Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Lillian Gray, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. Machinations
    A one x one between Lillian Gray and Din

    In the future, the human race developed a way of making life easier - automation. Not just any sort of automation, robotic, intelligent, and humanoid. In a time of great debate over the use of such machines, there is one girl who keeps a secret from the rest of the world. Her android, molded and crafted from her own hands, has a mind. He thinks, breathes, and loves. He doesn't always understand what it means, but she fully knows that the discovery of such a machine could mean the difference of life and death for the entire automaton race. Some would seek to have her android destroyed, but what they don't know is that there are more, more deadly minds in these robots.

    He will live.

    He will think.

    I will never let you destroy him.

    This is a story of creation and creator, of mind, soul, and emotion.

    He is mine.
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  2. Show Spoiler
    Name: Annie Redd


    Age: 21
    Height: 5'6"
    Hair Color: Blonde with dark brown streaks on the bottom half.
    Eye Color: Blue

    Personality: A total gear head. The girl has a bit of an overactive imagination, and takes on projects larger than she can handle. Her go-to personality is what gets her through many situations.

    History/Bio: Annie grew up in a household of boys, and by the trade of her family she learned the ways of the mechanic. She is the youngest of five children, the other four being all of her older brothers. Their mother left after Annie was born, leaving little influence for femininity. Her skills with the automaton sector of mechanics soared beyond that of her brothers, and she made good money fixing the machines for local residents. As well as doing repairs, Annie works with a major company which mass produces androids for household use. The company (to be named) has a large monopoly in the android market.

    When Annie was only twelve, her eldest brother Max left a machine running in their shop used to bend and fold large metal pieces. Her leg was crushed in the machine, resulting in an amputation. In place of the leg she lost, Annie opted for a prosthetic instead. Max is a prosthetic master when it comes to the trade, and he's the only man she trusts to have fix her leg.

    Other: The brothers
    • Maxwell (Max) 28
    • Harrison (Harry) 26
    • Russell 25
    • Hunter 22

    The constant whir of the workshop was like music to any of the Redd families' ears. The dull, monotonous pace just another aspect of life for a mechanic. Where a father had prayed for boys, he'd received them all, and then one extra. Annie Redd, youngest of five children to a family of gear heads. They all worked together, did everything together.

    From the time she was a girl she had aspirations to be the greatest android creator in all the world. Something about the artificial life, making another human with her own bare hands, it fascinated her. Women and men together in union could make other humans, but to make life without the necessary half of a man, well, she had to say she kind of liked that part. Technology had brought them far enough to install artificial hardware in order to make them think, but experimenting was the interesting part. The more she tinkered, the better the personality.

    That's how he came about, her greatest creation.

    On the outside of town there was a trader, he found a rare sort of energy, trapped inside a small glass console. That in itself was enough to get the gears turning. The rest was history. Keeping his thoughts and emotions private, however, was difficult.

    Some years had passed, Annie now sat in her workshop with her brothers. They had no mother, their father having died years ago, she some prior. They had each other though and that was enough.

    "Gonna go to Mr. Mackoy's later, get some parts, anybody need anything?" Maxwell droned on, a typical weekly trip he always made. The other siblings voiced their needs, Annie giving her own bits and pieces into the mix.

    "Some oil, too, silicone...the good stuff, Max!" She ordered. "Girl's gotta be able to move."

    Annie tapped her leg, receiving a chuckle from her brothers. Her left leg was gone, a terrible childhood accident involving carelessness and a dangerous machine.

    "Your droid need anything?" Max asked quietly. "A book or something?"

    Her eyes shifted to the corner, wondering if she might find him sitting there. Maybe, sometimes he wanted things, other times he forgot why he wanted. In any case, the errands would have to be made in the end.

    So began the average day in the life of Annie Redd.​
    #2 Lillian Gray, Sep 18, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  3. He'd noticed that listening to the family's early conversations was an easy way to gauge mood. Knowing of day-to-day emotions had made communicating much easier, much faster than the crude binary of programming. A pleasantly personal weave of ideas he'd caught onto impressively fast.

    Whatever he’d wanted was something too vague for him to grasp, just a smudge of familiar colors and a spare word here and there. From the solitary of the corner he listened, the mention of book stirring up something familiar in him Happiness? Probably. He'd settle with that, for now. The sheer definition of the word was still a bit unclear to him, but he understood the raw feeling. Passingly, he made a note to himself to inquire on that matter, and focused back on what he would like to read.

