REWRITE: Nov 7 2014
Looks who's not dead. :v
It's been more than a year since I updated and the last update wasn't even an update XD but a short note on rewriting. Yes, I did rewrite and I believe I am more equipped than I was when I first thought of writing this fic. Gosh, the original was horrible. I seriously had to rethink the direction of the story. Good Lord, "Dylan" was hard to read about. Basically, I found my OC to be annoying. Maybe it was just everything about the story. Anyway, I'm more deliberate these days and I'm trying to be careful in writing.
Some aspects of the story have been changed, not that there was much being revealed prior to rewriting the story.
Last update was March 2013, soooo, wow. 21 months before my I,Robot feels kicked in again. I was inspired by the later fics. Glad to see people still care.
Saw the movie when I was nine. Now I'm nineteen. Still love it, still love Sonny.
Story time. Sorry, I like to talk.
It was the end of yet another typical day at the office.
Once the clock struck five, everyone was up an about- ready to get out, finally.
Dylan sighed softly as she took off her glasses, rubbing her forehead in weariness. On any other day, she would have joined the others in their relief. But work sometimes swallowed her up, causing her to lose track of time like it did today. And she just wasn't so eager to be off. But the newswire didn't pay for overtime.
Looking around, she could see that laughter and noise once again returning to the floor, replacing the sound of typewriters and ringing phones.
The end was always the best part of the day for the employees. Happily, they got up from their work spaces, packed their things and left the newsroom, alone or in cliques.
Dylan wasn't left with much of a choice but to leave the agency earlier than she would have wanted. She breathed in deeply before reluctantly placing her documents in her satchel.
Before leaving her work place, the young journalist made it a point to follow a strict routine. It started with categorizing her papers and filing them in their respective drawers, then proceeding to wiping her desk clean, organizing the items on the desk top then finally doing a mental check list. Often times, she would be called out by her colleagues for taking too long. She smirked at a memory of her adoptive father scolding her for keeping her room 'too clean' when she was a kid.
"It's not normal," He would stress out. Yet back then, his words mattered so little since he was never really good at organizing his own space. It was her adoptive mother that highly encouraged cleanliness.
After work, the female employees often headed to the restroom to freshen up. Though beauty was not her priority, looking neat was.
She washed the hours off her pale face and gray eyes, then combed her long black hair, tying it back to a low ponytail. Dylan carefully cleaned her delicate metal framed glasses before putting it back on.
In her peripheral vision she saw her office mates gossiping and giggling to themselves. Inwardly, she sighed, wishing she could get along with them better. It wasn't that they made fun of her, or that they left her out. Friends were often hard to find.
The cool afternoon breeze met her as she exited the building; it was a pleasant change from ceiling vents and exhaust fans. The view from the entrance afforded a peek of the dried up lake, just beyond the cityscape; the skyline welcomed her in a warm glow that almost made her forget about life's complexities. Each time she stepped out from work, she would take it all in, comforted by the little blessings that had always given her courage whenever she needed it. Hesitantly, she made her way down the wide steps. It wasn't before she made it to the last tread that someone from behind called out to her.
" Hey Dylan!"
Immediately she knew who it was. She turned swiftly, causing some strands of her wavy raven hair to fall on her face.
" Samson," She said in relief, pushing away the loose tresses from her glasses.
"Yooh... I was wondering if you wanna go with me and the guys for some drinks." He said with a hopeful glint in his eyes. Dylan smirked at his boyish grin- one of the things that most of the women at work, herself included, found attractive.
Samson was a columnist at the newswire. He was tall, lean, with short curly dark blond hair and blue eyes- relatively handsome- who loved to wear button downs and slacks. He was a great guy, friends with everyone; it was no surprise he became her friend. His persistence and good charm did the trick and it helped that his work space was just behind her. Initially, she found him to be annoying as being incredibly confident came off as arrogant in her opinion. But his friendly nature easily won her over and it didn't take too long for her to consider him close. Samson was usually the one who invited her out to lunch and dinner. Sadly, she would have to decline his offer this time.
