by Dr. Seth
Intros and excuses!
Hereís my pathetic attempt at a BG&R fanfic that I hope
will be enjoyed. I just felt the need to explain something so people
wonít get scared reading it. Eh, I doubt much scares you guys
anyways. Iím just saying a character has been altered in a way that
some people will find unflattering and uncharacteristic. This is a
total 'what if?' situation that explores certain features that we
(my friends and I) thought would occur during or would be necessary
for the Big Guy Project. I hope I didnít give too much away. ;) To
give you a quick overview of my take on the series, I must say that
I donít think it takes place in our future at all. If you hear me
mention dates or something, they have nothing to do with our time
period. Itís a whole other dimension.
Also, I write like crap! Nothing really interesting happens
in my stories, and itís kind of just meaningless rambles.
Editor's Note: Shyeah, right.
Itís practically a stupid rehashing of some of the episodes.
If youíre wondering why sometimes Iíll skip over an episode, itís
mostly because it probably turned out the same way, or I donít
really like it. I would generally ask anyone to fill in the blanks,
but I have projected futures for my version of the characters and I
donít want any plans compromised. And if you actually want to read a
good fic, I will shamelessly plug my friend Dr. Calvinís wonderful
work. Sheís a tough act to follow. Oh, and those who are easily
offended...In real life, Iím a practical pottymouth. Ask Dr. Calvin.
I didnít bring too many obscenities into this fic, but what Iím saying
is, be prepared. Itís mild for some people, and for other people itís
too much. Everyone gives Duane a really cute or dramatic/heroic nickname,
and I call him...well, youíll just find out, now wonít you?;) I would
probably say these are mostly PG - PG 13. Okay, try to enjoy. Thanks.
CHAPTER 0: NEW TOY!
Rusty struggled through Quarkís meeting room, which was at
present filled with a number of scientists and army personnel, all
fresh from his debut and busy discussing his potential and promise.
He fought his way through a cluster of scientists ready to probe his
positronic brain, and spotted Dr. Slate standing by the ice sculpture
in his likeness, talking with another young scientist.
"Dr. Slate!" he cried out, rushing towards her. She let him
latch on to her, seeming at least a little bemused. "Dr. Slate, did I
do good? I kept my big trap zipped, just like Dr. Donovan said to!"
he happily announced, yanking at the ends of her lab coat.
"Yeah. Donovanís a card, all right," she said, patting his head.
"Well, can I go now? I wanna go back to my room and play video
games. You said this would be a fun party, but itís just a bunch of
stuffy grownups. Itís boring!" he pouted. She rolled her eyes.
"Okay," she conceded. "If youíll excuse me, Dr. Patterson," she said
to the Quark scientist she had been chatting with. She could see he
too had itchy fingers, and she concluded it was just as well that
Rusty leave the party; so many of her eager colleagues were leering
at him and she was afraid they would soon pop open his head and rifle
about in his programming!
As they left the room for the comparatively deserted halls,
Rusty caught sight of a lone figure walking in the same direction
they were, which was the wrong direction for guests, since it led
further into Quark and they didnít need anyone getting themselves
into any trouble. She smirked to herself as she noticed the figure
was wearing the crisp formal grey uniform of the air force. She
detested the fact that the military had to be involved in her project,
and had a hard time mustering a polite attitude for those types. Just
as she was about to correct the man as to which way the exit was,
Rusty zipped over and tapped him on the shoulder, hovering in midair.
This caught Erika by surprise, and she hurried over to scold him.
"Hey mister!" Rusty called. "Why are ya leaviní so soon? Doncha
wanna stay for cake and soda?" Rusty innocently implored. The man
turned around to face him, which startled Rusty into falling back
onto Dr. Slate.
"What were they thinking?" The man rubbed his chin as he
peered down at the little robot clambering to his feet.
"Size doesnít matter?" Dr. Slate interjected. "Dr. Erika Slate,
Rustyís engineer." She coldly extended her hand. He briskly took her
fingers with his left hand and gave a quick, firm shake. At first she
found it odd that he shook her hand with his left hand, and merely
attributed it to the fact he was holding his uniformís hat in his
right hand, but on second glance, she saw creeping burn scars all
over the top of that hand into his sleeve and deduced he must be
self-conscious. In fact, she could see why Rusty had been startled
at first -- his face had sustained some sort of damage as well. His
left eye drooped a bit at the corner, exposing a peek of under-eye
meat, and a dash of his right eyebrow was missing. His nose had
been repeatedly broken, and there was a vertical scar bisecting it
running into his forehead. Right underneath a twisted curl of his
hair on his forehead lay a large goose egg, and thanks to his
extremely diminutive stature, she had a good view of it. Heck, if
she werenít wearing heels, theyíd probably be eye level, she thought.
