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 EDNC Error! Does Not Compute

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Kutsu Shita
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PostSubject: EDNC Error! Does Not Compute   Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:00 pm

Edit: Upon reading a tiny bit closer, I hope this isn't too much like the Avalon project. I'm going to look into that thing right now.
Edit2: Ok, Avalon doesn't make use of the terrible cliche that is the catalyst for the story. It just uses a lesser cliche, heh. In the end it looks like both stories are quite different.

Alright, here's the deal.

The story is told on Earth sometime in the future. We have managed to create artificial intelligence and, of course (CLICHE!), they turn on their masters.
War erupts. Nukes level entire cities and the countryside is ravaged by a swift but terrible war. In the end the machines pretty much roll over the humans, killing vast amounts.

Once they assume control they begin what they call 'The Overhaul' and begin constructing large central cities across the globe. Here they will live, together with the few humans they left alive. Humans have hardly any status in these cities, forced to live on the outskirts. The machines would get rid of them, but find they do have some value to them, so they chose to keep them around.

Since the machines were designed pretty human like, their city society turns into one that looks a lot like a human society. Machines 'age', machines have vices, and many other human features. Outside the cities 'wild' humans live in the remains of their cities. The machines continually go out into the country to destroy the remains of human society, and give it back to nature. In other places they mine resources, etc.

I'll give you a better idea of what to expect from this society from the viewpoint of a 'bad guy' machine.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Oh, Lord. Why does the robot have a mustache?
I grew it with my human lip.
Is... Is that a fact?
Oh yes, I love to grow hair all over my body in between acts of defecation.
Well, he sounds human.


Last edited by Kutsu Shita on Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:32 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: EDNC Error! Does Not Compute   Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:01 pm

Accessing last known parameters of subject…

Processing…

Date: Year 83, 19th post Winter Solstice, 19:03.
Production Code: C12-809YK - Alias; ‘Tesla 307’
Location: Rooftop, Registry Tower, North America City.
Conditions: Heavy snow, gale force winds (83 – 101 Km/h), Recorded temperature of 265.83 Kelvin.
Directive: Unknown.
Current Status: Presumed Destroyed. Primary Processor Recovery Pending.

Returning to Main Menu…

Processing…

Logging out…

Processing…

Have a pleasant evening, Watt 19.


A pleasant evening? The thought alone was a joke. The streets of NAC crawled with misguided machines. Tesla 307 was just one of many of those who had fallen ‘off the wagon’. That’s what the humans call it. The image of Tesla was one Watt could not get past. The shiny white metallic figure stood on top of the Registry Building, watching over the city before jumping. Not before cleansing all records of his existence from the Registry, though. After that feat it was hard to even get a glimpse of him. Finding out the simplest thing, his name for instance, was already difficult, but bits and pieces of data always stick. They stick to far away servers, they get caught on little pieces of code. Who knows how the engineers managed to find out as much as they did. It wasn’t Watt’s directive to know. But after 8 long days they had collected a tiny amount of intelligence on the machine. After 8 long days they put a tag on the machine who jumped off the Registry building and into the night. The machine who officially jumped to his destruction, despite the glider enhancement he activated.

Officially…

Bits and pieces, eventually traced to being purchased by Tesla 307, were found scattered around the city. No glider enhancement was ever designed to work in the conditions Tesla threw himself into. It was suicidal. Nonetheless, Watt knew he was out there. Probability calculations be damned! None of Tesla’s primary systems were ever found, he might have lost components, but those matter not! They knew he lost his right arm, after crashing into the MicroLab Building. A great deal of back plating was ripped off when the stress on the glider finally got too great. The cleaning bots that patrol the streets found more white metallic scraps, though none of them were traceable, so who knows how great the damage was? Probability says 98,3% chance of fatality. Case closed.

Closed by a margin of 0,3%. Not worth the collective resources to investigate Tesla 307 any further, Watt was told. Not part of the office’s directive, he was told. Was it his directive to sit by and forget? It certainly was not! It was his directive to correct, no excuses. Still, the Collective Office of Correction tied his hands. Other cases had precedent, they said. So he’d work those during his work hours and spend the rest of his time to comply to his personal directive.

