Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

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    Jo Pistonne
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    Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:31 am

    Time: 6:51 p.m.
    Date: April 1, 2012

    "Hnnnnnghh..."

    Jo hadn't been a happy camper these past few days. Everything was going wrong in her shop. Tools weren't working, machines were faulty and acting up, and she couldn't even get a decent channel on the radio anymore! Don't even get her started on the sudden flurry of customers. People demanding that she fix their phones, their computers, anything that was faulty and falling apart on them all of a sudden. Did she look like a technician? She dealt with machines, not laptops. Still, she found it funny -- funny-weird, that is -- how everything technology-based was pretty much falling apart.

    But it wasn't only machines. The air itself was dry, all the plants in her garden were wilting, and food just tasted plain awful. Today, her food hadn't tasted right at all. She couldn't even get a kick from her favorite soda! And that was nothing compared to how she felt. She was grumpier, yeah. But she also felt more tired than ever, more drained. Like she was on the verge of getting sick, but not quite there yet. It was irritating, as well as frustrating. She'd even heard Brent Starkisser on the news, as fritzy as her holo-set was, and he of all people looked shaken up. She thought she'd never live to see the day.

    She slumped in her chair, rubbing her eyes with a tired hand. Something weird was going on. And she had the funny feeling it was gonna be one of those band-together-to-save-the-world kind of things too... great.
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:24 pm

    It was not long after Jo slumped in her chair that she would have heard the bell on the door ring. She would be glad it wasn't a customer, but when she saw the condition of who it was, she might end up rather worried instead. It was Lawrence walking through the door, and he didn't look all that well though he wasn't damaged in any way. He seemed rather dazed, his optics blinking dully as he held one hand to his right audio receptor, trying to futilely block out a sound only he could hear.

    And while Jo felt tired, Lawrence certainly sounded it as he called for her. "Jo? Please, could you examine me? This static . . . nothing I've tried will make it stop. It's almost too much to bear . . . my mind was so quiet, once. It's only been a few days, but it feels like so much longer."

    Indeed, he was beginning to feel the strain, though in a few days time he would probably be wishing things had remained at this state.
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    [INACT.] P|20XY
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by [INACT.] P|20XY on Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:46 am

    In the meantime, Proxy was on the shop's first floor, tinkering away at a repair or other. Or at least, he was trying to. He just couldn't muster up enough of his proxies to cooperate in order to do so. He'd been on the same spot for half an hour now with no end in sight. "BwoooOOOOOooo..."

    Being composed of seven million proxies often had its perks. But for the past three days, it had been nothing but a nuisance. None of his platforms could reach an adequate consensus half of the time, which pretty much left him grasping at straws in the dark and have to -- cosmos forbid -- work on instinct. Which up until now he'd never dreamed he'd have to do. It was unnatural for him to react in such a way.

    And then there was the static, hovering just in the back of his processors. A low hum, and a faint voice. Saying something... about time. What? Proxy had been quick to dismiss this as a malfunction, but no amount of self-diagnostics had brought about any viable results. And if he were to be honest with himself, he was unnerved at the whispers and static. Was something happening to Portal Breach? All the robots? Only time would tell.

    The bell of the shop rang, which was a surprise when they were closed. But after a quick scan, Proxy realized it was Lawrence and decided not to interfere. He stayed where he was, quiet, hidden. He heard what Lawrence told Jo, however. And it only made his fears worse...
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:54 am

    It was a good thing Jo was sitting at the front desk with every intention to come up with a list of orders to handle first thing tomorrow morning, or else she wouldn't have been the first one to encounter Lawrence when he suddenly came in. She looked up in surprise. "Oh, Lawrence! What're you doing here? I thought..."

    Her question died on her lips when she got a good look at the robot and heard how shaky his voice sounded. In a blink, she was on her feet, already by his side. "Lawrence, what's wrong?" Oh, she tried to keep the worry out of her voice, but she hadn't seen him ever act like this before. Static, he said? Was whatever affecting the technology in Portal Breach affecting Lawrence too?