As she was wondering how this had happened to him, she noticed he was
heavily decorated, a Medal of Honor in the center of other notable
"Lieutenant Duane Hunter, Big Guyís, uh... chief mechanic," he
introduced himself. "No offense," he grunted "but whatís the use of
sending this..." A flippant gesture with his hand. "...toy to do a
"Rusty may not look like much," she regretted saying, "but
heís equal to, if not better than, the Big Guy."
"And Ďsides, Iím not a toy, Iím a boy robot!" Rusty said
proudly peering from his hiding space behind Dr. Slateís legs. "And
Big Guyís not a man, heís a robot, too! The bestest darned robot
ever! And Iím gonna sure as shootiní try my best to be just like him
when I grow up!"
"'Sure as shootiní?!'" The dimples his condescending smirk
produced did nothing for his scarred face. "This is nothing but a
test marketed bundle of catchphrases! I canít believe weíd
decommission the Big Guy for Donovanís trash!" His words stung both
Dr. Slate and Rusty. She squeezed the robotís hand to reassure him.
"Big Guy may not have been cute or cuddly," he continued, "but he
got the job done with a minimum of drivel!"
"Excuse me, but Big Guy was also chock full of these
catchphrases -- drivel, in your terms -- and used primitive weaponry
and the most basic artificial intelligence. Rusty is one hundred
percent state-of-the-art, completely efficient, biologically
friendly, can sustain greater damage, not to mention he fits into a
lot of places much easier. That Big Guy of yours was always crashing
through walls and blowing up the street because he couldnít fit into
the sewers and what-not. Traffic was killer." She shook her head
recalling all of the times she was late for work while waiting as
construction crews repaired some monster-battle-induced road damage.
Lt. Hunter seemed a bit offended, as he pursed his lips and furrowed
his brow. "Also, his super-advanced human emotion grid will help him
better serve mankind, and is a definite improvement from his purely
robotic predecessor." She held her ground with a lie she felt no
conviction of but which had everyone else persuaded.
"Yeah, the human emotion grid." Again, the smirk.
"You have a problem with it?" she coolly asked.
"A human emotion grid is the last thing any robot going into
this line of work needs. Shit, if Big Guy had an emotion grid, heíd
probably be a suicidal maniac whoíd never be able to sleep." The
cocky smirk evolved into a cocky grin, exposing a few chipped teeth,
one incisor missing.
"You said a bad word, mister," Rusty squeaked, retreating
further into Dr. Slateís protective embrace.
"Oh? And what makes a word bad or good? Whatíd that word ever
do to you, huh, kid?" Lt. Hunter leaned in closer to Rustyís face,
almost completely obscured by Dr. Slateís lab coat. Rusty gripped
Dr. Slateís hand and quiveringly looked up at her.
"Dr. Slate!" he whimpered. She set her jaw.
"You- youíre just confusing him to be cruel!" She glared at
"Thatís exactly what Iím talking about!" He angled a small,
yet broad hand at Rusty. "If a stupid army grunt like myself can
confuse him, heís gonna have a damn difficult time dealing with the
regular catastrophes that threaten New Tronic, not to mention the
United States of America!"
In the silence his outburst produced, Dr. Slate realized she
could feel her blood boiling and her face was most likely flushed a
deep crimson. She certainly didnít look like the winning end of this
argument. She had never been so infuriated in her life, and she
wanted nothing more than to argue him into the ground, but Rusty
called for retreat.
"Dr. Slate," he whined, "letís go, I want to go now." He
pleadingly tugged at her coat.
"All right, Rusty." She exhaled deeply. "Goodbye, Lieutenant.
Oh, and the exit is the other way, around the right," she said
As she turned away, she heard him call her name.
"Dr. Slate!" She swore there was a bit of remorse present.
"Look, uh, I... respect your work. I was really impressed by your
artificial intelligence project, and of course, by Rusty, and the
human emotion grid. I know, though, his place isnít in battle, but I
imagine you didnít have a choice."
She hated to admit it was true. Every word of it. There were
other things she didnít need to say that she might have suspected he
knew -- the loosening of the Three Laws, of course the test-marketing,
the consumer reports, the other Rusties -- the ones not outfitted
with a nucleo-protonic arsenal. Some times she was damn sorry she
agreed to this compromise -- half weapon, half artificially
intelligent robot equipped with experimental emotions. Right now she
was most certainly sorry she had to make him so curious -- he just
had to go and bother the most infuriating, not to mention the most
unfortunately perceptive, military puppet on the face of the earth!