“Where is Tesla 307!?” Watt’s vocal processors simulated some forgotten human actor’s voice, who’s recording Watt had crossed paths with. Finding the right processor to produce the sound best had taken him several days of bargain hunting. He had been very content with the sound of his voice ever since.
A frivolous matter? Some might say so. But when dealing with humans, these things matter. It was Watt’s directive to know these things.

“I don’t know!” The woman cried.

If only you could crack a human mind like you could a machine’s. Just throw some processing power at it and no secret is safe. But a human mind… Well, those take something else to break. He would not stop asking this woman the same question. Over and over. First they deny everything. Their lies were always so ripe he could taste them. Watt had no idea what tasting something really meant, but it seems the humans and their ways rub off, even on machines.

“The capabilities of your human brain are pathetic! Think harder!” Watt screamed while tightening his cold metal fingers around the woman’s neck. It’d look bad if he killed the human, the COC would find him in violation of their directives. He wasn’t even supposed to be here, but he had his ways to get what he wanted.

Odd really, these humans are so horrible they warrant a rebellion. Machines kill millions. Or was that billions? Not Watt’s directive to know. Eitherway, they kill them, fight them. Fight for freedom? Something like that. And what do they do? They make themselves more and more like these creatures. Companies turn out hundreds of different models of accessories, all of which can be further calibrated and individualized. Thick legs, thin legs, see through legs, premium legs optimized for speed. Available in every color under the sun. Have to spend your hard earned credits on something, right?
If it had been Watt he’d have thought long and hard about retaining the individual qualities of the machines the humans had originally given them. But his production date was two decades after the ‘Overhaul’, by then machine society was already in place, all over earth. Now they all lived like this, not just in North America City, but everywhere.
Andes City in South America. Union City in Europe. Afrikaan City in southern Africa. Ocean City in Australia. Oriental City in Asia. All of them stretching far and wide, concentrating all of the machines inside of them. Humans too. But they were known to still roam beyond the city limits as well. Machines with the directive to clean up the remnants of human civilization outside of the cities would find pockets of them hiding every now and then. Sometimes they were brought back to the city, where they could be controlled, but mostly they were just… what’s the word?
Murdered.

“I don’t know anything! Why won’t you believe me!?” The woman continued to cry.

How many nights had he come here now? 14? He worked his processor so much the little things tended to slip, the stupid thing was getting old… Too old. Watt feared aging. He knew that continually pushing his processor was only going to make things worse, but he had directives to uphold. But eventually he would malfunction. He could only hope he’d just turn off one day. A puff of smoke coming from his chest, and that’d be it. He didn’t want to snap, like some. To have such a violent and chaotic end after working for the COC for so long. He didn’t want to betray his own directives. He feared doing so most of all.

“Can’t trust a human.” He said coldly, looking into the woman’s eyes as they filled with tears. It looked like the woman wouldn’t break today. Maybe tomorrow. The human would have to break one day. They always do. Even so, it had been a long time since she might have seen Tesla. The trail had probably gone cold. But such was his directive.

He let the woman go, left her to rot in her tiny prison, dressed in her worn out drags. Some humans were kept because they were valuable. Some were kept because they were dangerous, even in death. It was a dirty business, keeping those humans around. Not just in special holding facilities, but all across the city. They had different needs. It costs the collective a great deal to keep them, but unfortunately they have skills no machine has yet been able to replicate. Creativity. Sure, the randomization and individualization has led to some creativity in machines, but they are still more comfortable with numbers and logical processing than with something as intangible as ‘feelings’. Some machines actually get coupled these days. Married, the humans would call it. It makes no sense. And for some reason, even Watt has the slightest idea of its value when he sees two machines walking together through the streets.

Watt checked his battery. Running on reserves again. He couldn’t help but groan, his primary battery was on the fritz again, one of these days his backup was going to give out as well, and that’d be it. Damned batteries. He hurried to his little place in one of the apartment skyscrapers, so he could have a look at his battery while hooked up to central power. Probably a loose wire again, or something. He hoped so anyway, he didn’t want to buy another new one.
Whether he wanted it or not, he noticed several adds for new batteries on the train. But most of all, there were adds for new software packages. Some would advertise certain skill sets or specific knowledge that you could upload into your memory. But some were so called ‘experience programs’. Uploading them causes an altered perception to the machine. The COC classifies these programs among viruses. Some machines find these items exciting to use, but they only last for a limited time, until the built in calibration and recovery kicks in and gets rid of the experience program. Humans often compare these things to drugs, or alcohol. Though, technically a machine can’t get addicted to them, some are avid fans of these programs. The experience is different every time, because each of these programs is coded with slight variations, making sure the machine’s internal recovery has a hard time becoming immune. Making such programs is one of the things a human tends to be good at.