    Dim optics zoomed into focus the moment he decided that yes, he would like a book. The type mattered little to him, as long as the words gave him detail. The more detail, he’d found, the better. Perhaps he could have access to the sunlight this afternoon. But a book was preferable when learning became one of his daily focuses, and he knew that Annie was well aware of his book fascination, so he focused now on her.

    His optics brightened a little, the silent way of indicating a yes. As if he'd forgotten that it was safe for him here, it was okay to communicate in other ways. But he forgot things often, and even in the presence of the trustworthy, it was difficult to manage without being all alone with Annie. He knew that wariness would pass, in time.

    The book returned to his mind, and he knew that yes indeed, he did want a book.
  4. Annie huffed once, getting up from her work bench and skipping over to the android. "Let's work on your vocals, would you like a book?"

    His eyes seemed to indicate, that yes, he wanted one. But she liked to push him. For some reason, he learned much more quickly than anything else her brothers built. He was special, they all knew that, and the constant hushed tone around him only pushed the idea that maybe it was best the world didn't know about him just yet. He didn't just learn, he thought, and thinking for any sort of AI was a dangerous prospect. Some lower bots had menial tasks, laborious ones otherwise, and knowing their status might call for rebellion. Her android would stay secret until the world was ready for his mind.

    "Alright, so you want one, but is there a kind of book you'd like?" She asked the new question and waited for his answer.

    "Come on, Annie, he's not gonna talk, you told him not to!" Harry, the second oldest, called from his place near the workshop's entrance. The door was wide open, and that was one of the rules for her android. If the door was open, he wasn't to let on that he knew any more than the average bot did.

    "You can tell me." She encouraged the android. "Is there something you would like to read about?"​
  5. He took a moment to think her question over, optics dimming thoughtfully.

    It was simple to know he'd wanted a book, but what of the content? She wanted specifics, and he was happy to oblige-- he spoke, a tinny, unused noise, but much too human to be mistaken for anything but. "I would read about stars," he said, finding some sense of pride in the formation of his words. No halting or broken sentences, but a a near-perfect request instead. He was not one to make requests, but she pushed him to use his voice-- he would return with a, albeit gentle, push of his own.

    "I have seen them, but have yet to read on them. Could I...?"

    He knew that she would honor his request and get him such a book; her supportive nature was one of the many traits he'd found that he loved about her-- that inexplicable feeling that stirred him into wakefulness the first time, that still resided in some form in each and every word he spoke to her. Careful, precise words with meanings that sometimes only he truly understood.
  6. "It's called astronomy." Annie supplied the word for him. "The study of stars, space, what lies beyond us here on Earth."

    She pointed up towards the sky as if that offered the perfect explanation. She didn't know much about the topic but if that's what he wanted to learn about, then she'd supply him with the knowledge he needed. Briefly, Annie couldn't help but wonder if he got bored. It certainly was possible, the programming was there for him to have thoughts and feelings, so why not boredom, too? He had to stay inside so often, she almost felt bad not giving him enough to do, some menial task to be completed day in day out.

    He was better than that, though.

    "If you'd like, you may go outside at night to study them as well." She smiled, giving him a new bit of freedom. Then she turned back to her brother and made the order, a book on astronomy.​
  7. "Astronomy," he repeated. "Then... that's what I'll read."

    It was more plausible to imagine that he simply had too much to think about to be bored, quiet as he'd been with so many different things to file away and figure out. With Annie's help, of course, this process had gone rather quickly and smoothly, and now all that was left was the lingering curiosity about things that, while present in every human, were not explainable. He'd have to settle with the idea that some things weren't meant to be explained. For now, he'd focus on the stars-- strangely unique and special. He wanted to know why he was so drawn to them.

    He was pleased with the prospect of more freedom, but still he wanted more-- and while he understood that he would not be accepted at this time, it still left him feeling that awful feeling of being forgotten. His creator was there for him, of course, but... being cooped up in such a small place never seemed so disagreeable.

    Genuinely curious, he ventured far enough as to question her, "What will you be doing today?" It had become routine to ask of her plans, and always managed to lift the thin fog on his mind.
  8. Annie was proud of his curiosity, glad he went so far to ask his own questions instead of staying quiet. It was routine for him to ask, at least she'd started to recognize the pattern of his inquiries. The only shame was her lack of major plans from time to time, offering not much for an answer which might satisfy him.

    "I'll be going into town to get some parts." She explained.

    Far too often she made him stay at home. This time was different though. There were some small bits on the android himself she wanted to update, so his presence would have been welcome. It wasn't uncommon to see mechanics with their creations out in the market, and having him come along wouldn't be a bother, more of a privilege for him instead. Maybe he'd like that, she thought, going out into the light of day in order to process information for himself. Yes, she assured, he would.

