Artificial Emotion

Okay. Phantasy Star IV fic this time, and one of my first attempts at a “romance” fic. I find it somewhat interesting, but post away on what you think of it.

Artificial Emotion

Space station Zelan was held completely still in space. The Algo sun shone in the distance, but none on board noticed. The only two on board were androids: Demi and Wren. From their perch, they monitored all that occurred across the solar system.

Demi was keeping an eye out over the solar system, looking for unusual happenings, so she could report them to Wren. Dezolis, the ice planet, was fine. It had not warmed up any, which was to be expected, but its inhabitants were fairly unhappy. Demi secretly monitored Raja, a native priest, and Kyra, an Esper, both of whom resided on the frigid planet. Raja was telling bad puns as always. Despite being a priest, he was his old laid-back self. Kyra was growing steadily in her Esper training.

Demi turned her eye toward Motavia, the other inhabited planet in the system. Motavia was a desert planet with enough oases scattered throughout to sustain life. She checked up on Gryz, one of the Motavian locals. He was content in Tonoe, his home village. Maybe not too happy, but content.

She turned to Hahn, one of her companions, and a scholar. Hahn had been married for about two years now. He had a little baby son, whom he and his wife had named Rune after the Esper Lutz who had helped destroy the Profound Darkness. The Lutz himself had disappeared; Demi’s microscopic probes were unable to track him. He had hidden himself away somewhere where he could not be found.

As for Chaz, the leader of their outfit, and Rika, a young Numan girl… they were nicely settled down, too. They had a baby girl named Alys, after Chaz’s late mentor. Chaz made a fine living as a very successful Hunter, although his services were not needed as much after he, along with his friends and companions, had destroyed the Profound Darkness. Occasionally he was called upon to dispose of some indigenous lifeforms being a nuisance to locals. Otherwise, he, his wife, and his daughter lived as a happy family.

And as for Demi? She was stuck. Her doom was to monitor the solar system from a space station until the day she became obsolete. Alone, except for one…

Demi had never experienced loneliness before. Her emotions were limited. And yet… just by being with Chaz, it almost seemed like she was human. Something about him made one feel like everything was going to be okay. He brought out the best in every human. But she couldn’t ever be human. No, even though it was her greatest desire, another human emotion formerly not experienced by androids. Her hands instinctively moved to her metallic chest, where her heart would be. If she was human…

She thought of Wren. He sat in the master control room, where the work was really done. She wondered if he felt the same way. It would be only logical if he did. If Chaz really was the cause of this… feeling, then he would naturally have been exposed to it. Even more so, since he had spent more time with Chaz.

Demi idly began a slow walk while twirling her pale green hair around one finger. She then reached to bite her fingernails, then remembered she had none. Before she knew it, she was at the door to the master control room.

A metallic appendage sprung out of Demi’s left index finger. It was very thin, and culminated in a wheel-like object at the tip. She inserted the wheel in, and it turned itself in the lock, opening it. The door lifted open, and Demi walked in, taking a seat beside Wren.

“Hello, Demi,” Wren said without looking up. He was absorbed in trying to send rain to a village on Motavia; they had been in the midst of a drought.

“Hello, Wren,” Demi said cheerfully. “Trying to irrigate Motavia?”

“And failing,” Wren said, sounding no more or less forlorn. He maintained a monotone expected of an android. “These storm cells just keep dying before they get to the place I’m trying to send them to.”

“Well, keep trying,” Demi said cheerfully.


Demi exited the master control room. “Wren’s too absorbed in his work to have a serious talk with me…”

Demi went about her business for another twenty-four hours, then returned to Wren. “Wren?” she asked.

“What is it, Demi?”

Demi couldn’t bring herself to say anything. Her mind scrambled for words. But even in the mighty vocabulary bestowed upon her, she could find no way to express how she felt to Wren.

Meanwhile, Wren only stared at Demi. He had been told what this sort of behavior meant; it was a sign of love. But in an android? How could it be?

Demi stammered, “There’s a large number of sandworms breeding on Motavia. More than usual.”

