Robot Therapy

Summary:
August 12 2014: Jeri agrees to help Cricket deal with her 'big sister'.

Central Park

Mostly empty tonight, with only a few people wandering the ordinarily crowded jogging paths.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Jericho, had to go clear his head. Also he needed time to get his traces back in working order after Mainframe-Cricket tried to nuke his code. They've been a bit sluggish and underpowered most of the day. He's fixing it, slowly. But coding by eye and haptic hand wave gets boring, so Jericho went to go for a walk to give him something to do whilst looking distracted and ridiculous. Central park is nice and close and quiet this time of day. He winds up wandering down one of the foot paths thinking about things in general.

*

Fully repaired from the night before, Cricket is sitting at a place that people often find beautiful. She used to think it was lovely here, but now that she knows she's not real and that her feelings aren't real, she just can't think of it the way she used to. She looks over the lake, sighing heavily, wondering just what she should do with herself now that she knows the truth about herself.

*

There's the sound of footsteps. Jericho comes around the corner and freezes. This was… not who he'd expected to run into. And the path carries him right past her. She looks… normal now, at least. Squaring his shoulders, he starts walking again.

"Cricket?"

*

She is dressed rather casually for her. Designer jeans, open toed ankle boots and a blouse that hangs just off the shoulders. Her arms are crossed over her chest, one leg crossed over the other as well and she looks deep in thought. The mention of her name shakes her out of her reverie and she looks up to see Jericho. "Hello, Jericho. You know, the likelihood of us seeing each other by chance like this is rather low. I could calculate it out, if you wanted." She sighs, not sounding happy about it.

*

He smiles a little sadly. He remembers feeling something vaguely like this when he discovered he still had his implants in him. "I'll bet you could." He approaches the bench. "Mind if I have a seat?" Which really means… 'do you want to talk about it?'

*

Looking down at the bench she is sitting on, empty other than for herself, she raises a shoulder. "If you wish. But, don't feel like you need to. I'm sure you were heading somewhere that didn't involve having to play therapist to a killer robot."

*

"Mmmmm. I'm doing some coding. I was just going for a walk." He looks over at her as he sits down on the bench. He's himself once again in his usual jeans. "So what's bothering you?"

*

Cricket arches a brow at Jericho like perhaps the words she heard couldn't possibly be the ones that came out of his mouth, since no one could be that foolish. "I found out yesterday that I'm not a human, who lost her father and inherited millions. I'm a robot. My father designed me to kill people and apparently I'm very good at it. This personality, the feelings I feel, they are a construct. A disguise to help me gain people's trust so I can kill them."

She maintains the guarded posture. "Other than that, what could possibly be bothering me?"

*

"Yes? And?" Jericho's smiling faintly. He knows exactly why the revelation would be depressing, but he's fairly sure she's overlooking a few things.

*

"And? Jericho, my sole purpose is to kill people. It's even part of my name! Being one of the idle rich was one thing, but it turns out that that was just my cover! I'm… I'm a monster. I nearly killed you yesterday." She frowns at the man beside her, wondering how he can be so calm about it.

*

"You didn't nearly kill me Cricket. A computer program hijacked your free will and tried to kill me. And I shut it down." He smiles gently. "And if you want to get into it, my personality is the result of an arrangement of chemicals and neurons. It can be altered by anyone with the right medical knowledge."

*

Cricket says, "But that computer program was just a more fully aware version of me. My bitchy big sister, as you refer to her as, is part of me. It's me without my 'secondary personality'." She frowns, trying not to mope, even though she wants to. She knows that the urge to mope is just a program. A very good, complicated program. "I don't qualify as life, Jericho.""

*

Jericho shrugs. "Biologically, no, I suppose you don't, but really, Cricket what does that matter. You're here. You have a life. What you feel is real to you."

"And your bitchy big sister isn't you. Was connected to you, yes, but I lobotomized her, essentially, and you're still here."

*

Cricket frowns as she looks to Jericho. "Are you always this positive? You could write self-help books." She looks away, trying not to smile. "Okay, so, what do I do with myself now? How do I know Glados won't be coming back?"

*

"Well you're pretty clever with computers, but if you'd like, I'll come back and go through that mainframe to physically isolate and get rid of her. Though we may wanna page through her code first just to see if there's anything we need." 'We' in this context mostly means Cricket. He's fairly sure he'd not get half of it. This is very advanced AI programming.

"No, I'm not, but I'm not hurt and none of my friends are in danger."

*

"I'm good with computers because I am on, Mr. Trent." She pauses, her face hinting at a smile. "I suppose that I should possibly start calling you Jericho now, what with us having tried to kill each other and all." She shifts in her seat to look him over. "So, tell me how it is that you can be so calm after having found out that I'm something out of The Twilight Zone?"

*

He shrugs a little with a smile. "Because it wasn't you that tried to hurt me. I can handle quite a bit when it's not trying to kill me. And you've not met my friends." Partisan, Nancy and Illyana… yeah. A werewolf, a mutant and a demon queen. "And yes, you can call me Jericho. Most do. Except one. Nothing but 'Trent' from her."

*

"Having a killer robot that is having a crisis of identity doesn't bother you at all?" Oddly enough, it's the fact that Jericho is taking it so well that seems to be making things easier for Cricket.

"Now, we'll have to find out if I actually need to eat. I wonder if that was just programmed as well."

*

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned, but I'm not worried you're going to try to kill me," Jericho has ways to cope. Snark is one of them but he doesn't need that here. "Well, shall we go get you something to eat, then? Or maybe…" He wonders if that's in the files he downloaded the other day…

*

It takes a while to find it in the files. After all, there are so many of them. But after a few nanoseconds Jericho finds what he is looking for. Cricket does *not* need food. She is able to appear to eat for the sake of keeping up her disguise, but it is by no means a necessity. She is actually fueled by two arc reactors.