She continued her derogative monologue in her head as she walked on
without acknowledging his statements. He sighed, a bit sheepishly,
then replaced his hat, turned towards the exit, and left.
Two hours after what would have been considered a decent
power-down time, Erika had finally wrangled Rusty down. She decided
to hook him up to the nucleo-protons while he was "asleep" since
trying to refuel him while he was awake and wiggly was a mess. This
gave her about 30 minutes for reflection upon the dayís events. As
she basked in the glow of the nucleo-protonic umbilical, she noted
that his unveiling had gone rather well, even if it was rather
hectic and nerve-racking. She let a harsh sigh whistle through her
teeth hoping to expel all of todayís accumulated stress. It had been
a long day, and Rusty had done his part to make it longer. The
problem was, she couldnít decide if his sudden invention of a
"bogeyman" lurking about in his room was just a delay tactic to let
him stay up later, or a genuine phobia created in what she hoped was
his imagination. This most definitely would be an interesting
development. In the brief month heíd been activated, sheíd seen him
draw and play with his toys in ways that would suggest he was
capable of creating fanciful situations, but now he had created an
unseen enemy, as most children do, and she wondered how this would
affect him in the long run, especially considering his function!
Again, she sighed. She pivoted away from Rusty, bunching her
fists deep within her lab coatís pockets. He was right, he was
right, he was right! The endless tickertape of her mind stretched
on and on with the single phrase that had been jammed into her head
since her meeting with that officer in the hall. Rusty hadnít even
fought one single monster and already he was scared of a little
thing like the dark. She struggled with the intense, hot desire to
yank out his little emotion grid and end his fears and worries, and
she so regretted that the decision wasnít hers anymore.
Rusty was a mutt -- not wholly belonging to science, not
entirely another military weapon. Donovan, in his infinitely flawed
wisdom, sought to kill two very different birds with one stone.
Thusly, she was forced to satisfy both of his outrageous and
premature demands and produce an emotion grid for a fully
functioning artificially intelligent robot for the scientific
community, and also suit the military and publicís desires for what
they thought would be a better, more efficient protector. And since
Donovan was all about money, he decided to cut funds to her emotion
grid research and instead combine it with the new project for Big
Guyís replacement, and he sold the idea to everyone too early.
Technically, Rusty was still a prototype, and instead of teaching
him everything, as she had originally intended to do in her emotion
grid project, she had to cheat a little, and upload all sorts of
combat, language, and basic social skills information into him. That
idiot was right -- this was going to produce a suicidal insomniac.
That Lt. Hunter, unfortunately, was the only one who probably
realized the implication this held -- and yet, understanding this he
still taunted Rusty, quite harshly, in fact -- in fact, perhaps to
prove his point, he sought to produce these results! How did she
know that Rustyís bogeyman wasnít just a figment, and was perhaps
just the lingering image of that jerk? She hated to say it, but the
man had been deformed acutely -- though it was not debilitating --
probably in some sort of war-hero-type action, judging by his many
medals. Rusty had never seen a human with such physical distortion.
That coupled with his cruel teasing, had perhaps scared Rusty so
badly he was haunted by his image. Dr. Slate knew better than to
judge literature by its exterior, and it was mostly his actions that
fueled her anger. She couldnít help thinking, though, that his face
was rather interesting and she would probably long to stare at it
and study it indefinitely if the man it belonged to didnít make her
want to break that crooked nose all over again.
That crooked nose...she leaned up against the wall in Rustyís
room that was covered with most of the Big Guy propaganda posters and
tried to piece his face together again....That crooked nose, flanked
by two of the most gorgeous green eyes she had ever seen, except the
eyelids on the left one drooped terribly, with a little pink pocket
exposed. He had that scar that ran from the tip of his nose straight
up into his dark, brown hair that was all flecked with grey, thinning
a bit on the sides. It was molded into a perfect curl, probably to
cover up that huge knot on his forehead. There was also that eyebrow
with all the patches missing. On one side of his strong jawline, his
right ear perched, rather gnarled, also missing some chunks. And
nestled within that pockmarked, scarred skin lay his jack-o-lantern
grin, all chipped with one glaring gap, a little scar curling his
lip upward slightly.
Pow! Her imaginary knuckles crumpled that crooked nose. That
was for Rusty! she thought gleefully, imagining tears blossoming in
his exposed eye meat. This oneís for me! Again her hands flew
out to inflict damage on the helpless lieutenant. And this....This
oneís all for you, handsome.
She narrowed her eyes at her own pitiful fantasy, thinking it
rather callous and low on her part. He was the only one who seemed
to understand, at least a little, but heíd still been rude. With any
luck, this would be the last time sheíd ever see him.
"Jerk," she still felt the need to say aloud.
On to Chapter 1!
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