2012-04-25: Fixing The Broken Killbot


Cyril_icon.jpg Echo_icon.jpg Mike_icon.jpg

Summary: Mike gets an email urgently requesting help, and goes to provide it, though trouble may ensue later.

Date: April 25, 2012

Log Title: Fixing The Broken Killbot

Rating: PG-13

Hell's Kitchen - IntegraCare

This is a small clinic in Hell's Kitchen. Don't burn it down. You might need it sooner than you think.

Several hours have passed in the back room of Cyril's office. Echo is where he left her, almost exactly where he left her. Sitting on the edge of the operating table, the only thing that appears to have changed is a dirty length of orange extension cord trailing from underneath her damaged coat to a socket on the wall. The Beretta pistol and matte black knife are still on the counter near her, within arm's reach. The computer in the corner has long since gone to screensaver and finally to standby. It is silent, save the soft whistle of air through a vent in the ceiling, tangy with the omnipresent antiseptic taste of a doctor's office.
Gauze bandages swath the left side of her face from forehead to jaw, more of it around her throat. They are clean and brilliant white, appearing a theatrical affectation if not for the rips in her coat and shirt, another in her left thigh around which a red-orange stain has dried, smelling undefinably of some industrial solvent or fluid.

From the hallway does Cyril lead Mike towards the furthest door in the hallway, the doctor's arms folded over his chest with an ambivalent expression on his face. Appropriate to the role, the doctor wears a light lab coat over blue scrubs and a khaki pair of pants. "I didn't expect you to visit me so soon, Mike. But it appears there are extenuating circumstances which draw you and I together. Interesting, is it not?" Cyril stops at the door when they arrive, "Just knock before entering."

The strangest email he ever expected to get, perhaps, has brought Mike Drakos from his usual haunts in the depths of Hudson Bay — or whatever that bit of East River is, where Ellis Island is hidden away. He's carrying a satchel and a strange looking motorized skateboard thing. The satchel is olive-drab, the skateboard thing white with red flames on it, and a long handle.
"Fascinating," Mike answers in an unreasonably good imitation of Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy, not the new guy). He knocks on the door. "It's Mike Drakos, you emailed me."

At the sound of the knock, there is a click from the other side of the door, soft and muffled. Then a pause. "Come in." As the door opens, Mike and Cyril are greeted with the dark circle of a gun barrel, Echo's left arm fully extended. A full second of tension passes before her thumb moves to flick the safety back on. "Good," says the woman.
She puts the pistol down again. "You came. I need you."

Cyril's eyebrow perks as the door is opened, but he ultimately doesn't say anything in regard to the gun barrel.
Following after Mike, Cyril closes the door behind himself. "Hopefully you can help her." says Cyril.

Robot in Disguise, and Android Revealed, apparently; Mike looks at the bandages and his still-quite-limited sense of smell identifies several pentene and benzene complexes that are toxic to humans to varying degrees, but common enough in lubricants of various kinds. (Of course he can smell toxins but not food, thank you ten-year-old Mikey.)
"Who have you been fighting, so that I know not to get in their way?" Mike asks. He places the skateboard on the floor against the wall, just inside the door where it's within easy reach, and unslings the satchel from his left shoulder.
"I have a repair kit but it may not be compatible. I can deal with some standard problems. I doubt I can do full repairs, of course."

"Didn't ever learn his name. White skull mask, body armor. Lots of weapons. Fast. Faster than me. Faster than Charlie was." Echo turns her good eye from Mike and gestures to Cyril. "You know the doctor. He knows what I am. I killed him for it. But then he got better."

Without commenting on her attempted execution of Cyril, Mike glances at the man, then back at her. He frowns.
"That sounds like the Taskmaster, aka Tony Masters. He's an Avengers-level threat. As in, with proper preparation, he can personally take down several of the Avengers. Did someone hire him to come after you?"
Because nobody would ATTACK the Taskmaster, not without knowing who and what he is, not without considerable preparation.
Mike pulls a medical supplies case out of the satchel and opens it on a tray-table. The things inside do not look like something appropriate for a human, though.
"May I examine your injuries? Which is most critical?"

"I get better a lot," replies Cyril, moving over towards a table next to the operating table that Echo was sitting on.

A gyroscope with a bullet lodged into it is removed from the table and Cyril walks back over to Mike, "I opened her head and removed her gyroscope. Her muscle fibers are separated from an anchor in her leg. I also have tools around here."