    "I'd actually like to take you with." Annie reached out her hand to check his optics, they were the best she could work with, but maybe a new set of silicon skin? She could make him a lifelike face, much better than what he had. The girl could make him look more human if he desired, he only need say the word. Although, he probably never would. "If you speak, you may only speak to me, it'll help your memory."​
  9. So she'd be going into town. Had he normal human physical responses -- something he planned on remembering in the near future --, he'd have perked at the mention of her taking him along. A pleasing prospect, to get out of the house after so long. And with his new access to the night sky, the freedom would be enough to busy him for a week. So as long as he kept to himself, acted the part of the emotionless and unintelligent machine, he'd be perfectly safe. He'd hardly stand out against the rest of them.

    He could not smile, but he found himself wishing that were possible. Maybe he'd ask for such an addition along with a few other things if he could manage to remember them. "Then accompany you I will. There is a break in my left optic-- minuscule, but it has grown." He'd remembered that from two nights ago, finally. The tiny crack in the lens had shown up then, and he had intended to tell her. Forgotten it due to its lack of importance at the time.

    He glanced briefly at the door, "Will we go now?"
  10. "Well, that gives me the chance to give you colored ones instead." Annie said absentmindedly.

    It would certainly be more human like. This was the perfect opportunity to make him more life like. She'd seen others, other androids covered in pale silicon skins with glass eyes and countless mechanics making their steps and arms work like a humans. It certainly wasn't uncommon, but still rare enough to see a fully functioning android with skin. Annie leaned in to check his optics, running her hand along the surface to feel the growing crack. It would have to be repaired. Indeed, it was the perfect opportunity to improve.

    "It's decided, you're getting an upgrade." Annie declared joyously. Her brothers all chuckled behind her, once she got going there was no stopping her. "I think you'd look good with a set of skin for yourself."

    "Skin?" Max eyed her suspiciously. "That's expensive stuff."

    "Oh can it, he's worth it!" Annie hushed him. "Alright, let's get going."

    She tapped the android twice on his shoulder before standing upright, the gears in her leg turning and rolling as she walked towards the exit.

  11. "What color?" He himself had no preferences, so whatever colors she'd chosen were good enough for him.

    Different eyes. He was to be upgraded, then, and he couldn't help but find that... exciting? That certainly was the feeling. He'd never been one for appearances, which wasn't much of a surprise considering what he was, but becoming closer to his human likeness would surely open up plenty more options for him in the future. What those options would be, he honestly didn't know. But they'd be worth the time spent undergoing repairs and such.

    Worth it. Well, he'd somehow prove that the assertion was true. He followed close behind her out the exit, unusually stiff in one leg but otherwise changing his gait and posture to better resemble that of other automatons-- until they were alone again, it would be bets for him to blend in with the others. His paranoia seemed to have become a trait.

    "Have any others made their creations... human?"
  12. "Human?" Annie shook her head. "No one has come close, there are stories, but no real proof."

    The rumors which surfaced were always shot down by large corporate groups. They claimed it was impossible, and why wouldn't the public believe in them? Some of the biggest producers of parts and whole models of all manner of machine would always say, it was impossible to make an android human, they simply lacked human emotion. Androids lacked a certain soul which so many people tried to prove exist. Crap, it was all crap, Annie thought. If she wanted to make a robot more like a man, she'd try, maybe not succeed, but there'd be effort.

    So, why not give it a shot then?

    "You're different." She said quietly. People passed them by on the streets, so she spoke low to keep them out of earshot. "You have thoughts, make questions of your own, and as far as I'm concerned, you could be human if you wanted."

    Annie stepped inside the local gear shop. Various nuts and bolts lined the walls, larger pieces of scrap were held in the back for general use, but there was a large bin off to the side of glass eyes. On their own, they stared off into the distance with nothing in particular to gaze at. It was disturbing to see them all there like that, so she picked through as quickly as she could until she found a pair of matching color. Light blue with specks of silver, it was a beautiful color, and she held them out for the android to examine. Here in the shop, such an action was alright. He could look freely, so long as he made no efforts to voice an opinion.

