A wondrous substance of nuclei surrounded by electrons.
So malleable, so strong, so cold…
Is this the sum total of my life? This lump of metal lying next to me?
…my dying son?
The workshop was cold, all of the lights dark and unused. To the north,
the bay windows overlooking the city normally let in a flood of light,
but the only light filtering in now was the pinpoints from the city
below. A winter wind howled over the barren yard, sending in even more
chill through the window; the good doctor had forgot yet again to tell
Laura, the house central system, to turn the heating on.
Dr. Light slept, slumped over a terminal in the chaotic workshop, its
holographic monitor the only source of light in the room. It cast a
pale glow over the scattered parts, burnt chipboards, and assorted
components littering the freezing floor; it also illuminated a figure
lying prone on an anti-grav workbench, his eyes closed to the world.
He lay in the only uncluttered area of the huge room, a shiny blue
helmet sitting next to him and a thin white blanket over his metal
body. His face was pale, calm and emotionless, topped by a shock of
raven black hair. He almost looked human, except for his metallic body,
and the fact that he wasn’t breathing. Nonetheless, illuminated by the
terminal’s glow, he had an almost ethereal pallor, giving the illusion
of life. Then the lights turned on.
“Dr. Light? Dr. Light, I told you to go to bed hours ago.”
Roll slowly walked into the workshop, navigating her way through the
cluttered mess. She paused for a moment beside her frozen brother, a
sigh loosening from her lips, then went to the slumped figure in front
of the terminal.
Gently, she shook the haggard doctor.
“Dr. Light, please wake up. You need to sleep in a decent bed. Please,
wake up Doctor.”
And then, with a start, the man awoke.
“wh-what? Oh, it’s you, Roll. What time is it?”
As he sat there, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Roll told him it
was two in the morning. With that, he stopped what he was doing, and
suddenly whirled around to face the terminal. His eyes widened at the
TEST COMPLETE, SHOW RESULTS? y/n
With a trembling hand, Dr. Light extended a finger above the y key,
Roll looking on quietly. Seconds passed, until the doctor finally
pressed the key, making the display show a 3-d model of a chip, and
windows of figures. Above it all, however, was a window with one
FINAL ANALYSIS: HYPOTHESIS REJECTED – COMPONENT INADEQUATE
Dr. Light cried himself to sleep that night.
1 month ago
He ran down the corridor, shoes clacking against the tile floor. His
white lab coat billowed out behind him like a cape as he rushed,
breathless, to his little-used workshop. After Dr. Wiley had a heart
attack and died, the world waited years for some sort of attack from
the grave, but nothing happened. The peace that was sought after so
badly finally appeared, the world happy and content for once. But it
was a bittersweet victory, as it effectively ended all use for Dr.
Light’s workshop and his robots, leaving them bereft of any duty. Dr.
Light went back to teaching, as Rock and Roll went back to taking care
of the house, which required all the strain of getting up in the
morning. Which was why he was rushing to the shop in shock, for he was
taken totally by surprise by the fact that one his robots needed
As he skidded to a stop next to the anti-grav bench, his eyes
registered further surprise as he saw Rock lying atop it, with no
external wounds to see. Roll was quickly connecting leads to her
brother’s prone body, as she told Dr. Light the situation.
“He just collapsed, Doctor, as we were pruning the rose bushes. I don’t
know what’s wrong; he’s not responding at all.”
Dr. Light took out a spanner and started to open Rock’s chest plate.
Once Roll was done connecting the leads, she moved back, and let the
Doctor have his space.
“Laura, open diagnostic port 6372, access code Alpha Foxtrot Omega dash
four nine two. Display output, holo-window.”
A window flashed into being in front of Dr. Light, transparent enough
to let him work, opaque enough to let him see the display. Quickly
scanning it while still opening Rock’s chest, his eyebrows furrowed.
“He’s cutting power to all components… he’s sucking power from his
core! Roll, get me the generator, now!”
