Transmigration 9: Brave New Worlds

Pan-fandom, SciFi, and Screwed-Up

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Perfection is in the mind that makes mistakes [Open] [Bendytimed after SHODAN]
Atom: oh no
tetsuwan_atom wrote in trans_9
The Vatican was empty now of the sounds of fighting, but one didn't have to look hard to spot reminders of SHODAN's attack on the ship. Laser burns here, a crumbled section of wall there, a bloodstain...

Atom wandered over the grounds, collecting pieces of the ruined droidekas and other robots that had attacked the crew, carefully piling the larger shells up in one corner and placing the smaller pieces into a large bag he'd found. It was all he had, really, to store them in. He faltered briefly when his fingers found a shattered eyepiece or the blasted remains of a CPU, but he continued onward anyway. It was like sifting through the bodies of the fallen, which was something he tried not to dwell on too long. Someone had to clean this place up, and with all the damage, likely people would want to reuse the old robot parts. And another crew member... well, they wouldn't be anywhere near as delicate with the broken robots as he was.

But he still felt like a vulture. Or a grave robber, maybe, scouring the battlefield for body parts that were still fairly intact, still had use. Still had value.

And in the end, wasn't that all the people around him cared about? He'd seen the way the crew had reacted when the robots had first appeared: shattering their frames with abandon, killing them without a thought. To them, no doubt, robots were just soulless, malfunctioning machines -- maybe even monsters. Certainly nothing to be mourned, nothing worthy of sympathy.

He found a small, slender piece of metal and plastic on the ground and recognized it instantly for what it was. A memory chip, simplistic in design, no doubt from one of the fallen droids. For a moment, Atom held it in his small hand, curling his fingers over it, feeling the grooves along its otherwise smooth surface. Then he unzipped his hoodie slightly, revealing a small indentation near the center of his chest. He inserted the chip carefully into the reader there, closing his eyes and holding one hand over his chest as he did so, as if feeling the beating of his own heart.

The droids were simple robots, built for battle. They'd been designed and programmed to kill people designated as enemies, to hurt them, so it hadn't been hard for SHODAN to simply designate all humans as targets. Atom could only struggle to understand why this had been allowed to happen. In his world, robots helped humans -- they were construction workers, designers, policemen, travel agents, teachers. They were people. Programming them to kill was a crime. And why? Why create something whose only purpose was to kill?

But that was the crux of it, wasn't it? Robots were limited by their programming; if someone programmed them to kill, they had no choice but to do so, regardless of what they might actually want. Only advanced robots could, perhaps, be said to be capable of overriding that programming. And the most advanced robots of all, the ones closest to being human...

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Atom wasn't the only one coming back to the wreckage. Cedric was here to pick up some of the things he'd left behind during his stay, stepping over pieces and worrying about parts of the battle that had spiraled out of control. He'd been nearly useless and it scared him...

...yet here his savior was, looking even worse for the wear. Cedric debated talking to him. Sometimes a person with that face just wanted to be left alone, but there was a chance...

"Hey. Do you need a hand?"

Atom started slightly at the sound of Cedric's voice. It was a strangely human trait -- but then, he had been designed to be human. Or at least to act as human as possible.

He smiled a little on instinct; his automatic response was to comfort people who were upset or hurt, minimize whatever was bothering him. "That's okay. I'm just cleaning up. How are you doing? Did your magic all come back?"

Cedric was hurt, but only physically. Human skin was fragile like that, and all the visible skin under his sleeves was bandaged. The slice above his eye was lovely too.

Atom seemed alright, but he wondered. Cedric knelt down to help lift stray pieces, careful not to cut himself further.

"It's restored. It just scared me for a while, knowing how useless I was. I could hardly do anything but run and hide. What about you?"

Atom frowned as he looked over the bandages and Cedric's cut. He looked pretty beat up.

"Hey, watch out if you're going to do that. There's some stuff that still has a charge." Always looking out for human safety, that was Atom.

"I'm okay. I didn't get my abilities taken away from me like a bunch of the rest of the crew. I'm sorry you were so scared."

"I wasn't that scared," Cedric said rather unconvincingly. He had to get better than this.

"But I'll help you. How can you tell what's still charged without touching it?" He took in the sight of the wreckage, still unaware of precisely what that meant to Atom.

Atom smiled a little, then put down the bag. "Really, it's all right. I was going to take a break anyway. But I'd stay away from the larger..."

A brief pause, then, as if for thought. "The larger pieces, with all the damaged circuitry and power unit still attached. Some of the humanoid robots have explosive fuel cells."

Humanoid robots. That was a funny term catching his attention. It meant that they were human-shaped, but that was just a function, right? He looked down at it, then back up. It also described Atom.

"Oh---did you want me to take a break with you? I can grab anything you need."

Fuu wasn't sure to do now that the threat of SHODAN had been removed. She still wasn't part of any department, so she didn't really have instructions to follow. Still, merely resting was unacceptable to her; she hadn't sustained any severe injuries during the fighting.

She was looking for Clef, but that was just part of it--if there was anyone hurt or lost, Fuu wanted to help. With her magic back, she could heal again. When she heard the vague noises of stirring at the Vatican, she hurried over to investigate--someone trapped? But it turned out to be Atom, investigating the destroyed battle robots.

To Fuu's great relief, he looked uninjured; she didn't think she had the ability to properly repair him. But 'uninjured' and 'all right' were two different things. "Hello, Atom-san."

He looked up from what he was currently doing -- inspecting a large power unit. It looked like it was made of explosive material. "Oh, hey, Miss Fuu. You know, you can just call me Atom. I look younger than you."

"How have you been?"

"If you insist," Fuu said, smiling a little in spite of herself. Her typical habit of politeness to excess might not have extended to a child, but when it was a famous fictional hero she'd thought that the respectfulness was warranted.

But the smile was short-lived. "I'm..." For a moment, Fuu was going to say all right, but that would be like Hikaru's assertions that she was fine when she blatantly was anything but. "Well, I didn't suffer any severe injuries in the fighting, but I don't know if I'm all right." She looked him over. "And you?"

Atom smiled back, reassuringly. "Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I think it'll take the crew a while to recover from everything that happened. And anyway, i didn't get damaged or anything, either. I'm not magical, so I still had my abilities during all the fighting."

Fuu had been lucky; he'd seen Cedric, who had been a little beat up.

Fuu nodded. To experience such a betrayal from the ship itself... the battle in the pod caverns... it was like getting the rug pulled out from under her. Not that it had been very secure in the first place.

"I'm glad you didn't have any trouble fighting," she said sincerely. "Those robots that SHODAN released were truly vicious."

He flinched a little at her words, drawing himself back. "No... I didn't do much."

Fuu chided herself inwardly at Atom's wince. He was a robot too--she knew that he had been designed to be a boy rather than a tool of war, but it might have been even worse for him to deal with them than an organic person like her. "I'm sorry," she said. "That was tactless. It must have been very difficult for you."

"It's okay," he said. "Actually, I guess I should get used to that kind of thing, considering what we're up against."

There were people on his own world that disliked robots, of course, but the events of the last few days had left things a little closer to the surface than usual. Once again, he was left to turn over the old questions in his mind -- why did people create robots? Why did they give them feelings?

"And besides, it was a lot tougher on the people who had their family... killed."

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