"What Goes Up...": Green Arrow encounters a woman attempting to ride her motorcycle straight off of a bridge, and into the ocean. As she rides at top speed toward her death, she speaks to herself of her heartbreaking affinity for machines. Before she can plunge int
- Humans have free will. No trick of a chip can circumvent that. They can get their own tune-ups -- out here. Where it's real.
- -- Green Arrow
Appearing in "What Goes Up..."
- Pauline Pearl
- Dr. Stan Cognate
Synopsis for "What Goes Up..."
Green Arrow encounters a woman attempting to ride her motorcycle straight off of a bridge, and into the ocean. As she rides at top speed toward her death, she speaks to herself of her heartbreaking affinity for machines. Before she can plunge into the water, Green Arrow manages to grab her out of mid-air, her bike landing in the sea below. The woman is ungrateful, having worked up a lot of nerve to kill herself. In her anger, she punches a wall until her fist bloodies. Despite the blood, she claims to be a a robot. She begins bashing her head against the wall too, which results in her falling unconscious.
Oliver takes the woman back to the medical labs at Queen Industries where it is determined that while she is definitely a human, she appears to have been modified with a thin metal plate in her brain, and skeletal veins of metal filaments embedded under her skin. Naomi does a background check, and discovers that she is Pauline Pearl, and has a juvie record. Her parents have an address in the suburbs, and there is a link to a warehouse owned by a company called Nacrotics, which produces something called "servbots."
In his civilian identity, Oliver Queen visits the Nacrotics warehouse, where he is greeted by a man calling himself Dr. Cognate. He deals in deluxe robots to replace human employees who cause too much stress. He presents a number of lifelike androids who each excel in a different field. Though each has its own personality, they are programmed to avoid creating any drama. He explains that each of them is based on a real person, though he won't tell whom. Slyly, Oliver purchases all of those he sees. Later, he reports that he suspects these robots may not be robots at all.
Later, Oliver visits Pauline's parents. She was apparently adopted when she was three years old, and her parents had covered it up by creating doctored family photos and lying. Pauline had been born bowlegged, requiring surgeries, braces, and orthopaedic shoes. Her parents regret lying, and beg Oliver to tell Pauline to come home.
Later, Dr. Cognate treats his robots poorly, disregarding their confusion about their identities. Green Arrow surprises Cognate, and demands to know what's going on. Cognate justifies his poor treatment of the robots by claiming that they are not humans. Oliver counters that these "robots" appear to be confused, disturbed, and neurotic - unusual for machines. He turns to the assembled and announces that he doesn't think they're robots; they were once human. Cognate sets them to attacking Oliver, responding that they don't want to be human. They want to be free of human baggage. While they are distracted, though, one of the assembled sneaks away and opens the back door for Pauline to get in.
Cognate tries to escape, and sends a huge, muscular man to attack Oliver. Cognate reveals that his one, at least, is not a human, which allows Oliver to use deadly force against it. Meanwhile, Pauline sneaks up on Cognate, and garrotes him. She chokes him until he agrees to talk.
Cognate explains that he was a psychiatrist. His patients had suffered from emotional issues, and wanted to be able to live without being bogged down by those negative feelings. He had obliged them by developing a computer chip that could block out those emotions, essentially making them seem robotic, by human standards. Pauline had had an unexpected reaction to her own treatment. For a while, she had been happy, but then suddenly, she wasn't anymore. Oliver offers the assembled "robots" the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they are humans or robots.
Later, Oliver shows Pauline the truth about her childhood, and she turns to him, asking if he thinks she is human. He thinks so, and in response, she begins running toward the water. She drops her bag, and when Oliver looks inside, he discovers a mechanical repair kit, and wonders if maybe she really is a robot.
Elsewhere, one of the escaped "robots" attends a Robots Anonymous meeting, where other humans who wish they were robots meet on a regular basis. Many of the attendees have had surgical body modifications, but they are all accepting of one another.
- This issue is reprinted in the trade Green Arrow: Triple Threat.
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