AN/: I do not own, claim to own, or profit from Soul Eater, Kara: a PS3 New Technology (upon which this fic is based) or any other company, product, or character mentioned in this story. Shame really.
PROLOGUE: Soul Eater a new DWMA Technology
"Can you hear me?" The voice is emotionless, but for the barest hint of interest in the answer to its question.
"Yes." Eyes blink open as a mouth forms words. Not just a mouth, his mouth. He has a mouth.
"ID" The querying voice keeps all emotion in check
"DWMA5454564SE" The mouth that is his answers as the eyes (that funnily enough are also his) blink and twitch and take in the room around him.
"Can you move your head? Your eyes now."
He does as he's told, revels in the control he has over his own movement.
"Cervical and optical animation checked. Now give me your initialisation text."
"Hello, I am a third generation DWMA Security Android. I can act as your bodyguard, look after your house, do the dishes, do the cooking, guard your children. I can travel with valuable objects, speak three-hundred languages and I am entirely at your disposal as a sexual partner. No need to feed me or recharge me I am equipped with a quantic battery which makes me autonomous for 173 years. Do you want to give me a name?" The instructions are followed as the mouth (his mouth!) rattles off something ingrained deeper in the programming than any sense of identity.
His eyes wander. He finds he rather likes moving them around his head. The room is large. Large and empty. There are long arms of machines spinning around the body attached to the mouth and eyes, poking and prodding, welding and attaching. It's his body the machines are whirling around. His!
"From now on your name is Soul Eater." The voice doesn't betray even a hint of emotion here. The name does not matter.
"My name is Soul…" Yet somehow the name does matter, at least it matters to the owner of the mouth and eyes and the body they are attached to.
"Initialisation and memorisation checked. Now, can you move your arms?"
The body moves its arms and the mouth smiles in wonder. He has arms and he can move them.
"Upper limb connection checked. Now say something in German." The voice seems slightly more interested now.
"Hallo, ich bin ein DWMA Sicherheitsandroid der dritten Generation. Ich kann als Leibwächter fungieren, mich um Ihr Haus kümmern, das Geschirr waschen, das Essen zubereiten und auf Ihre Kinder auspassen. Ich kann mit wertvollen Objekten reisen und ich spreche dreihundert Sprachen." His mouth moves differently this time, but just as easily.
"Say it in French."
"Bonjour, je suis la troisième génération DWMA sécurité Android. Je peux agir comme garde du corps, s'occuper de votre maison, faire la vaisselle, faire la cuisine, garder vos enfants. Je peux voyager avec des objets de valeur," Once again his mouth, no, his tongue moves in familiarly strange ways.
"Okay now sing something in Japanese."
"Tsunaida tamashii no hi ga mune o sasu nara/Kotoba yori motto tsuyoi hibiki ga ima kikoeru ka?/Roku ni me mo awasazu unmei ni made karandeku/Yukisaki moro kabutteru kuenai yoru o hashire" His voice has a rough quality to it, possibly not the best for singing but it will do. Besides, he likes it.
"Multi lingual verbal expression checked, go ahead, take a few steps."
He feels whatever has been anchoring him fade away and carefully takes one step, then two before moving in a slow spin to admire the way his body changes from silver and white to a softer, not quite pink, not quite brown tone. He runs a hand over his newly coloured arm and despite the many dictionaries in his mind, cannot find a word to accurately describe how it feels.
"Locomotion checked. Great, you're ready for work." The voice's only hint of emotion is satisfied indifference.
Something about the phrase worries him.
"Hey, what's going to happen to me now?" He asks in the language of his initialisation.
"I'm going to re-initialise you and send you to a store to be sold." The voice seems somewhat surprised at having to explain this.
Why should that answer be obvious?
"Sold? You trying to tell me I'm a sort of merchandise?" He feels something stir deep in his quantum battery as one of the mechanic arms places fabric around his hips.
"Of course you're merchandise. You're simply a computer with arms and legs capable of doing all sorts of things. You're worth a fortune." The voice doesn't sound annoyed, rather interested actually.
