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04 November 2007 @ 08:29 am
Numb3rs Fic: The Good Son  
Written for numb3rs100 Challenge #131 – Defect

Title: The Good Son
Pairing/Characters: Margaret, Charlie
Rating: PG
Word Count: 300
Spoilers: Sacrifice
Summary: Margaret knew how to deal with Charlie's little problems
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

"How was your day, honey?"

Margaret heard her thirteen-year-old son's grumble under his breath all the way from the kitchen before he called back his answer.

"Fine, Mom," he intoned.

"Would you like a little snack? Dinner won't be for another hour or so. A piece of fruit? Some juice?"

"Mom, I'm a college student," he groused. "I don't need an after school snack like a little kid. Stop treating me like a baby."

Margaret came out of the kitchen to find Charlie sullen and pouting on the couch, arms crossed tightly over his chest.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked sweetly.

"No." He turned away from her gaze and pulled his head away as she tried to stroke his unruly curls in consolation.

She let out a little sigh and reached for his head again, pressing down in three separate specific areas at once.

Charlie immediately fell limp and Margaret carefully popped opened the access panel on his skull, brushing aside the curls to get to the circuitry beneath.

She opened up her briefcase to pull out a long cable. She attached it to her already booted up laptop on one end and inserted the other into the data port in Charlie's master control mechanism.

One long involved password later, she was into Charlie's programming. A few minor tweaks and a standard memory wipe were completed in minutes. She removed the cable and put it away before closing the panel and waiting for the thirty-second reboot to occur.

"Welcome home, hon. Do you want a snack before dinner?"

"Sure!" Charlie said, bounding up off of the couch. "Do we have any apples left?"

"Apples and oranges. Help yourself."

"Thanks, Mom!"

She watched with a satisfied smile as Charlie disappeared into the kitchen.

"That's my good boy..."

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
"Wow... the Slayer's a robot. Did everybody else know the Slayer was a robot?"
- Glory, BTVS

Evidently the muse thought this fandom could use a touch of Ray Bradbury.

Not that Sci Fi's not fun, but I disagreed with her decision to turn Charlie into a Data precursor. Clearly I lost that battle, because here we have Charlie robotfic. /hangs head/

I had decided I wanted to try some more interesting ideas in fic.

This was *not* what I had in mind.

Note to self: next time be more specific...

FWIW, the title comes from the movie of the same name. I actually liked it and if you see it listed on cable some day give it a look. It's notable for two things: it's where I discovered a very young Elijah Wood's talent and it's where I discovered that it was possible that Macaulay Culkin really could act. He's appropriately creepy in this role and vastly better than in any comedy IMHO.


Emma DeMarais
irena_adler: Charlie entertainedirena_adler on November 4th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Hehee, this is what you were talking about at the chat last night. *g* I bet a lot of parents wish they could reprogram their teenager!!
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Yeah, this is it. I caved and wrote it just to get the muse off my back about it. /sigh/

I'm weak...

Still, you're right that a ton of parents would love to turn off a few aspects of their petulant teens' attitudes. Hehehe
telperion_15: Thinkingtelperion_15 on November 4th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)

Very amusing! And, in some ways, actually makes a weird and scary kind of sense... *g*
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
/scolds Emma's brain/

Stop making sense! ;-)

I'm glad you found it amusing. I'm still shaking my head and saying Robot!Charlie? Are you kidding me?
Kayra: Numb3rs - Charlie Manhuntcraftypug on November 4th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's just a little creepy. But then maybe I've seen 'Mary 25' on The Outer Limits too many times (Michael Shanks, of course I've seen it too many times *grin*).

Good story yes. Creepy... um yes.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
It's creepy all right, especially making Saint Margaret so complicitous.

I've not seen that episode. Care to share the synopsis? I don't mind having it spoiled.
perhaps some frottage is in order: Numb3rs secretssororcula on November 4th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
Bwahaha, you wrote it!

But aww, poor Charlie... "I'm not a little kid" at 13? :-(
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
I did. /hangs head/

What's not said is that Charlie is feeling bad about feeling like a little kid at school - maybe he even got teased that day - and so he's trying to act older than he really is.

I made a remark to someone about how being a robot would explain Charlie still living with his dad at 32 and going in to work early for no reason just because he likes carpooling with his father.