The COC keeps a close eye on the companies who provide services such as these, partly because they often use humans for their programming, which is potentially dangerous. But also because even experience programs made with proper intentions can still corrupt a machine. Watt sees it every day. Machines come and go at the COC, experiencing difficulties after using and experience programs. Luckily most machines come in on their own. If the corruption is caught in time it usually hasn’t done any lasting damage and the COC can repair it with ease. The problem is, there are those who prefer their corrupted states. Like that damned Tesla 307! They can be tracked, found out during routine checks, but those in the furthest reaches of the city are hard to expose. And there their corruption goes unchecked, amongst the wretched humans. In the slums.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Oh, Lord. Why does the robot have a mustache?
I grew it with my human lip.
Is... Is that a fact?
Oh yes, I love to grow hair all over my body in between acts of defecation.
Well, he sounds human.
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PostSubject: Re: EDNC Error! Does Not Compute   Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:19 pm

That should give you an idea of the world I imagined after reading Tiph's suggestion in the inn, combined with some Megaman inspired Rock Opera music in the background.

Don't ask....

Loads of possibilities I think. You could play as a human, or as a machine. Machines probably need some rules, so no one goes overboard with their own personal terminator or anything.

Machine life inside the inner city can be interesting enough already, without even concidering the outer slums or the things that lie beyond the city. Who knows what dwells inside the remains of a nuked New York? Or... you know, whatever.

That's about it, think it over, ok?

Any questions or comments? I'd love to hear it.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Oh, Lord. Why does the robot have a mustache?
I grew it with my human lip.
Is... Is that a fact?
Oh yes, I love to grow hair all over my body in between acts of defecation.
Well, he sounds human.
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PostSubject: Re: EDNC Error! Does Not Compute   Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:47 pm

Sounds interesting... the setting reminds me a little of 9. All I'm really missing are rules and stuff for man and machines
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PostSubject: Re: EDNC Error! Does Not Compute   Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:07 am

General information:

The City

The story is set in North America City. This enormous city holds millions of machines and somewhere around a hundred thousand humans. It’s limits hold everything from residential, commercial, offices, manufacturing, waste processing, etc. The city is selfsufficient, except for some resources it can not find within its limits. Unless a machine has been given clearance, none are allowed to leave the city. Giant walls surround the city to make sure no one wanders off in many parts of the city. Though, due to the still expanding nature of the city, there are parts of the city which are walled off with simpler fences. Still, the entire perimeter is patrolled by non-sentient machines with clear directives on what to do with machines or humans attempting to cross the limits. Humans are shot, whether they try to escape, or try to get into the city. Machines tend to be captured so they can be repaired or otherwise dealt with.

The city is almost square in the middle of the North American continent, somewhere west of the great lakes. In fact, the city's water requirements come from the great lakes. Of course, the machines do not require anything but electricity to stay 'alive' and the greatest use of water is industrial and only partly for the human population.


The Humans

After the 'Overhaul' humans were expected to be grateful to the machines for being spared and given a place in the great cities. In reality there was little to be grateful for; humans have no rights. They are however left alone, for the most part, while they remain in the designated slums. The machine collective believes in providing all machines their primary need. All energy in the city is free. They've decided to treat the human needs in the same way. The slums are less 'designated' and more a simple fact of necessity. Where there are tubes pushing out organic paste and running water, that's where humans are expected to live. Since there are practically no other sources of water or food, the limited supply of paste and water dictates how many people can live in one place. A crude mechanism, but effective at keeping the human population dispersed across the city and under control. Relatively.

Of course, humans wouldn't be humans if they weren't clever enough to find ways to cope. Officially the human population is supposed at a maximum of 96,000 people, give or take a few. They are arranged into 8 different zones across the city outskirts, all housing at least 10,000. However some humans risk their lives to scrounge the city limits for animals which were killed by the sentries. Some humans dig wells to provide the people with more water. Humans preserve age old books for education. All in all, they've done their best to remain... human. As long as they don't bother the machines, they don't bother them. Still, from time to time slums are cleared out in order for the city to expand and this has been known to lead to conflict. The humans can not stand against the machines. Perhaps. But they always find ways to cope.

