it’s a good first step to maybe rebuilding a bit of trust..

All in all, It’s time worth spending indeed.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License