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Magpine

     Okay, first of all I’ll say this: Keaalu is not the inner me. She is not a “fursona”, or who I wish I was, who I’d rather be, the true representation of my inner spirit, nothing like that. First and foremost, she consists of and sums up a lot of my “likes”, quickly and easily, and secondly she’s a cute little thing to doodle. As a useful secondary purpose, however, I have started to use her as an avatar the few times I roleplay/MUCK (something I do only rarely), or so on – although as a technicality, I rarely see “Keaalu” as more than a pseudonym, or an IM-etc screen-name. (I find I’d rather sign something I’ve created with my real name, these days.)

     Anyway. With that tangent out of the way, here is what I set out to post: this is her fictional history – where she came from, and so on.

-----

     First of all it should be pointed out that the creature called “Keaalu” is not a biological organism, designed, built and programmed by creatures she has never met, and her early history is a very large and very blank gap in her memory record. (She presumes it was wiped, but does not know why. All the technical data is still in place – how to process visual information, how to walk and balance, how to interpret sounds, and so on.)

     She never actually found out what it was that first initiated the neural cascade, as she got the strong impression she had laid inanimate for many long years, and her earliest memory is of waking up on a laboratory bench, in a silent, tumbledown circular laboratory lit only by sunshine, surrounded on all sides by long silent computers. Her creators, whoever they were, had long since vanished, leaving behind them no clues to their whereabouts except for those things they had left behind – and it would seem they left in a hurry. The lab looked like it had probably been busy and well used, expensive and sophisticated tools still scattered across the surfaces and paperwork (long faded, gone yellow, curling and brittle) still clipped to workstations, but now it looked like the workers had simply downed tools and left, perhaps intending to come back and continue where they had stopped, but never again returning.

     The wild had begun to reclaim the building, by the time Keaalu opened her eyes and examined herself and her surroundings. The floor was dusty and the equipment strung with webs, and there were tracks across the floor from small animals. An opportunistic vine had grown in through the skylight, dropping seeds and spores across the floor; one tiny spore had found a foothold in the thicker ruff at the back of her head, and with a supreme effort in the waterless, soil-less environment, it had managed to grow, sending tiny rootlets into her synthetic fur and extracting water from the vapour in the air. It amused rather than dismayed her to find plants growing from her skull; her cerebral casing was stronger than this spindly little weed could damage, and its spirit pleased her, so she happily left it growing there.

     Examining her reflection, and comparing it to the plans she could see plastered all over the walls, it seemed to her that she had been created from “leftovers”, to use up spare parts that would otherwise have been thrown away – a mismatched collection of parts that were roughly the same size, but had little else in common. She had a beak like one of the avian designs, fur and ears like a canid, a humanoid build, the feelers of a decorative cephalopoid, colour-adaptive patches where her skin was bare, and tiny useless wings, as if for decoration. Everything worked, though, and concerns over her aesthetics when there was no-one to see her was a very low priority.

     The brain she was given had strongly biological overtones; it would seem the people that made her had originally created artificial animals, synthetic pets, adorable little beasts that would never grow old and never die, and their brand of artificial intelligence had been intended to closely mimic the behaviour of biological animals. Her mind was thus based off the simplistic synthetic brain of the puppy that never grew up, but considerably more advanced – as capable and aware as any sapient biological organism, as that was what her synthetic synapses were modelled on. (It would be incorrect to say she does not know what she is, because she is intimately aware of every last facet of her construction, but she does not see herself as any different to anyone else.)

     Eventually she decided on exploring; dropped lightly to the floor of the lab and headed for the maze of corridors.
     She emerged on a ruined city. The old inhabitants had vanished just as comprehensively as her creators, leaving behind dredges of old papers and loose plastics, litter accumulating in windblown heaps in the corners of the streets, between weather-worn buildings. It was a quiet, peaceful world, but far from silent – hardy little trees and flowering plants had begun to reclaim the streets, pushing through the tiniest gaps in the hard cement pavements, and the skies above were full of brightly coloured flying creatures. A small group of browsers nibbled on a patch of grass at the end of the street, nursing mothers and new babies sheltering from the sun in the arched entry to a long-abandoned transport terminus, and a pair of rangy, genetically-designed pets gone feral (as nothing looking like that could have evolved through nature) rooted through the litter for rodents.