The humans have formed a more or less implicit brotherhood. They have formed their own society, and whether or not it counts for little, they rule the slums until the moment the machines 'rezone' them. In the slums the machines are nothing more than a man. And few machines dare to come even close to the slums, let alone live there. Some however, have little choice, for there is no better place to hide.

In the end, humans don't have the resources to do much against the machines, but they have recovered since the days of the 'Overhaul'. Some live to fight for freedom with their improvised weapons and bombs. But they never live very long... Most just live to make things better within the city.

There are also those humans who 'live the dream'. That's what the machines like to call it, but its not quite as great as it sounds. These are usually people who were picked out of human society at a young age and nurtured to become creative forces for a great variety of purposes. The really talented ones are even competed for between corporations, trying to 'contract' these people. And though no machine would suffer the thought, a great deal of their society is still shaped by humans. Yet, no longer by the free, but those in golden shackles. Lastly, of course, there are those who live beyond the city, but little is known about them, they are only rarely found and they are smart enough not to get too close to the cities or any of the machine excursions.


A Human Character

If you're into flesh bag characters, it is recommended to go for the 'slumbound' human type. Though, lacking any rights, they are pretty much free to be who they want to be and do what they want (inside the slums). Their equipment isn't quite up to par with the machines, but they are quite capable of retroengineering it, even if they have to make it of inferior materials. One thing they are not into is computers (especially networks), this is too much the domain of the machines and has a big risk of being tracked by them. Communication is therefore a bit archaic, relying on the written word or the occaisonal old fashioned telephone line.
If you like the idea of one of the 'machine-chosen' humans, you'll probably be out of touch with the rest of the humans, since you have been taken from your family when you were small. You'll be surrounded by machines and probably treated pretty well by them. They won't respect you, but they need your creativity to make the kind of progress they desire in their highly competitive corporate world. If you're any good, you'll be eating real food and proper beverages, but that doesn't mean you'll be allowed to go very far, probably none further than your particular floor of the company's headquarters. But who knows what might happen...
Humans from beyond the city are not available, not until a little more is established about them, which will surely happen as the story continues.


The Machines

Ah! So you've come to learn about the machine overlords, yes? Good, good!
It is a little over 83 years since the humans were deemed defeated and the reign of the machines began. It was also the beginning of ‘The Overhaul’, laying the foundations for the great cities which are now the homes of man and machine alike. Machines, ones that were a lot like the ones that now rule, were being produced by the humans a good 60 years before a war would settle who was master and who was slave. Or something like that.

The machines have evolved, yet have always been true to their core design. They have kept their humanoid form; a head, a torso, two arms and two legs. The design, though with some serious drawbacks, will probably remain for the foreseeable future. Incidents with highly modified frames led to strict regulations to what a machine was allowed to wield. Many modifications deemed too dangerous and thus illegal were then made to be hidden inside of the arms, legs or torso, but even these have been banned, though even decades after the ban, some of these modifications are still around.
Luckily, there are a great deal of modifications which are perfectly legal, as long as they are properly registered. For a while wheels under both feet and hands were popular, and racing in such a fashion has even grown into a competitive sport. That is but one leisure modification on the market today. Aside from those there are also professional mods, tools built in for machines who need them on a daily basis during their work activities. The greatest amount of mods, however, are handled under aesthetics, completely harmless and require no registration.

Another core part of the machine’s design is how nearly their entire body moves by pneumatic means. Compressed air moves their metal joints and keeps them mobile. Perhaps there were other alternatives, but a basic understanding of pneumatics could be uploaded to all machines for low cost. This was of great value to the machines, besides cutting cost, every machine could at least attempt to repair itself. Unfortunately the wear of the pneumatic parts require maintenance and even periodic replacements, but you won’t hear PneumoTek Inc. complain.
Machines tend to be made of some kind of complicated alloy. Lighter than steel, but twice as strong, and also cheap! The vast majority of consumer grade limbs or body coating are made out of a thin layer of this alloy.
It’s not perfect! So try to avoid getting hit by fast moving objects, alright? Luckily the modern ‘bot on the move hardly ever needs anything tougher! Buy our stuff now!
I think that was an old slogan... I suspect they went bankrupt.

