"How curious ..."

Light erupted in the eyes of the man sitting in a chair in a dark study of Cybertronics New York.

He swung his chair around. In front of him sat the body of a boy. Its face was pulled up over the hair like a mask, the smooth metal skull underneath bared. He leaned over and peered into its dark sunken mecha eyes.

"... that you should follow your dreams to the end of the world – there to end it. To end it?" he whispered.

Clasped in his fingers and thumb was the brain of the child. He turned it in his hands, feeling the sharpness of the edges, the warmth of its core. He fell back into his chair, eyes shut.

"I knew a boy once who dreamed," he murmured.

His thoughts escaped him. It was the light on his eyes that moved him. "There's no other boy like you David. There's no other boy like you David. There's no other boy..." the chant slowly revolved in his head, again and again. He knew it was his voice, and he was speaking to a child, his son. The boy smiled, laughed, and then answered him back. "Yes Daddy, and I will always love you …"

He gasped. His hands dropped the device. It clunked, noisily, on the floor.

***

"Professor Hobby?" said a voice behind the man.

The man called Professor Hobby lifted his eyelids slowly. He rotated his chair and looked up at the voice that had spoken. A group of four or five people stood in front of him. He rose and paused.

"It seems I have put the torture of my own son into the mind of David," Hobby said. "Where did you say you found him?"

"We found him in the water," the voice answered, "Trapped in an amphibicopter … at the Pinocchio Park facing the Blue Fairy. It seems he was following the dream …"

"The dream, yes, of becoming a real boy," interrupted Hobby. "Remarkable, and worthy of our study." Again he paused, forefinger to mouth. Then, with a slow gesture of the hand: "We will let him find his dreams."

"But how?" said the voice. The group laughed politely. "Mecha can never turn into orga!" said a woman. "Why …he will never ever grow up, really eat, dream. Is it …possible?"

"It seems hard to grasp because you do not yet think as a boy." Hobby's eyes became distant. "He needs not become real to realise his dream. I think Monica can help us with this. We'll play a game, a wake-up game." He gave them his back. "Get Monica," he whispered.

A silence ensued. They left.

"My genius will let me search for my boy in the mind of this simulacrum."

He picked up the dark metal cube from the floor.

"Time to see what lies in you David."

He slid the cube into the boy's forehead. The brain sucked in like a deep breath. The face slid over the front of the head and fastened, and the boy spoke.

***

A woman with scared searching eyes sat in a big low-lit room. Her husband was standing in the corner, trying to avoid her gaze and looking rather nervous himself. He motioned her to continue. Prof. Hobby bent over the woman and looked her straight in the eyes.

"Don't be afraid, Monica," he said.

"I don't know … whether I can do this." Monica tried to smile but failed and sobbing silently, dabbed her big make-up smeared eyes.

"I am not a good mother. I have …" she looks up, meeting his stare, "… ruined your work, Professor." She looked miserable.

"You have not ruined my work. Indeed," he paused, "you have perfected it. Monica, this is only a day – one day. After this day all the misery will have passed."

Her voice quivered as she spoke with penetrating softness: "I have my son to take care of…"

"Martin will stay with his father," Hobby said, turning his face to the husband,"… where he will be safe for the day."

"Safe? What if I fail?"

"You will not fail. You are a good mother, and I wish for David no more than the happiness that you provide – that you will provide him. He is like my own son, so much like my boy." He grabbed the armrest of her chair. "But this is your privilege, Monica … having David for the day … Your love will stave his loneliness, Monica …"

Finally she answered.

"I will do this … only leave us alone afterwards."

"We are agreed, then?"

She gave a nod and looked down. They smiled together. Hobby stood to his feet and spoke.

"Start the simulation"

***