2011-06-22: Trust Is Still An Issue

Players: Emma & Theo

Emma_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo's activities have not gone un-noticed, but they are not met with the expected response. However, rifts still remain.

Date: June 22, 2011

Log Title: Trust is Still An Issue

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Garage

Home to various cars of teachers and X-men, the garage can house at least twenty vehicles. There is also an area that has a auto body shop set up so students and teachers and work on their cars. Almost any tool a mechanic needs can be found in this garage.

With the end of classes, Theo has started his week at the Flushing Plant, and when he's not there, he's in the garage. His favorite place on campus, because he can come here and most people don't bother him. He can happily take things apart and put them back together, and lately, the thing he's been working on is Proto. For the last couple of months, the small bot has been looking different. Small pieces at a time, he's gotten bigger, and a little faster than he used to be. Still not a large robot, but Theo's creation has been going under some rennovations. The nature of which he's been very careful to cover his tracks on.

And here he is. He's wearing a white wife-beater, covered in grease, and a pair of old jeans as he uses a wrench to tighten a bolt on Proto, who is expanded all across the workbench. The edges of his insides are surprisingly smooth, though, not jagged as one might expect, and seems to take a rather humanoid shape when fully laid out.

From behind the young man, a pristine Bostonian accented voice pipes up, "Good afternoon Theodore… understand you are busy, but I believe we need to have a slight discussion about a few things." The pleasant voice is of course Emma Frost, dressed in her usual immaculate white pantsuit, the front unbuttoned and showing off the winter-white leather bustierre worn underneath. As she steps forwards, without permission she starts looking at one of the pieces of exposed circuitry for herself.

The response is instinctive. As if Theo had been caught without a towel getting out of the shower, so is the movement he makes upon hearing Emma's voice. Proto folds up quickly, and Theo drops the wrench, which gets stuck inside as the robot finishes closing. The result is that the little guy can't quite finish his process, and is left in a rather awkward partly closed position. "Emma! Jeez you scared the hell out of me!" It doesn't take a telepath to know that he feels exposed at the moment. His mind races to thoughts of hiding things, and instantly starts taking a systematic inventory of everything he's been working on in the room. Part way through the process, he stops abruptly, and refocuses on Emma, rather than mentally give away all of the things he's been working on in the last few months in one fell swoop. "Didn't think you were allowed in here. You might get dirty, you know."

When you look back, she is examining a spot of grease on her glove from where she was touching Proto's chassis. Rolling the glove back and forth her eyes flick back towards you as you bring your gaze to her, and your thoughts come focused once more, and it causes Emma to chuckle a bit, "Theodore… I'm the Headmistress of the entire school, and an X-man… when I choose to be. Ask yourself this… why would I be disallowed from any place?" Walking around the table, she stops in front of you, and the smile remains in place, "However… I am here because of concerns brought to me by others. Do you have the time to talk while you work?"

She missed the rib, so maybe she wasn't reading his mind after all, or maybe she's just covering it. Whichever the case, her seeming lack of recognition of the joke oddly puts Theo at ease a little more. Theo studies Emma's eyes for a few moments, as if trying to use telepathy on her, which of course he can't. "I guess," he finally answers. "But if this is about the iPod I already bought her another one, and even a better one! Proto has done way less damage around here than most of the students, and it was a one time thing."

It's the mention of Proto that makes Emma cease her observations, and then turn her head to look back at you before saying, "Proto's mass and complexity has increased by several factors recently. Normally, I would not be concerned, but Doctor McCoy brought this to my attention, and we observed Proto from security footage, and used extrapolation software to time-lapse the changes, and overlay them on the original design." Her look however does not seem to be cold or admonishing, "Theodore… the faculty is worried you are building something you do not understand, or could lose control of. You have done Danger Room training, and not a single year passes that we do not teach about the Sentinel Program."

Theo wrinkles his nose, tilting his head back as he regards Emma. "You think that Proto is a Sentinel? I mean, I'm flattered you think I'm that smart, but…seriously? Proto isn't going on a killing rampage any time soon. That's just silly paranoia." He seems to genuinely dismiss the idea that Proto is a threat. "I mean, I work on Proto all the time, I have a full and complete understanding of his AI. There's no way he could get out of my control. My ability to control machines is advancing faster than Proto's learning curve."

Emma's reply is almost sad, "Doctor Henry Pym thought the same thing about his first Ultron design… didn't he. Now look at what happened there. The Sentinels were eventually co-opted by the Master Mold and Nimrod units to their own ends…" However, she stops before going on, "Theodore… this is not a request. There are too many factors to take into consideration. The staff and security needs of the school require that we have our own failsafe install in Proto, in case of such an eventuality, one we can engage should you be either unconscious, or complicit in it's actions. I thought it best that we discuss this in person, instead of you being impersonally called to my office." She looks back at Proto once more, running fingers along an outer plate, "Truly a marvel."