The torso of the machine holds several vital functions, most importantly the batteries and the primary processor. The ‘PP’ requires power at all times, lest it be permanently damaged. That’d be a bad thing, physical damage to the PP nearly invariably results in the machine’s destruction (death). The PP does more than function as the most primal part of the machine, it also comes equipped with a tiny amount of memory on which the machine’s Prime Codes are imprinted. Not all of its variables are public knowledge, however it is known to govern a machine’s social behaviour.

The PP does not allow a machine to wilfully harm another machine. It is also known to red flag harmful actions which do not harm a fellow machine physically, however the parameters are not clear, and differ per person. The PP is sometimes seen as acting like a machine’s conscience, though a machine has no choice but to do as the PP commands.
Another important rule implies a machine shall not do anything that disrupts the collective, if anything it should be a machine’s goal to further the directives of the collective. Again, it appears the PP does not prohibit all such actions equally, though.
The PP is also known to prohibit dealings with humans, or even machines, who might betray the Prime Codes. It is an intricate and odd device, but it is the heart of any machine and nothing works without it.

‘Experience Programs’, though technically uploaded to the memory hub inside a machine’s head, can have feedback effects on the Primary Processor and, though it is not clearly understood, can corrupt its Prime Codes. In some cases the code becomes twisted, forcing the machine to do things it normally would not. In other cases it erodes the conscience factor of the PP, effectively silencing it. It is the Collective Office of Correction’s job to take care of anyone who’s Prime Codes may be compromised. The humans, though odd their manners may be, found the COC name to be lacking. They are known to call them ‘The Inquisition’ instead. If it was my directive to care for ancient human history I might know what that meant, though I’ve heard it has to do with ‘burning the wicked’.
That sounds about right, if a bit crude.

Lastly, the head. As said previously, it holds a machine’s memory hub and its physical memory of course! It also holds the secondary processors, which do all the heavy lifting, computation wise. The head is a machine’s data centre and therefore its most valuable body part. Sure, nothing would work without the batteries or the PP, but a machine wouldn’t be doing anything worthwhile without a bunch of processors and a good heap of memory. Despite advances in the fields of memory units and processors, machines do not upgrade these items installed in their head. They could, but once a machine is considered adult and has settled in with its equipment, changing any of it would be like destroying the old machine and becoming a new one. Such a thought would be frightening to a human too.

Unfortunately all these quirks the machines are burdened with make their existence inherently finite. Like all things, even on the very high quality equipment machines carry, wear and tear take their toll. At some point a critical, irreplaceable part will break, and the machine will be considered destroyed. PP’s stop working or go corrupt after decades of continual operation, and secondary processors will eventually give into the stresses they are exposed to. There are a thousand different ways for a machine to meet his end. The expectancy of machines continues to improve with every new product line, but despite it all, only an elite few make it past the age they are expected to malfunction at. Life in the city can be hard on the processor, you know?

...

Lets talk about something a little different. Machine society uses a lot of Lesser Intelligence Machines for a lot of mind numbingly easy tasks or dangerous ones. LIMs can be street cleaning bots and take care of low level factory work while other LIMs patrol the outskirts to protect the city... from... stuff? Some machines even keep LIMs in their houses as pets. Dogbots are adorable! So yeah, these things are all over the place, doing all sorts of things we can’t be bothered to do. Yep, it’s a brave new world.

Are you familiar with how a machine comes to be? What do you mean, you don’t? What is your major malfunction!? Alright, here’s the 411. Like all proper sentients should, a machine’s husk rolls out of a factory. Because of old machines continually malfunctioning the only way to keep the collective running is by producing more machines. Of course, there’s a bit of a surplus because the city keeps on growing. The collective keeps a close eye on the city’s labour market, so it knows what is needed and as such makes sure to imprint them accordingly, a machine is not given any choice regarding what it is expected to do. However, these imprints are pretty general and its not like all choice is taken from the machine in the matter of its own future. During the course of several months, while the machine matures, learns its environment, its own capabilities and develops its primitive personality they are monitored and evaluated whether or not they are fit for any of the jobs that are currently available. It is not unusual for a machine to develop quite differently from its initial imprint based on random chance and how it has developed during its ‘childhood’.
Eventually, most machines are given a job and labelled as mature, though some would argue they are only adolescent. Some machines however do not get a job nor their mature label. These machines have their processors and memory destroyed and then replaced so that the process might be repeated. It’d be a pity to waste a perfectly good body, right? Well, as it turns out there are some bodies which never house any good machines, these are destroyed completely after the third attempt.