     She moved down the street, undisturbed by the wildlife – it, in turn, basically ignored her) – and browsed through the litter, not sure what she was looking for – perhaps an idea of her “heritage”? Perhaps she’d just know when she found it. The drifts of old printed pages she moved through spoke of a disaster on a planetary scale, and reading over she saw mention of a frantic push to the stars, to escape. She had been left behind, but it did not offend her. She had not been alive to take.
     She continued her journey for many days, examining every scrap of her new home, forming a mental map of exactly where everything was. There was no electricity, save for the few old car batteries she scavenged from the rusting shells of long-abandoned vehicles, so no street lighting in the evenings, but her nocturnal vision was good and the moons were often clear and full.

     The empty buildings were small sanctuaries from the weather, and it often rained; the water did not damage her, but it did make travel more difficult, especially given her diminutive height of just two and a half feet. She regularly had to break down the doors, as the owners had often locked them on their way out – probably force of habit than not wanting things stolen – but her hydraulic strength made it only a small obstacle. She preferred the shops – they were full of old fittings, clothes shops scattered with fabric left behind by looters, food shops with the occasional peeling can of fruit or preserved meat, hardware stores, toy shops… She would carefully gather up scattered beads from the floors of haberdashery shops, and after a while began to weave them into her fur so not to lose them; the subdued glitter amused her, and after a while she began to sew them in instead, making them a more permanent aspect of her sense of self.

     The houses were 99% empty, the original owners gathering their belongings in a frantic race to avoid whatever disaster was about to befall them, but every now and then she’d find a building that was not just an empty shell – a piece of jewellery that had fallen from a hastily snatched bag, a scrap of clothing, a child’s toy, a kitchen tool.

     She built a home in the main library in the town centre; the bulk of the books had been taken, and a good proportion of what remained now lay scattered and chewed across the floor, but there were enough references for her to form a picture of the world outside the city. She still had no word for what SHE was, but that was an irrelevance as she had no-one to talk to about herself.

-----

     If I were to write a story with her, it’d probably start at this point – but I don’t think I will, so it’s irrelevant.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
duraji_synth
Apr. 21st, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Aww, it's really cute but also kinda sad at the same time... I'd really love to scoop her up and take her in as my own cute little pet, though. ^^
keaalu
Apr. 21st, 2007 11:59 am (UTC)
Well, she never really gave me any impression of who built her or whatever, when I started to think about giving her a history - she was just THERE. So... it seemed to fit with who she was, so go figure. :) I don't think she minds - she's never really had anyone to talk to to know what she's missing.

I'd just bear in mind the "cute little pet" has a humanlike sentience and computer smarts... ;)
duraji_synth
Apr. 21st, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but she was built to be a cute little pet, yes? Therefore, I hardly feel that she should be offended to be used for her purpose. *shrugs*
keaalu
Apr. 21st, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I don't know. Her creators built pets, yes, and similar constructs for nature research etc (I pinched that idea off Steelwing, hope he doesn't mind. ;)), but I haven't really decided what HER purpose is. Perhaps they intended to prorgam her with memories of the world, in case anyone wondered what happened to it because they couldn't escape and all died, but never got time to do it. Or perhaps they were just using up leftovers, and she was just intended as a curiosity. Or maybe they were just bored! ;) I'll try plan out her history better when I put it up on my website.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 21st, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
i was really enjoyin that, u could make it in 2 a really gd story.
keaalu
Apr. 21st, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
Heh, thanks. :) I've been considering doing that while I've had nothing to do at work, today*, but I'm not sure there'd be enough going on in it to make it worthwhile. :\ Maybe a short, instead.

(* Disclaimer: I'm not here at work skiving off, it's just a pain when wards say "we'll send X down to you" then take half an hour to DO it. ;) Oh well, more money for me, I guess.)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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