Summary: [I, Robot] Movieverse. Interwoven into the tragic death of Alfred is Iris Robertson; cheif mechanic at US Robotics. She quickly becomes a key player in the investigation as mysterious occurences threaten to destroy the bonds between robots and humans.
Out of place in the white suits and crisp uniforms of the rest of the people in the hall, a teen came bolting down the hall in a dingy gray jumpsuit...her only reason for not being kicked out the smudged badge bearing the US Robotics logo flapping from her neck on a loop of wire. She huffed to a stop before Alfred Lanning, who looked amused at her ungraceful running. "What's all the noise for...at this hour?" he laughed, and despite her pants of breath, Iris Robertson, cheif mechanic, could not help grinning back.
"Special congrats!" she said in excitement, "The big roll out of 'bots tomorrow remember?"
"I remember, I remember," he sighed, "Exhausted myself all last night trying to tie up the last joint operations for NASA with your uncle you know."
"He told me," she bounced in excitement, "I just got back from the factory...they got panicky when one of the machines got a little jerky."
Iris was unlike her uncle and co-founder in many ways. Most of her form declared her as being a girl of brawn, despite her intense and deep knowledge of robot functions. She never dressed too formally, understanding too many times that it was a waste to show up for work at a job that ruins most clothing. Iris wasn't cut out for absolute business or intellects...but it didn't keep her from diving head-first into her job. Earlier than anyone else, she arrived at the "shop" as she called it to fix any anomalies with NS models during testing...as well as working in joint efforts with scientists who attempted to smooth out any wrinkles in the positronic brain. Iris liked the brain for two strictly different reasons; its pleasing asthetic appearance and the physical structure and function. She never dove in any further than that.
Dr. Lanning invited her in his lab. Iris liked it; it had plenty of things to tinker with and Dr. Lanning never minded it when she fiddled with the tightening of bolts and sprucing of joints when she visited. Promptly she picked up a spare arm, whose tube-like muscles had grown slack. As she stretched the material back into place, she sat casually in a spare stool.
"What are you planning on doing tomorrow to celebrate?"
Dr. Lanning seemed to flinch slightly, leaned against the window. "Pardon?"
"To celebrate...for the NS-5 shipments?" she repeated herself, "I'm celebrating with the guys back at shop over Luici's, if Robertson's not taking you to any parties-"
"He has," Dr. Lanning sighed, "But I'm not quite sure what tomorrow will bring. Anything's possible." Iris fidgeted in her seat at the solemn tone. He was so much easier to talk to when he wasn't worrying. She set aside the newly spruced up arm, going to the window as the sun began to rise. She put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"Well," she began with a smile, "That's what makes it such an adventure right? We just gotta wake up and face what's coming."
"Right," Dr. Lanning lit up, patting her on the back. His hand became slightly stained with engine grease but he never minded it. "It's as the old saying goes, A wise man, and a foolish man, each one reveals the other."
"Yeah but at least we know who's the idiot," she grinned good naturedly. At that moment, her pager buzzed frantically, making her jump. "Oops! I gotta run! See if you can't meet us at Luici's Doc!" she yelled behind her as she hurried out the door to the elevator. She was left with his age old smile and a parting wave, and at that moment felt so reassured to see him with the rest of the mechanics at the packed little restaurant having a drink and a good time.
Only two hours and one shattered window later would she find him dead on the cold marble floor of the lobby.
"The homicide detective is going to be here to ask a few questions soon," Dr. Calvin said, remaining rigid despite the murder that laid so many floors below. "Once he reviews the crime scene and holographic projector."
Iris was still throughly shaken. She'd heard the smash from the 14th floor while giving one of the prototypes one last check-up before it went back to evaluation from the scientists. She'd been unable to investigate it further until she managed to put away all her tools and put the NS-5 in stand-by mode. But the ruckus outside was quickly draining the color from her face. By the time she saw the broken window and Dr. Lanning's body smashed on the floor...she was white as a sheet. She could only nod back to Dr. Calvin.
"He...he seemed so casual..." she trembled, stuttering. Dr. Calvin didn't reply, but her face gave her true feelings away, "I could have never-"
"None of us could," Dr. Calvin reassured, "I never thought he'd do this either..."
The elevator door slid open, directing Iris and Dr. Calvin's attention. A taller black man flashed his police badge. "Detective Spooner, homicide." he introduced himself. Iris tried to shake off her distress and shook his hand, "Iris Robertson, cheif mechanic." Spooner turned to Calvin, "Dr. Calvin? Mind waiting outside a minute?" She complied, and left Spooner and Iris alone in the spare office. Iris sat back down as Spooner took a seat.
