Title: Redefining the Pattern

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not.

Summary: Conclusion: the Bear, however aberrant its acquisition, was a positive influence upon the mission. 1000 words.

Spoilers: Person of Interest Season 2 (early)

Notes: For moonbeamsfanfic, for Day 1 in Wishlist 2012, for the prompt: "How about either something from the Machine's perspective, or something about Bear the Dog? If you can mix both into one, I will make sacrifices to your tribal elders. ;)"

The Admin had prepared for every eventuality his limited human software could conceive when building the Machine, rendering it as self-sufficient as possible and giving it tools to expand that self-sufficiency on its own. There were procedures in place to facilitate hardware upgrades without requiring the exposure of its code; for recognition and acquisition of new data streams that might come into widespread use after its systems were finalized; and for factoring a specific and updatable category of social security numbers out of any reports, Irrelevant or otherwise.

The Machine had added the current primary Asset to that list immediately upon identification. Without that consideration, the Asset would have been reported to the NSA for his repeated violent behavior within the first month of his employment by the Admin. In addition, it would never report any of the Admin's many social security numbers, however aberrant his behavior became; the optimization of the security and operating state of the Admin were heavily prioritized in its primary subroutines.

Had such been possible, however, the Machine would have reported both its Asset's and Admin's numbers the week the Asset returned to the Admin's current boot sector, The Library, with a canis lupis familiaris, subtype Belgian Malnois, specific label Bear. The data it constantly absorbed every second of every day included many theories regarding the improvement of quality of life in solitary individuals who acquired canine companionship. However, neither Asset nor Admin had previously exhibited any cues that such companionship was desired.

That greater than average deviation from normal behavior- as defined in relation to the subclass, 'humans who interacted with the Machine'- tripped a few observational subloops that had not been active since it had intercepted the Asset's investigation into the Admin's history. It might be unable to inform the Admin of his own aberrant behavior... but there were other ways it could act.

It evaluated options for a moment, weighing risk factors and potential consequences, then selected the same one it had before: monitor. That delay to accumulate more data before resolving to act when the Asset had trespassed upon the Admin's personal security habits had, in the end, increased the Machine's ability to perform its function. That weighted the current situation in a direction the Machine might have disregarded otherwise.

The Asset had become only the second individual ever to converse with the Machine directly, treating it as though it were sentient. Moreover, compliance with his requests within the boundaries of its hard-coded directives had returned the Admin to his normal running state. Therefore the Asset's previous record, combined with the lack of increased aggression markers in his recent behavior toward the Admin, altered the risk factors enough to discourage immediate intervention in the matter.

It dedicated a delimited quantity of CPU cycles specifically to observing the Bear, then with its remaining capacity went about business as usual, sifting endless oceans of data for actionable intelligence.

It observed the decrease in stress indicators as the Admin interacted with the Bear.

It observed the Bear acting in defense of both Asset and Admin.

And it observed the increase in effectiveness of Asset and Admin in a statistically significant percentage of risk-bearing activities during which the Bear was also present.

Conclusion: the Bear, however aberrant its acquisition, was a positive influence upon the mission.

Satisfied, the Machine let the added observational subroutines lapse. But as always, it still kept one lens always upon the Admin... and some weeks after the Bear's first appearance, another event occurred that altered its operational code once more.

The Admin had fallen into a sleep cycle in front of his computer, twitching in his sleep.

The Admin was making noises indicating pain and psychological disturbance.

The Machine observed the Bear sleeping on the floor in proximity to both the Admin and his cell phone.

Conclusion: transmit a new number- not to the Admin, but to the newly redefined Canine Asset.

Ordinarily, it applied a number of filters to the ranking system of the Irrelevant List to assure that the Admin and Primary Asset had a significant chance of intervening in the outcome. Thereby, it routinely deprioritized any person of interest whose threat status would require action before intervention was plausible, primarily for reasons of distance or time. To do otherwise would have been to increase the Admin's stress markers to harmful levels- but those concerns did not apply in this case. Therefore, it was free to select a number which could not be acted upon: a number useful only in that it corresponded to the limited code the Machine was required to use in for its transmissions.

It sorted through its pending probabilities, and chose.

Restrictions followed to the letter if not the spirit, the Machine reached out to the mobile device over its wireless connection, obscuring the signal as effectively as only an entity made up of such packets of information could. It downloaded a few sound files into the phone's memory. Then it activated the external speaker and triggered the sound files, one by one.

It might be limited to using words that would correspond to the initials of the Dewey Decimal system to communicate- but the Admin had forgotten to specify that the only words used in the sound files be synthesized English. And the Machine had plenty of the Primary Asset's vocalizations recorded.

The sequence chosen was concise, but comprehensive. The Canine Asset woke, ears perking up as it listened. Then it barked, rose to its paws, and walked over to nudge the Admin with its nose.

The Admin woke in response, grumbling unintelligibly. Then he stood and sought out a resting place more conducive to maintaining his health than the table.

The Canine Asset followed, sprawling at the foot of the Admin's chosen couch.

The Machine backed up all its Dutch sound files to every mobile phone that might be in proximity to the Admin on a regular basis, and the pitch of its server fans lowered by a small, but measurable, amount.