They Don't Follow the Three Laws


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Scene Title They Don't Follow the Three Laws
Synopsis Two teens who know way too much cross paths; Devon doesn't get much out of Tasha or vice versa, on the topic of robots.
Date August 3, 2011

Ruins of MIdtown

When she'd set out this afternoon with her artist portfolio and painter's tape, it had only been gloomy and gray and humid — in New York, that is pretty much every other day in the summer. She didn't actually expect the forecast for rain to come true. Tamara hadn't come around to warn her to wear a rain coat or cap, today, but then, Tasha's often caught in the rain unexpected, and has a tendency to lose umbrellas.

The teen is replacing the lost or ruined posters with new ones, though today she's choosing her spots more selectively — only placing the warning posters in places shielded from the rain so they don't get wet. She herself looks like a drowned rat, her choppy bangs plastered to her forehead beneath a sodden red sweatshirt hood. She finishes putting up a poster on the door of an abandoned shop, then begins to walk to where Colette's dirt bike stands some twenty feet away.

Giving in to a desire to be away from the safehouse, Devon had made a quiet escape following breakfast. He'd been cooped up inside following his last return from Midtown, and though it's raining now, the heat had been lifted earlier in the day in such a way that the outdoors beckoned.

It wasn't entirely chance that brought the teenaged boy to Midtown again either. When he left, there hadn't been any real plans or set destination in mind. His thoughts wandered back to the well hidden robot he'd brought out of the ruins, eventually bringing his feet to filling an unrealized idea. There could be some people who still dare to dwell on the edges, after all, Devon and Jaiden had both seen a man who'd fallen prey to one of the hunter robots.

It's Tasha's movements which had alerted Devon to some life other than his own. Likewise soaked with water dragging his hair down about his head, dripping from chin and ears and coat sleeves, he stops his wandering just as he comes around a corner in time to see the girl step away from the wall and toward the waiting dirt bike.

Slight movement down the street catches Tasha's attention, and she moves one hand to the courier bag that hangs at her side, slipping it inside as she gets to the bike. She gets on, arranging the courier bag and then the portfolio bag to balance as she rides — it's not an easy task.

Watching Devon for a moment, she releases her grip on whatever's in the bag in order to put both hands on the handlebars of the dirt bike.

There's a small furrow to Devon's forehead, his brows drawing together as his eyes move from Tasha to the slightly sheltered poster. His eyes slant toward the girl again, several steps taking him closer to the signage but not near enough to truly be encroaching. Once he's drawn nearer, his attention returns to the poster for a long moment, studying in silence.

Devon's teeth toy with his lip for a shorter moment, just before he calls out to her. "What do you know about the robots?"

She's already turned the bike on, the high-pitched hum loud enough she could pretend not to hear his question. For a moment she acts like she didn't, but she sighs, turning the ignition off once more. Brown eyes dart from his face to the poster and back.

"Pretty much what the poster says. They can sense if you're Evolved and attack you. There's some that take photos and spurt fire," she says matter of factly.

"They don't follow the Three Laws of Robotics," she adds, a slight smirk curving at the allusion, perhaps testing him with it.

Fingers rake through hair as Devon turns from the poster to regard Tasha, fingers curling against the back of his neck just before his hand drops back to his side. A good look at his face reveals that he just might have met with one of those fire-spurting robots in a lacking of eyebrows. "The ones that take pictures and shoot fire, look kind of like spiders? —There's others, too. More dangerous than the spiders."

The boy hesitates, glancing toward the poster then down the empty street beyond Tasha. "Don't think whoever made them cares much about any laws, and I doubt they were an Asimov fan." Devon looks back at the girl and takes a step closer, arms folding over his chest. "You actually seen any of them, or just heard stories?"

"They look like the ones on the poster," Tasha says a little testily, as if she's been criticized perhaps — her usual art is a bit more abstract, but her photorealism is generally good. Or so she's been told.

"I've seen the paparazzi-turn-pyromaniac spiders, yes. And I've seen parts of the others, and heard stories." Her eyes narrow as she watches him. "If you're Evolved, you shouldn't stay around here. I haven't heard about them getting too out of hand before Curfew, but… I wouldn't put it past them. And I don't think the camera one is just looking for Evolved but anyone who's around and shouldn't be." Like her, of course.

His eyes flick toward the poster then back to Tasha, brows furrowing further. "No I…" Devon's shoulders lift slightly, a foot scuffing against the wet pavement. "..Sorry. I asked because… I thought there might've been more. Others, that do the same but aren't spider-like." Another shrug, dismissive of the warnings. He's all too aware of the dangers the robots possess. "I've seen a couple of them. One with a head like a horse, and the spider."

