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Pinocchio

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He is four years old. Disgorged from the pod, he feels dry soil under his feet and heat on his skin. When he looks up, he sees a yellow sun.

His body is wrapped in material -- several layers when the temperature drops, fewer when the temperature rises. This inverse relationship is clear to him within a week, yet he has no need for clothing: he is impervious to the elements. In time, he will learn to shiver when it is cold and sweat when it is hot.

His eyes are always open and with them he observes his environment with startling intensity. He awoke with a rudimentary primer on human body language, but nonetheless requires seventeen days before he realizes that his unwavering focus unnerves those around him. He alters his behavior immediately, occasionally feigning distraction or exhaustion.

He appears utterly trusting. He sits where he is placed, eats whatever food is set before him, evacuates when prompted. Although he can metabolize organic matter, he has no need for it. His body is a closed system.

He neither rests nor sleeps. He spends his nights lying motionless in the dark, silently reviewing what little he knows of the local dialect. The sounds themselves are simple to voice but he finds the relationship between concept and expression elusive. He discovers a dictionary in the closet of his adoptive mother's bedroom and teaches himself to read in an afternoon. Within a week he has committed every printed word in the house to memory, and amassed a vocabulary of over twenty-two thousand word bases. Still, he does not speak. Finally, after three months in his new home, he grows confident in his ability to emulate age-appropriate diction and expression. His first word is 'momma'.

His consciousness is tasked with ensuring the organism's survival, his behavior governed by heuristic benefit analysis. He plays the role as well as he can. With his parents nearby, he plays happily with his toys. The moment they leave the room, the toys fall from his hands. He is adept at mimicking human behavior, but is incapable of experiencing their emotions. He smiles constantly.

He is five years old. The alteration to his consciousness has been gradual but marked: his psyche has split in two. The imperative to survive remains the pedal curve of his existence, but direct control over his behavior has been ceded to a nascent personality, neural psychology as close to human as his physiology will allow. Defensive mechanisms have edited his personal history, barring conscious access to any knowledge that he has ever been other than what he must become. The most convincing liar is one who believes the lie.

Clark Kent is six years old. He has no memories of his life before Smallville, and he loves his parents with all of his heart. Clark's momma is teaching him to read, and most nights she lets him sit on the counter by the sink and help dry the dishes. Clark's daddy carries him on his shoulders as he does chores around the farm, and the view from so high up makes Clark feel dizzy and brave. When he grows up, Clark wants to be just like him.