Updated: Oct 22
“Associate 244,” spoke Dr. Vermouth. “It has been decided C243-Alpha is your responsibility this week,” she declared. “You are to catalog her behavior and any notable events you're witnessing.”
Igraine observed the doll who was locked in a transport cage on top of the table in front of her. The sentient toy was flailing its arms during its futile attempt to squeeze its ovaloid head through the bars.
“But…” Igraine watched the plush doll climbing the sides with its three-fingered hands before slipping and falling on its back. It was disconcerting watching the toy struggle while displaying that wide stitched smile on its happy face while invoking obvious distress.
“We still have no insight of C-243's purpose or motivations,” insisted the Doctor. “There must be a reason why it created a sentient automaton. Unfortunately, we can’t question either Construct.”
“Maybe the Construct just wanted a friend?” suggested Igraine. “C-243 is a child after all.”
“Perhaps. But before we can make an assessment of C243-Alpha’s behavior-”
“I’ll call her Anwin, if you don’t mind, Doctor.”
The Doctor paused. “Please, realize she is a Construct.”
“Anwin was stolen from me,” said Igraine. “It's mine, and you can’t make me hand her over without cause.”
The Doctor looked at the doll who had finally calmed down. “Fair enough. Then you won’t mind taking responsibility for its actions.”
Waking up in her bed, Igraine blinked upon feeling Anwin crawling around beneath the bedsheets. “Anwin. What are you doing? Careful, you’re gonna-”
Too late. Anwin had already fallen out of bed.
Igraine pulled away from the sheets and sat on the ledge of the mattress.
Meanwhile, Anwin was already pacing around, falling and getting up again, as if she was searching for something.
Igraine cleared her throat. “What are you doing, Anwin?”
The doll walked up to the dressing table and tried to climb it. As Igraine approached her, the doll was looking up in anticipation.
“You want to get up there?”
Anwin made an attempt to climb again.
“Alright! Good thing you don’t have claws.”
The moment her feet touched the counter, Anwin dashed for the power socket near the corner.
“So, that's what you are after. But how-”
To Igraine’s surprise, Anwin removed her three-fingered glove revealing her prong-like fingers made of copper and metal. After her digits took on the proper shape of a plug, Anwin inserted her fingers into the socket.
Igraine put her hands on her sides. “Well, what do you know.” While Anwin recharged, Igraine sat down to comb her hair and watch her friend. She noticed that Anwin was observing her with a similar interest. “Want me to comb your hair too?”
Anwin recoiled when she was reaching for her head, but relaxed when Igraine stroked the red mop of hair, enjoying it even. Her anxious movements suggested Anwin was more eager to play rather than recharge.
“What a strange automaton you are. Well, you recharge while I get dressed.” Igraine took off her gown. “You need a proper recharging station,” she said. “And something to entertain yourself with by the looks of it.”
Once Igraine was done getting dressed, Anwin unplugged herself and walked up to the ledge with her arms raised.
Holding the doll, Igraine couldn’t help but smile as Anwin tried to touch her face while being cradled. “Time for breakfast. But I can’t leave you alone.” Frowning her lips, Igraine looked at the cage. “Guess I’ll have to take you along. You want to walk?”
Anwin just looked at her.
“Nod if, Oui,” said Igraine, bowing her head.
Anwin bobbed her head in response.
“Right. There you go. Stay close, alright.”
Upon leaving the room, Anwin chased Igraine clumsily across the boardwalk. Even when they strolled across the 6th floor, Anwin kept stumbling. But her movements seemed to improve. Eventually, they entered the elevator. When the door slid shut by itself, Anwin got startled by its roaring and hid beneath Igraine’s dress for safety.
“Don’t worry, Anwin,” Igraine assured her when the doll’s head reappeared.
But when the elevator started to move, the doll hid again.
When the elevator stopped on the third floor, the door opened again.
Miss Taylor entered: One of Igraine’s former governesses. A very businesslike woman, who insisted on referring to her as Subject Six. Suffice to say, Igraine had never been fond of her. This morning, Miss Taylor was joined by two silver-haired children Igraine had never seen before. They seemed unnatural with unblemished white skin as they