    "Where does it hurt exactly?" she asked, helping him sit down so she could take a better look at him.
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:04 pm

    Lawrence allowed Jo to guide him to a seat, even accepting the help to sit down. He wasn't physically tired, given what he was that was actually fairly impossible, but mentally he just wanted to curl up and sleep forever even if the static would follow him into his dreams. Knowing Jo would take a look at him now helped him to stay calm, even if he wasn't sure she could really help. The last self-diagnostic he ran hadn't come up with anything, after all.

    At Jo's question, the butler looked up at her, trying his best to focus. "It doesn't hurt, not exactly. There is just this constant static in my audio receptors, steadily growing worse since the last day of March. It is quite difficult to focus with this continually distracting me . . . even worse, I am beginning to hear what sounds like a voice in the static, just someone repeating the phrase 'It is time'. It is worrisome, malfunctioning like this and not knowing the cause..."
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:24 am

    "Maybe there's something wrong with your audio receptors," she suggested. It was always likely given how nothing seemed to be working right anymore. "Let's take a look..."

    Not unlike a doctor, she pulled out a curious tool from her belt that she swiped over Lawrence's audio receptors and peered into via a small screen. The mechanic made a small humming sound, checking each receptor thoroughly before moving to the next, and even giving them a second look-over. "I don't see anything wrong with them, no... Do you mind if I take a look at your processor?"

    The mention of a voice was... unnerving, to say the least. Jo didn't hear voices in her head to begin with, but she knew she'd be spooked if she heard someone repeating something in her ear! She didn't bring any attention to Lawrence's statement, however. Just because it was unusual didn't mean it warranted spooking the poor butler out even more...
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:55 am

    Lawrence held still while Jo checked his audio receptors, but as expected, this scan didn't come up with anything either. He ran a quick diagnostic on them one more time to be sure, and the results were the same: no fault or damage could be found. It was both a relief and a worry that his audio receptors weren't malfunctioning . . . if they were perfectly normal, then why was he still hearing static?

    Jo's next suggestion was to check his processor, and even as much as that brought up the thought that he might be going crazy, Lawrence couldn't help but agree with her. That was the only other thing he could think of to check, though knowing his luck there probably wasn't an actual problem there either. He nodded, giving his consent. "I do not mind, go ahead . . . it would be best to catch a processor fault as soon as possible rather than leaving it to worsen. However, I'm not sure you'll find anything there, either."
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:46 pm

    "Don't worry, I won't ask you to power down," she reassured him. "I should be able to detect if anything's amiss with you in low-power mode. Actually... if the power's still on and you're aware, it'll be easier for me to find the fault." And don't you worry -- Jo wasn't ready to toss the gauntlet and write Lawrence off as crazy just yet. Actually, if you wanted to go down that star cruiser of thought, "crazy" robots had it easier because their issues came more often than not from a temporary glitch that could be easily fixed. Organics? Well, you couldn't just fix an organic.

    Carefully, and gently, she unfastened the hidden latch that kept Lawrence's head together. A thin line, barely noticeable, on the side of his face split open to peel back his face-plate and reveal the inner workings of his "mind", if it were to be called so. A blue glow emitted from the robot's processor, everything kept in place by wires and metal casings and a transparent, protective "shell" around the processor itself that added an additional buffer against damage and other hazards.

    Jo dug her fingers around for a bit until she managed to find the small latch to remove the shell around the processor, the blow glow intensifying as she literally exposed Lawrence's "brain" to the outside world. "Just hold still..." she cautioned in a low voice, withdrawing the same tool she had used to examine his audio processors earlier. Pressing a button on the side made the screen grow at least four times wider, which would enable her to examine him better.

    ...Of course, it was just the mechanic's dumb luck when the screen fizzed and winked out before she could even get a proper reading. "Auuugh! Stupid piece of--!" She slapped her palm against the screen a few times, trying to get it working again. "Just give me a moment... my tools aren't co-operating with me today..." Get working again, you heap of junk!

