Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe"Well, hello there!" Erin exclaimed to the phone, giggling slightly. She hovered a finger near Underwood's pocket, as if she was holding it out for Sparky to shake, or as if she wanted to pet him. "I didn't see you hiding! Aren't you just the cutest thing?" The pale lady looked back at Sergei, trying to coax the phone further out so that the rabbit-eared man could see it. "You can come out, we're not scary. Honest."
The reporter fished the Blackberry out of his pocket – it currently looked exactly like a standard PDA, only with the display blank – and, with Erin’s permission, placed him in her outstretched hands. There was another short pause, and then the screen lit up with a “?” icon. Four little legs extended from the back of the phone’s casing and tapped curiously around for a moment. Then, with a MIDI trill, the screen changed to a ☺ icon, and the phone scrabbled around in a circle on Erin’s palms like a puppy trying out a new bed, before plonking down in the middle and making some contented beeping noises. Underwood looked somewhat pleased at this. “Looks like you’re okay in his book.”
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe"You know, I have a little fellow named Beat that reminds me a lot of you. He's not so talkative, though. Do you have any stories you like to tell?"
Presuming Erin obliged him, Sparky stood on the floor of the van, concentrating for a few moments. Then, his screen changed to a black-and-white picture of massed, thorny vines, and the phone walked slowly around in a two-foot-or-so-diameter circle, presumably setting the stage as “in the hedge”. This done, he skittered quickly into the center of the circle and lay down, his display changing to a little icon of a phone with “ZZZ” on its screen. There followed some adorable, autotuned-sounding snoring noises.
Then, the little phone icon’s screen changed to a “!”, and Sparky got up, giving a high-pitched “who’s there”-cadenced beep. Immediately, he scuttled over a couple of inches to face where he had previously been standing, and gave a lower-pitched series of response beeps – his screen now showing a headshot of Underwood. He zoomed back to Position 1, showing the phone icon, with high beeps; then back to Position 2, showing the Underwood icon, with lower beeps. This “conversation” went on for twenty seconds or so, and was surprisingly animated for a phone that was pretending to be himself and his new owner at the same time.
Then, without warning, Sparky zipped over to a third position, showed a picture of some kind of shadowy monstrosity with sharp teeth, and let out a series of noises that sounded like a lawnmower trapped in a washing machine. Back to Position 1, now showing Underwood’s headshot and the phone icon together, and a sustained tandem beep that was clearly two entities deciding to scream at the same time. Like a shot, Sparky retracted his mechanical legs, popped out a set of tiny wheels, and zoomed every which way around the floor of the van in a respectable imitation of a dramatic chase scene – eventually skidding to a stop in a shadowy corner, still showing the picture of Underwood and the phone icon.
Then, changing characters again, he redeployed his legs and scuttled a couple of inches into the light, showing the monster icon, and grunted about looking confused. Back to the dark corner and the Underwood & Phone picture, and he crept slowly forward to where the monster just was, making the universal cartoon-show “I am tiptoeing up behind someone” sound effect. Then, Bang! Pow! Thwack! Sparky jumped around enthusiastically in a rousing fight scene, making the appropriate sounds and showing comic book-style effect balloons to match. It ended with Sparky-playing-the-monster grunting dizzily, staggering around, and eventually falling face down on the floor.
The foe utterly vanquished, Sparky jumped right back up, showing the picture of Underwood and the phone again, and did a little victory dance. With appropriate music, of course.
Underwood laughed and applauded, obviously quite entertained. He shot a grin at Erin and Sergei. “And that’s how we met. Little guy overstates the case a bit, but there you go.” Sparky bowed graciously.