by Erin Ruiz
The computer was an old one, hardly used it seemed, even in this age of technological mayhem. I turned it on reluctantly; the soft whir of it’s start-up was both a sound of hope and promise and of sadness and despair. I sat down in the desk chair, the light glow of the monitor staining my face with pale color.
“I know, it’s not much,” said Adam, making excuses for the slow computer, “but it’s the only computer we have. You don‘t mind, right?”
“No, it’s fine,” I said assuredly. He hung his head a little and left the room, asking if I needed anything, like a snack or something. I told him I was fine and he left without telling when he would return. I guess he sensed that I wanted some time alone with the last remaining possession that my father had given me.
I clicked the necessary icons and the disk did the rest. I could hear it spinning in the disk drive, a desperate sound. A window soon popped up, asking for a password. Password...? Oh no, that was the one thing Doctor Simon never told me!
The thought hit me hard, realizing that he told me that I had to think of what the password was.
I had completely forgotten about figuring out what the password was. I tried a couple of things first, his birthday, his name, my name, his car’s name... none of them worked. I sat there in that creaky chair pondering what could possibly be the password.
Hm... if I were Doctor Simon, what would my password be...?
I sat up after a small span of fidgeting in the chair. Something was telling me to look a little more on the disk. There were other icons other than the big, shiny one. Maybe one of those had the password. Doctor Simon would never have made it too complicated for me. By this point in time I still had only the mind of a child.
I clicked an icon that roughly looked like a piece of notebook paper that said underneath it "read me." Up popped a program with words and symbols on it. I was still pretty bad at reading, but I tried anyway.
"My dear Zaphkiel," I read aloud, "This disk contains almost all my research on you, the El-le-ment-all Stones, and the past you. There is also an address and phone number to probably your last living relative at the bottom of this do-cu-ment," I had a small struggle reading the words "document" and " elemental," but continued. It was Doctor Simon's last words to me. I had to read; to listen
"I know, I probably haven't been the greatest father-figure to you, but you must know that I truly loved you. I'm sure that even with my last breathe I told you that I loved you. I'm sorry that I had to leave you, but I had no choice.
"To view the contents of this disk you need a password. I don't know if in the end I gave you the password or not, but If I didn't then I guess I'll just have to tell you. The password is: sammythedog. I bet you had no idea I was using you stuffed dog's name as a password, did you?!" I shook my head, a small smile on my face. Even though he was gone it still felt like he was around as I read this. It saddened me, but gave me strength, somehow...
"Well, once you enter the stuff that is password protected," the letter went on, " you'll probably find out at once that a lot of the stuff in there will be hard for you to both read and understand. It's a huge amount of information, I admit, but please do attempt to read through even the things that you can't quite read nor understand yet.
"Even as I write this, I'm not sure how I left you, but it must have been tragic. And, believe it or not, I still probably care about you... oh God, I'm crying while I'm writing this. This is kind of like my will or something, eh? Well, I guess it is. I can hardly imagine myself dying right now. Can you think of me
thinking of something like this? Of course not! I'm Professor Simon Bernstein, not some guy who wants to commit suicide! I'm the who walks around with a cheery smile on his face!
"Anyway, I think I'll leave you alone now. I've given you all the information that I can think of. Just remember that I love you and that I will always love you. Not just because I created you; not because I gave life to you. But because I truly cared for you, more than anything. You were the only family I had. I was the only family that you had.
"At the bottom of this letter is an address and a phone number to a mister Damien Kusanagi. He's your last living relative from your past life: your younger brother. He may be able to help you. He should be about the same age as your were when you died, so try and contact him. And don't fret over losing me to whatever fate befell me. Just remember that I'm watching over you in the heavens.
"Forever Your Loving Father, Professor Simon Bernstein (Doctor Simon)
"P.S. Take good care of Sammy. He'll always be there to comfort you when you feel lonely."
I wasn't aware that my android body had the ability to cry, but I was. Cold tears were falling down my face, blurring my vision slightly. I lifted Sammy up from his seat on the floor beside the desk chair and hugged him gently. All the memories of my last time seeing him were flooding back. The intense light of the explosion, the smell of death and illness, the cries of the dying and helpless, everything was coming back...
And after that, the aftermath of the battle above ground where, with my bare hands, I had somehow managed to bring death to every enemy on the field. I remembered the smell of the blood and the dense smoke that covered the desolate, gray battlefield. I remembered seeing the gruesome faces of those dead soldiers peering at me with lifeless eyes. I remembered the feel of the dried blood and dirt that covered myself and Sammy. I remembered the faces of the living looking at me in horror, in shock and disgust, oh the shame and fear I felt!, and hearing their shivering and mortified voices saying terrible things of me. And I remembered the kindness of one lone soldier who took me his home where now I existed, clean and sad, sitting in his chair and using his computer. Even though my body was clean, my hands were still red with the blood I had spilled and my soul heavy with sadness for having killed those people. I'm still not even sure if I did kill those people, but I must've. The Crimson Bloodstone residing in my chest must have taken over my body to do such a deed. It must have been that evil stone.
I clicked out of that program and proceeded to click on the ones that had been locked. I figured I'd use that address and phone number afterwards. I wasn't sure if I would be able to understand it all, if any, but I was determined to try.
I clicked on an icon that looked like a globe with some really huge words labeled underneath it. On the icon itself were the letters "NOC." I wonder what that stands for...?
