Comic 436 - Give her the USB

Posted on 26th Sep 2017, 11:18 PM in Doors
Give her the USB

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 26th Sep 2017, 11:18 PM edit delete
"You were... built?," Caius asks.

Jury nods. "The goal was totally objective law enforcement--officials that made decisions not out of fear or based on personal bias, but on the neutral interpretation and enforcement of the law. The problem is that the law is, itself, often based on fears and personal biases, and my understanding of intent started conflicting with the legal process. The people that asked for a neutral party didn't really want a neutral party--they wanted a force of nature to come down and confirm their beliefs were correct. I wasn't that, and the project was scrapped. I was kept around for my utility, and upgraded over time, passed around from government branch to government branch."

"So... you're like..." Caius trails off, not even sure himself where he's going. Jury fills in the blank. "I enforce laws within the jurisdiction of the government, with a few caveats. There's been a lot of time to tweak my programming."

"And that's why you was curious about tha dad. Right? You ain't programmed to ask questions about a dead guy..."

Jury nods. "Having unanswered questions about my original department doesn't sit well, so to speak. I considered how much time a quick glance around the home would take out of my investigation, and I figured it wasn't a massive loss. There was also a chance that the young woman's father could play into her current predicament, which would then play into the case overall."

"Right, right," Caius says, smiling a little. He holds the USB out to her, and she takes it. She casually removes one of her gloves, and inserts the USB into a slot in her palm.

"How much d'ya know about her dad, anyway?," Caius asks.

"Not a lot," she replies, presumably downloading the contents of the USB while she talks. "I met him a few times in passing. His work with Zone Fifty was very different from the part that made me... but hearing that he vanished, and not even Zone Fifty could find him... that stuck with me."

There's a lingering wait as Jury runs through the file. After a little while, Caius asks.

"How far are ya?"

"I've got most of it so far," Jury says. "Though I could probably have stopped with her running back and forth to help that police officer. I had seen the two of them in footage together, but I didn't know the circumstances. She does seem to mean well."

Caius nods, solemnly. You give him permission to start explaining the situation.

Caius takes a deep breath. "I got... a small confession."

"You're working with her, aren't you?"

Caius does something of a double take. He hesitates... but he replies. "Yeah. You knew?"

"Not really," Jury says, flashing her stiff smile. "But that was my best guess. No offense, but I don't buy you as a prime investigator. Someone had to be backing you, and you seemed very determined to convince me."

"She ain't mind controllin' me, if that's whatcha think," Caius blurts out. "She ain't like Thale. She don't do that. Hell, she barely suggests anything... jus' politely asks me to do stuff. Her power's like Thale's, but she ain't usin' it to take over the city. She's only got a handful of people under her power, and we're all people that wanna be there. I coulda left anytime I wanted."

"Then why haven't you?," Jury asks.

Caius pauses. He actually considers it for a second.

"One... 'cuz I ain't got nowhere else to go. What else am I gonna do with my life? You said it yourself, I ain't a genius. They didn't cook me up to shoot guns, I'm a hand to hand fighter, an' not the greatest guy at that, neither. And two... I done some fucked up stuff for some fucked up people."

Jury forces the smile again. "So you're hoping to turn your bad hand in life, and do something good instead? Bring those you know are wrong to justice?"

Caius shakes his head. "Nah, you got me all wrong. Blondie wants that. I think all tha others do... they wanna be heroes, save tha city, flush tha rats outta the dark. I wanna make the bastards pay. I ain't a prop to be passed around, an' this city ain't a toy to be played with. I'm gonna live to see those sons of bitches get what's comin' to 'em."

Jury maintains the smile.

"She's really not controlling you, is she? I was half expecting an answer about you... seeing the light, or making more of yourself. That... that was a very human response, though."

"I told ya," Caius says. "She ain't me, and I ain't her. You wanna meet her, we can try to arrange that..." Caius pauses before adding, "but if you try to pull any funny stuff, know this: I will protect her, Jury."

Jury slips the USB from her hand, offering it back to Caius. "That she's even willing to start negotiating a meeting puts her leagues above Patton Thale in my eyes. I don't know if I trust her yet... but I trust that you do. I have no plans to detain her, harm her, or otherwise deal with her outside of learning what she knows. This will be completely confidential, and I will not inform anyone else of the meeting--for her sake, and for the sanctity of my own investigation."