"No, I was sent to him. I was told it was to ask for a job. Apparently, it was to dispose of me instead." Without ceremony, Echo begins to pull away the gauze. Her left eye is revealed first, a ruined cracked glass orb like a crystal ball carelessly dropped. Beyond that, the synthetic skin over the majority of the left side of her face has been torn away, revealing dull silver-white metal and black bundles of muscle fiber under her cheek. "Optics are damaged. Several systems have had connections severed but appear otherwise unda-###" Her voice squawks, a noise somewhere between feedback and an improperly used auto-tune. She scowls. "Undamaged, though there are recurring errors. Primary memory and processor is offline after being damaged. I don't know how badly. And the primary gyroscope-" She gestures at the little cylinder with the bullet lodged in it. "Is toast. Those are the most critical."

Mike recognizes the gyroscope as part of the guidance system used in stealth missiles and certain kinds of robots; he has one similar to it in his own head, though his is not the right form factor; clearly they have a custom housing.
"I might be able to achieve a temporary patch to the leg, depending on the kind of fiber they made her muscles with. I've been working with graphenes but … irrelevant detail. Let me see. It will give me an idea of how much I'll be able to do with the rest of it."
He drops his induced image in order to provide more processing bandwidth to his analysis, and goes from 'Kid' to 'Denizen of Uncanny Valley' within an instant, when his face opens to allow access to his interface slots for the analytic tools he has to use. USB, mostly, but still… face opens.

Perhaps more startling, Cyril isn't phased at all. In fact, he just wanders over to a drawer to dig through it. After a small amount of time, the doctor returns with a small brass gyroscope, "I've actually got this gyroscope from 1984. I think it might work given proper adaptation. I've also disconnected her eye motor as it was jammed. Didn't want to burn it out."

Echo arches her right eyebrow, but could hardly be said to be creeped out by the face-opening. She stands briefly and simply pulls her pants down. The wound, high on her left thigh as if she were struck side-on, is a few inches across and down to the metal bone. Bundles of synthetic muscles wrapped in flexible black cloth housings twitch, unattached to anything. A bracket, acting like an organic tendon, has fractured and the muscle bundles have flopped free. A conspicuously jury-rigged patch joins two sections of tubing, sluggishly pumping the ochre fluid that stains the jeans and her skin. "I wish I could help you," Echo says, having to twist her head to the side to bring her right eye in line to watch. "But I don't have any documentation."

"It could, I'd have to test it," Mike replies. He's lying, a bit - anything older than two years will not have the right interfaces, but perhaps a hack job could work temporarily for the gyro. Meanwhile he studies the muscle fibers in the leg, zooming in to a resolution that requires him to sit absolutely still, not even engine vibrations can get through… And done with that. He looks for the LMD style pseudo-nerve-bundles that should let him interface to the leg, to order the muscles to relax. If he finds them, he'll begin connecting the probe from the repair kit, then plug in. He's strong enough to hold the muscle in place but not to get it to stay while the glue cures AND juggle the glue applicator.

Cyril steps to the side and otherwise stays to the side.

Note that Mike is recording everything he can so it'll be possible to identify who created Echo. While hesitant, he's been logging his encounters with her in his personal log at Barnes, so if he ends up dead or disappeared they will find out about her. Having heard that she killed Cyril, he's going to have to report her existence, but he'll do it to one of his advisors first - preferably to that Stark fellow.

There is very little that's 'standard' about this kind of android's design. Almost all of it seems to be custom-manufactured. Nothing is helpfully labeled, and without documentation it is doubly difficult. Echo leans back, gripping the opposite edge of the table to keep her balance as she consciously relaxes her legs as much as she's able.
The muscles, even when properly connected, are under constant tension, though Mike's strength is sufficient to wrestle them into position. Holding them there is another matter. "Ahh, yes," she says, the tone of someone remembering something. "Right wrist joint is also damaged. I think he was trying to cut it off with a sword."

"That would fit his Modus Operandi. Cyril, please inject precisely one CC of the blue-green substance in the third syringe from the left into the spot that I have marked with crosshairs, when I say to go."
There is a large syringe in the toolkit at the indicated location. Mike shifts his grip on the synthetic muscle, carefully, to allow him to line the "tendon" with the insertion point without overly squeezing the muscle. Something like a laser-sight is painting a crosshair on the insertion point, in red. Once done, holding the cable in place, a bright blue light comes from Mike's eyes, shining on the glue. It takes about a minute; if Mike manages to hold it there without problems, then it will seal… it's not as strong as originally, no more than half to three-quarters what it should be, but it will allow some mobility. And a new bracket could then be attached. That part's fairly simple. Oh yes. There's a fairly vile aroma while the glue cures, not surprisingly.