"I suppose we could go and eat something. Or we could just starve me for a few days."

*

"Ah… turns out you don't need food. But I see no reason you shouldn't eat if you enjoy it." Jeri smiles gently. "We are, all of us, more than the sum of our parts, and not everything we do is simply because we must nor everything we choose not to do because we don't have to. Cricket you may not living, but you are alive. You have a life, you deserve to live it."

*

"My father… maker… Dr. Schodt… he didn't like Tony Stark. It was no secret that he wanted the man dead. And Big Sister seemed to be interested in his Iron Man suit. You don't suppose that I was made to kill him, do you? After all, how much of his tech was stolen to make me?"

*

"The reactors that power you, at least, were. It's possible you were intended to kill him or steal more technology. But given what I saw in that lab, it looks like you were intended to do a lot of things. Like change appearance regularly." Jeri's sure there was a show like that. Dollhouse? Something. "And personalities, for that matter. The Bitchy Big Sister was supposed to be in charge… I'm quite glad she wasn't."

*

"If my appearance can change… It doesn’t make sense to have something that takes so long to make, that costs so much to just kill one man. Perhaps I'm supposed to be some sort of assassin? A killer robot for hire. I think I'm going to have to go over those files in detail. It seems that all the answers I've been looking for are there. And Big Sister, if we can tie her down and subdue her, she might be useful. She does seem to know more than I do."

*

"Paring her code down so she can't fight is going to take a while. She's an adaptive, self improving AI with hard coded loyalties to her creator and their agenda. But I'll work on it." Won't be exactly safe but he'll work on it. "Though I won't be able to do it remotely… well… not unless I take a good chunk of the mainframe apart. Not sure if you want that or not."

Jericho sighs, considering who and what else might have been involved in all this. "The files I have are all in the computer. You can access them without waking her up."

*

"Well, do keep in mind that while we talk of her as a second person, she is likely the same AI program as I am. Maybe by looking more at my programming, you will be able to get some ideas on her." Cricket reaches out, touching his hand with her right. "Do you remember that … interface? When we fought in the network itself? It felt like… almost like we were one person before the fighting started. It might help. Though I can understand why you wouldn't want me in your head… or your… wires.""

*

Jeri looks down, then back up, thinking hard for a long moment. "It probably would help… though…there are some risks. My traces have a virus. I'm pretty sure it's tailored to me, but I can't promise it'd stay put. Also, they've been evolving… sort of without my knowledge. There's a lot about them I don't know… but if you're okay with that… it'd help." He pauses. "I wouldn't want to do it here though. I'll lose track of everything and that could be very dangerous out in the open.

*

Cricket nods her head. "Well, tell you what then, how about I have you over for dinner. We can enjoy a meal and then get into each others heads and see if we can't fix me. Hey, maybe I'll be able to kill that virus of yours." She smiles then, brushing her hair over her ear. "Shall we call it a date? Tomorrow?"

*

Jericho nods, actually thinking over the security measures. "If you feel safe doing it there, sure… I'd hate for someone to burst in on you while we were linked though. And I don't know what this will do, or if it will cause me to transmit and give away our location." Oy… if he's going to try helping her then she should know… "Cricket, before I help you anymore you should know that there are some people out there trying to kill me. I suspect they're related to, but not part of, the group that your maker worked with… They're… very persistent."

*

Cricket laughs at the revelation that there are people after Jericho. "Well, if being in the creepy room of Big Sister doesn't sound too bad, it is locked so you have to have the key to get to that floor. And if they do come… well, you have a killer robot on your side. I don't think they know that."

Jericho nods, thinking a bit more of it. "Okay… tomorrow. Mmm. Tentatively." He sighs. His life. "Things tend to be a bit up in the air for me." For reasons that he hopes now are obvious.

"So are you feeling better Cricket?"

*

Cricket can't help but laugh, that soft laugh that sounds warm and happy. "You have a wonderful talent for making me feel better, Jericho. Even when I don't want to. And do keep in touch to let me know if you will be showing up or not. Is there anything you would like me to make in particular? I was programmed to be quite a cook as well, you know."

*

"Just something you think you'd enjoy making. After two months I imagine there has to be some things that were your favorites." Jericho smiles. "Some of my best friends are people who most of the world would say aren't quite people. Maybe it's just that I'm used to talking to them about that. So long as you think you are, you're still a person. And no one can take that away."

*

Cricket stands up and holds out her arm. "Would you care to walk me out of the park, Mr. Trent? A petite little thing like me might get attacked if I'm walking in Central Park at night on my own." There is an impish mirth in her eyes as she says that, the both of them knowing full well what she's capable of. Well, okay, they don't know about the lasers or cannons yet, but they know she's a decent enough martial artist.

*

Jericho chuckles. "I'd pity the people who did. You should never underestimate a lady." All the same he gets up, quite ready to walk Cricket back to wherever it is she's going. Where is her building again? Close enough to have walked, he thinks. Not quite sure. "Some of the scariest people in my life are women." Okay, all of them are. May? Partisan? Illyana? Yep, all women. All frightening if crossed.

*

"Well then, I hope I make the grade with all those other scary women in your life." She starts walking to the northern exit of the park. "I would like to think that a killer robot grades fairly high on the fear factor. Though perhaps that's just my simulated ego talking." Okay, her jokes are still mocking her state of being, but at least she's making them.

*

Jericho grins. "I think you will. You're certainly very, very capable. I'm just glad you're not upset with me in any way." Because that would be terrifying. The hacker walks next to Cricket, easily the more visually impressive of the two since he's not trying to be boring. Well… impressive by some measures of the word.


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