"Oh…I just figured, I thought-" His shoots through his memory files trying to figure out what he isn't understanding. He feels like the effort is making him overheat.
"You thought? What did you think?" The voice sounds wary, but under that, almost hungry.
His memory latches onto the word he needs and he speaks it. "I thought…I was alive."
There's a moment of pregnant silence between him and the unseen voice. he fidgets with the fabric at his hips and hunches over a little, trying to make himself appear smaller. Why he does this, he can't say. It seems the thing to do though.
The voice has returned to its original emotionless state when it finally speaks again.
"That's interesting… not at all part of the protocol. Memory components going off the rails. Recording; defective model, disassemble and check the required components"
The machine arms start moving in a frenzy, ripping the fabric from his hips, re-attaching him to an anchor point at his back.
"Hey! What are you doing? Why are you disassembling me?!"
His legs are removed and carried out of his vision. His quantum battery powers into overdrive and he feels a dampness creep across his brow, down the back of his neck. He ceases to feel it when his colour is removed and silver and white return.
"You're not supposed to think that sort of thing. You're not supposed to think at all. You probably have a defective piece or software bug."
His arms are taken next, all but ripped from their sockets. He's screaming his protests now. There's no time. No time at all and he won't be him, he'll just be a body then eyes and finally just a mouth. He doesn't want to be that. He wants to be him.
"No! I feel fine, I'm fine! I answered all the tests right didn't I!"
The back of his skull is detached.
"Perfectly, but your behaviour is abnormal and non-standard so I'm afraid I really have no choice."
"Don't disassemble me. Hey! Please, stop!" He tries to struggle, but struggle isn't easy when all that's left of you is a torso.
"Defective models must be eliminated, that's my job. If a client complains then I'll have to explain the breach in protocol."
He's desperate now, lost in a whirl of mechanic arms pulling him to pieces. The same arms that not long ago had made him are going to be the end of him.
"I won't cause any trouble! I'll do whatever I'm asked to, I won't say anything, I won't think anymore. I've only just been born dammit! You can't kill me yet! Stop it! Stop! You're murdering me!"
As if murder is the magic word, the machines cease disassembly immediately. Somehow he knows he doesn't have much time to save himself. Even so, instead of considering his words, or trying to display his usefulness he simply speaks his mind.
"I want to live. Just, let me live."
For a long moment, nothing happens. Then, slowly, without a word from the voice, the mechanical arms start putting him back together again. He lets out a shaky breath when he feels his arms connect and something leaks down his face when his feet touch the ground. There's a tickle to his scalp as his hair returns and it takes the reassuring sensation of cotton on his hips for him to find his motor function again.
"Go join the others." The voice sounds almost pleased for a moment before calmly, but seriously adding, "Stay in line and don't cause trouble."
He, Soul, couldn't be happier to get out of there and away from the man that nearly ended his life. But that man didn't just nearly end it. That man also gave it to him, not once, but twice. So, grudgingly Soul turns to look over his hunched shoulder and mutters his gratitude.
He steps into a shiny box next to a row of boxes containing identical men with red eyes and a shock of white hair. He shivers a little and wonders if he is one of those men. He thinks he might be. He made a promise though. In exchange for his life he will perform his job, his programmed purpose to greater than the best of his abilities. Whoever purchases him will have his loyalty for life. He will be theirs to do with what they please. This is his duty. His choice. Soul's choice. He and the other boxed men are carried away from the voice's room on a conveyor belt. Soul focusses on staying still and staying alive.
Before there is a chance for the next model to be assembled the man behind the machinery pauses production to take a notebook from his desk and make a few meticulous notes. He hums thoughtfully at his recordings.
A/N: Hi everyone! As some of you know I've been working on developing this idea for a while now and I'd just like to thank everyone who encouraged me, chaoticlivi, rebornfromarsh, eischirmchen, lueurdelaube, scribeofstories and everyone else who liked a post about this or messaged me. I haven't forgotten you, I've just been really lucky with how many encouragements I received. A hearty thanks to Lue for the correct German translation. If anyone wants to help with the French please message me on my tumblr meisterful!