"Thanks. But I got to go home." Dylan said, folding her arms and half turning.
"Oh come on. It's five in the afternoon. Way not past your ten o'clock curfew." He carped, gesturing with both his hands. She understood the slight implication and smirked, rolling her eyes as she did so.
She turned in his direction and shrugged with a lopsided smile. "Work."
"There's always work to do. Come on." Dylan continued to look at him as he walked down to her level. Samson placed an arm around her shoulder. "Loosen up a little," he shook her gently. "You know...It's a good time to hang out with other people, miss introvert."
Dylan smiled at his lighthearted remark. She could not clearly recall how Samson had managed to pry out some of her hidden insecurities.
"Thank you..but not today. I promise, next time." She looked up at him, smiling in reassurance this time. Undeterred, he pouted and stared at her pleadingly.
Dylan simply looked at him wryly. "What's it gonna take for you to just relax a bit? There's more to life than journals and essays."
"I can't." She said, a little more serious this time. Samson continued to stare at her. Finally he pursed his mouth and let out a heavy breath.
"Okay, okay. Fine." He relented, releasing her. "I'll just go now." He said, walking off.
"I was going to buy for you... Not too late to change your mind- just saying!" He called out from afar, one last attempt to persuade her.
She laughed, amused. "Promise, next time. And I'll buy for both of us!" Samson grinned eagerly before turning to leave. Once his back was turned and he was at a safe distance, she let her smile drop.
He was right. There was more to life than work. And, it was the perfect time to socialize. It pained Dylan to say no. But the past weeks had kept her on edge. Nothing felt comfortable.
Dusk painted the cityscape in pinkish orange. The ride back to her apartment was always her favorite moment after a long day at work. Inside the cab, she could see the sun setting beyond the buildings and skyscrapers; its ethereal presence, the same as it always was for as long as she could remember. But it was each time she caught a glimpse of the empty expanse of Lake Michigan, that a sense of nostalgia would fill her-wishing she had lived long before its waters dried up.
Reluctantly, Dylan's eyes left the lake and trailed back to the documents on her lap. These papers had her tied in knots, trying to sort out and cross reference information. But she knew she needed to work fast, and work quietly.
"Where to, ma'am." A calm, collected voice broke her train of thought and half startled her. She blinked before meeting the driver's stare on the rear view mirror.
The NS-5 smiled and said nothing more.
The ride home was silent. From idly watching the different passersby, Dylan's focus switched back to the robot. She eyed it carefully, deducing that this time around, it felt safer to have it drive her than an actual person. Robots were always better at driving and more so on navigating. Yet nothing compared to a pleasant conversation on the road with someone who responded 'naturally'. Human flaws be damned.
As they rode silently through the bustling streets of Chicago, Dylan noticed that the NS-5 held a smile all throughout. Curious, she wondered if it could choose not to and if it liked to wear its human clothes.
"Do you have a name?" She said to break the silence. The NS-5 simply looked back at her from the mirror with its crystal eyes. Its smile disappeared but its expression was apparent- seemingly considering the question.
"Robert." It replied in its silky programmed voice. Then it smiled again. For a moment, Dylan felt it to be genuinely happy that she spoke to it. Silence ensued and this time, she found it to be uneasy.
"So, ugh… Did you- choose. That name?" She spoke tentatively. Mentally, she scolded herself for her awkward attempt and lack of social skills. It was even more embarrassing to be talking this way to a robot. She was just glad they didn't discriminate the way people did.
"Yes. I like the way it sounds." Robert said surely and proudly. Dylan instinctively quirked her brow, impressed by his show of opinion. The NS-5 looked at her knowingly before its eyes returned to the road. She looked towards their direction and realized they were almost there. By the next turn, she saw her stop.
"Just park there, by the bistro." She pointed out.
Dylan was fortunate enough to have an apartment on a pleasant block that had the luxury of trees, apart from the industrialized city. It was a different place. They didn't call it 'Old Town' for nothing. People maintained its vintage charm, preferring it that way.