Guest 27th Sep 2017, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
and now Jury get's to learn everything.
Guest 27th Sep 2017, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
to which i mean, i expect that when she finally meets Jane, Jane will be filling her in with a lot. but i'll leave that up to the other readers
D 27th Sep 2017, 12:22 AM edit delete reply
"Yey!" for a good start, I hope it doesn't come back to bite us in our collective butts. I'm not so sure about her "tweaks" in proggraming. Also, after this whole case ends, she might be a bit more... worried about us, but having her on our team would be a big plus.
PurpleKetchup 27th Sep 2017, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Ok, time for a hug.
It's totally a secret ritual required to meet her.

... ok, I'll settle for a firm handshake. For now.
Mochi 27th Sep 2017, 12:29 AM edit delete reply
i guess... since we're already on the way there, we might as well go and meet up with them. having both caius and michelle with us is honestly about as safe as we could be in this situation, or any other. we have questions we want answers to, and so does she. so... i guess why not, right?

also... can we thank caius for saying he'd protect us? because that was really sweet of him. i'm glad that in the few short days he's been with us, he's gotten attached to us to the point that he's willing to look a highly advanced government android of indeterminate strength and ability dead in the face and basically say "if you touch her, i kick your ass".
Kitty 27th Sep 2017, 12:53 AM edit delete reply
We probably oughta ask (as non-accusingly as possible, given the question's implications) if she's aware of the full extent of her own programming and the tweaks that have been made to it, just in case someone added a "kill alien on sight" command and never bothered to inform her. Cuz that would be really unpleasant for us and probably actually quite distressing to her, too, if that happened.
Vahno 27th Sep 2017, 1:04 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, asking that, it feels more accusatory towards her programmers than her, as she doesn't have control over that. But from the sounds of it, I think she's fine. Trustworthy... I'm leaning towards yes, but I'm still gonna be careful.
Baeronius 27th Sep 2017, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
If I had to meet, I wouldn't know if I wanted to panic and have someone between us or walk right up to greet her...

No wait... *deep breath* I'd... focus and not try to hide behind people if I was honestly trying to meet someone.
I'd be panicky but I wouldn't want people around me getting hurt if something was directed at me, so I'd go in front.

Scared, but in front.
3...2...1... Handshake!
Baeronius 27th Sep 2017, 2:58 AM edit delete reply
Hope it's not too late to suggest we go to the bathroom first so if we get scared, we don't embarrass ourself.
Guest 27th Sep 2017, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, at this point, I think the motivations of our little group are mixed between "doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do", "surviving this nightmare" and "making those SoBs burn for all they have trampled over, they shall reap what they sow, and they will pay the price with their blood."

so, yeah, fun times.
Skybirds15 27th Sep 2017, 1:09 AM edit delete reply
Well, this is good. We have her number, and if she consents, we can stick her with blood to communicate like that. We should also ask her if there are any other robuts running about that she knows of.
Step 2: Fill her in on our side, since doing so would help with the trusting. We got Caius, the gay boxer, Michelle, the maybe gay sharpshooter, HACKERMAN-er, Fuse, crispy bacon, and Finch, smart guy.
Also, Carpenter is target 2 here. I don't want any bio-monsters crawling around.
Also, Prophet, Macdnal, Gensai, etc.
Skybirds15 27th Sep 2017, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
Maybe she knows what happened to Griswald, also. We still haven't checked our syringe that we gave him, I don't think.
Guest 27th Sep 2017, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
Yes, we need to end Carpenter. Think we can unleash a swarm of termites on him? i think it would be a fitting death.
Nayru9572 27th Sep 2017, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
I'd say ask everyone if they have any more questions they want to ask her first, and then go meet her.
Varil1024 27th Sep 2017, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
I think at this point we should just head up there, and give Jury a heads up and make sure she's fine being in the same room as a mind-controlling alien.

I don't think it's necessary to give her the details on our retinue. Just meeting her shows a measure of trust and cooperation. Bring along Michelle, probably, if Jury is okay with that. I'd leave Finch and Fuse. She probably suspects the former but does she know about Fuse at all? She may have reason to believe we have a hacker/techie person in our corner but I think keeping his actual identity anonymous to at least ONE of the factions is probably still a good idea.

It's important to keep in mind that no matter how trustworthy Jury is, her superiors may not be so fair or open-minded, and it's probable that anything she learns will eventually be passed on, even if she doesn't want it to be.

Though at this point I'm not sure what all we can learn from her. The main thing was figuring out if she is friend or foe, and I think right now we can at least say she probably leans more towards friend, at least for now. We can trust her not to stab us in the back, at least.

We should give her a full run-down on the plots and enemies we've dealt with.

