ArchivedLogs:Not The Droids You're Looking For

From X-Men: rEvolution
Not The Droids You're Looking For
Dramatis Personae


monday, 23 december, 2019

part of futureytp.



It's not /quite/ curfew time, although it's close enough that the streets are already starting to empty of people. As they do, sentinels and patrols take their place, ever-vigilant for signs of mutant or resistance-like activity. It is not the best time to be out and about.

So why is Doug out? Probably not for any legitimate reason. Especially swathed from head-to-toe in black in ninja-like drag. The blonde man keeps mostly to the shadows as he goes, his attention on the sentinel carrying a large sack a few paces ahead. "You're doing great, Warlock," Doug says softly into the mike sewn into his hoodie. "I don't think the others even acknowledge you."

"Self would like to reiterate the dangers of self-friend Doug being with self," the sentinel responds without turning its head. "It is unlikely self will avoid detection for long."

"Probably not," Doug agrees, bobbing his head. "But maybe we can get one delivery done before we have to go back." Unlikely, but they get closer each time.

The tinny noise from Warlock /might/ be a sigh of exasperation. If he /feels/ exasperation. Sure sounds like he does.

The nighttime streets are so much quieter than they used to be. It makes the few noises that remain stand out that much more. The few passing cars that go by. The twin thrums of a pair of young women zooming by on hoverboards. The scurry-squeak of a rat disappearing behind a dumpster. The hummmm-clank of a line of Sentinels filing into the streets nearby. The hummm-/drone/ of more of them, flying somewhere off in the distance. And somewhere around the corner, a distinctly not-Sentinel-like rrrrr-rumble-thrum. Almost like a tiny-tiny motor. Almost like /purring/. Then thump-silence. Then an almost /disgruntled/ sounding squeak, and a chugchugchug-thrum again.

The purring motor catches Warlock's sensors before the noise reaches Doug. Both perk to it -- Warlock's reaction is decidedly less /perky/, but he swivels his head to zero in on the sound.

Doug, for his part, leaves the safety of the shadows for a brief moment, looking in the same general direction as his sentinel chum. "That's new," he says. "What do you think? Should we check?"

"Self will engage," Warlock replies, dropping the sack lightly and shifting his trajectory to head in the direction of the noise. "Self-friend should remain here until self signals that the beach is transparent."

"Ugh," Doug says, melting back into the shadows. "When we're not at war, I've got to work on your dialogue."

"Self sounds all right to self..." The noise is coming from a small side street. Whirrrr-thump. Quiet again. Whirr-squeak? /Hfff/.

Down the street there's a small softball-sized fluffball rolling down the sidewalk. Poofy-fuzzy, its fur probably once was vivid, blue and green, but is currently a filthy-matted state of clump greys and gravel and dirt. Rollrollroll, the fluffball /is/ circling a manhole cover in the ground. Lifting itself /up/ abruptly on small slim tentacle-like limbs that didn't seem to be there a moment before, thumping back down when it fails to actually lift the cover. Squeaking. Rolling further away down the block, undaunted, heading towards a gutter instead.

The appearance of the fuzz ball brings Warlock to a grinding halt as he studies this little...cousin? Toy? "Self is uncertain how to assess threat," he says, beginning his forward advance again. "Item does not seem dangerous,"

Doug frowns, already moving to catch up. "That sounds mildly ominous," he says, sliding into a pool of shadow near Warlock and watching the little critter's movements. "Looks like he's headed underground," he notes, trying to determine what he's actually looking /at/. "I heard that's where people headed."

The whirring continues down the street as the fluffball heads for the gutter. For, but not quite /to/. Its whirring is joined by the far more familiar hum-drone -- thump-/thump/, a pair of Sentinels dropping out of their flight path. Perhaps summoned by picking up Doug on their sensors; one of them is turning its attention vaguely in Doug's direction. But the other stops, /too/, reaching down a hand to pick up the fuzzball (it protests with another squeak! startled! and then withdraws its limbs and goes very abruptly silent) and scan /that/ instead while its sibling marches towards Doug & pet.

"Shit," Doug breathes when the Sentinels land, and he instinctively takes a step back towards the shadows. "These things are way too efficient."

"Self concurs," Warlock replies in a tinny sotto voice. "Other units operate at optimal levels." Does he sound wistful? Jealous? Whatever it is, he's already taking action, his right arm morphing into a long, baton-like appendage that crackles with electricity. "This unit has secured the area," he announces to his younger 'sibling'. "All is within acceptable parameters."