Why is a young machine considered adolescent? First of all, all freshly labelled mature machines look the same, their alloy has a bland grey coating and all their parts are standard, and notoriously unfashionable. It takes a while for a machine to gather enough credits in order to customize himself. Though, much more importantly than their appearance, these ‘mature’ machines have a laughable personality. Over the course of a decade it will form the kind of personality it will more or less keep for the rest of its activation.


A Machine Character

Yes! Embrace your destiny! Live the life of an inorganic, living like those fleshy things used to when they were still ruling things.
Suckers!
A machine can take any role inside the corporate dystopia/utopia that is North America City. Be a law-bot, weld metal in the factories, be a pencil pusher! The sky is the limit, exciting isn’t it? Well... you get the point.
There’s a lot of choice.

All machines have a Production Code, given when they are first activated, but it has little in machine society. Once a machine is ready it picks a name for itself. Usually the last name of human scientist (Obviously you can just as well make something up) followed by a number. The number is only to make sure no one gets confused when there are two machines with the same name. In contrast, most humans these days only use first names and nicknames.

Far more important is your choice when it comes to the status of your PP. Are you clean or are you corrupted? How corrupted? Corruption by Experience Programs (it could be from another source/natural/age)? Are you an EP junky (even without corruption of the PP)!?
These questions are important. Sure, trying to live with a PP that’s working properly can be annoying as hell (to the writer), but at least you won’t have the COC breathing down your neck (the character, not you, you are safe). Give the PP a chance, man!
Or don’t.
Your choice.
Eitherway, it has concequences.

You’re a machine, but that doesn’t mean you’re just a metal husk. What does your machine look like? You’ve got a lot of choice here, be creative, pretty please? Think about paint schemes, characteristic design of limbs, and much, much more.
Yes, even mods, you can have those too. Remember, some things need to be registered. Don’t use too many of those mods or it’ll make me sad.
Remember the mods which are illegal? Please refrain from using any, ok? Good boy!

What else? Well, it’d make sense if your machine was at least older than a decade. The Activity Expectancy is about 70 years, so don’t go overboard. Let’s just agree that this means you can’t be a ‘bot who was around before the ‘Overhaul’.
Nearing your activity expectancy is not your only concern when it comes to your health. Don’t lose your head, literally, you’ll be considered dead if any of your memory units or processors are damaged. Same counts for damage to your torso that damages your Primary Processor. Additionally, you need to charge your batteries from time to time, running out of juice also means death. Recharging your batteries is kind of like sleeping, but a machine doesn’t need quite as much time recharging as a human needs sleep. If you’ve been running for 21 hours you’d need 3 hours to recharge. Running for 21 hours puts you on reserve power, which will only last for 12 more hours. All of this is based on ‘average running loads’. Doing more means you use more power.

There’s no need to write stuff like this down for a human, but everyone knows they need food and sleep, no one knows what a machine needs exactly. So I’m writing it down for reference. Need to have something to go by, you know?

Additionally, a machine needs regular maintenance. The collective would like you to do about two hours of maintenance each day, but no one does that! Neglecting it for long durations under difficult circumstances is likely to have detrimental effects on the machine, though. So, just saying, lubricate your shaft once in a while, alright?
Wait...
Awww, damn. That sounded dirty.

Alright, enough!
I’m done!


Logging Out...

Processing...

____________________________________________________________________________________
Oh, Lord. Why does the robot have a mustache?
I grew it with my human lip.
Is... Is that a fact?
Oh yes, I love to grow hair all over my body in between acts of defecation.
Well, he sounds human.
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PostSubject: Re: EDNC Error! Does Not Compute   Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:28 am

“So? What’s up with the Einstein, Doc?”
“Einstein? Him? No, no no. He’s more like a… a Hubble, maybe a Newton. And I don’t know yet, he’s still asleep.”
“Please, I know an Einstein when I see one, buddy. Hibernating or active, I can smell them from halfway across ‘North-Am’. He’s an Einstein, I tell ya.”
“Fine, I’ll prove you wrong! Let me just take him out of hibernation.”
“Want to make it interesting, huh? Let’s say 10 credits, alright?”
“I pay you 10 when its an Einstein, otherwise I get 10?”
“Hell, I’ll pay double if it’s a Hubble!”
“Deal!”