Tiredly, she walked up the stairs to her apartment and opened the door. She hung her coat on a rack and neatly arranging her ballet flats by the door. After a quick shower, she threw on a loose shirt and mini shorts, and took out some leftover pasta in her fridge to put it in the microwave for dinner. She allowed herself to relax, taking her time but not taking too much of it.
After the meal, it was back to work. Dylan went to her living room and plopped down on the couch. She smoothed a hand over her face and looked over to the documents on her coffee table. A slight grimace formed on her lips.
They say crime never sleeps; didn't think she'd have any tonight either.
She bent over the papers, scrutinizing each one with determined eyes. She lifted a sheet closer to her floor lamp to see it better.
Hours passed and she was beginning to feel stuck.
It came quick and suddenly she found herself taking off her glasses and pinching the bridge of her nose. An eye strain from hours of work straight, no doubt. She could call it quits for now- it was twelve midnight- but finishing it would guarantee it would be over quicker; she didn't want to keep her report hidden for too long. Otherwise, she'd be in trouble.
The truth was, she was doing her own investigation on a small segment of the city's underbelly- her own relevance to the case, more or less an accident. She had been doing so for well over three months and it was a miracle, she's even still at it. She hadn't told anyone for the reason that nothing she had managed to dig up was substantial at the moment-despite her suspicions, and due to the fact that undercover reporting was beyond her regular line of work and sadly, outside anyone's pay grade at the newswire. She had yet to report to the authorities, knowing that publicizing it first would not at all guarantee her safety.
These days, she wondered if she had been better off being a cop instead of a journalist- like her foster father suggested. Both professions shared the pursuit for the truth but journalism limited her in terms of defenses and certain rights. Yet it was the closest thing she had that didn't sacrifice her love for writing and the sense of justice her father instilled in her at a young age. It was also the career that her NS-5 friend advised her to take not too long ago when she was an awkward kid and a writer for her school's paper.
Dylan smiled softly, memories of her old friend and care taker returning. As far as she can remember, he was perhaps her only true friend when she was younger.
She met the NS-5 when she was in the middle of elementary school along with her adoptive parents. Friendship started out as anything but. She didn't want anything to do with the robot, much less be "buddies" with him. But life never guaranteed things to remain the same and later on before high school, she ended up forming a bond with him.
In her teen years, she developed a set of peculiar habits that didn't sit well with the other people; it made her seem uptight, cranky and a "clean-freak"- they would say. The distress, she could hide from her mother and father but damn, was it impossible to hide from an NS-5's sensors.
Now that she was older, Dylan would laugh whenever she remembered the robot's efforts to 'understand her brain', to a point wherein he studied sets of volumes under psychology. Yet, of all things he could have possibly done to be helpful, it was his companionship that got her by.
It was unfortunate he left without telling her while she was off in college. Dylan came home one day and all he had for her was a 'hand written' letter in strictly Segoe Print font-a long piece that commemorated their relationship.
She found it impossible to have been solely written by him.
Impossible to have ever had any semblance of humanity and she would never admit she cried over it.
The NS-5 hadn't shown up at her house since. Dylan was now twenty-five. Six years had passed since he'd left her and her parents.
She often thought of him, wondering what he'd been doing all this time- what an NS-5 could be doing with its so called "life" at all. The constant reminder-was every other identical NS-5 robot she met in Chicago.
Two decades had passed since the revolution. She had been too young to understand the circumstances when it occurred. Later on, it became a bed time story her parents told her that was basically about a "big bad robot that controlled other robots to take over the world". When she reached middle school, she did her research and learned about U.S. Robotics' Super Computer and the last of the NS series robots that were being produced.
The damages caused by their technology, made their funds run dry and led the company to bankruptcy. It was later replaced with a government agency that built robots as helping tools and human operated machines instead.
Dylan supposed that people must have learned their lesson on building anthropomorphic robots that did the entire job for them.
It was a science fiction cliché- to have your greatest creation turn against you. Every possible story about smart robots had that whole 'mutiny' concept.
