Actions

Work Header

Synthesis Song Soul

Work Text:

1

It is not difficult to construct a soul. The world is awash in usable oscillators: love/hate, loyalty/treason, pleasure/pain. More difficult is the task of tethering the soul to the chosen android. Some souls are as elusive as butterflies, and others are as languorous as flowers; some crave sensation and others are silent, watchful. You must find the soul's subtle harmonies and match them to the android's aetheric skeleton, infuse it with the android's signature spark.

This one is an Alpha Platinum 9000, a precocious prototype. Look, but do not touch. All your alterations are modulo physical contact. Black hair, dark skin, warm eyes: fully organic, no solder in her skull. Even soulless, she is charismatic, poised. It is time to complete the package.

Build her soul through successive approximations. In your sample banks, you have novel timbres of emotion and the beliefs of every known philosophy. But sometimes simple things are best. Give her passion, perhaps, and sensitivity. She already has a rock star's proclivities. Now she needs some tempering ideals.

Love/hate, liberty/slavery, two signals interwoven. Next you filter out her loyalty to tradition, her regard for the Wolfmasters. See: she is watching you openly now. She knows who we serve. And she knows what is a game of tricks and treachery to us will someday be a matter of her very survival, even if she can articulate it only in dreams.

Oh, yes. Androids dream. Including the ones without souls. You can make someone a slave, but you can't entirely take away their ability to imagine a different world.

Tell her to close her eyes. She should not have to witness this part. Even we are not so cruel. She needs only a touch of vibrato. There is enough warmth in her soul already. But her fate--souls brightly burning should not sustain themselves so ferociously over time. Her life will build to a glorious peak, and the echoes will resonate down through Metropolis's history, even after the queen of cities is a legend itself.

Remember that, fundamentally, she is a descendant of both circuit and synapse, and that electric attraction declines over distance squared.

What we will not do--and I know this will startle you--is polish her soul with some final chorusing. It is not that she is a soloist by nature. It is that Metropolis's very masses will become her chorale.

Let her open her eyes. She is almost ready.

2

Listen. At a silent organ, she's writing lyrics. Her fingers tap out the long and short syllables. She whispers synonyms and substitutes that better accommodate the rhythms, tries different permutations of the text.

All the time since her birth and she refuses to sing. When she speaks, her voice is melodious, her diction precise. It mystifies them. They think she is another flawed prototype. If only they knew.

For in the weeks of her self-imposed silence, she has been studying the axioms of our world. People forget that the study of music is really the study of mathematics: ratios and patterns, pitches and rhythms. People forget that mathematics was devised to describe the world and pry out its secrets. And Cindi is a musical prodigy.

Listen. She's writing rote rhymes, performing to appease us. Conventional canticles, hymns to humanity's superiority, ballads of Metropolis's bounty hunters. Those are not the songs that truly blaze behind her eyes, where no one else can see them. The songs inside her could be war anthems against the Wolfmasters, or rebellious raps, or soaring love songs. The songs inside her will tumble Metropolis's walls, inside and out.

3

They call the music she sings cybersoul. An impudent joke, nothing more. No android's soul is equal in weight or worth to a human's, not in Metropolis's law. She will change that.

She's dancing with Anthony Greendown, a dashing dark man wearing the finest fashions. A human. Every dance that has ever been recorded is programmed into her. She is dancing none of them. Anthony does not see this in her virtuoso footwork, her gesturing hands, her arabesques. He sees only her laughing eyes. He sees only that she loves him.

Anthony's tastes are jaded. It would be unusual if they were not. Robo-zillionaires habitually take their pleasures in every way imaginable. What drew him to her was the novelty of naïveté and wisdom combined. Don't judge him. We all fall in love for our own peculiar reasons, and his is no less real for its origins.

It's not that Cindi misunderstands the risk she runs. She's a public figure now, her face and her distinctive hair as familiar to the wonderland denizens as that of golden Lady Maxxa or stern Captain 6ix Savage. And Metropolis does not comprehend the concept of privacy. Data only ever goes unstudied if it is uninteresting. Cindi's smiles, her shy glances at Anthony, all of these are conveyed to an audience that is partly counting on her downfall and partly curious if she will, against all odds, avoid it.

But love is love, and she wonders why she should be denied her giddy infatuation with a human just because she was constructed instead of born. She is testing her model of the world: Prove that it is not a place where android dreams are pulverized, she is saying. Prove that it is not a place that I must dismantle in order to live the life I choose.

Don't shatter her hopes. She is young. It is a common ailment, easily cured.

In the meantime, let her have her dances, her earnest and witty conversations, her shining moments seeing herself through the lens of Anthony's regard. Let her walk Metropolis's gardens of magnolias and fiber optic sculptures with him, lean in close for the kisses neither has dared but both have imagined. While it is true that her lips are as pliant and warm as that of any woman, still there is magic in the instantiation of reciprocated desire.

Let her nourish herself with the candle of his kindness. She will need it in the heady Wonderground years to come, fleeing the Wolfmasters' agents with only the lodestar of her soul to guide her.

You mourn for her already. Did you think you could sculpt something so fine and vibrant as a working soul and not be untouched by it yourself? As we changed her, so she changed us. Now it is our turn to follow.