Post by Gracie Rollins on Apr 28, 2013 13:30:33 GMT -8
*Disbelief. That's one way to put how I felt when it happened. Refusing to believe that the child I had held in my arms was no longer moving. Could no longer move. Only a day previous she had been running, laughing, looking, asking questions to satisfy her deep curiosity. Now my little girl was dead. How exactly do you expect a father to react to that?
For a long amount of time, I don't know how long, I'd simply remained there, kneeling upon the ground, cradling her lifeless form in my arms, unmoving, my mind as blank as her once-vivid green eyes. I heard nothing, felt nothing, saw nothing but her body, so cold, so empty.
How could he have done this? What did she have to do with our deal? Why was she punished for my failure?
When finally my senses returned, I held her close and wept. Some time after that, I resolved to fix this. She didn't deserve this. She didn't deserve to have her life ripped away from her so soon. I had the resources. I had the technology. I had the knowledge. I could fix this. I had to. And I knew just how to do it.
Firstly, I had to make schematics. The entire process would take time, I knew, and I needed her body intact. I set about placing her within multiple scanners, collecting important data and creating wireframe images of her body, muscles, skeletal system, and organs, making sure to correct the damage sustained by the injury that caused her death. This would have to be perfect, and I would have to work the scanners multiple times until I was certain there were no errors present.
Then, the most delicate procedure... Scanning her brain, converting her knowledge and memories to data. The most delicate, and easily the most important; this was, after all, how my beautiful Gracie would continue to live on.
Not once had I ever thought, "This is unethical, this will not be my child, but a mere copy." When you're a mourning father, consumed with grief, you would do anything to bring your child back, wouldn't you? I'd have sold my soul to the darkest of gods if it could bring her back, but fortunately for me, I had a much less drastic method of bringing my daughter back from the dead.
The cerebral scans were flawless, converting every last ounce of knowledge, every single memory, into data. I also had scans conducted upon her cerebellum to preserve her motor skills up until her death, and these too were flawlessly converted to data. I knew this would go well. And that gave me both hope and focus.
I gathered all the resources necessary, synthskin, biofibers, various electronic systems, bonemer for the skeletal structure. And then I began to craft her. Began to build her skeleton, around which I would reform her body. It was a tedious process; a mold had to be created, for each bone, and these would have to be connected with synthetic ligaments to keep the skeleton together. Simultaneously, her biofiber organs and muscles were being crafted according to their schematics, built to the proper size and shape. They were interwoven with electronic systems that would connect to her new brain, which I would personally oversee separately, as well as a synthetic circulatory system, where Gracie's lifeblood would flow once more.
When these were complete, it was her brain that I next endeavored to recreate. It would have to be manually connected to the digital "spinal cord" once completed, and this was a process I was going to ensure was done perfectly. The brain was only a brain in appearance; in actuality, it was a computer in disguise, a data center governing the actions of her body. Similar to a brain, it was divided into many sections that each focused on a specific set of functions. Added to that her knowledge, memories, and cerebellar activity, and she would be a perfect replica. She would live on as she once had...
When her body had been assembled apart from her outer layer of skin, I had seen to it that the brain had been properly inserted into her skull, connected firmly to the spinal cord, and nestled snugly within her cranium. Then, the final step, her skin. Some would think this to be a simple step, but they underestimate the complexity and the beauty of the human skin. It had many layers, many shapes, many forms. It had to be shaped perfectly, and the mold was in place. A tedious process, one I yet again ensured was carried out perfectly, down to the smallest detail.
It took me months, but at last, there she lay, perfectly assembled. Even at close observation, I could tell no difference between her and the daughter I once held and loved. But of course, this was the same daughter! I wanted to activate her just then, but I held myself back. I needed to run a final set of diagnostics before I knew she was ready.
And her body... Her original, inferior body... I very well couldn't bury it, not on Helska IV! I could cremate it... but I could never bring myself to do such a thing, even to a past shell. No, I simply decided to leave the body in suspended animation, putting it away, out of sight; my poor Gracie didn't need to see what had happened to her. Didn't need to know...
As I returned to the laboratory, I scanned the diagnostics' results as they flashed upon the screen. Checkmark after checkmark in my mind. Not a single hitch in her systems. All systems were responding perfectly. Brain activity was stable. And as the final diagnostic result appeared on the screen, I smiled to myself, holding back tears: My Gracie was ready to live again.