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    ---> If I'm doing this wrong, let me know and I'll edit!
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:31 pm

    Now, if this wasn't a sign that Lawrence trusted Jo with his life, nothing was. Any damage within this ordinarily heavily armored and well hidden area, any at all, would affect his mind and memory. He didn't have much in the way of sensors in there, so he couldn't really feel her poking about, though that last piece of shielding over his processor would warn him if it were opened. When that message popped up in his mind, he stiffened, though otherwise he managed to hold still as Jo told him. Inwardly he hoped this wouldn't take very long.

    Unfortunately, it seemed Jo's equipment was being affected along with everyone else's technology. Lawrence heard her complaining at the scanner even with his head in such a state. Deciding that being silent might not be the best idea, he spoke up to reassure her that he was all right. Hopefully his voice being kind of disembodied at the moment wouldn't spook her too badly. "It is fine, Jo. This is not the most comfortable state to be in, but I can hold out until you are finished."

    Even as he said that, he willed the scanner to start working again, and quickly.

    ---

    ((It's fine, there's not much in the way of canon for how the insides of the robots from his 'verse work, anyway! This works for me.))
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:16 am

    Jo had handled a lot of robots during her time and she knew that exposing a robot's processor was the most uncomfortable experience in the world for them. But she really appreciated how Lawrence stood still for the entire thing, trusting her by putting his very self into her hands. That was quite the responsibility, when you thought about it!

    And the mechanic would have gotten things over sooner if her scanner hadn't decided to fizz out on her. No amount of smacking it did the trick and she was becoming more agitated by the second. Lawrence's voice reassured her that he could wait -- him speaking in his current state was a little spooky, but not something Jo was experiencing for the first time -- but that didn't do much to -- aha! Finally!

    "Okay, we're back in business! Now gimme a few moments to work my magic..."

    Who needed sorcery when Jo was on the case, amirite?

    Now then, Jo's scanner did read Lawrence's processor correctly, but as it were, it could find no faults. No loose wires, no scraped chips, no -- hang on, a second. What have we here...? Jo zoomed in and squinted, eyes narrowing. Was that...? Oh, drats. She thought she was on to something for a second there!

    Sighing exasperatedly, she carefully screwed the bolt in more securely. Not that it really needed it, but might as well see to it since he was exposed like this. "Nothing's amiss, besides one slightly loose bolt which I fixed for you. And I doubt that was enough to make you hear static." Taking care to be gentle despite her frustration, she closed the protective "shell" over his processor again before closing his face plate and securing that too.

    She leaned back with anther sigh. "You're fine. I know you're not, but..." She rubbed her hair and worried her lower lip. "Maybe what you're experiencing is a backlash from all the tech going loco? I can't think of anything else that might be the cause... I'm sorry." What kind of a mechanic was she if she couldn't find the source of her friend's distress?!


    Last edited by Jo Pistonne on Sun May 13, 2012 6:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:49 am

    Lawrence continued to hold still as Jo worked, even as much as being this vulnerable made him want to squirm. He kept mentally repeating to himself that no, he had no reason to be frightened, and that seemed to work well enough. He held still until Jo finished, only relaxing completely when she had once again secured the processor shielding and clicked his faceplate back into place. He blinked a few times, optics recalibrating themselves, then finally he gave a sigh of relief.

    Granted, it wasn't much relief, given Jo only found a loose bolt in there. Still, he could tell she wished she could help him more, even if there might not be anything she could do. "It's all right, Jo; I was not expecting there to be anything amiss, given my own scans. You tried your best, that is all I can ask. At least that rules out everything but an external cause..."

    When she mentioned it might have something to do with the rest of the Breach's tech being affected, Lawrence didn't like it, but he had to agree. "You may have something there, even as much as I don't like it. It's... almost like what happened last year, in a way. It's not the same, thank Orvus, but whatever is going on is affecting the entire planet."