    "Is this alright?" She whispered so quietly her voice hardly echoed in her own throat. "You can nod, or shake your head."​
  13. And did he want to be human? Perhaps. If what he felt was what a human could freely express, then that is what he wanted. Freedom to express his feelings without discrimination, freedom to do as he pleased and explore the world without being labeled defunct and sent to the scrap heap-- simply because he'd done something on his own. His voice remained low so that only she could hear him. "I know. The others act without thought, do as they're told based on core programming. I... do not feel this programming telling me to do things," he said, growing more confident in his words the longer he spoke. "I do them because I wish to, because you are the one asking."

    It had been an attempt at a compliment in the only way he knew how, but at least he was trying. He scanned the walls for various parts, human-like arm and leg joints and polished metal skeletons, beautifully crafted facial additions for the occasional artist. But the eyes she held up for him to see-- they were deep, a mesh of machine components and a vaguely organic aesthetic. They were nice, and would go well with the rest of him. He nodded slowly, and was soon drawn to the rather crude parts for grasping, set aside as scrap next to a display of finely crafted human-like hand joints, much smoother than his own.

    These were not necessary, as it was the eyes he longed for the most. Something to replace the cracked, robotic optics that he'd looked through since conception. So that people would not feel the uncanny disturbance when they accidentally made eye contact with him.
  14. Annie thought she saw him glancing over at other parts. There were better mechanics simply laying around than his own, smoothly crafted metal joints. Was it longing in his eyes or was it something else? She couldn't distinguish between empty stares and actual want without any facial expressions, his eyes weren't enough of an indication. She stepped up to a set of joints, they were attached to other crafted parts. All Annie was interested in were the pieces making them move, the wonderfully smooth ball joints. Wrapped up in pretty new silicone, they'd work just like real hands might.

    She was grinning as she picked them up in her own hands. Aside from the eyes, it was all she could hold for now.

    "Ah, Annie." The shop keeper smiled wide upon seeing the girl. "What is it then?"

    "These." She placed the eyes and joints on the counter. "And I want to order some silicone."

    "Are you sure?" He asked with surprise. "It's expensive, pretty custom, it's for him right?"

    He nodded his head towards the android at her side, frowning. Of course there wasn't much equality for androids and humans, another issue for another time. The more human they appeared, the more laws which became confusing. They looked human, were made to act human, but were not emotionally or mentally human beings. Creators had a hard time working around laws which might give them rights. Annie didn't like to get into that.

    "Of course." She responded naturally. "It's about time."

    So she paid, placed the order in, and showed the android the haul. It was high time he got an upgrade.​
  15. (So sorry for being late!)

    He found himself unable to decide whether these thoughtfully constructed parts were things he wanted. They would work with him wonderfully, but worry and guilt seeped into this rather jumbled thoughts; requesting anything from Annie in spite of everything she'd already given him, how many times she'd urged him to ask... he just couldn't. Perhaps he simply didn't see it as necessary, and forgot it soon after-- only to have it show up in his thoughts at a later date.

    His optics scanned over the new purchase, intrigued and, dare he think, excited. And maybe a bit surprised, in all honesty. He hadn't had an upgrade in so long that he'd forgotten what the new parts were to feel like once they'd meshed with the rest of him. Not uncomfortable, he remembered, but certainly different and strangely foreign.

    Glancing briefly, he quietly eyed shopkeep just long enough to make out his expression before the man noticed. He didn't blame the man for his confusion. Not many humans were kind, and even less bothered to improve upon their androids. It was much easier, it seemed, to simply purchase or build a new one.

    Just a bit longer and they'd be back home, and he'd look like new again. Or so he was hoping.
  16. (You're fine!)

    Annie was almost skipping with how happy she was. The new eyes were tucked safely into her coat pocket, thick brown leather, but she played with one of the new joints in her free hand. It was smooth, much smoother than what her android currently had. It was almost too mobile, but then she remembered the new silicone she'd ordered. In a few days, she'd be able to warp something nice for him, maybe see if clothes were a decent step or not. Most might view her plight as useless, as updating a machine too far often led to unwanted consequences.

    As they walked back, she couldn't help but overhear a message being projected from atop a small platform. A man in a black suit was shouting out about some machine which had taken on too much of a personality. His words spoke fact, but rang with accusations of human behavior and negative mindsets of the masses. People booed at the scrap heap next to the man in black, and Annie knew what must have happened. They'd disassembled him for being too sentient when it was unnecessary. Only some companies had been able to create the proper codes for AI, someone like Annie couldn't hope to come close, at least not without losing her android.

    "Come on." She urged her creation. "Don't listen to them."

    She pushed herself to walk a little faster. Fine, so the big brand names didn't want competition, she understood that. But not being able to craft and mold what she herself had brought into the world? Having to worry about having her android pulled apart back into a scrap heap? She couldn't help but feel anxious about losing him, he had a life of his own. Even if he didn't have a name to be called.

