keire_ke: (Discworld - Death)
[personal profile] keire_ke
Title: Rayleigh Scattering (I hate you, give me my robot back)
Rating: gen
Genre: science-fiction, crack undertones
Characters: Erik, Charles, David 7
Wordcount: 1.7 k
Warnings: none
Summary: Erik built robots, and he made the mistake of basing their physicality on himself, so it's natural that sooner or later he would come across one doing something so degrading he wouldn't be able to stand it. He was ready for that, he thought, but the things Xavier made David do boiled his blood.

Author’s Note: Possible prequel to this bit of Prometheus-related crack.

Erik Lensherr’s opinion of himself was high, and why shouldn’t it be? He was one of the youngest engineers the Weyland corporation employed (at the start of his employment, thank you very much, and he has never even heard of Henry McCoy, fuck you) and objectively the most talented; his work in the robotics department had no equal. His androids were the smoothest, most perfect, most lifelike creatures to ever spring from a human body part that wasn’t a uterus, and even then they rated high.

Delusions of godhood might be impending, but Erik liked to keep himself realistic, just in case. Anyway, with Weyland’s inflated ego there was no danger of his own becoming overbearing in the building. He would be fired and/or shanked in a dark alley and his remains fed to the rest of the employees on meatloaf day.

There was one thing that ruined his good humour, though, and that was Charles Xavier. Charles fucking Xavier. The elusive programmer, stationed in the belly of the beast, so to speak -- the bastard took over the cellar and set up camp there, rarely emerging for sustenance, never, in fact, since he was presented with a complimentary David 7 (one of the prototype series made by Erik personally, and a gift from Peter Weyland himself, since Xavier seemed to burn out assistants faster than Weyland did children’s minds, and his productivity didn’t improve with an extra pair of hands, but rather seemed to suffer). Erik sometimes saw the David standing patiently in line at the cafeteria, wearing a labcoat that proclaimed him to be “Charles Xavier, prog”, which was a little annoying, to have his perfect creation reduced to the role of butler (if he were to be completely honest, it mostly grated because he had modelled every David after the fourth after himself, since his body was so efficient), but it wasn’t until he saw it asking for scampi pasta, please, if you would be so kind, with extra cheese, and he would also like a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Oh, and a green apple. Thank you, you’re very kind. And a lovely afternoon to you, too, I hope the family is well?

What. He asked, nearly dropping his own tray. He looked down, remembered it was already empty, dropped it on the table, from where it was immediately scooped up by a David 4.2, three of which managed the cafeteria tables, in the name of reducing human factor. He marched right up to David 7 and glared.

“What is wrong with you?” he hissed under his breath.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I didn’t make you to be nice. I didn’t make you for small-talk. As far as I recall -- and I recall perfectly -- your programming is classified as G-cube.” Erik hated the classification, but it seemed to have caught on: G-cube stood for third generation G-line, but among most robo-psychologists it signified grumbly-grouchy-grump. “I want to know what the fuck is wrong with your circuitry.” Davids of the seventh line were still in testing; radical shifts in personality due to mechanical failures were bad news, and the positronic brains, Erik’s beloved brainchild, were far too complicated to meddle with by anyone who wasn’t Erik.

“I assure you, Doctor Lehnsherr, every last one of my circuits is in perfect working order,” David said mildly, making his way around Erik and out of the cafeteria, pushing the tray through the air over a plane perfectly parallel to the ground. It was good to know something was working perfectly. “Doctor Xavier has been encouraging me to interact with the working staff in whatever manner I saw fit, barring inflicting physical or serious emotional pain, and to report the results. Thus far politeness and small talk had yielded an overwhelming 87% improvement in the emotional response of human beings.”

Erik listened to the bullshit with his mouth open.

“For instance, Miss Salvatore is 43% more likely to forego the charge for extra cheese, if I inquire after the family. Now please excuse me, the pasta is best when it’s not reheated.”

“What,” he managed to get out. “You know what, forget it. Give me the tray, go back in there and insult her parentage up to the third generation. Do it now.”

“That would not be advised,” David said, with both of his eyebrows high on his forehead, and that was how Erik knew he was going to dump the pasta on Xavier’s head.

“I gave you an order.” Erik took the tray and marched to the elevator, with less grace than David would, but competently enough to keep the food in its containers. Before the door slid closed he heard a loud curse uttered by a female voice and then the sound of food being thrown at somebody’s face. He was very familiar with that sound. A good percentage of his dinner outings ended that way.