"They told me you talked to Dr. Lanning only two hours prior to his death. What were you doing in the building so early?"
Iris shrugged, "Robots don't run by themselves. I always show up first...to open shop and go over diagnostics for prototypes. Sprucing up stuff."
"What did you go see Dr. Lanning for?"
"Just to give him a thumbs up for finishing the big project," she twiddled her fingers, "I invited him to celebrate with me and the other mechanics and then left."
"Did he seem...off put...by anything?"
"A...a little..." she admitted, rubbing the back of her neck in nervousness. "When I asked him what he was doing tomorrow he kinda stuttered. Said he didn't know what was coming tomorrow." she gulped back a sob trying to force its way back up, "I...I guess he'll never know now." Spooner looked at her with slight sympathy, giving her a breif pat on the back.
"What did he last say to you?"
"He left me off with a little proverb when I tried cheering him up before I left," she sniffled, "He said; A wise man and a foolish man, each one reveals the other."
"Nothin'." Spooner sighed as he stood up, Iris quickly following suit, "What is it with that guy and all his riddles?" he grumbled. He finally headed to the door. "C'mon. I need to investigate the crime scene, and I need your help. Doctor outside is escorting."
"Calvin," Iris corrected hastily as she followed.
"Laurence told me to accomodate you in anyway possible," Calvin noted in the elevator as they began their long descent to Lanning's office. Iris felt more out of place than ever; a scruffy teen mechanic in between the detective and the robot psychologist. She stood behind them, mimicking Calvin's crossed arms in an attempt to look formal.
"Really," the detective drawled unusually, raising a slightly annoyed eyebrow from Calvin. Iris fidgeted a little more, feeling slightly uncomfortable, "Okay.."
"I reviewed Dr. Lanning's psycho-profile," she continued, voice unharried, "Alfred had become a recluse, and rejected human contact for machines."
"It's true," Iris added, "I barely got to talk to him save for two hours ago...and he's almost always here."
"So you're a shrink huh?" Spooner added on, looking amused, "Man my ex-wife will sure be glad I'm talking to you," he looked curiously at Calvin. "You don't know her do you?"
"I'm..sorry are you being funny?" Calvin replied stiffly.
"I guess not," Spooner said back, a little more sober this time. Iris fidgeted. Maybe she'd been spending too much time around machines as well, because the atmosphere in the elevator just went beyond uncomfortable. The door slid open as the three of them got off onto their floor.
"So would you two say that Dr. Lanning was...suicidal?" Spooner asked.
"Not ever," Iris replied, "He worked a lot and all but he liked his work."
"It would seem the answer to that question is already apparent," Calvin answered back, eyes flickering out towards the lobby where all the traces of Dr. Lanning's death had been wiped clean. Iris shuddered; even though his dead body strewn on the ground like that had been disturbing, she was even more creeped out at how hurriedly the place seemed to want to be rid of him...like wiping him clean off a chalkboard.
"That's not what I asked you," pressed Spooner at Calvin. Iris looked uneasily at Calvin. She didn't know her well, but she came off as being a very strict, upright woman...like so many who worked at US Robotics. She was quiet for a moment, until she finally replied. "No," she said shortly, "I wouldn't have thought so. But obviously I was wrong." Spooner took this moment to look over the edge of the floor balcony. Seeing the distance he let out a whistle.
"That's a long way down," he said, "You people sure do clean up quick around here." Calvin looked over too, in slight analyzation. Spooner shrugged a little, "I can't blame you though, I mean who wants some old guy goin' bad in the lobby." Iris flinched visibly, shaking slightly from the casual sting of Spooner's statement. It flared up Calvin though as she approached him looking angry. "He was not 'some old guy', Alfred Lanning was everything here." Iris looked out the window, still pained. This morning she'd arrived as early as Lanning did, ready for a day of work. How could it have ended with him taking his own life like this?
"We are on the eve of the largest robotic distribution in history. By Saturday there will be one robot to every five humans. These robots are the realization of a dream," she added on more throughly, "Dr. Lanning's dream."
"You know what?" Spooner replied in his usual, casual, snarky attitude, "In that dream of his? I bet you he wasn't dead."
Iris twitched again as Calvin glared back at Spooner. This wasn't one of her usual days.
End Note: I love how snarky Will Smith is as Spooner. I TOTALLY LOVE THIS MOVIE LIKE OMG.