Cyril moves from the side to dig around and pull out the syringe. Moving towards Echo, the syringe is put directly into the bullseye, spot on. One CC of the glue is injected, "My modus operandi only applies to living things.."
There's a pause as Cyril looks quite seriously at Mike, "But I'd say she has some echo of a soul. I believe it."

Echo isn't bothered by the smell, thankfully. Her head twists to watch the process with her remaining eye, looking temporarily better when the ruined half is hidden from view. After curing in the ultraviolet light, the adhesive is fixed and, perhaps surprisingly, holds. "You're really quite multi-purpose, aren't you?" she remarks to Mike appreciatively. "Almost makes me regret specialization." Her good eye goes a bit flat, lips pursing in Cyril's direction. "Was that a pun, doctor?"

Mike smirks. But without the image inducer, it probably doesn't show, especially with his face open. Meanwhile he attaches a device to one of his ports, and uses it to suction up any random bits of the broken brace that he can then removes any other bits that aren't attached to anything. Go Go Gadget Micro-Vac! As for the brace, it's mostly a goner as it is. Mike has a very similar replacement in the kit: a spiral, nylon cable-restraint system. Easily threaded around the synthetic muscle almost as if it were designed for that purpose.
"Are you satisfied with the repair on the fluid pipe? I have a number of standard cylindrical repair units, but I don't have the specs on your systems, and it would be best if I could use the right one."
The robot guy begins a database search on pipes, conduits, and hoses. His internal parts database is scary good, but then he's been doing research for his own reasons.

Cyril smirks towards Echo, "It probably wasn't. You're lucky to have Mike here to fix you up." The doctor steps back and refastens the syringe to where it was before returning to the sidelines, "What do you think the next step will be, Mike?"

Echo twists as far as she's able, peering into the opening in her leg. "I believe that line is not highly pressurized, but a permanent fix would be better than a temporary one to stop leakage. Repair it, if you're able." The eye flicks up and down the clear eighth-inch thick tube. "I… can't properly gauge its size without binocular vision." She glances sidelong at Cyril, unconvinced by his answer because of the smirk.

"Once I finish with what I can, and ensure that there is nothing which might trigger an emergency self-destruct, I will need to investigate places to acquire more in-depth repairs. This may require that I inform others of Echo's existence and nature, which of course will require her prior consent." A finger-test determines that it is in fact not high-pressure. Mike affixes two clamps, one on each side of the patch.
The materials database says there are only a small number of clear materials with the flexibility required, even though this stuff isn't marked with the usual manufacturer marks. Still. There is a common patch … he wipes down the tube with a shop cloth, removes the old patch, catching the small amount of fluid in a tube (for later analysis). Then he brushes the two ends with something from another syringe and slips a clear two-inch patch over the top. The same blue-light gaze as earlier causes it to contract down a bit, then a switch to a green light causes the glue to seal and cure. Except for the slight raised area, you wouldn't know it was a patch.
The clamps come off. "Finished with that." The robot kid considers whether to seal the leg, deciding that it would be easier to repair later without it. So he starts placing a clean bandage.
What was that bit earlier? Emergency self-destruct? Of course. Standard equipment in military-grade kill-bots. Several of Mike's (on-network) friends have them, to his extreme disapproval.

"The self-destruct failsafe is currently disabled," Echo supplies helpfully. She is quick to add, "It can be re-enabled, manually or by command-line. But I wouldn't recommend it. It's kind of a bitch to turn off again." She looks briefly troubled at something Mike said. "While I want as few people as possible to know about me, it'd be hard for them to affect repairs *without* knowing." A petulant sigh plays accompaniment to her remaining eye rolling upwards.
"I'm increasingly convinced I can't possibly neutralize everyone who learns of me. You're too useful," she says to Mike. "You won't stay down," Cyril is told. "And as for this Taskmaster…" That one is left to trail off, unclarified.

Cyril shrugs smugly in the corner, "The sooner you realize that I'm right, the better you'll be. I told you so."

"Mr. Masters is too good at being not-killed," Mike says, smirking invisibly at Cyril's response. "You're not the first to discover this, though for some reason he decided not to finish the job. Show me your right wrist, please?"
The damage there is most likely not within his ability to fix, as wrists are complicated things, human or otherwise.
And Mike's got a second instance of his consciousness searching his parts databases for anything on her damaged optic.
His own eyes - most of his parts, actually - are four-dimensional to some degree, so would not work too well for other mechanical people. He'd have to take the damaged one apart to find out what would be needed to fix it.