The elevator asked for his pass and, upon scanning it and receiving a vocal override, plummeted ten stories down, to the basement. Erik followed the cheerful little blue arrows, pointing down a corridor, around three turns and a lab, and into what he would normally dismiss as a broom closet, except when the door buzzed and accepted his overrides he stepped into a nest of giant cable monsters. There was nothing else this could possibly be: every surface, be it vertical, horizontal or slanted, and there were plenty of both, as it turned out the entire space was an old garage, now housing a gutted ship, was covered with computers. In the far corner there was the figure of a man, hunched over a tiny laptop. Erik went for the figure and stopped with the tray hanging precariously over its head.

“Doctor Xavier,” he said sweetly, imitating David at his most dulcet.

Xavier looked up and smiled, and in the space of around a microsecond Erik’s plan of upending a plate of pasta over his head died a sudden, but comfortable death, amidst the sparkling of frayed cables and the whistling of air compressors. “Thank you, David, that smells lovely. Look, isn’t it magnificent? I mapped your whole mind. It’s beautiful -- you can see how the potential pathways are explored.” He pressed a few keys and there it was, the screen of the laptop projected in three dimensions over the floor of the cargo hold in greens and blues, and Erik in the middle, with a tray of pasta and hot chocolate in his hands.

It was… pretty he allowed, trying hard not to think that no one told him Xavier was young and handsome and a dead ringer for Erik’s usual type.

He set the tray down and was about to explain his reasons for coming down in the first place, when the door opened and in marched David 7, with its face and front covered with what looked like spaghetti sauce. “My apologies, Doctor,” it said. “The latest social experiment elicited an overwhelmingly negative response.”

Xavier looked at Erik, then at David, then at Erik again, after which he squeaked and hid behind the android, peering at Erik like a small, frightened animal, compounding the simile with a wrinkled nose, most reminiscent of a Rattus rattus. “Good god, David, what happened to you? You smell of tomato sauce.”

“Miss Salvatore was displeased when I colloquially compared her father to a fornicating sub-rat species of the harbour area and her grandmother to a facilitator of such state of affairs.”

That shut Xavier’s mouth for ten whole seconds. “But-- we agreed you are not to hurt people’s feelings. Why would you say such a thing?”

“Doctor Lehnsherr ordered me to insult Miss Salvatore. He insisted and specified the generations I was supposed to insult.”

David made the horrible mistake of looking over at Erik when he said so, and, as the following minutes proved, the fact that he was holding a tray of steaming food was the only reason he escaped with his life.

“And stay out!” Xavier yelled, shutting the door in his face. To the testament of absent-minded scientists everywhere, he opened the door and took the tray with his food, adding “I meant it,” as he closed the door again.

Erik was never good with taking orders and so he waited what looked like a reasonable amount of time before knocking too quietly to be heard, just so he could say he knocked, and walked back inside.

Xavier was very carefully washing the sauce out of David’s hair and off his face, although not so carefully he didn’t notice Erik. “What do you want?” he asked curtly, in a voice as unfriendly as Erik’s normally was.

“Look, it was behaving weirdly. I wanted to check if nothing went wrong with its brain.”

“His brain is perfect.”

“I know, I built it! And I know all that please and thank you bullshit wasn’t there.”

“That’s called common courtesy. You should try it sometime.”

“My point is, it wasn’t there. I programmed it to be grumpy.”

“And you were wrong. David is a complete sweetheart and he doesn’t deserve that travesty of a jejune algorithm in his brain.”

Either Erik was imagining things, or the goddamned bundle of cables and polystyrene was sticking his tongue out at him over Xavier’s arm, before giving him and adoring look, completely out of place on what was essentially Erik’s face. “I built the bastard and it is as far from sweet as anything can possibly be!”

“Shows what you know about robotics, then,” Xavier said with a huff and returned to combing the meat out of David’s hair, although this time Erik was sure he wasn’t imagining things and Xavier was throwing curious looks his way. Which had no relevance, ever, because he was infuriating and Erik wanted nothing more to do with him, ever.

Never, ever.

He absolutely never imagined making out in Xavier’s laboratory with the three-dee projector displaying something large and shiny, hopefully after restoring David 7 to his natural state of asshattery.
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