"Jesus," Doug says in little more than a breath. "You lie pretty well for a robot."

Warlock does not respond, intent on keeping the ruse as long as possible.

One of the Sentinels has turned to scan the gutter, too, that the fuzzball was trying to go into. Its back can be seen to be painted, very /un/-Sentinel-like in design, an iridescent dragonfly design shimmering in peacock-tones behind it. It turns again, fuzzball still clutched in one hand, to tromp over to join its partner.

If the robots respond to Warlock, it isn't /aloud/; though perfectly well equipped with voices for interfacint with people, their own protocols leave them readily able to communicate with /each other/ silent and quick. Newer more updated models than Doug's, it's unlikely their communication is particularly /successful/ at interfacing with the rogue!bot -- nevertheless, the silent-signalled dialogue between the other Sentinels roughly approximates:

/Negative, one X-Gene carrier detected in prohibited area/. /Range approximately nine meters/. /Prepare to apprehend/.

/One unidentified device in custody/. /Analysing behavior/.

/Beta version of Mark III detected. No accompanying units. Deviation from protocol/. /Query: Training unit?/.

The Sentinel holding the fuzzball has stopped short of Warlock. Maybe scanning? Maybe expectant, like it is awaiting some sort of response.

The other, though, has -- to outward appearances, at least -- ignored Warlock's spoken statements, continuing on towards the shadows Doug has retreated to.

The silence from the robots is way creepy, and Doug cringes further back into the shadows. His brow knits as he spies the dragonfly insignia, and for a moment, he’s lost in thought.

“Attention, self-friend Doug,” Warlock says suddenly, bringing his baton up to the ready. “Units are attempting some form of communication; self is unable to translate.” The Mark III moves backwards (pretty well, considering robot), attempting to put himself between Doug and the approaching Sentinel. “Self advises flight.”

“They’d just shoot me with those darts,” Doug says, wrinkling his nose in thought. “Give it a second. I promise to abscond post-haste if it goes South.”

“It is already positioned towards the South,” Warlock says, continuing to move. “Self strongly urges flight.”

When no response is forthcoming, the painted Sentinel with its fuzzball still in hand marches forward towards Warlock, closing the gap between them even as the other continues /its/ forward march. There is another round of silent communication -- this time it includes orders, overriding commands to Warlock intended to correct the wayward bot back onto protocol-path. Much as the dialogue was untranslated, though, these commands are just as unlikely to be interpreted.

DragonflyBot finally gives up on normal routes of communication with the stray Sentinel -- instead heavy tentacle-like projections branch out from its sides, heavy arms moving towards Warlock to reach for the rogue!bot's sides and clamp down.

The other Sentinel has adjusted its path. Slightly to the side of Warlock, slightly around it. Still towards Doug, to announce (rather pleasantly, really. Polite-toned.) "You are in a prohibited area. By federal law you must come with us. Please step forward and we will escort you to a designated facility."

Warlock doesn’t respond to commands, but he does react to tentacles stretching out for him, and he swings his electrified arm at their center, striking with an accuracy that only machines can achieve. He does this a couple of times before quantity overwhelms him, and pins him down. “Flee, self-friend,” he repeats, even as the other Sentinel speaks. “Selfs are deeply in the South.”

Doug does probably not /mean/ to ignore Warlock’s urging. But with no chance he /hasn’t/ been spotted, he tries an unusual tack. Stepping out of the shadow, he lifts a hand and begins speaking, his voice sounding oddly like a modem as he attempts to speak in binary. Or the caveman equivalent. “{Everything okay. Maybe scanner error. Units should maintenance.}” Because Jedi mind tricks /totally/ work on robots, right?

The Sentinel in front of Warlock freezes, at the thud of electrified baton. The furball in its hand drops to the ground as /its/ arms shift, swinging in heavy and clublike towards Warlock's center mass as its tentacle-hold briefly drops.

Between the two Sentinels alarms are jangling. Probably reinforcements being called. The fuzzball on the ground squeaks and starts to roll between their legs and over by Doug towards the curb.

The Sentinel /with/ Doug does, actually, /repeat/ its scan at this -- but then repeats aloud. "You are in a prohibited area. By federal law you must come with us. Please step forward and we will escort you to a designated facility. We are authorized," /thud/, in the background, the thump of heavy hammer-hand against Warlock, "to use force if necessary."

