I don't know that I've ever explained, really, my deep and abiding love for DUM-E, and this seems as good a time as any!Well, okay, there's not that much to explain; it's mostly that DUM-E sits at the junction of a number of my buttons.Part of it is my love of secondary characters; they have more places to hang headcanons than primary characters, and there are few things I love more than spinning headcanons. Some of them, my favorite kind, are secondary (or only temporarily primary), but have an outsized impact on the story line. Darcy Lewis, Sif, Frigga, Elrond, H.G. Wells, Kasidy Yates, Garak, Mia Toretto, Saxa, Mira, Kiza Apini; there's so little we know about these people's motivations, their backgrounds, the why and wherefor of them, and everyone will have a different idea of what those are. I can read other peoples headcanons, I can spin multiple headcanons; it's one of my favorite things.So that's part of it. Another part is that the damn robot is deliberately adorable: the beeps and the headtilts and all of it are carefully calculated to elicit our emotions, and, at least on me, it does so very well. Other robots do it too, and not just to me: there's a reason BB-8 and R2-D2 are the mascots of episode vii and the original series respectively. The iron man franchise already had a faceless mascot, so they didn't do the same thing, but iron man 3 sank the robots (MY BABIES!) to give weight to Tony's house being destroyed (it's also why they had to be recovered at the end! It wouldn't have been an entirely happy ending otherwise).
The other component, if I'm honest, was making the podfic "Run Program: DUM-E". I liked the fic and the character when I started recording, but by the time I was done, I was in love. Making the podfic was an intensely emotional experience: most of it was recorded during my senior year of college, and all the stress and complicated emotions of that got channeled into working on this podfic. Podficcing has always been my happy place, and this one kept me sane. I recorded the silly thing five times before I settled on the right combination of emotion and intonation and code-speak, and it was the first that I made a cover for (though not the first posted, or the one that made me want to learn to make covers because I had such a specific idea for it [that was Team Building Activities, if you're curious, and it turned out pretty much exactly the way I wanted it to]). When I relisten to the podfic now, there are one or two things I'd change - my mic quality is waaaaaay higher now - but overall I'm still very, very happy with it.And so, my love of DUM-E, which has spilled over onto some of the other robots, provided the basis for a pod_together project, and why it's been my twitter and DW icon for years. I've been considering changing it recently, which is why this whole thing is towards the front of my brain. I don't do as much in the MCU right now, and it feels a bit weird to have a pseud that's not (clearly) connected to any given fandom, and an icon that is. But I can't think of something I'd like better, so that may never happen. So, um. Those are (some of) my feelings on this tiny robot baby, who is closely enough identified with me that people will write me things about it (<3 akamine_chan <3) and steer me towards fanworks featuring it (<333 my TL).