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Technoromanticism - Chapter 4

Title: Technoromanticism


Summary: TezRyo Robot AU.

Rating: Definitely Mature.  For the usual culprits.

Author’s Note: I am currently stuffed full of delicious Cadbury Creme Eggs.  Guys, the Easter eggs are already out.  I would normally make snarky remarks about greedy capitalist vultures at this juncture (I mean, who buys chocolate that they're not planning to eat for four months? It'll go gross by then!), but this also means four months of Cadbury Creme Eggs being on the shelves, which cannot be a bad thing.



Chapter 4.0

By Sinnatious

Three days after their heist, Atobe finally made contact. 
The ringing phone startled both of them, though since Ryoma was currently unable to move – Tezuka hadn’t yet restored his motor functions that morning – his only reaction was a slight widening of the eyes. He hurried to the phone, leaving his subject behind. “Hello?”
“Atobe.” Tezuka was relieved.
“How are you?”
“Fine, was there any trouble?”
“Nothing yet, but there’s been a lot of activity around the dummy account. I’m going to have to ask you to keep laying low for a while. I’m sending Oshitari around tomorrow if there’s anything you need.”
“I’ll have a list ready.”
Keeping to business, Atobe asked, “And how are your investigations going with the robot?”
“Slowly. I don’t have any tools.”
“I’m aware of that, but surely you’ve found something useful,” Atobe drawled. Tezuka could even picture him swinging around in his executive chair while he said it. 
"Only that we should find out who wrote the personality and AI," Tezuka advised. "It's very in-depth.  It mimics human habits flawlessly.  I don't know how much exposure it had prior to... our acquisition-"  Tezuka still didn't like acknowledging the fact that he'd been party to theft. "-but it's even more in-depth than Inui's Viper model."

"He'll be upset to hear that his pet project has been usurped," Atobe remarked, sounding amused.  "It even gets grouchy if it doesn't get to exercise or eat cereal in the morning."

"That's tame compared to this one. It's always hungry or thirsty, showers, and complains about being bored all the time."

"That's... an insane amount of programming.  And wouldn't eating and showering increase wear and tear?"

"It gets upset with me when I suggest it shouldn't.  It doesn't like me even implying that it isn't human."

"Hmm.  Be careful with that.  We've never really had a situation where we've dealt with such advanced AI.  It might become unstable if you challenge its ideas too much."

"I won't be careless." The thought that he was potentially dealing with a technological singularity weighed heavily on his mind. Ryoma’s claims of humanity were becoming a little unnerving as every day the bioroid seemed more and more human.

Atobe snorted.  "Of course you won't.  Aside from that, how are you holding up over there?  My sincerest apologies-” They didn’t sound sincere in the slightest. “-For having to hide you away without warning like that.  I can get Oshitari to bring over more of your personal effects when I send him there if you want."

"It's fine," Tezuka assured him.  "Just..."

"Just what?"

"As I mentioned, the personality is very in-depth.  It's been uncooperative when it comes to testing.  I have to shut down its motor functions to get it to sit still, and even then it mouths off the entire time."

"You're not the registered owner.  It's to be expected."