"There were extenuating circumstances." Echo folds her hand over the newly bandaged thigh. The flesh is parted, scalpel clean, revealing a complex floating joint laid bare. It is not a single hinge or universal joint, but a complicated interplay of several smaller balls and sockets like a reverse-engineered set of carpal bones. Close but not exact. It is also a mess, one of the joints cut nearly in two, deforming the spherical rotator and causing the ragged edges to grind against the one next to it, rubbing and scratching it to a brushed bright shine.

Mike winces (with body language) at the sight of friction. Friction is the enemy of movement.
"I was right - I can't fix that with what I have here. Now the eye … all your parts are non-standard. Even the standard parts are custom-made without manufacturers' marks, probably so nobody could track down your manufacturer or operators. I could repair or fabricate a replacement for parts of that, but I'd have to remove it. Strangely enough, though, I can fix the integument on your face, though it won't look perfect. Again, a patch. My LMD friends have a similar structure for that, and their repair kit should be compatible."

"Pandora Innovations," Echo supplies without prompting or arm-twisting. She doesn't much seem to care. She studies the wrist dispassionately for a moment before drawing it back. "It's still largely functional, for now. It'll do. However fixing the cosmetic damage, while not systems critical, will still help greatly. Please do."

The temperature around Mike's prosthetic brain goes up by a good 10 degrees for a moment as he brings his auxiliary quantum processor bank online to do a database search. There is precious little in his records about Pandora Innovations, but there are leads which he can follow later - though it'll require more actual digging to find out anything even remotely useful.
"OK. Hold still." The facial repair is straightforward. Several sticky sheets, double-sided, cut to the correct shape and size, affixed to the appropriate bone and muscle analogues. A foaming plastic poured out in a set of shallow dishes gels up into a passable replacement for the skin and fatty tissue analogues that were removed; the final pass is to use another spray-on plastic, then a texturizing patch is applied and removed to give the correct 'tone'. When done, it looks as close as Mike can remember to her original face, not quite the right color, but with a normal "makeup" it will look … unremarkable. Even the small bullet hole on the throat is patched.

"Thank you," Echo replies, moving her mouth as little as possible for now to avoid disturbing the patch as it sets.
Her hand moves under her shirt, following the thin tail of the orange extension cord. With the ratchet-pop of opening solenoids, the cable comes loose and she lays it on the table next to her. The plug is decidedly non-standard as well, dark stains of electrical burns on the four metal prongs arranged on what looks to have once been the ceramic ring of a light socket. If it weren't obvious from the electrical tape, solder, and exposed white insulation of the flayed orange rubber, it's been improvised and rather handily, at that. She shifts to put her feet on the floor, gingerly testing the leg's ability to take weight.

"So, Dr.," Mike says to Cyril as Echo tests her mobility, "is my bedside manner better suited to being a mechanic? And did I miss anything?"

"A vastly improved repair, if I may say. Your skill and technique is really quite remarkable, Mike. Though you didn't offer her a lollipop, and for that I am taking off bonus points." says Cyril with a tight-lipped smile. "I'm glad to see some semblance of functionality restored."
The smile fades after a short pause, "I'd like to speak to you in private over another matter later, though."

Echo looks at herself in the reflective surface of cabinet door. The two hues of flesh don't exactly match, one a little too sallow or the other a little too pink, but the discoloration of her cheek and the small patch on her throat is minor in comparison to the improvement. She turns this way and that. "Sunglasses will help hide the eye, I think, until it can be properly replaced. The leg is much improved. Thank you."

"I always forget the lollipop," Mike says to the doctor. "All the Jeeps in the motor pool complain about that too." He nods, and his human seeming reappears as he restarts the image inducer. No more shiny metallic-white paint, no more motionless face (especially as he spits out the USB cable and starts putting the repair kit back together. Although he'll have to explain why he borrowed it.)
"You're quite welcome. And I will contact you once I am able to find a way for you to effect real repairs."

With the repairs done and friendly quips done, Cyril slowly makes for the door, "I have some things to do, I'll see you at home, Echo. Goodbye, Mike. I trust you can find your way out." The door opens, Cyril steps out, the door closes.

"I'd still ask that you tell as few people as possible," Echo cautions. With her undamaged left hand, she scoops up the pistol and knife laid out carefully on the counter as though they too were surgical tools, slipping one then the other into concealed holsters on her person. She winds up the jury-rigged charging cable. "I'm grateful, though. Make no mistake about that."

Mike returns the kit to the satchel, swings it over his shoulder. "Take care, Echo. Please don't kill anyone else for a while. Most people … don't come back when you do that. They can't be fixed."
He opens the door, one hand on his skateboard-thing, and (even though it's indoors) kicks off down the hallway and out. Then there's a noise of a large motorcycle engine starting, roaring off quickly into the distance.

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