Tasha's shoulders rise and fall as if in a soft sort of laugh that doesn't quite carry all the way to where he stands. "Sorry, I didn't mean to be snarky. I just… you know. It's my first public-service announcement. My mind went to that whole, 'everyone's a critic' mode, you know? But yeah. Um, three types, that I know of, like the posters say, but I'm not sure if the other's been in here or not. So far. That I know of. The other's kinda like a cat, but I'm not sure if it's been in here or not. The people I know have seen the horsey ones."

She raises her brows. "When did you see them? Was it after curfew?"

"Yeah, a few nights ago." Devon's answer could be as informative as stating that the rain is wet and implies information he's not willing to give out at the moment. "I saw the horse faced one, standing over the body of a man. Got dicy, not sure what happened to him." A shrug follows, the boy looking at Tasha again. "I wasn't trying to criticize, just… Y'know." Trying to find answers. "Any of the people you know that've seen the horse ones might… I don't know. Be willing to share the experience? Like… compare notes? Or something?"

The young woman grimaces at the description, matter-of-fact and vague as it is, but then she shakes her head. "No. I mostly talked to homeless people and stuff to get my information and sketches. All I saw were some body parts of the robots like that, and the camera-fire one, I saw myself. It started snapping pictures I think until it got kicked, and then suddenly fwooosh."

She balls up her fists, then opens them with the fingers wide to illustrate the fire. "It sounded like it had liquid in it, like gasoline, I guess. Multi-tasking robots."

She looks at him a little skeptically. "You saw one of the horse ones and got away?"

Devon has grace enough to not look too disappointed. Not likely that he'll run into any homeless willing to sit and talk of the monsters roaming Midtown. He listens to her explanation, thinking back to his own encounter with the spider-bot. There was too much water, and the klaxons going off, to have heard or noticed liquid. Still, something to make note of and check against his prize later.

The question earns a small shrug, however. "Yeah, I did." Devon glances off to the side and nods toward a storm drain. "Went into the sewers when I saw it. That's where I ran into the spider bot. Managed to get out of Midtown and find a place to hide until curfew was up."

"You're lucky," Tasha says pointedly, with perhaps the tone of a bossy sister — teens can sometimes sense that tiniest of age differences that give them an air of superiority. "You probably got away because it had someone else already. You shouldn't be here after curfew. It's dangerous."

Duh. She looks a little chagrined a second later at the redundancy of that warning. "You off thrill seeking on a dare or something? Don't. Those things are serious. And it's just the start of what they're doing to keep people in line."

There's the slightest hesitation, a brow raising look at the tone and further warnings. A look that would be comical on his fairly hairless face if not for the seriousness behind it. "I got away because I pulled the street down from under it," Devon replies pointedly, without the hesitation just seconds ago. "Because if I hadn't, it would have stomped its way into the sewers and let off with its turret and negation gas."

He shakes his head, masking the scoffing grin and insulted airs. "If I were thrill seeking, I'd ride a roller coaster. I'm just gaining information about them. To show them for what they really are. And stop them." The boy hopes, anyway.

She lifts her chin. "So you have an ability, which means you are in extra danger," Tasha points out. "Your ability might have kept you safe, but it's also a bright neon light to these things. Don't be dumb and heroic. If you die in there, only the homeless people will know, and the government won't care." The Ferry will care, but she's not about to bring up their existence.

Adjusting the straps of her bags as a sign she's ready to go, Tasha hesitates. "Actually I did meet a woman here last time I was putting up signs. DHS agent, named Audrey Hansen. She was pretty interested in knowing about them, told me to let her know if I had any new information," she offers. "But," the word is heavy with meaning, "I don't know if you can trust her or not."

With that she starts the bike once more. "Be careful," basically means "Goodbye."

Two fingers are touched to his forehead in a sort of salute, a more amiable grin presented. Devon takes a step back, dropping his hand to his side again. "I'm not a hero," he says, hopefully assuringly, "and I'm not about to take one of those things on alone." He watches her for a beat, then begins to turn away, taking clear message out of her adjustments and preparations to leave. When Tasha speaks again, the boy pauses to look over his shoulder.

"Audrey Hansen," he repeats, a small frown etching into his features. He nods, another thing filed away, to be brought up with others of his small band of rebels. "Thanks," Devon returns, with another dip of his head. Then, head lifting again, he returns to his path from earlier wandering.rty.

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