    The next thought was one he didn't voice. Could this be the threat Zurg had warned him about?
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Sun May 13, 2012 6:24 am

    Lawrence reassured her he didn't mind, but agreed it had to be some external cause. But what? The mechanic scrunched her face up, running a hand through her sweaty hair. She couldn't think of anything besides what was bugging all their technological equipment. Maybe it was bugging robots too? She did have one robot come in earlier today who seemed out of sorts. She was afraid to say it, but it was the only explanation that made sense.

    "Last year?" she repeated. What did me mean by -- oh, wait just a parsec! He was talking about Dark, wasn't he? The memory made her scowl, crossing her arms. Dark had practically ruined her relationship with Zurg, manipulating everyone's feelings like that! They'd gotten back together and mended tings, of course, but... he wasn't here. He was probably still on Planet Z and very, very sick... argh, don't think about that now, Jo! Focus on the task at hand! Focus!

    Recalling Dark... did make the mechanic wonder at there being a similar cause for these recent disturbances. "Think it might be something supernatural?" Ugh, Jo hated to entertain there being a possibility for magic, but... what other explanation was there if science wasn't enough to make up for it? Blasted Portal Breach...

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    ---> Ooh, congrats on your mod status~!
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Tue May 15, 2012 5:16 am

    Supernatural? Hnnngh, Lawrence hated magical and otherworldly things, in no small part due to the entire Dark incident. Yes, they'd all survived it, and the mechanic and Zurg did get back together eventually, but the alien hadn't been quite the same since. Still, whatever this was, thankfully it felt different. He could always pick up on certain energies whenever magic was in use, and none of those seemed to be in play at the moment. "No, it's not the same as Dark; not magical in nature. The only thing amiss that I can detect is this blasted static, and the issues you organics seem to be having . . . there has to be some cause, but I haven't a clue what it could be."

    He wasn't being entirely truthful, given the warning Zurg gave all those months ago. He just wasn't sure how it all fit together, not yet. The static was sapping his ability to focus enough that it was unlikely he could come up with the answer anytime soon, though.

    Lawrence still felt tired, as well as desperate for the static to stop, but talking with Jo and allowing her to examine him took the more frantic edge off of said desperation. He reached up and rubbed at his optics briefly before looking at Jo again. "I should return to the house, and perhaps try to get some sleep mode. Although, you and Proxy still have some work to do, correct? I think I would rather find a quiet corner here and take a bit of a nap until you are finished, then we can all return home together."

    Inwardly he cursed his weakness, but he was too stressed to want to be alone for very long.

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    (XD, thanks!)
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Thu May 17, 2012 6:03 pm

    "Phew!" Yup, Jo was relieved at that. You magic-wielders could keep your stinking spells and potions and shove them where the sun don't shine! But if it wasn't supernatural, what was causing all these malfunctions? It sounded like a virus, maybe, but we were talking about robots and machines, here! They didn't get affected by airborne viruses like humans and other non-humans did. Their viruses were of a different sort altogether and weren't contagious the way one would think! Oh wait, let's please not go there... ehem. "They have to be connected somehow.." The only question here was how.

    "Don't worry, we'll figure it out." Jo laid a comforting hand on Lawrence's shoulder. "And yeah, but we're wrapping up soon. You might as well stick around -- oh, do you wanna help? It might be easier if you do things to keep your mind off of the static! Whaddya say?" she encouraged, giving the bot a light tap on the arm with her fist, grinning.

    Somewhere in the other room, out of sight, Proxy visibly twitched.
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    Re: Something Stinks... and It Ain't Fish!

    Post by Lawrence on Mon May 21, 2012 7:37 pm

    Lawrence felt the two different phenomena had to be connected somehow as well, but that went unvoiced as Jo went on. Oh, that comforting hand on his shoulder helped quite a bit, much like Impa doing the same thing earlier in the morning had.

    As far as just staying awake and helping out went? He wasn't sure, but if she thought it would help, he would give it a try. The butler faked a wince at that fist tap but then managed a weak smile. It was weak but still there, that was what counted. "Well, if you need assistance, I would be glad to provide it. At least that would be more productive than simply taking a nap."

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