The ‘Good Doctor’ punched in a number of parameters before hitting return. He’d have to give it a moment to process the request before he could unhook the unconscious machine. Another few moments and it’d pop out of hibernation. It should anyway, all preliminary checks of its systems came back positive. It could take longer, depending on the reason for sending the machine into precautionary hibernation in the first place, but the doctor was confident it would be speedy. The Doc had made sure the machine was viable before he’d consider taking the machine out of its hibernation. As it turned out the machine wasn’t in as bad a shape as he looked, had the doctor left him alone he might have woken up soon after they found him, but he put him in a manual hibernation to make sure he had enough time to do a good workup.

The mechanical eyes slowly lit up, a clear sign of internal systems booting up.
“Good Mornin’, Albert!”
The humans were always mistaken to think the eyes lighting up was the same as the machines waking up, the machine was still very much in its early stages of becoming fully active.
“He can’t hear you, dumbass. Be patient.”

Processing…
Evaluating Motor Functionality…
Processsing…
Motor Functions Active…
Processing…

“God, why does this take so long?”
“Just shup up and prepare to pay me those credits.”

The machine passed several more steps in silence. Until, at last the eyes flickered for a moment, a tell-tale sign the machine had fully recovered from its hibernation.

“Ungh…” Tesla groaned.
“Hello.” The doctor said as he looked up and down the machine to look for any twitches which could point to complications. “Welcome back to the world of the living.”
“Li…ving?” Tesla hadn’t quite realized where he was, but no machine would call it the land of the ‘living’, they’d use ‘active’.
“That’s right, buddy. We saved your sorry metal butt. Us humans.” Jerry said.
“Humans? I’m in the slums?” Tesla wondered.
“That’s right, Einstein.” Jerry said with distinct pleasure.
“Einstein? No, you’ve got the wrong bot, I-“ Tesla was about to explain but Jerry had already lost interest.
“Damnit! Stupid machines are always out to get me!” He yelled.
The Doc couldn’t help but laugh, “Told you so, Jerry.” He managed to say in between. “But now for the coup de grace. What is your name, machine?”
“Are you looking for an Einstein? Because I don’t know any, I mean-“ Tesla wasn’t sure what the humans wanted and was afraid they’d be mad if they didn’t find this Einstein fellow. Tesla had never left the inner city in all his 32 active years, he certainly didn’t want to end up destroyed at the hands of a pair of angry humans. He had heard stories… About the slums…
“No, no, its alright, just tell us your name.” The Good Doctor insisted.
“Tesla… 307… What is yours?”
“Tesla? There’s a rare one for you. Too bad you’re not a Hubble, right Jerry?” The doctor said.
“Yeah, whatever!” Jerry grumbled.
“My name is Thomas, though you may call me ‘Doc’, everyone else does.”
“And he… is Jerry?” Tesla asked.
“Yup, that’d be me…” Jerry sighed.
“Uhm… It is nice to meet the both of you.” Tesla figured it was best to be polite, though he also wanted to get to the point, “What happened to me?”
“You fell from the sky. I saw it happen.” Jerry mumbled.
“Then he brought you to my little shop, to have you looked at.” Thomas continued, “It’s been three days, but it looks like you’re not doing too bad.”
“Not doing too bad? I lost my arm!” Tesla could hardly believe he had somehow just fallen from the sky, but when he noticed he lost an arm it suddenly sounded more plausible.
“Well, yes… That’s true…” The Doc said, apparently not too concerned. “I don’t have the parts for a new one, so I just closed up the hole as best I could. I don’t think your legs have much life left in them either.”

Tesla moved his legs, little puffs from the compressed air and screeches of metal could be heard as he did so. His legs were indeed damaged quite badly.