    "Let's get these joints in, and your new eyes." Annie forced a grin on her face. ​
  17. He couldn't tell what it was that he was feeling at the sight of the horrors these humans could commit. Perhaps it was sadness at the cruelty, or anger at the loss of someone, had they been similar to himself, to relate to. He wouldn't let himself fall to fear, however, and tossed those silly thoughts away. He was getting upgraded by the best of the best, so what did he have to fear other than looking and feeling nice? He tore his gaze away from the man in the black suit and continued on his way.

    If he could smile, he would respond to her with one; he hoped she would understand that, while he was not expressive at the moment, he did express and felt the same excitement that she did.

    The prospect of getting rid of the annoying crack in his optic would have been enough to brighten his day. His optics may not be like those of humans or animals, but a scratch alone was enough to render an automaton incapable of proper sight. Like looking through a warped magnifying glass with a split down the center. Maybe a bit less intense, but all the same.

    His optics brightened to show his enthusiasm instead, and his posture straightened a bit. That should be enough.
  18. Annie and her android returned to the now empty workshop, her brothers on errands or off in the shop at the other side of the house. The home was three stories high, the first floor being a combination of their work space and shop area. The Redd family had a reputation for being the best at what they did respectively. Max dealt with prosthetic limbs, Harry worked solely with the smallest machines parts, he had a knack for keeping things steady and did best on small parts, Russel made custom metal parts, and Hunter made the programs for the AI Annie used. Although sometimes she altered it to what she wanted, as was the case for her favorite android.

    He still didn't have a name. She'd asked him in the past if he wanted one, but the answer was never so clear.

    She pulled the frame away from his face and took out his optics one by one. They were old models, simple glass spheres with a small orb of color to stimulate an eye. Annie rubbed her palm over the surface of the new optics, making sure they were perfectly polished before setting them in place. The blue eyes that stared back seemed to have a bit more life in them than before, and she smiled.

    "How does everything look, I'll get them fixed in better, tell me if something is off."

    Annie pressed the orbs into place as best she could, fixing small screws at the edges to hold the core in place. They still had a full range of sight, even better than before as far as Annie knew. She was curious to know how they worked, how they were different, but it was something she could never experience as a human. The improved eyesight was like switching from a low quality radio to a better one, there was obvious improvement but the senses still worked the same. It was the best comparison she could make.

    "Have you ever thought about-" Annie paused, polishing the lenses one last time. "-a name? For yourself?"​
  19. The sudden shift in his vision - less warping around the edges, more focus near the center - made him twitch in surprise. The new optics moved smoothly as he looked around to test them, focusing on anchor points and corners. He decided that these would be good, and the life that shone in their dim blue glow... he figured that would make him much easier to speak with. He nodded once. "They are fine. Thank you."

    He would now be able to read better with these new optics, wouldn't have to hold everything so close that his optics would have to strain to get in every single word on both pages at once. These were much more relaxed and human, with a much faster reaction to movement.

    A name. He focused back on her, nonplussed. Was he creative enough to create his own title, or would he just reuse a name he'd heard before on accident? She had never quite asked him in such a manner, and his concept of naming was always so vague and he was hesitant to come up with one. "I..." So she had not already named him, and he felt thankful.

    "No. I will think of one."

    (Aka I'm going to try to think of some fitting names for our android here!)
  20. "Take your time." Annie encouraged. "Let me know what you decide on, and I can call you that."

    Once she had the confirmation that his vision was set, she set the plate of his face back on. The eyes were far more lifelike than before, instead of looking like a box of metal parts, he looked more like a silver human. His body was always a steely gray, but not for long. Once the silicone came in, he'd have lifelike color to his body, eyes of his own, and Annie would never let anyone take him away.

    "Max will be back with your book soon, too." She smiled, working on lifting his hands so she could disconnect the old joints.

    Annie worked swiftly, pulling off the hand before removing the old and worn joints in his hands. They were certainly aged, something of spare parts she'd found in the shop back when the android was the beginning of a dream. As each day passed, he became more and more lifelike, his AI was something of a miracle. If he didn't think so much, Annie wondered if they'd be where they were, arranging for rather expensive parts to be built for him. She hummed as she worked, pulling at connections and setting the first of the four new joints in. Annie splurged in the end, he'd be able to have both his wrists and knees replaced with something far more lifelike.

    "Now move for me." She commanded, watching the joint carefully.​