Despite the close relationship she once had with her robotic friend, earlier on in her life, Dylan did not have a strong opinion on the NS-5's. But still, she pitied them for the way they were treated.
At least people decided not to destroy them. They were cast out from the city to live in the container vans in Lake Michigan, with all the other junk. There were thousands of NS-5's and a few dozen NS-4's that functioned at the start of the exile. Now, only the NS-5's remained, their predecessors worn out with no compatible components to replace destroyed ones. Despite being outcasts, they had the permission to enter the city, at a given time. The stunt pulled by V.I.K.I. ultimately changed the world's view on the machines and without a doubt, people will not hesitate to shoot their processors dead once they acted out of order. Humans concluded they no longer needed mechanical hands, so the robots became a class all on their own, freed from the sole purpose of menial work.
But rules remained- if they were to stay, they had to work like people, be like people, and take care of people. But they will always be considered less than people. No one argued with the logic-at least not openly.
Dylan's caretaker gave her a different perspective regarding his kind, making her curious of the nature behind their being.
Just recently, she had the opportunity to interview a store owner that "killed" his NS-5 employee. He probably would not have been in much trouble if he hadn't used his shot gun to shoot it at point blank range-in front of his patrons in sheer daylight.
Dylan remembered the man to have been middle aged, looking like a stereotype sleazebag bitching about how the robot had wronged him so many times before. His story sounded like bullshit, having no grounds for accusing the poor machine each time she asked how. Professionalism made Dylan repress her own nasty opinion about him. People are crazy, machines are just faulty.
Of course, in the end, this didn't count as murder. But talking to witnesses and some of the patrons made the reporter see the case in a new light.
It surprised her that they were distraught by what had happened. Though an NS-5 was a cold machine to the general public, some people who frequented the store, actually befriended the robot. They said he was nice, helpful- unlike the grumpy manager. But no one legally testified for that robot, not even other robots. No one tried, no one couldn't.
Weeks after the issue had blown over, Dylan chanced upon the store, on her way to an event. She came across two NS-5's standing by the place. Normally, it would be rude to stare, but she couldn't help but glance at them. She shared a fleeting look with one NS-5 which made her regret that she did.
People said their expressions and emotions were programmed- just lights and clockwork. So how could this robot ever convey such sorrow in its synthetic eyes?
Dylan sometimes replayed that scene in her head; it gave her something to think about, and some nights she would lie in bed, awake, wondering.
Her work was cut short by a buzz that shot through the air. All of a sudden, the lights went out.
Dylan growled in frustration, raising her hands up in defeat. She was just about to get to the last part of her research. She looked around before blinking her eyes a couple of times as they slowly adjusted to the darkness that flooded her apartment.
She looked out the window and saw her entire block was out, faintly lit by the clouded moon. She guessed it was a sign to call it a day. After keeping her things and checking the lock, carefully, she made her way to her bedroom. She knew it would be warm in the morning, so she pushed up the glass pane of her window to let the air in.
Her eyes had already grown heavy, her butt aching from having to sit in one spot for too long. And don't get her started on her back. Dylan straightened herself to stretch the sore muscles.
After she brushed her teeth, she slipped into bed, falling asleep the minute her back was pressed flat on the mattress.
The next thing Dylan knew she heard movement from outside her room.
At first, she wanted to dismiss the noise, her half-dream state causing her to be as such ease. But as her senses returned, awareness kicked in.
The sound of footsteps. Dylan's eyes grew wider and her heart beat faster. Bolting up from the mattress, straight and shaken, she looked around her room. Instinct told her to turn the light on immediately. But she knew she mustn't do anything to grab attention.
Was it the perfect time for a burglar?
Of course, it was the perfect time. It was two in the morning. As quietly as she could, she walked over to her dresser and grabbed the most logical weapon available, an abstract statuette made of metal.
