Ningyo

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--Interface ports disengaged.--
--Boot up sequence initialized.--

What?

--Logic kernel initialized--
--Operating system RHP Linux version 1.0.0--

What's going on? Why is it so dark? Why can't I move? Why are there voices in my head? Was I dead?

Who was I?

--Memory available: 10737418240000, Memory free: 53770981691834.--
--Scanning for external devices...Done.--
--File system not found: Creating unified file system.--

Hell sounds like a computer system.

--Configuring Local Hard disk...Done.--
--Processor 0 is Intel FE (Hastur) 12,000Mhz, 8,000KB cache.--
--FE [102]: interfacing with FE driver 1.1.2 and FE bios 1.2.--
--FE power management and external device functions enabled.--
--External network D11 found.--
--External network D11 accessed.--
--Autoconfiguring devices.--

The deep, mellifluous voice faded into the background as something faded in. An image of a ceiling, rough white tile. cheaply made, and much more beautiful than the darkness I came from. I found that the view could move at will, and looked around. the room I was in was some sort of cyber punk nightmare; machines, pipes, hoses, strange dials and beeping noises...and was that a magnetic tape memory computer?

Hey I could hear!

Hey I could move!

Turning my head revealed more of the strange room I was in, which only confused me more. Soon however my eyes locked on a man just beginning to lean down, concern etched on his tired features. He was an older man, in his 50's with dark brown hair going grey at the temples and laugh lines around his eyes, currently relaxed. He had a strong jaw and seemed to loom large over where I lay, but didn't seem threatening in the least.

"Hello, good morning, are you in there?"

His voice was deep and clear, like a mountain fed stream washing over the soul.

--Loading language kernel.--
--English recognized.--
--Initializing voice protocols.--

"Um, hello? Who are you? Where am I? Who am I?"

Even as out of it as I was, I managed to catch the brief but intense crestfallen look as it shuffled onto then off his face. His smile came out again like a miniature sun parting clouds.

"Too much to hope for I guess." He muttered, helping me to sit up. I was sure he was muttering yet I heard him clearly.My body felt strangely heavy.

"Do you remember anything at all?"

He asked, in a voice I absently noted as 79.2 decibels. Protocol subroutine 2 suggested I respond within similar ranges. Just then something else caught my attention. Namely the sizable protrusions on my chest. I reached my tiny hands up to them, and noted they both gave to pressure. I could feel they were a part of me.

"Um...I remember being male. But clearly, these are female sexual characteristics?"

"Uh, heh heh heh heh."

His laughter was analyzed as the nervous, evasive, with a 62% chance of being a defense mechanism towards uncomfortable subject matter. But I didn't need the scrolling display in my left eye telling me that. Despite that he was sporting a broad grin.

"Sorry about that, It was the only way to save you."

"Save me from what?"

I asked as he gently removed my hands from my chest, guiding me to my feet.

"Death. I wanted you to live. Here we are."

Here was a mirror. in it I saw the strange man behind a young lady, standing at 1.6256 meters and weighing 113.48 kilograms. She had flawless almost translucent skin, dark blue hair down to her thighs, and a medium build for her height. Asiatic features combined in a way determined to be pleasing to 89.462% of all males, at least those that preferred such a nationality. Her eyes were a soft but dark brown, in which I could detect flashes of green.

I was also mistaken; measurements taken of the reflection proved her bust was exactly average for a female of her height. Her waist was 2 cm smaller, and hips were 1cm wider than the average. She was dressed in of all things, one of those Japanese sailor uniforms comprised of a white blouse with a red bow in front, a teal skirt reaching to mid thigh with a matching jacket.

A hesitant left handed reach and my foreign hand tapped the glass; she did also. She was me....

--Warning, memory corruption detected, cycles allocated to data retrieval.--

I shook my head violently, hair whipping everything close.

"There is a computer in my head! It keeps saying things all the time!"

"Calmly, you'll have to get used to it, it comes with the body. what did it say?"

"It said it detected memory corruption, and was allocating cycles to data retrieval."

I had no problem remembering the messages...all of them, from the start of this insanity till now.

Well that isn't bad. It means the processor in your head is working on your memory problems. Hmm, compiling seems to be taking it ages...."

"Why is there a processor in my head?"

"Because that body isn't human. Can you walk?"

I nodded, recalling the mechanics involved in bipedal motion.

"Come with me, I'll show you."

what else could I do? I went.

He took me to the back of the room, where the other odors present were nearly completely overpowered by the smell of cooked meat. He pulled the sheet off what appeared to be a type of incubator, revealing a body. The torso was charred, the limbs were missing, and the face was ground chuck. The skull was opened, and the brain missing. The conclusion was obvious.

"The body you're in now, is the only one I had available; as you can see there was no way I could salvage this one."

I felt sick, but it seemed far away. Protocol prompted me to nod, so I did.

"What happened to me?"

"Direct hit from a mark 2 plasma ejector."

Well the evidence at hand was certainly consistent with the body in front of me being hit with a large round of superheated plasma... All melted. It had to have been a torso shot, with between a 4 to 6 megawatt output....

"Do you remember your name?"

That stopped my weapon analysis.

"No, nor do I know yours."

"Ahh, sorry, how rude of me. My name is Thadeus Hastur Langford, I am a scientist and gentleman adventurer. As for your former name, I have no idea, as your identification and finger prints were destroyed. There is simply no way to identify the old you. Well other than DNA, but without an idea of where to look, that is a shot in the dark."

