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The Make of the Maker

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Zero does not create new life often, but when ze does it’s a sight to behold. 0064 cannot stop staring in wonder during the process, watching as the materials that they had so meticulously gathered change shape and form and take on life. 

The first one she had seen was the creation of 0099. She remembers the burnt shell of a town that they had holed up in, and Zero’s workspace carpeted with blueprints and calculations. She remembers the months they spent there, learning about the settlement and its demise, gathering together ashes and cloth and jars of shadows. (Not an easy feat, that last one.) And she could not possibly forget the ceremony, the rush of life and power and utter joy as 0099 rose from the ground, leaping throughout the town, cackling madly.

At first 0064 had been worried, but Zero had calmed her down. “Let’s not condemn a child for their actions,” ze said softly, holding 0064’s shoulder. “She is new. Let’s not put too much weight on her shoulders.”

0064 listened, and although the next two months that they had stayed were taxing - 0099 never seemed to shut up at night, and it was a bit disconcerting seeing her leap around the ruins - she had to admit that Zero’s careful handiwork had paid off. (Still, she couldn’t say she missed that place. Far too windy for her tastes.)

0064 had asked Zero once if ze remembered creating her species. Zero hesitated, and then nodded, primly.

“I remember everything. Every moment since my ‘birth’. It is one of the traits of my kind. It’s not one that I gave you,” ze explained quickly, on seeing the worried look on 0064’s face. “I’d hardly burden you with that. Why do you ask?”

“Well,” 0064 said, uncertain. “I was curious… How exactly that went.” Zero gained a distant look in hir eye, looking back into hir memory and recalling a creation made not so long ago.

“I was fascinated by flight,” ze murmured. “I had noticed that many of my creations possessed that power - there wasn’t much of a pattern to it. I could create a completely ordinary human, but by some mixing of the ingredients, end up letting him levitate. And before that, I made a girl lighter than air, like a human cloud.”

“I wondered,” ze continued, “How I could purposefully create a being with flight.” 0064 realized where this conversation was going. She had heard it before, during a planning session. She opened her mouth to interrupt, but before she could say something Zero continued. “But I ultimately failed. Worse than failed,” ze said, downcast. “I only took into account the superficial components needed for flight - I didn’t study the phenomena itself. I gave your kind wings, but because of my lack of understanding I made those wings useless.”

“Oh for crying out- Zero, you didn’t fail anything!” 0064 exclaimed. “So what if I can’t use these wings?”

“But what use are wings that you can’t fly with?” Zero asked. “Your kind, who can not and will never be able to fly, are expected to. But your wings are just decorations, a big showpiece…”

“So’s hair.” Zero turned around to see 0064 frowning. “I don’t hear you calling creations failures for not being bald!”

“But I created you specifically to fly, and you can’t-“

“So what!” 0064 exclaimed. “You can’t miss what you never had, and I can fly now, can’t I?”

“Because of the powers I gave you,” Zero reminded her.

“Doesn’t matter!” 0064 proclaimed . “Look, Zero. You told me that mistakes are a constant in life. Heaven knows how many failures I’ve made. So don’t put so much weight on your shoulders, ok?”

Zero blinked in surprise, and then gave 0064 an affectionate smile and a pat on the head.

“Well, if there’s a reason for me to not regret that creation,” ze said serenely, “then you’re the best one I could ever ask for.”

0064 fake retched at the sappiness of the line.

“Well, if you’re going to be sick, then I guess you don’t want beef stew…” Zero teased.

0064 had never tasted anything so delicious in her entire life.