Wren raised an eyebrow. “Really?” He checked all the sensors for signs of abnormal activity on Motavia. “Sandworm levels are normal.”

“Really?” Demi said, tense. “Maybe Chaz has already taken care of it.”


Days, weeks, and months went by. Demi always tried to express how she felt to Wren, but was unable to do so. Was she trying too hard to be human? Or was she already overly human, to the point where she was unable to express her feelings? She felt herself becoming more and more human, only in a robotic frame. It was almost as though she had a soul…

Wren acted nonchalant about Demi’s frequent visits. But when she was away, he pined. He felt the humanity in him, too. He knew there was something between them, that Demi kept trying to resolve, but was unable to. That’s why she kept making up stories about abnormal activity, to make it seem as though she had a different reason to visit him. Wren knew her game, but was unable to help.

Finally, one day, Wren snapped from the pressure. He slammed his fist on a dashboard monitoring the snowfall on Dezolis. “I give up!” he moaned. “I just don’t have it in me to do this any more… I know there has to be more to life than what I was created to do…” He banged his head on the dashboard.

“What’s wrong, Wren?” Demi asked sympathetically.

“Everything’s wrong!” he yelled. "Ever since I met Chaz, I knew… There has to be some higher purpose than sitting in here all day! And then you start coming to visit me…

“I always knew there was something humans had that we androids didn’t. It was feeling, Demi! Incredible feeling! Desire, anger, sadness… love…”

Wren let go and screamed. His emotion was released in a long, mechanical howl, much like a great screech of a rusty screw trying to be extracted from its little hole in the wall.

Suddenly, it all stopped. Wren fell backwards onto the floor. The top of his head opened up, revealing a twisted heap of burnt circuitry and mechanics in Wren’s “brain.”

“Oh my God,” Demi whispered. “He’s… dead…”

Demi kneeled over Wren’s broken body, hopeless and incomprehensibly sad. She could not cry; it was not the way of an android so to do. She was merely left to mourn.

The master control room suddenly began to sizzle. Cords popped, screens shut down, and fires sprung up out of nowhere. Demi quickly picked up Wren and dashed out of the room to find similar occurrences throughout Zelan.

“Oh, no,” Demi said.

Wren’s eyes shot open. He looked, and moved again. Demi set him down, only to see him stand. “Demi…” he calmly said, in a reassuring voice.

“Wren? You’re… alive?”

“Circuitry does not make me run any more, Demi. I have a soul now. I don’t know how it happened, but I feel somehow… human. It’s all I ever wanted, Demi… now I can die content…”

“But you won’t die!” Demi cried.

“Face it, Demi,” Wren replied. “We both will. Zelan is falling apart, without a true master. It is only fitting now, that fate should rule the Algo solar system. Zelan has become obsolete with our robotic bodies.”

Demi felt it; emotion. True, overpowering emotion. Life no longer had purpose, no longer had meaning. Except that she could feel. Zelan was not her calling any more.

Death called her…

“We can be human where we’re going,” Wren said to her. “We can love…” he then whispered.

Demi only stared into Wren’s eyes, and he into hers, as more of Zelan exploded. Finally, the flames overtook them, engulfing their mechanical bodies and separating them from the temporal world for eternity. But they didn’t care. Where they were going, they could live for each other.

Hmm… it makes for a nice story, Erdrick, but I think there’s a big problem with the pace. The plot moves entirely too fast, and you almost only tell us what the characters feel, instead of showing us it. Of course, since they’re androids it’s a bit tougher - a human being irritated and bored would for example idly play with loose screws or pebbles or something, but an android probably wouldn’t. Overall though, I get a feeling of “This happened, and then this happened, and then this.” Try to flesh things out a little.

Thanks for the advice. I was thinking too hard about creating emotion and didn’t try to create emotion. I added another section that tries to explain both androids’ feelings in deeper fashion. The first post has been edited.

I’d just like to point out to StarStorm or TD that this fic does, in fact, still exist, and I would sort of like it re-proofread/edited if it’s not too much trouble.