Binary

Work Text:

"Avon, you really gonna sit this out with the droids?" says the human pilot in the doorway, in lieu of hello.

"I don't like parties on a normal day, Lomo." The technician helping Artoo barely looks up to answer him. "I can do without that thousandth-level rager out there. Besides." She pats the top of Artoo's dome. "This little droid's a hero."

"...Yeah, all right. But when you're done fixing that one."

"This little droid's a hero," Artoo beeps sarcastically. C-3PO thinks about shushing him, but Lieutenant Avon, the tech, clearly doesn't know enough Binary to follow. She just beams at him as he talks, as if he was making some chirp of pride. "For the special droid they'll do their job," Artoo goes on. "Normal droids can rust while the meatsacks get drunk."

"What did that R2 unit just call me?" The pilot, Lomo, narrows his eyes. His expression suggests very patchy comprehension -- just enough grammar to surmise that something was said about him.

"Meeeeeeatsaaaaaaaack." The damage Artoo took in the battle that wiped out the Death Star has temporarily disabled his physical frame, but done nothing to dampen his spirit -- nor his determination to keep himself and 3PO in as much trouble as possible.

"Tell me what that meant." Lomo turns to 3PO. "That's an order."

"Sir, it's merely a shorthand term in machine dialect for carbon-based life forms." 3PO wouldn't have survived this long as a diplomatic droid if he weren't adept at obeying the letter of his programming while employing some flexibility in the execution. He then helpfully replicates the sound of the Binary word for the pilot, or, depending on how you look at it, calls him "meatsack" to his face. Artoo, never one to help smooth things over, squeals with laughter.

"How 'bout that noise, goldy, what's that mean?"

"If I may, sir," 3PO says, unsurprised that the man doesn't recognize the sound of an astromech droid laughing. "My counterpart is over two hundred years old and is most opinionated. Were I to attempt real-time translation it would become exceptionally time-consuming."

"Not to mention hazardous to your health," Avon says out of the corner of her mouth. She snaps Artoo's panel back in place. "Okay, little buddy, try running two-twelve."

Thankfully, Artoo's desire to restore his functioning momentarily overrides his desire to run his mouth off and he cooperates. At first nothing happens, then his diagnostic lights blink and his dome spins left, right, a full rotation.

"Oh, Artoo!" 3PO exclaims in relief. The tech grins up at him.

"Great," Lomo says. "Only fifty-seven points of inspection to go."

"Fifty-two," Artoo corrects.

"Fifty-two," Avon says simultaneously. "Older model."

"Cool. If you need me I'll be shitfaced all night on the tarmac with the other groundeds."

"So," Avon says as she consults her checklist. "How in the hell did you two get to Yavin?"

"Ohhhhhhh!" Artoo answers, delighted. "Make him tell it with all the sound effects."