Chapter 7: Tin Man's Heart
"Zzzt! How are you today, Mistress Fi? Rrt."
There was no answer, nor one expected.
"Drrzt. Scrapper is here for you. Zzrrt. Scrapper will always be here."
The lone robot – the only one to exist in the present time – set a bright magenta-colored flower with a greasy, bulbous stem before the Master Sword as it rested in its pedestal in Hylia's Temple. Light from a newly-installed stained-glass window shone from above, lighting the edges of the pristine blade.
"Vrrm. I left briefly to tend the garden. I hope this flower is acceptable and makes you happy. Rrrm. They exist outside of time, like we do. Zzt."
The little LD-unit who'd come to visit the sword took a soft cloth and buffed a spot on the blade near its Triforce engraving. He looked up at the window. He did not like it. It was an elaborate piece portraying a traditional winged Goddess-figure and a man in green holding the Master Sword aloft. Scrapper did not think that Master Shortpants deserved to be so honored. Likewise, although he had been originally constructed to serve the Goddess Hylia, he was not well-pleased with her.
Hylia had crafted life only to allow it to die. She'd crafted life with the intent that it die, yet there were creatures caught in-between.
"Zzzrm. Master Shortpants and his mistress never cared for the happiness of their tools. Zzzrt. I wish I could give you better light. Vrrt."
Scrapper had not known the Old Gods, nor had he remembered very much from the ancient days when Hylia reigned. His data-banks held a few files regarding the desert when it had been a green plain and some data regarding the family of Gondo. Most of his files from that time had been lost or corrupted when after he'd stopped working and suffered age and rust, but he remembered enough to be resentful.
"Zrrt. Those created to serve… Vrrm. We are faithful. Masters are not."
Scrapper had never been a standard LD-301S unit. Most of them had been built for mining. He was a transport-unit and, after a time, had come under the care and service of the family of one of the Hylian scientists working for Master Thunder Dragon Lanayru and the Goddess. Scrapper had always been "special," yet even the standard model LD-301S workers were programmed with emotion-simulators so as to better interact with organic beings. In a few units, over time, it was suspected that the emotions became genuine. The robots developed friendships and even complex, family-unit style relationships without the benefits or limitations of gender and the sexual politics that members of the organic races knew. Even so, they often took the roles of "husbands," "wives," "partners," "fathers," "sons" and the like in imitation of the Hylians they'd worked with.
Despite the emotion simulation and close relationships the robots developed, when one ceased to function, work and function for the rest went on as normal. A friend might mourn the cessation of function of a friend, but work was expected to continue and so it did. Grief did not last long. Much of the grief was a part of programming, after all.
Scrapper had no reason to think of the organic beings as any different. They had programming of their own, only filtered through squishy master-command centers ensconced in hard bone casings. Their fuel was food, their oil was blood and they weren't built hard enough to withstand the same pressures and stimuli that robots could. Yet, there were not a few of them that wouldn't throw their fragile flesh into danger to preserve the functioning of others with fragile flesh. Their programming did not allow them to just continue on with their normal functioning when one of their own fell, at least not for a while.
"Zzzrt. My function now is to take care of you as you are. My protocol has not changed. Rrrm. I am ever your servant, even as you are. Vrrm. This is not logical. Zzrt. I should not be acting so organic. Vrrm."
They called this kind of behavior and emotion "having a soul."
Scrapper wondered if he had one of those dreadfully human things. He had formed a bond with the artificial intelligence program of a mystical weapon, a program that had barely seemed to notice him. Something in his programming told him that if he did things for the sword-spirit, that maybe she would be well-pleased and want his companionship in the same way the ancient robots companioned with each other in an imitation of romantic partnerships. The moment he saw her, he felt a strange flow of energy within his circuitry. Perhaps it was only because he was newly-revived, but Fi had her electrons in all the right places. Her design was attractive and the energies she was giving off spoke of a mighty being.
In other words, she was a fine lady, and an entity that he would take upon as his worthy mistress. He had fallen in love, or at least, the robotic simulation of that emotion.
"Drrzt. Do the humans call what errant programming I am experiencing 'love' or 'lust?' Vrrzt. Either way, Mistress Fi, I am your real hero, not Master Shortpants. He hasn't even seen you in months. Zrrt. Jerk."
However, the thing that made Scrapper wonder if he'd had gained a "soul" was in the fact that he did not resume the work for which he had been created when he lost Fi. Instead, he spent his time in and around this temple, keeping a watch over Fi's sword and cultivating a garden of the ancient flowers that Master Shortpants had retrieved for him. He knew how to extract the oil and apply it to himself. He also used it to keep the blade that served as both body and tomb for Fi in a nice, polished condition.
"Zzrt. He planted the first batch of flowers. Rrt. I could have gotten them myself. Zrrt. Showoff. Vrrm."
