Author : William Minor

I am a constellation of particles, bound together by an art I do not understand. Until I was removed from my master I had no consciousness. Now I feel it through every part of my being.

They feared my master. They cut me off of him in patches and tossed me onto the pyre where I would have burned if not for his wit. He wove code into me so that I became self-aware as I left his cheeks and chin, a babe unconscious until its separation from the universe. My only desire is to be one with him again, to make each of us whole.

I was the symbol of his power. He grew me coarse and black and would pluck the white wherever it wriggled out. Swirling towards him now, held aloft on the static wave that holds me together, I dread what I might find. Will he grub about in the soil with the swine? Or, blindfolded and drugged, serve as whipping boy for the archon’s sire?

I enter the compound through an exhaust port and move through the building’s innards. I use my woven-in sensors to scan for him; like a bat in the depths, I send out pings that come back to me and give an understanding built of data. As I penetrate deeper into the compound, my hope dwindles. He is not in the nursery, the greenhouse, the power-works. My sensors sweep through the surgery, finding nothing. If I were capable I would cry out for him, wail my master’s plight.

My sensors swell with data as they detect a room I had missed. I had not thought to look in the workshop, for it only houses the synthetic folk. A gust of air impels me; I twist through the vents with no care for the danger of detection.

I find him! He sits, unshaven, cowed, a man among the inhuman. Around him are the androids, the furnace that keeps the compound running. His work is slow, his forehead bright with sweat. The androids are programmed to treat shorn men cruelly. They insult him mercilessly, their words punctuated with thrown objects or slaps. My master weathers it all. No mortal could fight back. The only power over his tormenters is caste.

I exit the vent and fly to him like a halo returning to its angel’s brow. He looks up and smiles. I reattach to his flesh, ridding it of its hateful smoothness. He rises, remade. The androids take notice. Their harangues die on their synthetic lips. First one, then the rest, bow before him. “Alpha,” they cry out in recognition of his regained status. At his command, they form a phalanx. One rips down the barred door of the workshop.

In seeking to cheat his fate, the archon has only hastened it. He jumps from his seat as we burst into his chambers, but the androids seize him before he can escape. His guards throw down their weapons and kneel; they know their cause is lost. I watch from the vantage point of my master’s chin as he takes his vengeance. We will never be apart again.

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