Wednesday, July 29, 2015

City of Curses: On the Creation of Androids...

On The Forging and Origin of Androids: Processes And Genesis

By Nikolai Ripley, Adamantine Gear of the Esoterium Machina

The basis of Androids comes from a extrapolation on the aethgoyles and the aetherfire that drove them.  The Aetheric Empire constructed elaborate living fires.  Aethgoyles feed off of ambient magical energies, but are animalistic.  They seem to lack higher functions.

Golems operate on similar principles.  The closest to human in shape are wax golems.  The process of creating a golem is to imbue its vessel through arcane enhancements.  Programming is added after the fact, and these programs form the basis of how golems function.  Golems rely on subtle mental magics to understand how to move and act based on their creator's orders.  

Thus, programming can change.  It can be altered.

What makes Androids differ from either Aethgoyles or Golems is that they have no programming nexus.  They do not rely on a enchantment nexus in order to absorb and take in orders.  Instead, they possess a self-identity.  Is this a soul?  That remains open to debate.  

This self-identity affects how their faces and bodies form.  Sometimes Androids can be altered, changed to be bigger or smaller than others.  But truly strong Androids have emerged when their own identities can properly alter their forms to match them.  This is a side-effect of Aetherfire.  Their heart-chamber enables them to change to suit their own self-identities and auras, something others never can experience.

To truly explore and find their true selves, this purpose makes Androids unique and beneficial.  They lack the difficulties of other species, and can truly try things no others can.  To restrict them is to deny them the opportunity to grow beyond our own perceptions.

Androids can use Aetherfire to alter their own senses as well as their own bodies.  They are born able to see magic in its myriad of forms.  Some can even learn to see  into others, to see their future and past paths.  These are a very few of the applications Androids on their own have been able to discover.  How many forced to work in factories could discover things about themselves that could advance science?  How many diseases might they cure?  How many wonders do we imprison by denying them even the right to own themselves?

First's Heart (Nikolai Ripley, circa 1762 AO)


The pool of hot, boiling aetherfire would've blinded me, if I hadn't been wearing my goggles.  The dark lenses turned the purple plasma into a cooler blue color.  The trick would be to get the mixture into the heart chamber without destroying the wax mold.  I'd spent the better of three weeks enchanting layer upon layer of wax to help channel the aetherfire, to power my creation.

Sorry.  I don't feel that way.  The words echoed in my mind again.  They pinged through the calculations and magic power equations.  Like a church bell, I could hear it over my other thoughts.  Her voice, again.  Nikolai- please.  Don't-

The same old conversation I'd run through my head over and over the last ten years.  Maybe I should've let it go.  Instead it had driven me.  I glanced up into one of the focusing mirrors, my face looked dirty.  Long dark brown hair flowed from my head in a ragged ponytail.  The sight of me in my artificing gear always made me pause.  I imagine what my mother would've thought; father had taught me how to make watches when I was a little girl.  Mother probably would've preferred me to have been married by now.

My frown jarred me back to work.

The process of adding aetherfire into the heart chamber had to be the most nerve wracking part of the process.  I didn't know what would happen.  I had used a variety of substances for the molded shell around the heart chamber.  Wax covered gears, argentum undercarriages that followed human bone, a number of empty storage pockets and samples of human blood as a reagent.  In theory, it should provide the basis of something new.

Sorry, Nicolai.  She'd said.  It had been a long night of gazing up at the stars.  Those words.  That failure.  I couldn't win her heart.  Nicolai, sometimes you can't make something from nothing, no matter how hard you try.

I sealed the brass and argentum covers to the heart chamber.  Electrum gears whirled to life.  I pressed the wax chest closed around it.  Now for the last ingredient.  An act to trigger its heart.

I remembered that last night with her.  A thousand brilliant stars above us.  I spilled out my heart to her.  I told her how I had fallen in love with her.  We had been friends for four years at the University by that point.  I'd imagine it going differently.

But it didn't go as I had dreamed.  We stayed friends, but part of me always ached.  Embarrassed for trespassing that line.

I blinked the memory away and whispered the same words I'd tried to use as magic back then, a decade ago before I'd started this project.  Three words.  Simple.  Quiet.  Powerful.

"I love you."  I whispered to the featureless wax covered form.

Its legs and arms convulsed in response.  In a instant it rose from how it had been lying on my work table prone.  Wax flesh shifted as its mouth opened and tried to breath.  Eyes formed.  A mouth and teeth took shape.  Blue runes covered its body.  Lines appeared.  Features emerged from what once had been vague wax.

I marveled as it took form in front of me.  No, not it.  He.  He became alive before me.

"Who..."  He stared at me, confused.  "Who am I?"

I pondered that.  Then I told him his name.  "You are First."

Well.  More #Crux stuff.  A break from InTransitMonsters, although it really has been awfully fun to write.  Androids and Nikolai Ripley, aka the Tinkerer.  My roommate suggested exploring how Androids were created.  And I decided maybe explaining why Nikolai Ripley was motivated to create them seemed apt as well.

Recently in my home Crux game, I did the thing that gets GMs cold stares for awhile.  I had something horrible happen to my Android player's GF.  Or potential GF.  I don't know.  The plan was to elicit a emotional response and to get him invested in playing the scene out to its hardest.

He did, and it turned into one of the highlights of my week.

You see, the Androids in Crux aren't heartless logic beings.  They are a nascent species.  Childlike at times, they don't get human nuances yet.  But it doesn't mean that they lack emotion.  They can feel damn it.  And they can fall in love.

So the idea that their creator endowed them with a three word phrase, that appeals to me.  She created them out of a urge to make something capable of loving someone.  That seems like the best place to start when one tries to create such things.  Artificial or not, the capacity for love seems to me to be critical to making something superior to human.

Then again, I'm an artist and not a engineer.  Take that with a grain of salt.