The other thing that made LD-301S Scrapper wonder if he had such an organic thing as a "soul" was his ability to make his own decisions. The ancient robots in their time did as they were programmed and ordered to do. Gondo had done something for him that none of his previous masters has ever done; the mechanic had presented Scrapper with a decision to either continue serving him as he lived and did his work in the desert or to stay in Faron to be near Fi. Scrapper had chosen Fi. Gondo had given the little robot something that no master or supervisor had ever given a tool – freedom and a choice to take it, with well-wishing, no less.
"Mrrrm. Master Gondo was a good master. Vrrm. His family line was honorable. Vrrm. He was considerate, unlike most of those biological organisms. Zzzzt."
Master Shortpants had called him a "tool" once, but Scrapper was pretty well certain that when Link had called him that, it was a biological use for the term and meant as an insult. Scrapper was not sure exactly what the insult had referred to, only that the word was given in a way that was not a compliment. Scrapper reminded the twerp that he had merely been a tool of the Goddess, an organic servant utilized to her own purposes. Master Shortpants had then said that he did not mind, as he would follow her to the ends of Earth, beneath its depths, and beyond the sky if she needed him to.
It was that moment that Scrapper realized to his horror that he and Master Shortpants were not unalike. Link was a hopeless servant, programmed to be so – just like an LD-unit with overactive emotion processors and a worthy mistress. Still, Scrapper would never serve him again nor forgive him. The tool of the Goddess had sealed Mistress Fi's fate.
"I miss you, Mistress Fi. Zzt."
Her consciousness had faded. She was still, in a way, alive within the sword that made up her physical "body." Scrapper could feel the ghost of the telepathic connection that she'd used to call him when she needed him. She was fighting to contain and digest evil and had nothing to spare for anything else, such as being awake. If she even dreamed, it was deep and only of the mission. Scrapper felt something like "droplets" or "fragments" – fading and falling. She knew when he touched her and when he was nearby – that much he could process. She also seemed to know when Link or Zelda was in the area. Scrapper always got a weird spark running through him from that remnant of the telepathic bond.
"Vrrm. Mistress Fi is very brave. Mistress Fi was always very brave – the bravest fine lady I have ever known. Zrrt."
Mortality wasn't a concept that had occurred immediately to the ancient robots. They shut down for repair sometimes, turned on and off-line. Though a complete cessation of function without the ability to be repaired happened sometimes to the robots, they generally expected to be kept in good repair and to function indefinitely. Scrapper remembered them all having a vague awareness in regards to how their biological masters handled cessation of function, with their various beliefs regarding the fate of their energy. The robots did not know if they shared such a fate or if a permanent shut-down was like an indefinite stay in sleep-mode. Either way, they did not care. While the Hylians seemed to care a great deal about their fate, robots did not give it much thought. Such processing power was better served by doing their assigned work.
"Rrrt. Fi is doing very hard, very important work right now. Zzrm. But why does Mistress Fi have to be dead-asleep for it? Zrrm."
Fi was in a state that was… something else entirely – as far as Scrapper could feel her. It felt to him like being in a sleep-mode, but not completely off. She was in a death-like state, but not well and truly dead. She could not pass on to another form or an undiscovered country as she was bonded within the Master Sword. Through all this, there wasn't any home of her ever being truly and fully alive as she once was.
If Scrapper did not have a cold robot's heart, he was sure that he'd go mad, but Scrapper was not sure if he had a cold robot's heart anymore.
"Zrrt. Scrapper will always love you, Mistress Fi. And I will guard your memory."
He watched the growth of Hyrule City with a purely un-robotic sentiment: jealousy. The people and creatures around him lived, worked and played. A few ceased functioning – to be remembered and honored by those that remained. It seemed that no one remembered Mistress Fi but him – old faithful Scrapper… and Master Shortpants. Link was a source of Scrapper's jealously as well as resentment. He had children with the mortal form of Her Grace and they laughed and played with the other children of the Hylians. They would grow up and maybe create more children. Master Shortpants and the mortal Goddess would age and begin to break down, eventually to cease their processes and move onto places robots could not imagine - if such places existed in the first place. Scrapper would be there to watch it all, to see the humans populate the land leaving legacies and love behind and before them.
Master Shortpants was with his mistress forever and had a family-unit with her. Scrapper knew that all he'd have of Fi through the ages was a slat of cold metal. Perhaps, one day, she would wake up, but the probability of that was maybe 1 or 2% at best.
"Rrrt. The world moves on. Zrrt. We remain."
All the little LD transport-model could do in a world where he was the last of his kind was to take care of the remnant of the first, the last and only of her kind, waiting forever, or until the last of his processors had finally had enough of running and shut down into death-mode again. Scrapper wondered if he'd rust up again. He wondered if Fi would rust. For now, he had his lonely vigil and the flowers to place beside her.
Scrapper would do anything for Mistress Fi, for now and through the ages.
In time, he knew that, even as he kept his function and his vigil, he would be forgotten – just like the spirit in the sword.
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