My Creation

A bizarre "Space Strikers" tale

By Joan Milligan

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and situation in this story – I have no idea who does.

Author's note #1: The reasons for the writing of this tale are two – one is my rather twisted fascination with the character of Metallic, the other is the desire to prove that any stupid show can produce good fanfic.

Author's note #2: I assume you know the show. I must recommend you watch either "Best of Friends, Worst of Enemies" or "The Bargain" before reading this, as both episodes chronicle the Master Phantom's origin.

He was to be my creation.

There was a certain reason that we did not allow humans on the prison asteroid where we were all imprisoned, convicts and guards alike. A very good reason, to boot. Humans thought they owned the universe. We knew they did not. We also knew what they would do if they found about the prison, its conditions and staff. Seeking to impose their own set of ideals on the universe, they would most likely force us to abandon ours and treat the prisoners more – to pardon the irony – humanely. They would most likely condemn the lot of us officers to our charges' fate, and a machine such as myself – but no, I don't care to wonder about that.

That was the reason, and truthfully, in retrospective, I can see how much of a fool I've been, doubting it in the first place.

He was weak and vulnerable when we found him, and not much of a threat even if stronger. A young human space pilot, not yet a graduate if to judge by his attire, almost a child. Any of my incompetent lieutenants could have finished him on the spot, no need to even bring him to the vaults. But we chose to follow regulations, so I told those idiotic humanoids, and brought him in, and determined for certain he was space trash, dead or alive, it mattered little. They didn't question my orders, damn them.

Oh, yes, to be sure, I blamed them often, even months later. Brain-dead organics, if they had only the sense to disobey me, none of this would have happened. But what good does it do? I know where the fault lies, and I cannot lie to myself. That is a solely human trait. I wanted the man brought in alive, and they could do no else if they valued their hides. I gave the order and it made sense, in a manner. Carefulness, consideration, respect for protocol, call it what you want. In the end, what does it matter? I had my reasons, and the deed was done.

We brought him in, me and the platoon, and in the ten minutes it took they asked me twenty times when are we going to exterminate him. Stupid cowards. . . and here I go again. I am becoming too human for comfort.

It did not take much to make them leave the matter be, even if one of them – I never discovered who – did go and tell the Prison Manager all about his ever-loyal android's little initiative. They left the young human to me and scampered away, as if afraid, as if they knew what I was going to do. Had they a way to know? None of them understood the working of my mind when it came to humans. Truthfully, now, to tell them could not have been more distasteful. They would pity the obsessed, guilt-ridden mechanical mind, pity, or mock.

I'd take neither.

Then I brought the inanimate body and one capable technician to a laboratory and the work began. The humanoid engineer worked in silence and in the first few hours, I could see him glancing at me occasionally with thoughtful fear, wondering what came over the stoic prison officer. Let him wonder, he will never know, and that did not matter, as long as he did his task.

And he did, exactly as I've instructed him to do. He put to use his expertise in the sickest, most bizarre way imagined, and joined metal and flesh.

It was wrong, my mind screamed in rebellion, it was sacrilege. Man and machine were not meant to be one. Muscle and circuitry must never meet; there is no such thing as an electric soul. In a way I'd never understand, I was disgusted, not knowing if what was so appalling was the weakness of flesh imposed on metal, or the cold of metal against flesh.

It was wrong, it went against everything I have ever believed in, if a machine can believe. It went against everything my creator programmed into me. It went against everything that I convinced myself of when I killed him.

Humans are gods, machines are superior, two imperatives higher than any ideal, duty or wish I could ever have. Humans are gods, machines are superior. I had to choose one, I was betraying both.

Hours passed by. A few times, I tried to bring myself to tell the technician to stop, stop this damned work of such horror, but I could not. Scalpels rang, soldering bodies hummed, joints and muscles and bones of metal connected with real – no, not real! – Human ones. It went on and on, and I could not look away. It was terrible, it was beautiful, it was sickening, it was holy.

He was to be my creation.

Man and machine – and I was to see who emerges supreme, I was to see what he will become, and then maybe decide who and what I was.

When he was complete, there I stood, and stared at this new thing I have created. Neither man nor machine. Something new, twisted and magnificent. A shadow of either or the strength of both? I did not know. I could not know. For one perfect moment, I was frightened.

My creation.

"Activate him," I told the technician, who could not believe his eyes at the way mine were fixed on the violated half-breed.

At first, he was fairly angry, and I could not blame him, and still do not. Most likely had someone melded flesh to my own body I would not have been less enraged. I explained as best I could, told him that he was injured and that there was no choice – which was, after all, partially true. To my own astonishment, it seemed he accepted that in a way I would never had.

But when I intended to ask him the one question that had been driving me mad for as long as I can remember, ask him which part governed, man or machine, guards blasted into the room. He had managed to crack open the rear wall and was shouting at us: "Run! You can still escape!"

And that – the shock of being addressed as an equal, as a friend, by a human of all creatures – that is what made me freeze at that moment, and what was my undoing. He escaped. The technician and I were less fortunate.

The next thing that I remember clearly is being led to the prison's power core and my death – if one can call it a death, speaking of a machine. Humans would have been distraught at the very idea of such a careless execution, but they are. . . humans.

We were marching slowly but surely. Around the prisoners were cheering, pleased at the approaching demise of the hated android. When suddenly he was bursting in, toppling walls and knocking out guards with the wave of a hand. There was chaos and battle and much more, I assume, but I saw nothing. I saw nothing but him. My creation.

He had the machine's strength, the machine's speed, endurance and coordination. He had the machine's quick mind and the powerful resolute of the metal. And he had the human's overflowing confidence and heat of rage, and the human power to appeal to the hearts of the many and turn them to the cause of the one. In a few short moments, it was done, and he stood victorious. A level below I stood chained, merely moments away from a fiery death. The prisoners forgot me, they were cheering for him. He was neither man nor machine, and he would not answer any of my questions. He was my creation and he surpassed me, and I could not even bring myself to be proud.

He was grateful – one can say that. He released me and offered me a place in the new empire he was building. No less hatred, no more knowledge, but more power, and that too is a gain, so I tell myself.

I had saved his life, and he saved mine, and we were equals now, only we were not. He was not human, but he was part human, and part human is more than I could ever hope to become. It was clear, now, everything, in the form of that being, that man.

There in the prison, in the end of the battle, I kneeled before him, machine servant before human creator, the painful lesson now well learned.

Only a human can create.