I turned towards the console. One press of a button, and she would return to life. I licked a bead of sweat off my lip, unaware until just then that I had indeed been sweating. She couldn't see me like this. Quickly I removed my glasses and folded back my sleeve, wiping my face dry with the inside of it. I looked into a reflective surface to see what I looked like, if I looked presentable, only to take note of the unshaven beard and disheveled hair. I suppose I had not focused upon personal care as much as I had my darling daughter. No matter. If she asked, I would tell her I had been more concerned for her than I had been for my own hygiene.
Which of course, was the truth.
I took a breath and then sharply exhaled, mentally preparing myself for this. This would be the first time I'd interacted with Gracie in months. It would be welcome, it was something I eagerly awaited. My hand shook as I lifted it, and, seeing that I could not steady it, I bothered not as I simply depressed the button, the one that would signal Gracie's now-electronic brain that it was time for her to awaken. I folded my hands behind my back, approaching the table where she lay.
Post by Gracie Rollins on Apr 28, 2013 13:41:32 GMT -8
*She didn't really understand why she'd opened her eyes. Not yet, anyway. It just felt like something she was supposed to do. She wasn't exactly sure what was happening right now, or even who or what she was. Wait... No, she knew. Memories seemed to suddenly flood into her mind, and once more she was aware of who she was.
She was Gracie, and she lived in a laboratory on Helska IV. That was where her daddy worked! He built stuff, and was very smart too! And Mommy— ... That's right. Mommy was gone. That was sad, but she still had Daddy!
And Helska IV was um, was a moon! An ice moon, and Gracie wasn't sure why her daddy had his laboratory on an ice moon, since it was so cold and she couldn't play outside, but there were places inside for her to play too, like in her room or the gardens, which Daddy somehow made warm so it would be like a real outside place on a warmer planet instead of a cold planet, so that was good too.
But... something had happened... Something scary. It had happened so quickly, and suddenly there was nothing. Blackness. And now she was awake again?
It was now she had realized she hadn't moved at all yet. She slowly turned her neck left and right, her eyes traveling all over the room. She lifted her head, looking at her right hand, which she raised by bending the elbow, then curled and uncurled her fingers, as though recalling how to control her own body. It felt... new almost, different, yet at the same time familiar. How long had it been since the bad thing had happened? So long she'd forgotten what her body felt like?
The sensation of sound suddenly returned to her, as she heard footsteps, the click of which sharply contrasted with the silence of only a moment before. With a very soft gasp, she turned her head towards the source of the sound, to see a man standing there with disheveled hair and an unkempt beard. But beneath all that was a face her eyes immediately recognized, drawing a grin to her lips.* "Daddy!" *she squealed, immediately sitting up and extending her arms toward him.
In response, he beamed and unfolded his arms, extending them as well as he quickened his pace toward her. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her into his arms, as she tightened her own arms around him and snuggled against him. Once more did a familiar sense seem to awaken, as though she were experiencing the sense of touch for the first time.*
"Oh, I'm so glad you're awake," *her daddy said, his voice slightly thick.
Gracie extricated herself just enough to hold onto his shoulders for support so she could look up into his eyes. They were glistening, wet, as though he might cry. Why would he be wanting to cry? Did something bad happen? Furrowing her brow a bit, she asked,* "Daddy, how long was I asleeps?"
*Her daddy seemed to bite his lip for a moment, it was difficult to tell because his lips were so fuzzy, but he soon answered,* "Quite a long time, sweetie. You had... an accident."
"You mean like the one Mommy had?" *she inquired innocently, tilting her head to the side.
His eyes seemed to glaze over for a moment, his gaze unfocused, before he finally focused his eyes upon her and sighed.* "Not quite."
"Oh. Well is I okay now, Daddy?"
*The smile returned to his lips as he chuckled and nodded.* "Yes, sweetheart. Never better," *he answered, leaning forward and kissing her on the forehead. She giggled and snuggled against him again, tightening her arms around him.*
"I hopes you weren't scared, Daddy."
*A long pause.* "I was terrified." *He reached up and started to gently stroke her short golden hair.* "But I had faith that I could bring you back."
*Gracie giggled again, once more extricating herself and spreading her arms to the sides triumphantly, palms open and facing forward.* "And you did! I love you, Daddy!" *She threw her arms around his neck and pressed her cheek against his. He responded by gently wrapping his own arms tightly around her, cradling her against him.*
"I love you too, angel."