Yup. Robot. ;-)
iolsaiiolsai on November 4th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
Now I know what I want for my birthday:

My very own Charlie!Robot!

No wait, actually, I want a Colby one :)
perhaps some frottage is in order: Numb3rs secretssororcula on November 4th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
As much as I love back story, I don't often think about Charlie's, because, yeah... I imagine it as kind of sad. :-/

Aww, he's obviously just a daddy's boy. :-D
(Anonymous) on November 4th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
I agree with Kayra. This is a little creepy.

And synopsis of Mary 25.

It was actually a followup to a previous Outer Limits episode called Valerie 23. Valerie was programmed to be a girlfriend and she tried to kill the man's real girlfriend, so the program was scrapped.

One of the leaders of the program had one of the robots reprogrammed to be a nanny and tried her out in his own family. BUT, he was also using the robot for sex, AND he was abusing his own wife. Michael Shanks played the tech guy that was finetuning Mary's programming. He was in love with the wife. When he found out that the husband (his boss) was abusing the woman he loved he reprogrammed Mary to believe that it would be harmful to the children to have their father abusing their mother. He also disabled her remote control unit, so when she attacked the husband, he couldn't turn her off.

After the husband is dead, Michael starts dating the wife. They are in her bedroom and there is a robot remote unit on the nightstand. He asks her why it is still there and she said her husband told her never to touch it. Michael picks it up and hits a button and the wife freezes. That's when he realizes that the man killed his wife and replaced her with one of the robots.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
That rocks!

Clearly I have a ways to go before I can write on a pro level because I didn't see that coming.

Very cool. Thank you!
fredbassettfredbassett on November 4th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
Creepy fun!
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 4th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
As long as it was fun!
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 5th, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
Really? Huh. I guess since I had the idea in my head for a week or two before I wrote it I became rather inured to the idea. /shrugs/
andi: Charlieadmiralandrea on November 5th, 2007 05:53 am (UTC)
Okay, I totally didn't see that coming! Weird and freaky, but still amusing *g*
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 5th, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
I never imagined people would describe this as freaky or creepy, but now that I've put myself in a reader's shoes I get how it could be seen that way.
(Anonymous) on November 5th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about this story and all the responses to it and I decided I wanted to give a more detailed response than just "creepy".

What I found disturbing about this fic is Margaret's casual disregard of Charlie's feelings. Yes, he's a robot, but he has been made to imitate human behavior. And I may be reading more into it than I should be, but I got the impression that he does not know that he is an artificial life form. He believes that he is human. In my mind, that makes his emotional responses just as valid as any flesh and blood person. For Margaret to reprogram him like that just to make her life easier, or to keep her happy cheerful little boy instead of letting him grow up and have more mature feelings, that was the creepy part.

(Who has been watching and reading Science Fiction for 35 years now and who still gives names to her stuffed animals.)

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 5th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
Having trouble with your LJ account? :-(

I did get all this before, I guess the adjectives were a surprise. I expected 'disturbing' or 'unsettling' or for people to ignore that aspect and focus on the humor. 'Creepy' and 'freaky' are the terms I didn't anticipate.

Charlie in this fic does not know he's a robot. Margaret's 'job' as mother is to watch him and fine tune as they go to facilitate his education and ascension into the ranks of the world's top geniuses. Some realistic attitude can be allowed so no one expects he's not human, but it's critical that he not stray too far from the parental units who do his maintenance work, thus her needing to nip in the bud any efforts on his part to distance himself from her.

I truly did not want to write this bunny, but as usual the muse didn't give me any choice. /sigh/
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 6th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
So my question is who's in charge of Charlie's brain now? Don? His dad? possibilities here.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 8th, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
Alan and Margaret handle maintenance and upgrades at this point. Heavy work, if needed, would have to be done by the shadowy organization who built Charlie.

Don doesn't know, but then Don might be a robot as well... /evil grin/
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 8th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
*giggle* so much possibility for so much weirdness.
rubynye on October 7th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
And here I'd thought that in this fandom I'd miss science fiction.

Nicely done, milady!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 7th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
LOL Surprise? ;-)

Sorry, we're very science fact here with our math and all.