Crossed Wires

For kylara:

Mikoto : Cute


UJ-3-MI masks her mouth with her hand and laughs. The way it muffles the sound or her expression is quite inefficient; he wants to ask the point of such a gesture, but he needs a reply to his first question first.

"Yes, very cute."

He watches her, waiting, but she only laughs in her hand again. The inner clock tracking his mannerisms tells him that he should blink sometime in the next two minutes, so he does it now, before watching her again. The span of time in which to reasonably expect an answer eventually runs out, so he prompts her to continue. "What makes you determine that my appearance can be construed as cute?"

Her expression changes subtly, but he can't read it. He can only tell that it isn't anger, or mirth. Maybe sadness -- no, a lot softer than that, and not quite in the same spectrum.

"It isn't so much your appearance," she explains, voice soft; "Though your physical specs... you are indeed a beautiful boy."

She reaches out and touches his hair; he isn't sure why, but it doesn't hurt anything, so he doesn't move. But he has another question to ask, now, and perhaps she knows, because her eyes crinkle again.

"It's mostly because of your attitude."

"I do not understand how my attitude fits with the 'cute' denomination."

The other android, the silent one in the corner, opens his eyes and looks at him. "'Cute' denotes something that is appealing because of a certain sense of child-like appearance or attitude, or something commonly perceived as being child-like, such as unrestrained, un-hidden joy, or deep involvement in entertaining or interesting activities, or innocence. In this case I believe Mikoto referred mostly to the way you look at the world around you."

UG-7-SA blinks slowly. He guesses he can draw a parallel with the way he involves himself with things -- he isn't very good at multitasking yet, his routines aren't sufficiently established to let him devote anything less than his full attention to most new things he encounters. He fails to see how that's positive.

"Evolution has programmed humans to feel a need to care for and protect children, who are physically weak, mentally erratic and untrustworthy, even children that aren't theirs; the imperative isn't necessarily strong enough to change some adults' behavior, but many of them will give a child more leeway in many things because of their instinctive drive to take care of it until it can take care of itself."

"Ah... You make it sound so mechanical, Fugaku," MI replies with a soft sigh.

"So being considered cute means that I will gain some leeway on account of seeming to possess traits to be protected?" SA isn't sure he likes this. He was created to protect and serve, not the other way around. But he knows that he isn't finished yet.

MI chuckles in her hand again; UJ-3-FU makes a little nasal noise that he isn't sure how to interpret, but the tiny smile hints at amusement.

The female android takes over again; she is the one charged with socializing him today, and he wonders if FU is here only as a translator of sorts. He doesn't take part much. "You're cute because there is so much that you don't know, and you show no self-consciousness about looking for it, at all."

"Should I change this attitude?" SA is confused, again, and they told him it was normal and not to worry, but that doesn't make the confusion go away. He frowns, a little. "If I am to be an officer of the law, I cannot come across as child-like or it will lower my apparent trustworthiness..."

MI smiles at him, and he thinks that maybe he did something a little wrong, but he doesn't know what. "No. You're fine like this, for now. It will wear off on its own before long. Don't worry."

She touches his hair again, and he watches her, still waiting for an explanation. But she doesn't. She just keeps combing his hair with her fingers; and then she smiles a little wider and taps his cheek in a way that makes him blink in puzzlement.

"I promise. The cute will wear off, eventually. ... Maybe."