...maybe don't mention our trip into Macland's mind, breaking into Elegance, or killing Prophet. She may or may not care, but all of those things sound illegal and she IS still an enforcer of the law. I don't want to trigger any programming failsafes designed to keep her from cooperating with known criminals.
CiciEnixa 27th Sep 2017, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
Can I just say... It's amazing that of all the peeps that could've gone and spoken to Jury, it was Caius, the guy that "wants to make the bastards pay" and therefore having the most human response XD

I agree with suggesting a meeting now, though perhaps don't go "yeah she's like right across the street" because that sounds like we're being stalkery. Not that it's a big deal but at least make it seem like we weren't listening in the whole time, maybe? Like have Caius call us on the phone.
Mochi 27th Sep 2017, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
it's pretty fair to say "she's almost here anyways, you kind of scared the daylights out of her with the way you were talking earlier and with the kind of day she's had that doesn't surprise me"
Eternity 27th Sep 2017, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
Well, this seems to be going well...

Except she's a robot , so if there's a tracker, or camera, or something else like that in her,mwe can't get it out as easily as with Finch...

...(Btw the main reason I haven't been commenting is because you guys have all the good ideas, XD. Still reading the comic, though, and still loving it!)
lil Joshu 27th Sep 2017, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Okay, so she's a Rogue AI...
A robot that was made with certain rules, and those rules took her outside the expectations of her creators, and one that is actually aware of the flaws of those rules.

That said, a -lot- of our actions have been legally questionable, although they can pretty much all be waved away by 'self defense' (self defense understandably gets fairly broad with an entire cult and a tight circle of the city's most powerful after you.)

That said, considering how things have been going, it may be smart to vacate the city after the meeting and relocate to somewhere outside their sphere of influence. It's hard to get oriented when you're constantly standing the bear trap.
PurpleKetchup 27th Sep 2017, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
Let's recap - looting, breaking & entering, minor battery (jabbing a few peeps with syringes), drug use. Injecting several people with an alien compound might also be illegal. Causing someone to die accidentally (the clown cultist wouldn't be dead if we had not made him open that door) is probably involuntary manslaughter.
What else ?
lil Joshu 27th Sep 2017, 1:49 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Let's see, the hospital looting was in a disaster combat situation - self defense.
Breaking and Entering mainly our own homes, except for the location of someone who was trying to kill us - self defense.
People injected with compounds were all people that consented or were trying to kill us, also self defense (except Caius, but he probably won't press charges, and we did save his life)

Level and the memory drug (forgetting the name) were only used once or twice (most of the times it was blood creating it's own knock-off effect), that one could be a problem depending on how illegal the two drugs are.

That said, even if they are illegal, considering our group does include a doctor and a nurse, it could easily count as taking it under medical supervision (especially since the blood can mimic it, allowing effects to be started and ended as desired, it may actually qualify under medical research).
_Brokencrystal_ 27th Sep 2017, 3:06 PM edit delete reply
Cleantex :?
Oh, yeah, we killed Prophet too. Again, self-defense, since he and the other cult peoples were trying to kill us too ("they started it first!!" XD). And we had to get past them to try to help/find Michelle.
lil Joshu 27th Sep 2017, 3:20 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Thought on the drugs though... at this point, if we need any chemicals for something, may just look up the chemical formulas and blood-synthesize it rather than dealing with any legally complex methods to get the first dose.
Cuttlefish 27th Sep 2017, 4:02 PM edit delete reply
Plus we, and presumably Jury, have seen how the police actually operate in this world. We've been doing a better job of policework than most, despite the many, many deaths.
2FABZ 27th Sep 2017, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
Its Robocop all over again lol
rufiangel 27th Sep 2017, 12:43 PM edit delete reply
Fanart rendition of the Finch hug; the hardest part was trying to figure out whether he would have marks of the surgery on his throat or not, but after looking back at the sprites used post-surgery, I'm going with 'not terribly noticeable marks'. -v-


Dr. Finch, don't worry, we'll train you in the art of hugs over time. <3
Guest 27th Sep 2017, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
That's amazing, I love it.
Mochi 27th Sep 2017, 1:24 PM edit delete reply
perfect <3
27th Sep 2017, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
You people are obsessed with this "hug" thing.
Guest 27th Sep 2017, 2:15 PM edit delete reply
hey, hugs are nice :P

and jane had been dealing with a good bit, she'd probably hug everyone if she could.
Kitty 27th Sep 2017, 3:18 PM edit delete reply
The only way we've managed to stay sane through all this is with hugs and cat pictures.