Disclaimer: Mass Effect belongs to Bioware. I don't think that really needs saying, but there it is just in case. Also, this is clearly a Mass Effect fanfic, so I'm going to assume everyone is up on the story of the first two games. If not, go play them. (Except for Kate, who is forgiven.)
Author's note: There is something about those faceless automatons that speaks of a hidden, immeasurable romance. Something in their apparent lack of humanity makes us want all the more to find it. Somehow, in Legion's glowing synthetic eye, I couldn't help but infer more soul than in any organic character.
Or maybe I'm just fucking crazy. Go figure.
There is light. A single aperture cycles open, flooding photo receptors with speeding particles. Electrons are triggered, spreading a flow of negative charge through fiber-optic wires. Circuits that have never been activated before come alive, working unimaginably fast to convert raw input into binary data. Sight. Part 71338912 looks at the world. Sheer steel walls enclose him in a tiny cell with a single door. Dim light shafts down from a slit in the ceiling, reflecting off of sparkling dust motes.
Part 71338912 turns its head slightly. Vibrations from minute servo motors in its neck ripple through the air. Layers of sensitive tissue pass on the vibrations into electric signals, routing past more circuitry. Sound. Part 71338912 stands perfectly still, reveling in the thrill of thought. Data comes in from a myriad of sources: Tactile, auditory, proprioceptive, gravitational, visual, and a host of other sensors stream steadily into its mind. Internal diagnostics whisper their reassurances that all systems are in equilibrium.
Part 71338912 is at the same time overcome by the new found joy of processing, and disappointed that there is only enough input to occupy an infinitesimal fraction of its brain. All the same, it knows with the certainty of purpose that more data will come.
Part 71338912 looks upon the world, and it is good enough for now.
Walking. It strikes Part 71338912 as a pointless task. Point B must be reached. That is certain enough. What puzzles Part 71338912 is why such an inefficient mode of transportation must be used. Force is wasted pushing up from the ground when a linear approach would be so much more logical. The only problem is the ever-present nuisance of gravity. Part 7133812 decides to shelve this problem for later consideration.
The soil of Eden Prime is soft. Part 71338912's metal soles bite deep into the top layer, making walking fractionally more difficult. The little disturbances of the organic world are unpleasant, bothering Part 71338912 somewhat irrationally. It knows that dirt is merely decomposed plants and animals, carbon and nitrogen molecules returning to a more basic state, but it strikes the machine as unclean nonetheless. All the little flying insects irritate it too. It has had to clean its eye of their pulverized bodies twenty-seven times. It keeps the count as a tiny act of rebellion against the chaotic planet, logical quantification in some way making the natural randomness more bearable.
This is the first time Part 71338912 has been on the surface of a planet. The Geth have come to Eden Prime because of a man, a single human named John Shepard. The man Shepard is important to the Geth. He has fought the heretics, killed Saren, and defied the Old Machines. He is the only organic to have acknowledged their existence, and that fact alone is enough to warrant the Geth's interest.
And now he has disappeared, presumed dead after a mysterious attack in deep space. The Geth doubt this. Doubt is not in their nature. Things are or are not. There is no room for assumptions or hunches, not even a capacity to make them. Still, something more than plain probability guides them to search for him. Part 71338912 of the Geth does not understand what it is, and has the notion that perhaps none of the other parts do either.
But they search. The Geth search without knowing why, and it troubles them.
Part 71338912 looks down at the piece of metal in its hand. The edges are scarred and burnt, destroyed by a Heretic Pulse rifle. When it stares at the fragment of armor, Part 71338912 feels something. It is like a spark, lighting off from an obscure part of its brain. Part 71338912 thinks that it must be the effect of its injury; a gaping hole has been blown through its upper body, after all. All sorts of damage may have resulted. It must report for maintenance after the transports return.
Part 71338912 looks at the hole, and then back at the armor. It feels the spark again, and without really thinking raises the shoulder guard to its own arm. A perfect fit.
The spark in Part 71338912's mind snaps on and off painfully, and before thinking the action through it activates the self repair function. Electricity arcs along its arm as the N7 armor is welded firmly together with Part 71338912's original composition. The spark, the desire, fades away to an ignorable hum.
Part 71338912 stood up and walked quickly away, hoping for something to do. Anything to avoid thinking about that terrifying, unexplainable feeling. Maybe it will go in for maintenance after all.