As he finally opened up the chest plate, exposing his fusion core, Roll
brought over a portable fusion generator. On the window it showed
systems shutting down across the board, and power dropping fast. Soon,
backup memory shut down, loosing all data; if Dr. Light didn’t isolate
his neural net soon, the personality known as Rock wouldn’t exist
anymore. Cutting through a mass of wires, Dr. Light frantically
searched for Rock’s neural power leads. He finally found them and
attached the generator to them, as the last system shut down, leaving
only the isolated neural net.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Dr. Light relaxed a little as Rock
stabilized. However, as he started to figure out what happened, Dr.
Light noticed Rock’s neural net was taking in five times more power
than it should be; that would more than explain the power loss and
“Laura, open journal, resume file Rock Neural Analysis. Record. …how
do I say this? Analyzing Rock’s neural net showed me the problem. Or
rather, shall I say, solution. It seems Rock’s ability to rewrite his
own code allowed him to write an ability for himself I only dreamt of.
He somehow created in himself the ability to feel emotion, although how
I have no idea. What I do know is that he is cannibalizing his own
neural net to find a design which can accept it; as of now, it is, to
him, burning a hole in his mind. I can’t remove the ability, or even
copy the code, without cutting away at his core personality matrix. And
that is unacceptable. Which only leaves one solution, which is to
design a chip to accept the code before Rock kills himself trying to do
the same. No matter what happens, I fear I have about a month to do the
impossible, or else Rock dies, either by himself or because of the
Dr. Light knelt beside the prone figure, the bay windows illuminating
the room with glorious sunlight. The workshop was warm, staving off the
blistering cold outside, solely because Roll told Laura to heat the
room, after Dr. Light forgot again. He was kneeling beside Rock since
four in the morning, not being able to sleep, reciting prayers he
thought he had forgotten when he was young. His beard was scruffy, his
hair a mess, and eyes ringed with fatigue, but he wouldn’t stop. Rock
was his son, and as long as there was a chance, he would never give up.
The few birds which didn’t migrate during this winder chirped outside
his windows, and the wind whistled a little, a mere shadow of its fury
during the nights. But through it all, Dr. Light kept on praying,
keeping a bedside vigil beside his metallic son. And then, a chime
emitted from the terminal.
Dr. Light opened his eyes, then closed them again. He knew he couldn’t
get his hopes up again, or else his heart would break. The time was
almost up, and Rock was about to die. If this chip didn’t work, nothing
would in time to save his son. And that was a fate worse than death to
Taking a deep breath, Dr. Light stood, and slowly walked over to the
terminal. Closing his eyes, he placed his finger on the y key, then
pressed down, holding his breath. Cracking open his eyes, he looked to
the uppermost window.
FINAL ANALYSIS: HYPOTHESIS VALIDATED, COMPONENT VIABLE
With a great whoop of joy, Dr. Light immediately got his nano-tanks to
work at manufacturing this chip, when all of a sudden, he heard a
WARNING WARNING WARNING: SUBJECT CRITICAL, NEURAL MASS 4%
Rock was slipping, and slipping quickly, as his neural net was getting
burned from the emotion code. Dr. Light could only watch in horror as
his only son slowly went under, his personality matrix burned in an
effigy of emotional fire. Soon, the only thing Dr. Light could see was
the neural net display, as the creeping white of the code overwhelmed
the cool gray of Rock’s true neural programming. And then, before his
death, Rock sent a final message to his creator, displaying it on the
“Thank you, father. Keep me alive in yourself, always.”
The funeral was held two days later.
2 years later
“Do you know why I named you X, my son? It is because you shall become
the ultimate variable in the evolution of life. You will be the bridge
between us humans, who are your archaic creators, and your kind, who
the next step in evolution. But always, you shall remain my son, and
your brother’s brother, and your sister’s brother. Because you have
your brother’s blood and heart, your sister’s love, and my eternal
He closed the capsule over the lifeless body, then typed in the final
commands on the console.
“Sleep, my son, and dream a dream of infinite paths. Each step of the
way I shall be there, and your brother and sister; we will be with
With that, the capsule locked shut, placing X in a dream with infinite