8182/Sentinels: A Peek Under the Hood

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Sentinels: A Peek Under the Hood
Date of Scene: 05 July 2019
Location: TCRI Laboratories
Synopsis: Baxter and Lex start working on counteracting present technology Sentinels in secret.
Cast of Characters: Shredder, Lex Luthor
Tinyplot: Sentinels

Shredder has posed:
    TCRI Labs. It isn't the most elaborate lab in the world. TCRI looks like a lot of other buildings. It's several stories tall, but not hardly the tallest building in NYC. It doesn't need to be. It has what it needs. Glass and stone architecture is a simple display, and it doesn't stand out significantly from a thousand other buildings of similar design across the country. Inside is where the magic lies.

    The entry foyer has two winding staircases which frame the room, leading to the second level and beyond. Advertisements regarding the many breakthroughs in robotic engineering display on the verticle screens inside. The elevators in the back clearly can go to many other levels of the building. Formally part of Oroku Enterprises, it has enough of its own name that people usually know it for being TCRI more than for being part of a conglomerate.

Lex Luthor has posed:
LexCorp Tower has some of the most elaborate facilities in the world, because Lex wants to project a sense of being top tier, even without actual technologists having any idea what's actually going on inside... but when you work with technology leagues more advanced than what most people deal with in their day to day lives (most of it is incredibly expensive... but Lex has never considered expense an obstacle to the bleeding edge), you want to be impressive.

Today, Lex is being the opposite of impressive.

Having secretly come in via the hyperrail system into New York and had one of his covert Limos pick him up, the warsuit assembly truck had come on it's own to the building, and arrived without fanfare in the TCRI Labs garage before the Limo itself.

Once inside, Lex comes out of the back in his business suit, Mercy and Hope coming out of their respective sections to flank their boss as he heads for the front desk.

Shredder has posed:
    The middle-aged woman at the front desk looks up as Lex arrives, and she smiles warmly. "Mr. Luthor, Dr. Stockman has been expecting you, I will ring him immediately." She thumbs the comm, and then speaks into the bluetooth. "Yes, please let Doctor Stockman know that his visitor has arrived," she says. Of course everyone knows who that is. She nods, getting confirmation, and says as much as she hangs up.

    Shortly Stockman arrives, a blue dress shirt, black sportscoat and a silver tie. His neatly trimmed hair and mustache in place perfectly, he steps off the elevator and briskly walks toward the front desk. With the slight smile on his face, he holds out his dark hand for a hand shake. "Lex," he says, "It's good to see you," he glances casually at Mercy and Hope, giving them an auxilliary nod, "And come with your lovely attendants as well I see." The tone is neutral, difficult to tell whether he means it in a compliment or insult, or neither.

Lex Luthor has posed:
Mercy and Hope just give Baxter very even, very level looks. Their stances betray nothing of their inner thoughts; only a warriors stance as both are ready to string into action.

Lex is silent -but with a smile- as the woman at the front desk called for Baxter, and he easily took the hand and gave a firm handshake, "Mercy Graves and Hope Taya." Lex glances at both of his bodyguards with their names respectively, "They're here as my bodyguards, nothing more." Lex looks directly to Stockman then, "I've been very interested in seeing you work outside of an emergency situation for a while. You impressed me with your insights with the device." Of course he's being vague about the portal machine that's still in the prototype stage. With the new gem focus in place, that particular bit of hardware is going through extensive revisioning as they spoke.

Shredder has posed:
    "Of course they are," Baxter acknowledges, but his tone betrays he might not fully believe the claim. Still, he continues before debate can be started on the subject.

    "So yes, I hope you'll forgive my slowness to find a time for us to meet," he says. "I'm not accustomed to allowing the CEO of competitors into my labs. You understand I'm sure. There are only a few other people alive that I would trust to understand what they are looking at when they see our projects here, and you are on that list. Mr. Oroku of course assured me that you would be true to your word." Translation, Shredder pulled rank, and so he goes along with it. "Come, I'll show you what we have started."

Lex Luthor has posed:
"I understand completely, and you seem like the sort of man who would clean out anything worth my time visually to inspect besides what we've agreed to. I have no doubt you've already done so." Lex informs Stockman. As they continue, Hope and Mercy both take stock of the employees, especially the security.

If this goes south, they always prepare for the worst.

Shredder has posed:
    The security staff is armed, the guns look rather normal, but they have multiple settings. Tazer, pistol, and some lasers built into th esame device. Most of the security is built into automated defenses here, though, not visible to the naked eye. Floor tiles that can be electrically charged, turrets that can pop out of walls, and other such things.

    "Of course," Baxter agrees, leading them to the elevator. He hits the button, the elevator lowering a couple of levels after scanning his eyes. He doesn't bend down to a scanner, it seems to be able to identify the location of his face without it. It's only two levels down before the sentinel work floor. After opening the door with the fingerprint scan, The workshop below is revealed with the sentinel systematically disassembled, parts stretched out and suspended with a gravity device, as if each piece is in place, but just stretched out as an exploded schematic. Only instead of it being a schematic, it's the actual robot.

    "Trask didn't do a bad job, really," he says. "Their A.I. programming was done by monkeys though. Integrity-wise, it's good work."

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Something this large shouldn't be able to stand without some serious gyroscopic work, or serious superstructural design." Lex immediately notes as they enter the lab. "Yet they seem to be taking fifty caliber rounds center mass without so much as a stumble."

