I thought I would have something more interesting to say in the intro, but here I am unable to really put anything together…So, this came from me asking "what if?" questions about characters that are often ignored and again trying to bring a touch more of realism to a TV show that I felt had a lot of potential that got squandered for the sake of kids-friendly ratings. Reviews are really appreciated—I haven't been writing for a long time.
Jenny clambered up onto the ledge and squinted against the wind, glaring at the glittering lights of New Tronic. She reached down under the overhang and pawed at the pack of Lucky Strikes she had hidden away. She liked to smoke only occasionally; it took the piss out of a wicked day, and today there had been a fuck-up during a conference call to China and she and Donovan had taken a couple of the techies to task over that little snafu. The little hiccup in the system shut down talks about the new encoding system for a good twenty minutes, backing up the rest of the day's events like cars piling up on the highway. And what a bloody wreck it had been! Meetings, discussions, reviews, even lunch, backed up, postponed or canceled all together. Of course, she was the only one who could pull it all back together, and she was sick of the phone calls, the shuffling, the incompetence!
Jenny lit the cigarette and pulled the bitter smoke into her tiny lungs. She only smoked on the roof not because it was a secret, really, just that if she dared light up in front of any of those…well, those humans, they would all point and laugh at the smoking monkey. All of their little TV show fantasies would become so cutely real and they would ooh and ah and Jenny would have to claw her way up the Sisyphean mountain of respect once more.
She sat on the cold concrete, tail curling and uncurling around her feet, staring into the shimmering darkness and letting the day's frustration seep out in ribbons of grey-blue when she felt that prickling electric sensation she got around advanced technology. Glancing around, she saw the shape of that kid, a black cut out against the city's lights. He blinked his photoelectric blue eyes, realizing she had seen him.
"Hey, kid," she said, blowing smoke through her nose. "What ya doin' out here?"
"Just thinking," he answered. He walked over to her and stood under the single light looking out in the same direction she had been looking earlier. Did he want to talk? It was hard to tell. He had gotten unpredictable over the years.
"Whatcha thinkin' 'bout?"
He was silent for a while.
"'Bout people," he finally answered.
"Anyone in particular?"
He shook his head.
"Yeah, I do that too, sometimes. People are weird, huh?" she said.
"People are all sorts of things. They're happy and sad, good and bad. Mostly they're confused, maybe. Maybe…" His voice trailed off, questioning his own thoughts and theories. "I think about people all the time," he said starting up again. "People go through life wondering what their purpose is. They don't know where they're going or why they exist, they just have to keep living. They don't even know if they're made, or if they're just accidents. I'm glad that I know what my purpose is; I couldn't stand to have to find out the hard way. And it's good that we both know who made us; it would suck to be an accident."
What a mouthful. Jenny blew out a long stream of smoke that caught in the wind immediately.
"Your brain's outgrown your body, huh, kid?" But even as she said it, her mouth clicked shut so fast she could hear her teeth snap together. He looked at her, head cocked to the side a bit in an imitation of a questioning human and she realized that he hadn't been a kid for a long time. Sure, he still looked like a little boy (little boy robot) but if he had been allowed to grow over the years he would probably look like a young adult. And Rusty learned fast; maybe he was even more grown up inside than he would be in human years. He had turned a little strange as the years went on, especially right after his "childhood". He was as boisterous and curious as any child left to run amok in a super-advanced robot factory, as excited as any kid getting to blast real aliens with a real laser instead of watching them on the screen at the Palladium's Saturday Matinee Double Monster Feature.
And then he got quiet. He stopped asking so many questions, stopped cruising the halls to talk to Jones from Department 14 or Putnam from Math Planning Division. He was downright spooky the way he would just stay perfectly still and absorb, just like how Jenny found him on the roof, motionless and observant.
And the whole seeing chemicals thing—that was a little creepy. But, really, was that any different from the way Jenny smelled humans and used her instincts to predict their behaviour? And hadn't she outgrown her own body many, many years ago? She especially felt that way recently; her fur had been graying for a while, but the aches in her bones had been creeping deeper and deeper, her muscles stiffening up. No matter how her mind worked, she was still just a little monkey with a little monkey lifespan, which was quickly coming to an end. It pained her a bit to find this strange camaraderie in Rusty, someone (something) that was essentially a product. A product…Wasn't that was she was? Was it? She often wondered. When she had worked up the guts to ask Donovan why he had made her, he had simply answered, "Because I wanted to!" and then laughed like a madman. He brayed and guffawed until she crawled away feeling small, powerless and owned. She lit a fresh cigarette with the butt of the old one and sucked hard on it.
"What're you doing up here? Why aren't you with Dr. Donovan?" Rusty asked.
"We're not joined at the hip, y'know. Sometimes I need some time to myself."
Jenny resumed staring out at the city, trying to ignore the bitterness and resentment crawling it's way up her throat. She felt kind of bad ignoring the kid (adult)(thing)(maybe) but she didn't like the way the conversation had turned to everything she wanted to forget. Maybe Rusty sensed this or maybe he just withdrew into himself again because he got quiet and stared out at the city's false stars again.