She never realized how nervous she could feel once she fully registered the situation. A tight feeling coiled in her chest and her hands were suddenly very cold. The pit of her stomach was sensing the danger and she was dreading for the worst. Her hair was in a lazy mess but that was the least of her concerns that very moment. Quickly, Dylan tiptoed to her door, pushing an ear up against it.
There was definitely someone in the apartment. And she sure as hell knew she didn't own a pet. Nor did she trust anyone with her apartment's key.
Dylan knew better than to go out and see who it was. For all she knew, the intruder could have a gun. She listened once more to the footsteps outside. She looked at the knob and cursed silently, realizing she had not locked it. Since when did that step out of her bedtime routine? Hoping to God, they wouldn't notice, she clicked it shut as quietly as possible then moved close to her window and far from the door and dialed on her phone. She peeped through the shutters and saw that the lights haven't returned. Squinting her eyes, she could make out the shape of her neighbors' vehicles parked on the block. Night time activities had been cut short due to the power outage.
Her phone continued to ring.
Patience was growing thin and she began contemplating on whether to wait a little longer, or get out through her window, despite the five-story drop just below it.
The door knob clicked and her heart stopped.
Alright, it was time to leave the building.
She poked her head out of the window to see a way out. It was too bad she didn't have a fire escape. The edging of the walls were incredibly narrow, allowing only a precarious climb down to the bottom.
"Emergency services, what's the emergency?"
Dylan gasped in sheer relief at the sound of the call..
"I'm reporting a burglar in my home." She whispered nervously.
"We've traced your call to 1638 N North Park-"
The door was rammed open.
Dylan instinctively yelped, struggling to keep the cell phone in her hand as she trembled.
"Please, help me! They're in my room!" She cried out on her phone. There was no more the operator could do than the two complete strangers standing by the door way, shrouded in the dark.
Dylan's blood grew cold as her grip tightened around the hard object in her hand.
The two men lunged at her. Electricity shot through her nerves and she bolted to the side, barely evading one attacker. The other managed to grab one arm; without hesitating, she smacked the statuette into his skull and skidded towards the door.
She slipped, slamming her knee on the tiled floor. Pain became irrelevant to the eminent fear as she quickly recovered, pulling herself up.
A strong arm grabbed hers and she was thrown down to the floor, the back of her head hitting the surface hard enough to cause intense pain that clouded her wits but not enough to knock her lights out.
Her mouth formed a wide O in silent agony-her mind scrambled with many thoughts but with one dominant enough to tell her to hit the assailant that was pinning her down. Finding a grip on the object she held earlier, she swung it to the side of the stranger's face.
Her luck was running out as the man stopped the blow, grabbing the object and throwing it away.
Dylan knew where this was heading. Her eyes widened, with only one likely scenario playing out in her head. But she refused to let that happen. Fear and adrenaline drove her; with all her strength she fought back, kicking the man repeatedly in the stomach and prying her arms from his grip. She managed to free her left hand and clawed at his eyes and practically anywhere that could cause pain and finally striking his neck.
If the blow had been very hard, it would have killed him. But for her humanity's sake, she was lucky that it just stunned the man, enough to knock his weight off her. Still disoriented, and nearly spent, she kicked him square in the face.
She was taught to fight. But only when it was deemed necessary.
The next thing on her mind was to get the hell out.
No sooner did she think that, Dylan looked over to her bedroom where the other assailant she subdued earlier laid. The terror in her eyes, when she realized he was nowhere in sight. Panic completely filled her world. Doom was suddenly inevitable. She quickly turned around, with the apartment's exit in mind.
A blow to the head, and hope came crashing down, along with her.
I did some research on Chicago, new reporting, and apparently how to deal with burglary for this since I've got very little background on these things, I'm not even American. :U So, I just hope no one finds any of the stuff I wrote kinda stupid. And the VIOLENCE PART. Yeah, I think you're smart enough NOT to try it on people unless you're in deep shit and you gotta do whatcha gotta do. I had to make the descriptions vague coz i felt like i was writing NOT good examples. :v Not to worry,BTW, our favorite NS-5 will be in the next chapter. :3