A Symmetry Constant
Your world is concrete and steel.
Outside your smog stained windows is an endless panorama of grays and blacks, mixed in with the occasional undercurrent of brown. The individual structures are discernable from each other only by the hard lines of uncompromising architecture. Parts of it are in a state of disrepair, but that is acceptable; perhaps even desirable. Walls crumble, beams rust, and streets crack under the strain of time. It is the way of things, though your creations bend far slower than flesh.
And you are there to build them again, to repair that which is broken, to restore. And it is beautiful, that process, freed from uncertain fortunes, freed from dependence on the generosity of rain or sun. Your city does not need handouts from nature. It is the antithesis of the welfare state, sharply contrasted against the forest and those who leech off of it, using it to hide from your rationality. The seasons of your magnificent city are every bit as organic as the empty processes of flora and fauna. The difference is that your city can be controlled. It makes sense.
Logic that is cold is still logical.
Color is a form of decadence. Your machines take no pointless pleasures in meaningless aesthetics, and neither do you. Greens and blues are utterly absent, as intended. Green is the color of nature: untamable, unreasonable, and ultimately unnecessary. Blue is the color of your enemy.
You know that he's out there, somewhere, beyond the edge of your looming yet somehow minimalist kingdom. He is always at the tip of your tongue, the pads of your fingers and the corners of your mind. He haunts you like the dark clouds that have taken up permanent residence over the smoke stacks.
He and the rest of his kind hate your city. They fear it.
The city heralds their obsolescence. They and the forest that conceals them are relics of an inefficient past. No longer stepping in time with the mechanical heart of the world, they are being left behind by an era that does not need them. What they are incapable of understanding is that life is being altered, not destroyed. The trappings of the flesh are being abandoned for a future of mightier materials. Your workers are not subject to doubt or fatigue. They do not consume; they only produce. Everything is automated and perfectly in sync, a clockwork ballet.
The only person who will always be required is you.
You are built as solidly as the walls of your domain. You are huge, immense, and you use your body like a battering ram. Like a piston. Your size has shaped your personality in accordance and you never question your own motives. There is no reason to. Time has proved you right and your enemies wrong. You have thrived, you have accomplished – they have cowered just beyond your reach, unable to stop you or to comprehend why attempting to do so is the greatest folly.
The world is changing. You changed it. Those who oppose you are worse than backwards. They are archaic. And when the day that you finally destroy them arrives, you will do so with the knowledge that you are merely deconstructing outdated equipment. They can all be replaced, though unlike your perfect machines they cannot be easily recycled, another inefficiency they suffer from. Perhaps further research will yield a method by which organic matter may be rendered down to base fuel, but there are more important things to consider for the time being.
The room you sit in is ringed by monitors, a thousand screens showing a thousand scenes. All of them are witness to the same glorious regimen, the stately, precise cadence of your city as it grows and prospers. Mining, manufacturing, energy production. Perfect, yet it can be improved. Simple, but technically complex.
There is always another step, another cog that can turn in time, another switch to set the music into motion. The goal is vast, the processes through which it can be obtained fiendishly intricate. The world is being upgraded, piece by piece. Earth to concrete. Air to vacuum. Flesh to steel. All made stronger than the delicate materials nature can provide, so prone to decay. Your city lives on a different scale.
Eventually everything will become so syncopated, automated, choreographed, that it cannot be interrupted. Perfection. A moment in machine time, measured in nanoseconds, thousandths of a centimeter, parts per million. The naked eye cannot define the curve of a heavy bolt. Your city will be formed with a precision imparted by lasers, where time is counted atomically, where structures are totally level, cut by definitions so fine, so minute, that something as faulty as the human hand cannot duplicate them.
You pause in your thoughts and look down at your metal limb where it lies against the armrest. You remember the pain, the horrible, unending pain that racked you when your skin was fused to steel and wires perforated the fleshy layers fat and muscle. You understand that pain now. It was pain of awakening; of birth.
Just as your soft, useless meat was stripped away, so were your last illusions. Some stubborn vestige of your humanity had clung to the back of your psyche, an unwanted ghost. That specter was purged, burned away by electrical fire. You have no use for it. Perhaps you never did.
A sound echoes from a corner of your darkened room. Small footsteps against the steel, quiet and uncertain. Your lip unconsciously curls, contempt suffusing you. There is no need to turn and see who approaches. Your machines communicate at the speed of light, 299,792,458 meters per second, adjusted for non-vacuum conditions. They are not programmed for timidity. They do not desire comfortable shoes.
Your nephew (as if that moniker meant anything now) taps away at a keyboard somewhere to your left, no doubt fulfilling a menial task. A keyboard. You long for the day when such physical devices are no longer necessary. His presence is an unwelcome reminder that such a milestone seems so far away. You clench your metal fist and ponder – no, calculate, for it is entirely without feeling – whether today is the day you will dispose of your last remaining connection to the life you once knew.
No… No, not yet. Your fist relaxes. Snively still has his uses. He is in many ways the perfect assistant. He knows technology, understands the individual pieces of the empire you've constructed, even if the greater vision escapes him. That shrewdness results in treachery, but that same tendency for betrayal is balanced by his cowardice. He can be controlled, like any other tool.
Snively is smart enough to know when he is beaten, but not smart enough to learn how to win.
Even now he cringes in that corner, fervently hoping your attention will not turn to him. You ignore him, and leave him to his fear.
Then, a flash of blue out of the corner of your eye – on monitor E4:11, West Lambda Quadrant. Your red pupils dart to the screen, mechanical eyes enhancing the image to a clarity organic vision cannot match. Nothing is revealed. A brief parting in the clouds teases you with a bright glimpse of the empyrean. You look away in disgust, angered. Even in his absence your enemy affects you.
Your enemy. Those words might conjure a variety of suspects, for you have not one opponent, but many. Still, even now, when most are known to you, there is only a singular being who bears the title.
His name is Sonic. And death is too merciful for him.
The reasons for your feud are pointless, the history diminished. Dimly, you know that you once hated Sonic for a multitude of reasons (some regarding his family, as you distantly recall). But over the years your grudge has faded along with your humanity. Who he was and who you were are irrelevant. You no longer possess the emotional connection required to hate him as a person. He is an obstacle. An inconvenience. And therefore he must be destroyed.
You've thought about this often. There are a hundred million ways in which you might kill him. Some have been tried. But he has cost you so much (so many projects failed, so many creations destroyed) that you have determined that in defeat he will be made useful.
Striking him down will be only the beginning. True victory comes once he is assimilated into the machine.
You will strip him of his flesh, his defiance. You will mold him into a weapon to replace those he dismantled. He will become a part of the great machine, another gear spinning in unison. And in doing so, he will be free.
He and his kind fear death at your hands, but what you offer is not death. It is life reborn. It is existence redefined, rebuilt. Without weakness. Without fear and doubt. Without hunger, war, hatred and lust. Without inefficiency.
This is what their frail, fleshy minds cannot grasp: you are not destroying the world. You are remaking it.
They are all too small and too afraid to understand what has become inevitable. They fight and struggle against what they do not comprehend. Your work cannot be complete so long as they stand against you. And so you will see this done.
Your name is Doctor Ivo Robotnik.
And you are the beginning of perfection.