*For a long moment, they simply held each other. Gracie couldn't remember ever being hugged like this, but she liked it; it meant her daddy loved her lots! But as much as she liked hugs, she didn't want to stay in the same hug forever. So, finally, she extricated herself again, looking up at her daddy with a smile and saying,* "So whats ya building now, Daddy?"
*He chuckled, then replied,* "Nothing at the moment. Today, sweetie, we'll do whatever you want to do."
"Okay!" *Gracie grinned. Not two seconds later, a churning sound from her abdomen drew her gaze, and it occurred to her that it felt like she hadn't eaten in... ever. She grinned again, her expression alone conveying her desire at that moment, as if the sound wasn't enough.*
"Well then, food it is. I'm a little peckish myself. Here." *He lowered her to the ground, releasing her slowly, as though fearing she might not be able to stand steadily. Gracie did indeed wobble slightly, but quickly controlled her balance and stood as steady as ever, beaming up at her daddy. He smiled back, then reached behind the console, retrieving a small bundle and holding it out for his daughter.* "Go on, get dressed, then you can eat whatever you want."
*Gracie studied the bundle, before realizing it was her favorite outfit and cried,* "Yay!" *before snatching it from his hands and dressing herself. As with everything else so far, she had very minor difficulty initially, but quickly recalled the proper motions and dressed flawlessly. Then she beamed up at her daddy, extending a hand towards him.* "Alright, Daddy, let's go eats!"
*With no other response but a smile, he reached out to take her hand, leading her away from her place of rebirth.*
Post by Gracie Rollins on Apr 28, 2013 13:56:50 GMT -8
*Cheesy noodles had always been her favorite food, and they were as yummy as they ever had been. But yet again, she was hit with the sensation that, while she definitely knew she had tasted this before, had felt its texture in her mouth, it was as though she never had before. In fact, it almost seemed like there had been a brief delay between her chewing and her mind actually registering the flavor, but only for the first bite. Had it been just because she was asleep for so long, so it felt like she hadn't done any of the things she was so used to for so long?
After eating, she ran to the gardens, wobbling unsteadily at first before her mind seemed to quickly recall how to run, and once more her running was steady. They had always been her favorite place to play, after all, so naturally, that was the first place she wanted to go after eating.
She slowed to a stop at the entrance, nearly losing control her inertia and toppling over, but she righted herself; by now, she was no longer questioning these strange fits, instead accepting that she was going to have to endure them. Right now, her focus was upon the gardens beyond the entry chamber, the glass roof overhead filtering in light and amplifying it, casting a warm glow upon the room. Several species of plants and trees decorated the area, carpeted with a lush, soft sheet of smooth green grass. Various vines decorated some of the larger trees, draped over branches and curling around their trunks. A few small insects flittered here and there, the prettiest of which—and Gracie's favorite—were the butterflies, with their beautiful various colors.
Her daddy opened the first set of double doors for her, and they both stepped inside the entry chamber. Daddy had explained long ago that this room was made to make sure the insects in the gardens did not escape and fly around the base. When the first set of doors had sealed, the second slid open, and Gracie darted into the gardens almost before they were open enough.
Her feet—bare, for her daddy had not yet supplied her shoes—felt the gentle touch of grass upon her soles, lightly tickling them. But quickly they adjusted once more to the feel, and she continued to run through the grass, past the flowers and trees. She extended the fingers of one hand, tips of them trailing over smooth bark, rough vines, mossy textures... All new feelings, yet all familiar feelings.
A single yellow flower impeded her path, and she stopped to look down at it. She then crouched down, folding her hands between her knees as she examined it for a moment. She knew this kind of flower. She'd felt them and smelled them, she'd placed them in her hair and in the openings of her clothes to decorate herself with. Yet she knew, the moment she picked it up, the moment she smelled it, it would seem like a new experience.
So she reached down and pinched her fingers around the stem of the flower, twisting it as the tiny bristles prickled her skin painlessly. Sure enough, it was a sensation she remembered, and yet, her fingers felt like they had never touched such a surface before. She then plucked the flower, holding it up to her nose to sniff it as the petals tickled her nose. There once again seemed to be a delay between her action and the registering of the action, like when she had her first taste of food after awaking from her coma. And there it was, the smell she knew, yet never smelled before...*
"Daddy?" *she suddenly said, turning and looking up at him, who had appeared behind her.*
"Yes, Gracie?" *he answered.