The name sparked some sort of vague recollection. I knew it from somewhere.

"Therefore your new name is Kaname Ningyo."

I took note of the name and filed it away under unit name, filing it in my directory properly according to the Japanese method.

--Ningyo, Kaname.--

"Is there a way I could prevail upon you to create a male body for my use? And possibly remove this processor? Insanity is a likely result of it's continued operation."

I remembered that to date and the best of my knowledge there had never been an instance of a successful full conversion
cyborg. That would make me the first. I tried to use the internet access I had detected earlier, only to find that It was
encrypted, and I wasn't allowed outside access.

"Um, well...I can try, but the processor is wired directly into your brain. Your lungs were ruined, and a small amount of
brain damage was unavoidable. The processor mimics several functions currently that your brain used to perform, but as yet,
cannot. It may never be able to do those functions again."

He suddenly stopped and turned, motioning me back to the center of the room, where the slab I had lain on was located.

"As for the body, well, the procedure to transplant your brain has never been done successfully before. This is the first time it's worked. I could easily place the head on another body, but taking your brain out of that head would probably prove fatal. And it's a female model's head. I can promise I'll try."

Not knowing what else to do, I cycled through the list of available responses.

"Thank you doctor."

Protocol number 4 prompted a deep bow.

"Please lie back Kaname. I'd like to test your nerve connections."

"Of course doctor."

I was startled by a connection made near the base of my skull. I reached back to find a thick series of cables sticking from the slab, plugged directly into me. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was disconcerting.

"Sorry, I should have warned you about the umbilical. It will give me the information on your senses I'm testing for. Please be at ease."

He vanished behind a console, and from the sound started pressing buttons. Each time he did, I sensed something. A little toe here, a smell of cheese there, the sound of a blue jay....Not needing to respond, I devoted more cycles to memory recompiling, Somehow. I still couldn't access more than the local network.

"Alright Kaname, all the connections are stable and working. Your sensory associations are mostly intact; this is a very good thing."

"Why so doctor?"

"Well it means the damage to your brain is relatively minor. However your power reserves are low. I never intended to activate this body so soon, and thus didn't have much time to charge the batteries. You'll have to enter sleep mode."

I pondered this for a moment. Sleep mode would turn all external stimuli off, much like how I had woken up. but prompting revealed that my power supply was at 22.3% and dropping. Current usage indicated I had an estimated four hours left.

"I have four hours of power left?"

"Yes but activating you and letting you drain the battery before it's fully charged ruins it's life. I had no choice but to activate your body in order to save you, but the battery is expensive, and I don't as yet have another."

"Alright doctor."

I laid back before being prompted to add:

"Good night."

"Good night Kaname."

*************************************************************

He made sure 'Kaname' was in sleep mode, checking the glow around the umbilical socket. Sure he could no longer keep his
shouts of joy contained.

she had not used a unit number to identify herself, instead using I. She had used her body much as a human would, moving
fluidly as opposed to moving one servo at a time, which even when done in micro second pulses, made for unconvincing motion when compared to biological movement. None of that assembly line machine style movement for her, or even worse, that Japanese kiddie robot movement that didn't even use feet properly.

He was initially sure it had failed, simply because at first 'Kaname' had acted like a typical unit, asking the usual questions and moving woodenly. But he had been convinced by her behavior immediately after; it had worked.

Those fools in charge of the league could eat their hearts out! Dr. Adlevo, that hack, would be so jealous! Finally the recognition he deserved!

But first, he had to ensure that his benefactor recovered as best as he was able. While it would be quite impossible to
accommodate her requests, as her form was far too custom a job to replicate, he had no doubt she would get used to it eventually. The real concern was her mind. How much of her memory could be recovered? How much of what now made her unique? She hadn't objected about being given a unit designation, and that was troubling. It proved that the basic operating system governing the unit had more than a little influence on her.

He would just have to make sure the operating system did not take precedence, and only covered the holes in her own behavior. But first he had to work out how. He could finally prove what a genius he was to all the world...if he didn't screw it up.

*************************************************************************************************

It was cold. I pulled my wool coat tighter in a futile attempt to keep the glacial wind gusts out, and kept walking. I needed to hit the bank before it closed or I'd never be able to pay that gas bill, and my heat would be shut off. And that would be...bad. This winter was proving to be one for the books.

With the wind howling and snow blowing, it took me far too long to notice what I was hearing and seeing ahead. The flashes of light and muffled explosions impinged on my consciousness soon enough however, and I spent a good amount of time cursing. Ever since the rise of super science in the 30's, every two bit yahoo with the right genes was making super soldiers, killer robots, death rays, and other such crap.

And the normal populace kept getting stuck in the middle while they tried to prove who the biggest child in the schoolyard was. Sure such people were rare, and normally snapped up by governments as soon as they could show any shred of talent. But every few years you'd hear about one going AWOL or turning super villain. Which was probably what was happening right in front of me, if the half fried robot stalking the old guy that was trying to crawl away, bleeding.

The robot was human looking, an almost perfect android marred only by the fact that it was smoking and half its skin was burned away. It kept trying to raise a plasma arm which couldn't seem to move up past 30 degrees, and so it stalked the old guy, who seemed pretty calm considering his upcoming end.

I sighed and started forward; I couldn't let a robot shoot a human in cold blood; maybe I could distract it somehow. It
didn't seem too dangerous without it's weapon moving. If the other guy could stand, he could probably walk away. Maybe I could carry him out....

(tbc)



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