There’s a futzing sort of yelp-like static when the hammer-hand connects with Warlock’s chest, and the robot actually takes a step back. “Unit will desist,” the Mark III says, swinging his baton-arm at his assailant again even as the hammer-hand lands again. “Do not make self use more force.”

The fuzzball, it seems, is not worth noting in the larger robo-battle. Doug has just a glance for it when it rolls by, but his attention is definitely focused on the advancing Sentinel, who he keeps speaking to in binary. “{Unit is in error. This human is authorized. Unit should return to patrol.}” It’s worth trying, at least, even as Doug begins to ease backwards along the fuzzball’s path. “{All is within acceptable parameters.}”

Acceptable for who remains to be seen.

Overhead there is more droning. Further Sentinels on the approach, called in by the reports of the rogue unit's attack; their lighted shapes can be seen dim but rapidly approaching in the nighttime sky.

The painted Sentinel's heavy tentacle-appendages this time reach only for Warlock's arms, stretching out to attempt to lock them down at the other bot's sides. Robo-handcuffs.

The other, meanwhile, is mostly just cataloging Doug's speech now, recording, analysing, relaying this information between its partner and approaching siblings. The limbs it is extending towards Doug's wrists are much like the heavy tentacles used to restrain Warlock. Flexible and strong.

When Warlock's arms are locked down, the robot makes another surge of taser-electricity, the air crackling blue as he goes for the biggest jolt he can manage. Being an older model, even with minor upgrades, this is likely a futile effort. Something the smaller robot has already worked out.

"{STOP.}" Doug's voice is more commanding than before. The blonde pushes the limits of his ability, using the verbal interface to try and work some techno path magic. An unlikely venture, maybe but worth a shot. "{LEAVE THIS AREA NOW.}" That comes as the blonde twists himself to avoid tentacles.

For a moment the painted Sentinel does stop -- though its limbs are still clamped tight around Warlock while it freezes. The other Sentinel has stopped altogether, paused in place as it listens to Doug. Eventually backing up a step, then another, then turning, issuing a quiet statement to its partner to leave as well.

The tentacles retract. The bots lift off into the air.

Just as a heavy whump-whump-whump-whump-whump-whump signals the arrival of the backup they called for, six bots dropping down to circle Doug and Warlock.

Arms levelled up and in towards the pair. "You are in a prohibited area. By federal law you must come with us. We are authorized to use force if necessary."

Doug seems surprised, a bit, when his commands are followed, but there’s no time for him to reflect on what it actually /means/, because now there are others falling in around him. He edges closer to Warlock, putting his back against the Mark III’s. “Well, this sucks,” he says in a tone that says that he’s not entirely surprised by this turn of events. “Think I can Jedi mind-trick this many at once?”

“Self deems it worth an effort,” Warlock replies, his sensors sweeping back and forth as the Sentinels close in around them. Doug snorts at the sentiment, and inhales deeply, raising his voice.

“{ALL UNITS CEASE,}” he commands, his face reddening with the effort of pushing his power to its utmost. “{LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY.}”

Still, he presses a little closer to Warlock. Just in case.

/These/ bots do not respond quite the same to Doug's commands. Perhaps forwarned by the others -- perhaps there's just too /many/ of them. Two are stepping forward to lock Warlock down into tightly bound custody -- two are stepping forward to shoot Doug. Not with bullets, thankfully, but heavy thick webbing-spray. Trapping hands to sides as secure as handcuffs -- and aimed, too, to gloop over his mouth like a /gag/. "Please come with us," one of the bots says, calm as though it were actually giving Doug a choice, "and we will escort you to a designated facility."

In zombie movies, it’s always numbers that do the hero in. And that’s what does Doug and Warlock in, ultimately. Webbing finds its place easily enough, backed up against each other as they are. Warlock’s eyes flicker once, then go dead, the noise of the robot’s shutting down audible amongst the clank of the advancing patrol. Doug is too busy to acknowledge it, struggling against the webbing around his body, and twisting his head so that the first glob of webbing lands across one eye, sealing it shut. The next, however, finds its mark, covering his lower jaw and silencing the technopath. At the repeated command, Doug’s one visible eye takes on a resigned sort of look, and he slumps against Warlock. Awaiting his fate.