Technopath – Ch. 1
Tony listened with half an ear to Dummy as he babbled like a hyperactive five year old about his day, completely ignoring the fact that Tony had been there for most of it. He adjusted the next sensor on the suit and had Jarvis start running a systems check. Unlike Dummy, Jarvis sounded much the same as he did in real life, a steady murmur of polite processing as he went through his daily tasks. The other systems around the tower each had their own voice and mannerisms that Tony had long ago learned to work with or around as needed.
Pepper had once referred to his bots as his children and in many ways they were. He worked to keep them learning, challenging their programming and code to outperform what was expected of them. He wanted the best for his friends and tried to help them continue to improve. She also called him something of a hoarder but how could you just throw away a piece of technology when it talked to you? You couldn’t.
He still had every computer he had ever owned. At first he’d tried upgrading his machines with new chips and systems but eventually a major overhaul was needed and it was impossible to guarantee that the machine’s personality would continue unchanged. He let each machine decide for themselves on an upgrade because of this risk. He finally networked as many of his old machines as possible to serve as a closed system storage unit so that they wouldn’t be alone when he didn’t have the time to talk to each and every gadget in the basement storage. He had Jarvis give him weekly updates on the network and tried to take a few days each month to do the basic maintenance tasks that they needed.
Tony had been talking to machines since he was a child. He tried to explain it to his Father once but it only resulted in a beating for telling lies. He kept his ability to himself ever since. It helped massively in his work however since often the systems themselves would tell him when something needed maintenance or repair. His computer would chortle along with him as they hacked into another system following the whispers of “I have a secret.” or following the snarling growls of viruses as he worked to get them out of his friends.
Rodney was the main one who had issues with how Tony treated his technology. He had no patience for a coffee machine that you had to stroke before it would make you the world’s best cup of coffee or the door scanners that mysteriously stopped working when Tony was in need of quiet, barring entry to his lab. Pepper just assumed that he had added personality to all of his gadgets and treated them accordingly, which endeared her to quite a few machines around the house.