I thought as I double clicked the icon. Quickly a window came up, prompting for a password. I typed the words "sammythedog" and it brought up a huge window. A very huge and very drab window. With a lot of text and confusing diagrams and words. I quickly exited out of that window, question marks flying above my head.
"That was no help," I muttered, still reeling from the sheer amount of information that had been thrown at my adolescent mind. Even if I had been around for five years, my mind had still not caught up with my body's age of twenty-two.
I found an equally interesting icon, small and black, with the same letters initialed onto it. I double clicked and typed the password again. This time the window was more colorful, with text and images. I glanced through some of the material, looking at the images and diagrams.
"Oh my gosh," I gasped, realizing what the images were displaying, "these are the blue prints for my body!" I looked through more slowly. Everything was labeled, and a note in the corner read: " The subject's body, Mr. David Kusanagi, seems to be ideal for this experiment. Unfortunately, the specimen's gender must be compromised and taken away due to the fact that after so much time, most of those organs have died. Fortunately, the specimen's androgynous looks will facilitate such a change nicely. Hopefully the specimen will not notice this change nor react foolishly toward it. - S.B."
"So that's why I'm not male or female, huh?" I shrugged it off earnestly. I really didn't care about losing my gender. It's just I was so used to being male subconsciously, I guess, that I always say that I am male. I sighed and looked more over the blue prints, scrolling down and clicking new pages to see things more clearly.
The next few pages were more of my body schematics, something I obviously couldn't understand with my young adolescent mind. I then finished through the body schematics and onto pictures of a person's head, cross-sectioned down the middle between the symmetry of the eyes and nose, plastered onto the page on it's side. The brain and cranial schematics. Looking down at the corner of the page I scrolled over to see another of Doctor Simon's hastily scrawled notes was written in a poorly drawn box.
"Cranial schematics and location of memory and part of main hard drive and mainframe components. I've tried to input some personality but really hard to do with such old technology. I fear subject may end up being more androgynous than I planned. Make note of fact that only part of main components are here. The rest are in main body (see figure 2.4a). I hope to keep all of original specimen's features in tact (such beautiful blue eyes!) and hopefully most memories, but that's reliant on what the stone wants. I'm not sure stone will work (for stone schematic, see figures 5.0 - 5.3). I hope it all works lest all this trouble be worth nothing in the end. - S.B."
I studied the images on the page long and hard, not comprehending at all. There were strange wires and complex circuitry and everything seemed so foreign. That's what the inside of my head looks like?
I thought in disgust. It couldn't be. There was no trace of it ever holding an organ in it. No sign that I'd ever had a brain to hold complex thoughts. If the operation hadn't worked the way it had then I'd be nothing but a mindless robot, nothing human but my appearance.
I skimmed through more schematics and blue prints and unintelligible drawings before coming upon figures 5.0-5.3, the figures described previously as the schematics of the stone that I bore in my breast. On paper it looked harmless. On paper, it looked like any other stone, only in the shape of the human heart.
My eyes wandered instinctively now to the right hand corner of the screen and scrolled to see the note. "This is the Crimson Bloodstone. It's not much to look at, but I whittled it down so it would look like a human heart and, thankfully, it's just the right size to fit in our specimen's body (inside the heart chamber noted previously in figure 4.2). I don't know a lot about this stone, but if you look in the upper left hand corner of the page there is a scrolling box with all the information I could find about it. Hopefully all will go well and something magical will happen so I won't have to use plan B. That'd be just awful! - S.B."
My eyes moved to the box he spoke of and read what I could. Since it'd take too long to tell exactly what it said, I'll summarize: Essentially the Crimson Bloodstone, as Doctor Simon had mentioned earlier in my life, was a part of a bigger stone called the Light of Ages Stone which, through godlike intervention, was broken a part into four separate pieces, each containing an elemental power or station. The Crimson Bloodstone is the embodiment of all evil, hatred, and the dark emotions of the human spirit as well as the charge of fire. This stone, when placed in a living human will turn that person into an almost godlike being and he will be forever charged with the duty of guarding the stone resting within his body. Nothing was ever stated in ancient texts as to what would happen if the stone was placed into a dead human, so that's why Doctor Simon wanted to experiment a little with his own experiment. Apparently (this is his speculation now after the surgery), "the stone's capabilities exceed that of even death. The Crimson Bloodstone did as I wished it would: brought my specimen back from half-death... or was it full death...? Can't remember. But it was successful, to say the least. I'll write a full report as soon as I get to finding my journal under this clutter. Oh, and he seems like he is unaffected by the acquisition of the stone, but that's very VERY good indeed!"
He seemed all too pleased that I was in good health and working properly. He was still in a mind to thinking I was nothing more than a machine. His colleagues thought the same of me... And when he and I started living together they shunned not only me, but Doctor Simon as well. But we were happy together and I loved him so. He was my father and I was his son...
"Zaphkiel!" a voice from down the hall and downstairs called. Mister Alex no less. "It's dinner time. You can come down and eat and get your strength back!"
I sighed and covered my tracks on the computer, exiting the programs and windows I had opened. This "journal" of his intrigued me and I knew I'd have to investigate it, but I had to make myself seem somewhat human if only for the rest of Adam's family. The Lane's seemed like good people. I'd hate to bring them any sorrow. As soon as I recovered fully and taken in as much as I could from my father's disk, I would leave. That way no one would get hurt again because of me...