Author's Note: Yes, I do realize that I made 6 seem quite logical in the beginning here, but I figured that he wouldn't entirely destabilize until a little bit later..


Existence. For the first time I was truly aware of my consciousness, and I could feel something soft and warm wrapped around my body, holding me tight. It was comforting, and in opening my optics I discovered I could see. In amazement I shuttered my optics open and shut, getting used to the light and colors surrounding me. Above me was a face - a kind one, some part of me decided, and I instinctively trusted this man. Suddenly, I was moving, and a small yelp escaped my throat in surprise. The soft and warm thing slipped away from me, and some part of me was glad to be alone now. I looked down at my body, taking in what was me. I raised my hand in front of my eyes, turning it back and forth, liking this feel of control that I have. In waving my fingers back and forth, however, I accidentally poked my forehead, and I yelped again, this time in pain. I frowned, peering at my fingers - how could I not have noticed that they were sharp? I brought them right in front of my optics to look at them, and I rather wondered why they were pointy at the end. Surely such a thing could not be useful. Although now that I thought about it, I didn't know much about usefulness, so perhaps I was not a good judge.

I looked now at the solid chunks of wood and metal that served as my feet. Slowly, I raised one of them - and immediately brought it down again, frowning at the sense of nervousness, of imbalance, that I got when only one of my feet was connected to the ground. But I was curious, and I felt that this - walking, my mind told me - was a good thing for me to do. So this time I lifted my left foot, just a little, and moved it forward by a fraction, and then I slowly put it on the ground with a satisfying clunk. I felt better now, more in control of what I was doing. I did the same thing with the other foot, and then went back and forth between the two, making swifter movements every time. My thoughts had not been focused on where I was actually planning on going, so when I brought my foot down and it hit nothing, fear coursed through my entire body. I stretched my hands out, trying to grab onto something, anything, when I could feel the soft warm thing around me. Safety. I shuddered as I averted my gaze from the scary sight of the floor, so far away from where I was. But the safe, warm hold on me was once again beginning to release me, and I was placed on the familiar ground again. I could see a giant hand retreat from around me, although it was peach-colored and wrinkled with rounded fingers, nothing like my dark metal hands. "Be careful next time," a voice came from above, and although fear crept through me for a minute, I realized it originated from the man above me, and his face was kind. I felt a need to respond to him, let him know that I understood, so after a moment of contemplation, I replied, "O-okay." I could feel the vibrations of my throat, forming the words I understood instinctively.

The man smiled at me, and I could feel a happy thrill of being acknowledged. "6, my name is Oliver," he told me. "But you may call me the Scientist if you wish. I created you and five others so far." I stood there for a moment to take this in. Oliver. It was a nice name, for someone so kind. And the Scientist.. It was a title that seemed to describe Oliver well, for the term created an image of something much like Oliver's appearance, but I decided to call him Oliver, as the Scientist as a name just sounded too impersonal. My thoughts were still wrapped up in this when he continued, "I need to start work on 7. But here are some things you might find amusing." He turned away for a moment, and I realized how big this place was - I was only on a small portion of this land. My gaze wandered to the ceiling, so far above. It seemed a little rickety, with a small hole in the corner, but I supposed it was alright. Before I could look around any more, the Scientist - no, Oliver, why was I referring to him as the Scientist in my thoughts? - was back, bringing a small pot of a black liquid and some thin, wispy, white things. He laid them in front of me and said, "Enjoy yourself. I'll bring 5 over, once you're used to everything." Then he was walking away again, leaving me to contemplate everything.

I was tempted to inspect the black liquid, but I decided to review everything that had happened so far; right now my mind was a jumble of thoughts and realizations and questions, and there was also something else, nagging me, and I shook my head and began. First, I had woke up in Oliver's grasp, and he had set me down here. I had looked myself over and began walking. I smiled a little at this, but then shuddered at the memory of falling. Speaking of which, why had that happened? I looked around me, and I realized that not too far away from me was an edge - perhaps this ground is not the real ground here, I thought. But this was confusing to think about, disconcerting, so I just scooted away from the edge and resumed my mental run-through of everything. Oliver had saved me from the fall and put me back here. He had said.. What had he said? He had told me his names were Oliver and the Scientist. What else had he said? I created you and five others, a memory whispered to me, and I stood there stupidly for a moment, not grasping what it meant.

Then. Revelation. Oliver had created me! No wonder he was so kind, so understanding. He had created me.. and five others. At this I was curious. Did they look like me? They probably did, I reasoned. More like me, with sharp fingers and a striped body.. The image of six of us striped beings concerned me, however. I frowned for a moment, then came up with another thought. Oliver doesn't look like me. Maybe the others don't look quite like me either. This thought was oddly comforting, a better image than that of five others who looked just like me.

Speaking of me, who exactly was I? Oliver had a name and a title: Oliver, of course, and the Scientist. What was my name? I couldn't fathom what it was, and the nagging sensation in the back of my head was growing. I couldn't think right, couldn't quite remember everything Oliver had said. Had he told me my name, too? I couldn't remember. "Who am I?" I asked aloud, and it helped a little to ask, even though I expected no answer; the Scientist was off somewhere else, and I didn't see anyone else. So I was surprised when a voice answered, trembling a little, "Why, you're 6."

I whirled around, my gaze darting around, trying to find the speaker. Whoever it was must have sensed that I could not see him, and I heard a few footsteps to my right. I turned swiftly and saw him, the source of the voice telling me I was 6. 6. This felt right somehow.. My optics unfocused as I thought about this, my head tilting a little to the side. Yes, 6 was my name. Of course. I was only confused as to why I had had to ask. Another footstep brought me to my senses, and I looked at the speaker.

He was my size and shape, with metal fingers - oddly, though, they weren't pointy - and he had feet that looked just like mine, but other than that, he was completely different. He was made out of a brown substance, with no stripes at all, and he had buttons down his front. I was especially interested in his optics, which seemed to go up and down a lot. Did mine look like that? I hadn't been able to see my own, and this bothered me. Which led me to my conclusion. "Do they?" I asked abruptly.

He was surprised, and he replied after a moment of a confusion, "What?" I could see the misunderstanding in his eyes, and it took a minute for me to realize my mistake; I hadn't actually articulated my whole question. It took a moment for me to remember just what I was going to ask in the first place; the nagging sensation was getting worse then ever, and I could feel it beginning to manifest in an image. "Do my optics look like yours?" I asked hurriedly, my fingers twitching nervously.

All of a sudden, that nagging sensation, it was real. I could feel it in the back of my head, and I almost began to panic, because my vision was clouding up with scary shapes - I could feel the fear drip into me again. I turned away, trying to find something - anything - to make what was happening to me go away. And I found it. Distantly I heard the clomp clomp of my feet against the ground as I ran over to the pot of swirling black liquid the Scientist had given me. Before I knew what was happening, the lid was off, and my fingers seemed to enter the pot on their own. The black liquid - ink was the word - seemed to sink into my fingertips, and I took a moment to dip my other hand in there as well, before I turned to the paper, dragging my fingers across it in wide arcs, instinctively drawing what I saw in my mind's eye.