As they step further in, Lex's attention goes to the arms, "Can you confirm from preliminary checks that these machines are designed to neutralize and kill mutants?" Lex looks to Baxter.

Shredder has posed:
    "Well, if the mutants are stupid, yes," Baxter answers, "And since most people are rather stupid, I'd give it as a blanket yes." He walks to the central operating system.

    "They have a pretty quick response and priority to the defensive measures to be taken against mutants. Everything about them says that's what they were built to fight. Just casual observation of the news would reveal they were made to fight mutants, though. I didn't need to reverse engineer them to find that. Even when they have attacked humans, it's been because they misinterpreted them to be mutants."

Lex Luthor has posed:
"The news can be deceptive and misinforming." Lex glances to Baxter with a raised eyebrow, "being apparently biased against mutants, and actually checking their engineering to confirm how deep the design goes are two different things." Lex points out, "As it is, I'm hoping to help you build a sensor blind and a countermeasure for the nullification weapons they use."

There's a moment as Lex looks at the central chest portion, "Any chance of finding weaknesses in the armor, or does it look like the main way to deal with these things is to confuse their AI?"

Shredder has posed:
    "I would most definitely focus on confusing their A.I. The integrity of their armor is their stronger asset. And why would you blow up something you can simply shut down or confuse into inactivity?" He indicates the size. "These things are massive. The collateral damage caused in each fight has been rather expensive. Buses, buildings, damage to roadways, electrical grids, if we can shut them down simply by pressing a button or giving them a straw man, all the better."
    "Of course," Baxter adds, "Groups who have a chip on their shoulder such as the X-men, or Genosha, they seem to be all too happy to make their situation worse by escalation. It only feeds the anti-mutant sentiment. It doesn't matter who shot first, in the end of the day, if mutants are present in the fight," he shrugs, indicating the answer is obvious.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Because someone might one day change their programming, and if that day comes, I'd like to know all their weaknesses, including the physical." Lex informs Baxter. "How much force is needed, weakpoints, where they get their orders... I want the whole thing, not just how to confuse their AI."

He steps up to one of the gravity lifts, working through the controls to get an understanding on how to operate it.

Once he does, he heads up to the chest area. "Can't say I agree with your assessment. If it doesn't matter who fired first, what's the difference if you escalate? Public relations only works if you have the credibility to control the narrative. It's understandable they'd be more interested in securing their own safety over non-violence."

Shredder has posed:
    "Someone already did change their programming," Baxter answers. "They've had a few rogue sentinels already turn up under someone else's control. I suppose you could say that these are as well, but I'm more prudent than to cause mayhem in the streets."

    "You hate aliens, other people hate mutants. And the narrative at present is a fear of mutants. Of course it's reasonable for them to defend themselves. Doesn't mean people won't be more afraid when all is said and done. Most people are rather stupid, after all."

    He watches as Lex familiarizes himself with the controls, but makes no effort to assist, knowing Lex is saavy enough he can certainly figure them out.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"The incident did have a ring of truth to it, but I'm glad to get confirmation. We should stick to software masks for specific bits of hardware, then, not try to get fancy and reprogram them. The KISS principle applies here." Lex concludes as he grabs a set of nearby tools and begins to work on analysing the chest area, taking it apart a bit more to get to the internal components.

A few moments later, and he's examining the armor itself from the inside visually. "Have you made any progress with the software mask, or do we need to get started on that?"

Shredder has posed:
    "Rewriting the operational software isn't that difficult. All that we had to do was to remove the current A.I. and rewrite the protocols for decisions, maintaining the ability to respond to powers of course. The biggest problem is that in their initial state they are nearly useless against human targets. Fortunately," Baxter raises his hand, walking to a terminal, "They have biological scanners built in. What is easy to do is to reconfigure those scanners so that they will simply scan for registered friendly targets." He smiles slightly. "I'm pretty certain I can make some improvements to the reaction times as well. Like I said, Trask's software wasn't the best part of the design. But I'm sure other people can do this as well, so now that these things are more commonly found on the streets." He shakes his head. "We will likely find a lot of rogue copies before long."

Lex Luthor has posed:
"I would hope they have bio-scanners intergrated." Lex quips, "or they couldn't avoid biological friendlies." *Scrit Scrit* A section of armor is removed, and Lex brings the lift down, heading over to the molecular analyser, "Is your partner making reprogramming a priority for you?"

Shredder has posed:
    Baxter cocks one eyebrow as he glances up from the panel. "He knows enough to let me make my own decisions," he says, a certain air about the comment, one of mild indignation at the concept that someone else tells him what to do.

Lex Luthor has posed:
Lex, being the master of body language he is, easily picks up on it. A useful bit of information for later. "Glad to hear it." A bit of mild ego stroking there. Lex is not above manipulation, even as he starts to check the armor lattice for it's structure. "The software portion of it should be easy enough then. Just need to find the weakpoints to exploit. When I used plasma weapons on these things, they took the hits well."

He turns to Baxter to regard the man, "I'll work on the structure, you work on the software patching?"

Mercy and Hope, meanwhile, are examining the Sentinel from the feet up, running their hands over the machine and it's parts, getting a feel for them.

Shredder has posed:
    "Sure," Baxter acknowledges. "We can trade afterward, see what we can put together. I'm willing to be that between the two of us, we can make a better mousetrap than Trask did. And trap more than mice with it." He goes back to clicking on the terminal.