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Mechanical Palace

Chapter Text

1. Building


Once upon a time there was a boy named Charles who lived in a large mechanical palace all alone. His mother and father had long since passed and the boy was left to tend to his needs independently. So at the tender age of 18, after years spent in relative isolation, he decided to build a companion. He would name it David, he decided, a simple name for a simply, ordinary companion.


Charles spent many years scouring every inch of the mechanical palace trying to find pieces of machinery he could use to build his companion and slowly, bit by bit, knitting him together, until he had a framework that looked remarkably like a man.

The final components he needed included a special artificially intelligent material to act as the surface, or skin-like, layer called Sylke and a “brain” to give the mechanical companion the ability to think and develop consciousness. However, Sylke was rare and expensive, and the boy was reluctant to leave his project untended while he lost hours working to acquire the funds necessary to pay for the material. So he determined that he would have to sell something equally precious that was already at hand in order to acquire it.

One evening, after working through the day, fine tuning his project, he ventured into a part of his palace that he’d purposefully avoided for most of his life. The wing that had once been his parents domain and included their bedroom.


Charles, walked slowly down the artificially lit hallways, until he reached a pair of large white doors with two golden knobs. He stood there for a moment with his eyes closed, thinking of his parents and what they meant to him. Of what it would mean to pass through the doors before him. They’d died when Charles was very young and he’d spent much of his life in the palace they’d built for him. He’d been raised by the house itself in large part. It was powered by an impressive AI (e.g. artificial intelligence), that was connected to nearly every facet of the structure from the front doors and ceiling lights to the many rooms its sole inhabitant worked through and wandered day in and day out. This AI was more of a caregiver to Charles than his own family had ever had the opportunity to be while alive. And now, Charles called upon it to unlock the daunting doors that he stood before. In a quiet but confident voice Charles spoke at last, “Please, open the doors, Jarvis”. The AI immediately complied, and there was a slight clicking sound before the large white doors slowly swung inwards and Charles stepped into the space to collect what he would need to begin the final phase, to complete the work on his mechanical companion.


A few hours later Charles sat before a large computer screen, and completed a transaction necessary to sell a diamond and pearl necklace. He’d collected the jewelry from his mother’s closet, knowing it was not only a priceless bauble but a piece of his past, a connection to the woman, the mother, who had brought him into the world and left him before he’d had the chance to truly know her. He cherished everything his parents had left him with, as he was unable to cherish them any longer in-person. But he also knew that he needed to make the sacrifice in order to complete his project. He’d posted the piece anonymously on a bidding website, and was unsurprised when it had immediately attracted a number of very interested online buyers. He sold the necklace quickly, and then placed an order of his own for a large quantity of Sylke on a similar digital market shortly thereafter.


Five days later, the necklace was placed on a small transporter pad located in the anteroom of the palace where it disappeared in a swirl lights and particles as it was transferred to the new home of its very satisfied buyer. Later that same day, Charles observed as the pad began to light up again, and a large silver box formed on top of it. The Sylke had arrived.