He was still smiling. In fact, he had been since she'd woken up. He was probably just really happy she was awake again because he loved her! And that made her smile too. But only for a moment, before she frowned again and asked,* "How come everything I does feels like the first time I done it even though I done it before?"
*Finally her daddy seemed to frown, but only a little bit. Gracie was slightly concerned at this, but already he was smiling again, stepping forward and kneeling beside her, placing his hands on her shoulders and speaking reassuringly.* "Well, sweetie, it's probably because you've been asleep for a long time! You may remember doing all these things, but your body just forgot."
"Oh." *That actually did make a lot of sense to Gracie. She looked at the flower, slowly twirling it between her thumb and forefinger, then sniffed it again, giggling as the petals tickled her nose. She lowered it, then looked back up at her daddy.* "Does you think it'll stop soon?"
"Of course." *He nodded, then wrapped his arms around her, hugging her gently.* "Everything will be back to normal soon."
*Gracie turned a bit in his arms so that she could wrap her own arms around her daddy.* "I just wish Mommy was here too."
Post by Gracie Rollins on May 1, 2013 17:32:12 GMT -8
*I was in ecstasy. Everything had been a complete and total success. She was alive, all her memories were intact, and she was the exact same girl she'd been before. I had saved her. I had brought my darling daughter back from the dead.
Of course, there were fears. Fears that perhaps something wasn't wired properly, joints weren't carefully reinforced, that perhaps she'd injure herself and damage her internal hardware, or her brain computer would falter and become corrupted. But as days passed, Gracie showed no signs of deteriorating. Quite the opposite; she was improving steadily, reacclimating herself with her past abilities and sensations. She played, she laughed, she did activities, she ate, she slept. She gave me a hug and a kiss before she went to bed.
But she also missed her mother. As did I. Had I the access to the resources in the past, perhaps I would have been able to rebuild her as I did Gracie. But it was too late now. And even if I had, it wouldn't have been the same.
And yet it is with your own daughter?
I knew not where the accusing voice came from, but I didn't want to pay it any heed. Gracie was perfect, she was just as she was before. She had a strong body, a good mind, and other than being unable to recall the event of her death—that one I was thankful for—her memory was perfect. Nothing had gone wrong at all, there were no risks or downsides to what I had done to save her, I had merely just transferred her into a new body. There was nothing at all wrong with that!
I shook my head, muttered under my breath, and continued my search for Gracie. The playful little thing thought it would be funny to dart around the base and hide from her father, though it was cutting into time I had originally set aside to do research for another project I'd had on the side. I'd tried to call after her, tell her now was not the time, but either she'd not heard me or she'd chosen to ignore it. I wanted to be frustrated, but I had only smiled and accepted that she was just being mischievous with me.
How could I be upset with a child I was only happy to have saved from the dead?
She was speedy, though. Was it because I was trying not to run too fast, or had her new internal structure allowed for increased speed? Either way, it was taking longer than expected to locate her. Now I was beginning to grow slightly frustrated with the wasted time. But then I came upon the ajar door. The storage chamber. I froze up.* "Oh, no," *I breathed, before throwing the door open and rushing into the room.*
"Gracie! Gracie, darling, where are you?" *I barely noticed how frantic my own voice sounded. I only cared about finding her before she did. I wove my way through stacks of crates and large containers and rows of shelves, calling again and again, becoming slightly concerned at the lack of responses. Maybe she wasn't here after all, and someone had merely forgotten to seal the chamber? Still, I needed to be absolutely certain that my darling daughter hadn't—*
*The words came near-silently, barely audible under my own exhalation. For as I stood there partially wedged between two large containers, I only stared, barely registering what I saw. But I could not deny what I saw. In the dim lighting of this far corner of the facility, I could still make out the form of the little girl's body lying within a horizontal cryopod, preserved forever. And on one side of that pod, staring through the glass, was a girl who was in all appearances identical to the girl within.*
"Gracie..." *I squeezed past the containers and stepped into the more-open area, but stopped only two steps in. The girl—the living one—seemed to jump slightly at my gentle voice, then turned to face me. Her expression was completely blank, though her eyes glittered with confusion, and perhaps a hint of sadness.*
"Daddy," *she said, pointing at the pod without looking at it,* "who's that?"
*I hesitated. How did I explain all this? I couldn't lie to her, I wouldn't even know how to lie to her. And she already knew there had been an "accident," and that she'd been... incapacitated for a long time. Fortunately, at least she seemed to be processing what she saw without any hitches in her memory; I had feared that perhaps learning of her death after being made to believe she'd never died—or at least not knowing she had—would have caused serious mental breakdowns. Or maybe she just didn't understand yet.
I licked my upper lip to remove the sweat that had gathered there, then sighed as I knelt down.* "Sweetheart..." *If there were any gods out there in the universe, I hoped one of them heard my prayers that my telling her the truth would have no ill consequences for her.* "... that's you." *I expected disbelief, despair, even anger. I didn't expect her to continue to stare at me, just looking confused. My lip trembled. My breath caught in my throat. When I was able to continue, I explained,* "You see, you remember when Mommy was in an accident, and she... went away?" *Gracie nodded. Her mother's death had not been easy to explain, but I had managed to put it into terms she could understand. Hopefully they still applied here.* "... the same thing happened to you, darling."
*She just stared at me with furrowed brows, then they suddenly raised in surprise.* "You mean I'm in heaven?!"
*Had the situation not been more serious, I might have laughed softly. But I only bit my lip, mentally preparing my next few words before I continued.* "No, sweetie. You see, I saved you. I made you again. I fixed everything that was wrong and made you live again. I brought you back." *I did my best to smile as I watched for her response. She seemed slightly less confused, but the confusion was not completely gone. She briefly turned at the waist to look at the pod, then faced me again.*
"Then why is there two of mes?"
*The question was so innocently curious, free of accusation or indignation. It was definitely a bit of relief to me, making it easier to proceed, like all I had to do was answer the question. But I still had to do so delicately. I took another moment to choose my words carefully, then I continued.* "Because, baby, the accident made your old body not work anymore. I... I had to fix it by building you a new body."
*Gracie frowned in reply, then looked down at herself, placing her hands on her chest as though to feel whether it were actually there before looking back up into my eyes.* "You mean I'm a robot?!"
*I didn't know how to respond. I just knelt there, unblinking, for several moments, having to rethink how to proceed. I had hoped I could beat around that bush, and not outright tell her she was in fact a robot. Considering how fast she came to that conclusion, it must have just been a silly guess; perhaps she'd seen something similar in one of her stories. Or was she just that brilliant?
The pause was clearly making Gracie concerned for me, judging by how she looked at me, so I quickly gulped and said,* "Yes. But not just any robot. You're a special one, that looks like and is just like a real human! Nobody would be able to tell you're in a robot body. Not even you could! See?"
*My voice had started to sound excited as I explained these things to her. It seemed to work, for Gracie's eyes were widening and she seemed captivated by my explanation. She started to look down at herself, at her arms and legs as she moved those about, testing for any signs of robotics. She even pulled out the neckline of her shirt to look down at herself, as though trying to find anything that looked at least remotely nonhuman. Then she looked up at me and gasped,* "Wow, Daddy, you're really good!"
*And all the tension had dissipated with those words. Gracie had accepted it. A great weight lifted from me as she released her shirt and jumped forward to throw her arms around me, proclaiming,* "You're the best daddy ever because you saved me and putted me in a robot that doesn't even looks like one!"
*As I wrapped my arms around her, tears fell from my eyes. I couldn't have hoped for a more wonderful and understanding child than this. Hastily, I reached up with one finger to wipe my eyes; no need to let her see me like this. But how could I help myself? I'd feared this moment since before the activation of her new body, that she'd have a breakdown, that she'd go rogue, that it would affect her permanently. But she took the news like she'd just been told I'd just given her a present. I held her tightly, then released her, smiling down at her as I stood.* "I did it for you, baby."
*Gracie grinned, but then turned to look at the pod, frowned, and looked at me again.* "But why's that one still theres?"
*A fair question, I supposed. I hadn't quite thought how to explain why I'd kept her body. What did I tell her? The truth? I had no "alternate explanation" prepared, and was not sure I could develop one on the spot.* "For... research, sweetie."
*She tilted her head to the side.* "Research?"
*I nodded, trying to smile reassuringly.* "Yes. In case anything is ever wrong with your new body, I can just look at your old one, see how it's supposed to be, and fix it. See?"
"Oh." *Gracie grinned, seeming to understand, before reaching her arms upward toward me. I reached down and lifted her up into my arms.*
"Well, I got work to get back to, young lady, and you need to sit still so I can do it."
*Gracie giggled instantly, resting her head on my shoulder. I smiled as I ran my hand through her short hair and down her cheek, then turned and carried her away from the storage facility, not looking back at all...*