Tezuka knew that, but it didn't make it any less aggravating. “What about the department…?”
“Everyone is understandably upset by your sudden absence but you’ve trained them well. Oishi is handling things sufficiently in your place.” Atobe immediately sounded bored. “We’ll still hit the next milestone fine. You just concentrate on figuring out that bioroid.”
They didn’t talk much longer, as Atobe had meetings to attend and Tezuka had a rather impatient robot to deal with. Sure enough, Ryoma was scowling when he came back into the living room. Tezuka just sighed and pressed the electromagnet to the back of its neck. “About time.”
“Sorry,” Tezuka said, and then wondered why he was apologising to a bioroid. It was the AI, he decided. If it was going to learn good habits, he needed to lead by example. 
“Che.” Ryoma wandered into the kitchen, and served out some sugary cereal.
“You’ll degrade your teeth faster, eating that all the time,” Tezuka commented. He privately suspected that Oshitari might have been mocking him by buying it, as he never indulged in such sweet things. 
“I’ll brush them afterwards,” Ryoma dismissed a little snippily. Tezuka was still unsure whether the voice could be entirely sample-driven, as it would have taken weeks of recording to amass such a large library of not just syllables but all the various inflections and emotions, and then to both organise and program that… it was a little odd to imagine that he might hear the same voice in the street, though. Odd as in downright creepy.
Still, he was confident that a bioroid who went to trouble of cleaning itself was more than capable of other matters of self-maintenance, and so let the matter slide. At least all of the junk food Oshitari bought wouldn’t go to waste. 
Breakfast was eaten in silence. Afterwards, Ryoma did indeed go brush its teeth and have a shower, while Tezuka flicked through the data he’d gathered so far on his laptop. He’d promised Atobe he’d continue investigating, but he was quickly running out of things he could investigate with such limited tools at his disposal. They really needed to get Ryoma into a full-sized scanner so that they could start to identify the materials used and how all the components were arranged. 
The bioroid in question wandered out eventually and flopped down onto the couch, stretching and yawning. “So, now what?” Another scowl. “And don’t say that you want to run more tests.”
“There aren’t really many more I can run,” Tezuka admitted. “We could just… talk?” Which was essentially just a way of learning more about the limits and patterns of the AI and its personality, but Ryoma was far more likely to be cooperative if he avoided phrasing it that way. 
He was met with a blank stare. “What about?”
Perhaps not. Tezuka was at a loss. He wasn’t a conversationalist at the best of times, and he was severely lacking in topics with which to propel a conversation forward. The normal fallbacks such as ‘what do you do for a living’, and ‘where did you grow up’ were not exactly useful in this instance. 
After a long silence, Ryoma smirked and leant back. “Heh, thought so. Ugh, so boooooring!” The word was drawled out, and punctuated by another yawn. “When can we get the TV fixed?”
Ryoma grunted, and turned to stare at the wall, then the ceiling, then the floor, then eventually Tezuka again. The half-lidded golden gaze locked on to him for a long time, to the point where Tezuka was starting to feel uncomfortable. “Is something the matter?”
“Not really.”
“Then is there something on my face?”
“Then please don’t stare. It’s rude.”
Ryoma shrugged. “There’s nothing else to look at in here.”
It was a valid point. The décor might have been serviceable, but it was sparse and hardly attention grabbing. The lack of windows even robbed them of a view. It still fascinated Tezuka that a bioroid could experience boredom, though – even if intellectually he suspected it was merely a function that activated when there had been no stimuli or new information over a set period of time.
A good couple of hours passed in that fashion as they just locked gazes in a bizarre sort of staring contest. It became oddly hypnotic after a while. Tezuka didn’t really mind – Ryoma was of a superb make and design, and the delicate curvature of the jaw and the texturing of the skin endlessly fascinated him. Ryoma certainly was one of the most aesthetically pleasing bioroids he’d ever laid eyes on in addition to being the most convincing. Such beauty could only ever be artificial – no doubt why such establishments as the one they’d taken Ryoma from were quietly beginning to flourish. Why turn to flawed humans when there were such stunning works of art available?
Tezuka never really appreciated the designers who emphasised form over function, but could now sort of see the appeal in it. Although perhaps it was because it was the first time he’d come across a bioroid that appealed so strongly to his personal aesthetic tastes. 
Their staring contest didn’t really stop until sometime in the afternoon, at which point Ryoma declared that he needed to use the bathroom and Tezuka realised that he was thirsty. Atobe would be annoyed if he discovered how his chief scientist was wasting the day, but Tezuka was more annoyed at being kept away from work because of his employer’s whim to steal an advanced robot. Working in this manner was too inefficient anyway. Inui would probably have an anxiety attack just thinking about it.
When Ryoma returned to the couch several minutes later, Tezuka handed over one of his books. The bioroid took it gingerly and held it up. “What’s this?”
“It’s a book.”
“You were bored, weren’t you?”
“Yeah, but…”
“Can you read?”
Ryoma bristled. “Of course I can.”
“Then read. It’s not like you have anything else to do.”
Grumbling, Ryoma slumped on the couch next to him and started thumbing through the pages. Tezuka was relieved. Tomorrow they’d have something to talk about, and maybe he could make some progress in figuring out that AI. 
They sat and read quietly until evening, at which point they retreated to kitchen and argued about what to eat for dinner. In the end, Tezuka found himself making pizza, as he reasoned that his innards were probably less delicate than a bioroid’s, and if Ryoma insisted that pizza was the best, who was he to argue?
After dinner Ryoma brushed his teeth, and then they sat on the couch reading a bit more. An hour or two later Tezuka glanced at his watch and then casually reached an arm around the back of the couch. One click later, and the book Ryoma was clutching tumbled to the floor.
“It’s bedtime,” Tezuka explained, standing from the couch. 
Ryoma glared, hands resting limply by his side. “That was sneaky!”
“You put up too much of a fuss last night.”
“Of course I did! Why do you have to keep switching it?! Cold-hearted bastard.”
“I’ve said so a hundred times – so that you don’t sneak off while I’m sleeping. Or have you forgotten that I’m not your registered owner already?” Tezuka slid the electromagnet back into his pocket. 
“I won’t sneak off!”
“Of course you would say that,” he replied patiently. “Don’t worry – I’ll turn you back on first thing in the morning, when I’m awake to keep an eye on you.”
The glare intensified. “At least get me a blanket. It was freezing last night.”
An unexpected piece of information – it was temperature sensitive as well. Perhaps the ideal operating temperature was higher than most bioroids. Tezuka headed to the linen closet and fetched one of the new blankets Oshitari had brought when they first arrived. He draped it over Ryoma, carefully tucking in the edges behind the shoulders and ensuring that the feet were covered. He then picked up the book from the floor and inserted a bookmark roughly where he estimated Ryoma was up to before being interrupted. 
“I’ll see you in the morning.”
Ryoma called him several unsavoury names in response. Tezuka tried not to be offended. The things Atobe would say would be far worse if he were to lose such a precious bioroid.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
Cadbury Creme Eggs