"Henry Pym wasn't a technopath, either," Theo counters sourly, clearly in disagreement with Emma's estimation of the situation. "And Tony's never had an AI go crazy. Proto's AI was built off of one of his designs." The thought goes through his mind, Stupid people scared of what they don't understand. No different from the FOH, just a different fear. "I don't care if there's a failsafe on him, but I'm not making one that will fry his brain. And I don't want people using it as a toy every time he does something that is a little annoying."

"Yes they are scared, Theodore. Scared that this wonderful invention will turn on you because it becomes too complex for even your mind and training to understand. Scared FOR you. Not of you." Emma replies with a deep sigh, and then shakes her head, "The protocol I am the advocate for will be a one-inch long secondary bolt in the main power array. Easy to replace with the right tools, but on remote command small explosive bolts will implode and eject that part, and that part alone. It is designed to cause minimal damage to any other components, and leave Proto's core memory processes intact." There's another pause as she adds, "I should know. I designed it myself and had it vetted by Forge this morning."

There's an initial internal cringe with the word 'explosive', but the teen calms a little as it's explained. Not blowing something up. "Just a simple disconnect is easy, and can be independent of the rest of Proto's information. He wouldn't even know it was there." He folds his arms across his chest. "But you're not going to need it. I'm smart enough to learn from other people's mistakes so I don't make a robot that's going to go crazy kill people. Which, by the way, is very hard to do on purpose, let alone by accident. Proto doesn't even have any weapons." Yet.

Emma actually chuckles a bit once more, and then tilts her head in a rather cheshire fashion at the young man, "With that attitude, you're never going to go far in government contracting. The first lesson… if you are funded by someone, then you will have to live with the conditions and terms of the contract. Money costs. And so do the parts for Proto. Regardless of where you've obtained them, you've used Xavier facilities to build him and test him… correct?"

Theo rolls his eyes in the manner only an obstinate teen can. Here we go. "Yeah," he answers. "Maybe I'll just overthrow the government and then I can make what I want. You wanna be Secretary of State?" Of course he's not serious. Then again, his future self was, and even had a working plan to make it happen.

"Push as many buttons as you want, Theodore… I am immune to your barbs, and have more patience than your obstinance can defeat.", Once more she touches Proto, then shifting the cover plate aside, Emma takes a look inside, some of the workings, before making a small cluck of disapproval, "You really should change these servomotor systems to run in parallel instead of in tandem… you would lose some available power, but you would make up for it in system response time, and be able to rebuild the musculature for increased output." A wry grin crosses her face, "Please… I've built weapons to swap people's minds… you think some basic robotics is beyond me?"

At Emma's suggestion, Theo mentally unravels a blueprint of Proto's power system. Actually, that'd work. He doesn't answer verbally, but instead seems to have been given a second thought to create an empty pocket in the physical structure by using a similar principle in the mechanics structure. Could mount something at the left shoulder. "Well, give me another year. I don't plan for Proto to stay basic. Got another one I have been drafting, but if you don't like Proto's upgrades, you sure as hell wouldn't let me build this one."

Emma purses her lips into something of a smirk while she moves around the other side of the table and then turns to leave, "Agree to install the implosion bolt on Proto's power systems, and I will talk to Forge and Doctor McCoy about your use of more advanced facilities for your next project. We would also like documentation we can read showing all changes to Proto and your new project as they are done. If you add any offensive systems without first advising us as staff here, you will have your privileges revoked, and the offending items will be removed by US from Proto. We recognize he is yours… we will not change this, Theodore. But this is a school, and we have rules. Work with us, and you may find yourself highly surprised at what can be provided."

Then she adds thoughtfully, "Unless of course, you do not wish any of your work here to be counted towards your credits for an Engineering degree. I'm sure the people at MIT would adore a young man like yourself with a passion for robotics…"

"Yeah, I can put in a failsafe," Theo agrees. "He's gonna have a taser, it's not that offensive. And some small cutting instruments, don't know if that counts. Just don't want to be caught without protection whenever Heather's Dad shows up to try to mind scramble me. Figure something like Proto is the best weapon against him." He gives his own smirk in return. "I've been talking with MIT since September. They might get to have me if they can offer enough." The advantages of being a boy genius, the universities have to impress him more than he has to impress them.

"Sensible." Emma adds as the door opens, "However… no… nevermind. Some things are best learned on one's own." And on that ominous note, she departs, but the echo on your mind remains, Have all your paperwork to us by Mid-July, Theodore Fegenbush, and proof of the installation. And for God's sake, boy… you're just as bad as Anthony. I'm amazed there's room in here for your intellect with all this ego getting in the way.

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