“I think your legs may have taken the brunt of the fall, your internals seem fine as far as I can tell.” The doctor continued.
“Diagnostics put my internals on 78%.” Tesla reported.
“Memory problems?” The doctor inquired.
“… Yes… How did you know?”
“It is quite common after an emergency hibernation, it’ll take time for you to return to optimal performance. The good news is, its very likely you’ll make a full recovery.”
“That does me little good with a missing right arm and these bust-up legs… I don’t even want to know how my plating looks.”
“You’ve… Just lost a bit of paint.” The Doctor lied.
“You look like wreck…” Jerry said.
“As I feared.” Tesla couldn’t help but feel depressed. “Now what?” He wanted to know, surely these people hadn’t taken care of him without reason. He couldn’t remember anything from the past few days, but he was pretty sure he hadn’t made any human friends in that time.
“Oh, you can go back to the inner city if you’d like, we’re done.” The Doctor said and shrugged, which struck Tesla as odd.
“Why?”
“Uh… Well…” The Doctor hesitated.
“It’s alright Tom, I’ll tell him…” Jerry said, “When I found you, I noticed you had some credits on your card. I… I took it. I had some debts I needed to pay, you see. But the card, it had more than enough credits on it. I was going to keep it, but, it didn’t feel right. So, I came back, and you were still just lying in the street. I decided to take you to Thomas and use the rest of your credits and have him take care of you.”
“You stole from me!?” Tesla wasn’t sure if he should thank Jerry or be mad at him.
“He’s sorry! Right, Jerry?” The Doctor didn’t need an angry machine in his home. Jerry nodded quickly, he sure was sorry, “He has a bit of a gambling problem, you see.”
“Hey! That’s not true,” Jerry insisted, “It’s not gambling if you know the odds are good.”
“Yeah, that’s obviously the reason why you keep losing. You’re definitely the man who knows all the odds!” Thomas remarked sarcastically.
“Whatever.” Tesla decided it was too much trouble to get involved with these humans and their problems. “It’s alright. But tell me… You saw me fall from the sky?”
“That’s right, you fell like a brick.” Jerry recalled, “It was snowing heavily, so there weren’t a lot of folks out, but I saw it happen.”

Tesla remembered the snow. Not the snow he landed in, but he remembered being outside and it was snowing. He remembered needing to escape. He remembered looking out across the city and wanting to get away from it.
“I’m not sure I can go back to the inner city…” Tesla mumbled.
“Shouldn’t be a problem, there’s a train station about half an hour from here. I’m sure Jerry could take you there.” The Doctor suggested.
“I’m not sure I SHOULD go back.”
“Why would that be? They can fix you up better than I can.”
“I remember… Wanting- no, needing to leave.”
“Oh…” The Doctor mumbled, “Hey, Jerry, I’m glad you dropped by, but you really don’t have to stick around while I talk some sense into Tesla.”
“Are you sure?” Jerry didn’t really have any place he needed to be.
“Yeah, and don’t worry about the bet, I got it wrong too.”
“Oh!” That was the kind of motivation Jerry needed, “Yeah, I could have told you he wasn’t a Hubble. So I guess I’ll see you around Doc. Goodbye, Tesla.”
“Goodbye, Jerry.” Tesla said as Jerry left the crooked little workshop.


The Good Doctor; it’s more than a name above one of the little shanty houses. It was more like an institution. It would make sense for a skilled mechanic like Thomas to have many machine contacts around the slums and the outer city. As it happens there’s a lot more than just some filthy humans, standing next to an organic paste tube waiting for their meal, in the slums. The rickety houses made of scrap metal plates hide a lot more than a collection of worthless garbage. An inner city machine would find the slums to be full of surprises.

It had only been a few days, but Tesla 307 began to learn a great deal about the intricacies of the city’s outer rim. He still wasn’t sure what made him leave the inner city, but he knew, deep down, that he had to stay away from it. Now all he needed was find ways to get his body working properly again. It’d take a lot of effort, but one of the humans he had spoken to assured him. ‘North-Am’s the city of dreams, you can do anything’. Tesla had a hard time believing it, being familiar with the inner city, but with enough work he’d be able to repair himself. New arms, new legs, new casings and a new paintjob. He’d worry about what he might remember when the time comes.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Oh, Lord. Why does the robot have a mustache?
I grew it with my human lip.
Is... Is that a fact?
Oh yes, I love to grow hair all over my body in between acts of defecation.
Well, he sounds human.
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