Tezuka still didn't like acknowledging the fact that he'd been party to theft.

"That's tame compared to this one. It's always hungry or thirsty, showers, and complains about being bored all the time."

I have to shut down its motor functions to get it to sit still, and even then it mouths off the entire time."


“Then please don’t stare. It’s rude.”
Oh man, it's like Tezuka's saying, IF YOU HAVE A PLAUSIBLE REASON TO STARE, OKAY, BUT CLEARLY YOU DO NOT. :| :| :| And then they stare the afternoon away together. *__*

Oooooh, I 'd forgotten just how fun this chapter was. ajdhfkadgjh From when Tezuka hangs up the phone it's just this smile on my face that keeps getting wider and wider. And then I ;_; with the cold-hearted bastard part, but then I *_* when he starts insulting him again in the end. EEEEEE. ♥♥♥

This is probably a repeat of what I already said. Um. :D
Jan. 14th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
What's wrong with Cadbury Creme Eggs?


It was probably the most fun chapter to write out of the lot. And your response was less bipolar this time. Success! :D
Jan. 14th, 2009 12:15 pm (UTC)
It sounds disgustingly creamy and melted, is all. D: <-hates any type of chocolate unless it is FROZEN COLD. ;P


I LOVE HOW THEY JUST STARE THE DAY AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. *_* And then he gives him a book and he actually reaads it *_*. But then the book just falls to the ground. You'd think Tezuka has more respect towards books. T_T

Jan. 15th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Heh, not likely. I may have said that I was stuffed full of them, but in all honesty, I'd only eaten one. :P They are to be savoured.

Cold chocolate is nice and all... BUT TEETH BREAKAGE! D: It's like gnawing on wood!

I see. Happy songs fix everything.

And that was why Tezuka picked up the book afterwards!
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
I find it slightly disturbing how fast Ryoma has gotten used to Tezuka taking control of his body. ...That came out wrong. Or did it?

alsdkslakasldaksdjlj, the staring contest makes me :3 at the both of them.

his personal aesthetic tastes. Already realising how attracted his is. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Ryoma's snark is so adorable. :3
Jan. 15th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)

Jan. 15th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)


Jan. 15th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
Tezuka still didn't like acknowledging the fact that he'd been party to theft. Oh Tezu!

Loved the staring contest and Ryoma's snark <3

♥___♥ The ending was hilarious and fantastic.
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
This is so awesome, I can't say much mroe than this. *_*
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:51 am (UTC)
HAHAHA, this totally made my day. THANK YOU. ♥

I like how you throw in bits of info on Tezuka's team back in the lab. Oishi's still vice and Viper's still an exercise machine (not literally).

How mean though, leaving Ryoma in the cold all night long. D: Shame on you, Tezuka. You could at least keep Ryoma 'on' but close at hand, yeah? Like in the same bed.

Please do write more soon! What's your update schedule like for this fic?

(btw I love Cadbury eggs, too, though I prefer the mini ones, yuuuuuuum)
Jan. 15th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
I must thank you for the awesome mental image of Kaidoh as a treadmill! XD

I'm sticking roughly to the old faithful Sunday/Wednesday update schedule that gets used whenever I don't want to kill myself with daily updates. So next chapter on the weekend!

(♥ Ooo, yes, the mini ones too! Aren't they great? I could live on those things.)
Jan. 16th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
Personal aesthetic tastes yum <3

Last time you talked about Cadbury creme eggs we drew Seigaku eggs which eventually led to my requesting it from God-chan and someone iconing it *g* Those things are clearly epic.
Jan. 16th, 2009 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh wow, has it really been a year since then? Time flies. <3
Feb. 13th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )