Think of this as an imperfect memory or retelling of the conversation between Reno’ala’net and Mechanicha that led to Mechanicha being established as a race. The Ascended mentioned it and paraphrased its contents in How to Stop Wildfire.
I say imperfect for two reasons: I think this story/tale has in-verse variations to it, like different interpretations and variations. So…both could be ‘true’ depending on who tells the tale. And I don’t feel like this version necessarily rings true all the way for me, so I think I’ll eventually tweak it again.
That’s also because of the real world history of this story.
This was originally written in ~2015 or prior for HTSW and…had a very different vibe to it. This is an improvement, but I feel like I have a lot of room to grow in conveying this moment (whatever variation of it). The original I don’t like and this I prefer more, but I’m still not fully pleased with it. Another future ‘Vashwva’, I think.
The lights were dim and the walls were as lifeless as ever when Reno’ala’net, Queen of Hallihanet, was ready to see this to its end. This was no mere engineering project, it was like a divine calling for her and maybe it was. Not divine in the sense of Gods but divine as it pertained to a part of her being and it sung within the whole of her. This project was of her Neraq, Mechanicha. He was her advisor, her counsel, and he died before he ought to and nothing could seem to recall his soul back to her, nothing could seem to give Reno’ala’net Hallihanet the confirmation of what had happened to him after death—what afterlife he had chosen or if he had reincarnated.
There seemed to be nothing for her to grasp onto of him so what else could she do but this? This…to make something that would be so of him that maybe it would become him. Maybe this was where he belonged—with her. Just in the form of a robot, the pride of their race. Maybe it was apt. A cruel fate, perhaps, but a fate that kept them together.
Those that were considered her counsel now all told her not to go down this path. That he was gone and this was folly. That she was slipping away just as her Neraq had, but she knew better. This was a calling and one she had to heed. No matter the impossibility of it, the reality of things as they were…she did not care about that. Mechanicha’s soul was somewhere and this metal vessel might be where it was meant to go.
This was what she cared about—this new life for her Mechanicha. Pure of opinion, cold, intricate—that was her Mechanicha. He was her advisor, but he was so much more to her. They kept that to themselves, of course. That was not something they shared and it would still be their secret, in the end.
This, her work of engineering, this might be her Mechanicha too. Great talons, legs like a Flana, head like a Dracite, body like a typical Hallihanet robot—this was what Reno’ala’net had made for him. It was not in the image of Mechanicha’s Vacore. It was more. Something like an ideal. Something of a higher nature and purpose. And so it was of him, because he deserved more than what he received from life and this was most certainly more.
And so she activated the shell she had built from scratch and let life take hold of it. What would come would come and Reno’ala’net accepted anything that would come from it.
His eyes lit up, glowing so brilliantly in the dimly lit space. They were his hue and she did not intend for that. They lit up and they were his.
“Ora,” she said, but maybe ‘Shalaeyah’ was due. Whatever. She felt like she had already been proven—even though she did not know what she expected, she felt vindicated absolutely already.
But. He was silent. He was staring at her.
“Why have you made me?” the robot, maybe Mechanicha, asked without a greeting.
She was momentarily startled over such a piercing question, but she was not surprised. How could she be? It was to be Mechanicha once more and this was exactly like Mechanicha.
“Because I need you,” she said, instead of saying he was a part of her. Because that was for them and not for anyone else. They knew their names but they did not need to share it to anyone else. She laughed. And said: “I need your raw opinions. I need our discussions. I need your counsel.”
“Is it need or want?” he asked back.
“Maybe, in the end, it is want, in the end, maybe,” she said so formally. Selfish want. Maybe this was just a trick of the programming to tell her that she was a fool and that he had hit Dialona already. But she did not believe that.
“I think you want what you cannot have,” he said as he adjusted himself, moving closer to her. He was so much taller than her now. There was nothing intimidating about it, though.
“Why can I not have it?” Reno’ala’net asked.
“Because what you want is in the past,” he said. “The present is different now. I am not your lover and I am not your advisor. I was, maybe, but I am not anymore. And that past cannot be reclaimed. But something new could come from it.”
“Could or could not. But what will you do?” Reno’ala’net asked, because this was of him—not her. “What is our shall here?” She almost used his name there, but held it back. Whatever he was now, he was not the same and it was for him to choose and all she wanted was for him to seize that option. He had given her options in the past and now she gave him one in return. One option that was all of them—a future that was screaming at them, chiming, and it felt so inevitable.
“Our shall is of nothing that has come before in Buhukiea,” he said. “And, admittedly, it is more mine yours.”
“I do not care about ownership of any future. What I want is this, whatever this is. Not a memory, but a vibrant life,” Reno’ala’net spoke.
“And life is what I have. True life. I am a robot that you built but I also was once your advisor, as a Hallihanet. My existence as it is now profound and will change Tyra Kolaq’blegae,” he said.
“You have a soul,” she surmised. “You are something new.”
“Aye,” he said. “And what change will come of it—I have ideas and a way forward.”
“And I will listen to them as I always have,” Reno’ala’net said and clicked her fingers and bowed for him to continue.
He stared at her, bowed in return, and then continued. “I come here as I am now for all must change with regards to robotics. For the true end of this craft is known now—it leads to the creation of another race of beings.”
“A race of robots,” she uttered out. It sounded so simple, but it was indeed profound.
“Aye,” he said. His eyes were glowing even more brilliantly now. But she could not linger on them for he turned and began to pace back and forth. “Robots will no longer be ubiquitous shells, they will have the power to be independent beings in their own right, a race in their own right, with a Kharat to match.”
Reno’ala’net, Queen of Hallihanet, had nothing to say immediately to that. It was insane, it was brilliant, and above all, his words chimed within her. They would chime in all of the Empire. No one could reject this path once they heard of it in full, once they saw the proof it.
“We will both become so much better for this,” she said. “This is how it is meant to be—how it was always meant to be, was it not? Implied in our beings. It will be hard and painful but it cannot be rejected. Hallihanet must change and let this be. It is devotion, in a way.”
“It is and it is inevitable,” he said. “So that is our shall.”
“It is indeed ours,” she said and then closed her eyes. She breathed in and then opened them once more. “But still, more yours than mine. You will be the one charting this new era.”
“That is true but I will absolutely need your help, Reno’ala’net” he said in a way that just brought her back into the past.
But he was not Mechanicha—well, not the one she was looking to bring back originally. He was more. Maybe that was really what she wanted—and what they all needed.
“What would you like to be known as?” Reno’ala’net asked suddenly. Because he said her name and he did not have one yet. “As a race and as an individual?”
“May I use the name Mechanicha?” he asked softly, pausing his pacing. It was the first time it had been uttered aloud since this new Mechanicha awoke and it sang within her. It was a part of her. Maybe just was now. She had to give him up—them up. Her race would need to sacrifice what it had built itself on, but they would not be lesser for it, they would be more for it. And they would not be alone at all.
“Aye,” she whispered. “It will mean you, your people, and all things like you, Mechanicha.” But Mechanicha would no longer be something of Reno’ala’net. She looked at him and he looked at her—Mechanicha, the original Mechanicha. “You have a soul and…you will give souls to the robots. How?” She had accepted all of it, but now she had to ask for logistics. That was his role, before. She was the advisor now.
“I have a way,” Mechanicha said cryptically and she did not need to know the details. “I will handle that—with your help.” He turned to her in full. “I will also need your help in the settling of our planet. In Samaqual, there is a planet available. That will be our planet.”
“Mechanicha,” she said once more. “A new race and a new planet of the Empire,” she murmured. “Those with souls given, not born with.”
“There will be those born there, one day, I imagine,” Mechanicha mused. “But to start, the most advanced robots in the Empire will be liberated and given souls. That is what must be done. More will come, but that is how this begins.”
It would shatter Hallihanet as it was, but it was to make a new race. A new era for Tyra Kolaq’blegae. For all of Buhukiea, truly. It would be hard, but it would be done and it would be the way of things now. An end and a beginning.
“Dialona,” she said of it all.
“Aye ky,” Mechanicha returned. “So, Reno’ala’net, let us go forth and see this done.”
And at that, they bowed to each other deeply. And so they went off to do exactly that.