Mariabella's Diary

Episode 29

The following are memories deciphered from a long lost memoria found on a strange, far flung and barren world. I have taken some necessary liberties in translating the exact dialogues as much of the memory is emotional and nonverbal sensory. It is truly an imperfect art, I must admit, but if we are to ever understand the distant worlds that dot our skies, it is a necessary evil. ~A forward by Rajadeem the Seer, last of his order.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Master Machina, I promise to help you finish your research. It’s the least I can do for the life you have given to me. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

■Many years ago I was born doomed to die. I’m told I was born to a wealthy family of old Leginus, back in the days before it was known for its outstanding achievements in machinery. I was born afflicted with a terrible disease, one even the likes of the hearty people of Leginus had never seen before. My body was frail and everyone assumed the worst. 

My family, having achieved affluence through the ownership of a successful mining industry spared no expense in seeking the best doctors throughout the land. But no matter who they spoke too, the answer was always the same. “There’s nothing to be done. It’d be a miracle if she survives beyond her childhood years.”

Eventually they had enough of the grief , when my brother was born they pushed me away, choosing to forget the burden my life put on them. “Mother, Father. It hurts….” I went without sleep many nights as the pain wracked my body. My parents offered their pity in words only, they had given up on trying to help me. I was just an annoyance they were waiting for to disappear. 

So I did. I shut myself away, I never spoke or called to anyone. When people addressed me I only smiled as best I could. At all other times I stayed in my room, too weak to walk or move. Lying on the floor like a broken doll. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

■Second Day of the Twelfth Month Then came a horrible winter, even for Leginus. My body wasn’t strong enough to handle the harsh weather, the cold that permeated our homes. The pain returned, greater than before this time. It was harder to keep myself quiet. But surely my parents would help me. 

Surely after all the time I spent keeping my pain to myself, they’d be thankful for my efforts and come to aid me. “It hurts!” I called out to the family that had become like strangers to me. But no one came. There was nothing left anymore. I was in so much pain, I could barely stay conscious. I knew this was the year I finally died. My parents knew it too. 

Between tears I staggered to my feet from the bed, falling to the floor immediately. Crawling, I slowly made my way to the window. 

In the snow they wouldn’t find me. I could be forgotten forever. I managed to pull myself up, but the window proved too difficult for me to open. I only managed to open it enough to get an arm through. All of a sudden my arm was met with something unexpected. I had accidentally struck someone who was walking by.

“What in the world are you doing.” A pair of spectacles shone through layers of scarves and coats. “It…hurts” “Well what do you expect when you go around shoving people from windows? I’m afraid i’M RaThEr bUS….” I had fainted before he finished. This was fine. I wouldn’t burden anyone ever again. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

■Third Day of the Twelfth Month But I woke up. Somewhere strange and unfamiliar. I could hear the faint whirring of strange devices, clicks of metal, and a slight hum. But above all other sensations was the lack of one. The horrid pain of my body destroying itself was gone! I could hardly think or move from disbelief. 

A pale man with long hair, and spectacles came over and peered down at me. If it weren’t for the spectacles I would’ve never recognized him as the man I had hit yesterday. “Awake, are you? How’re you feeling?” “Um...I...” “I see. Looks like you don’t fully understand the situation yet.” “I, wasn’t I dead?”

“You were. Only slightly. As an experiment, I thought I’d fix that.” This man had saved me from death by replacing my insides with machines. ■Fifth Day of the Twelfth Month He had turned me into one of his many machines, but in doing so also took away my pain. He was so hard to understand, he spoke so curtly and didn’t like to share much. 

I was certain he was kind though, he was always working to make things better, to help people. “How are you feeling today?” “There’s still no pain. Even though it used to hurt so much know.” “I see. Don’t trouble yourself with the past anymore. You are not the same creature.” “I understand, but...why did you save me?” He paused a moment before answering.

“Hmph. I was merely provided with a subject of research by undeserving parents who cared little for their child. 

However, my skills are insufficient. Such simple machinery can only keep you alive for a year. At best.” “I see. Thank you for the painless year you have given me.” “I’m sorry.”

■Fourteenth Day of the Twelfth Month He’ll come to check on me again today, like he always does. I’m still getting used to my new body, but I’ve been getting better at walking recently. He’s worried that me pushing my ‘systems’ too much will shorten my time left, even so I still want to do something with the time I have.

“How are you feeling today?” “Today my body kind of aches...a little.” “I see, I’d better have a look then.” Before he even finished speaking he had begun examining my mechanical parts and tweaking them with tools. “Tell me again if it starts to hurt.” “What happens if I do?” “Nothing. I’ll just fix it.” “Really? It’s not a bother?”

“Hmph. Seems like you’re worrying too much about this. Let me know whenever it’s painful. I’ll come fix it immediately.” This man was very different from others, from my parents. ■Thirty First Day of the Twelfth Month It was snowing heavily again today. I don’t have any good memories of snow. I don’t have any good memories at all, really.

“How are you feeling today?” “Not bad, not good.” “I see.” “I don’t really know if I feel good or not.” “Why is that?” “I guess there’s nothing really...good about my life.” “I see.” He looked like he wanted to say something more, but was quiet for a moment before speaking again.

“I live for research. The fruits of my labor are everything to me. You’re still alive, find out what you want to achieve in that time to leave your mark on the world.”

“Can I leave here?” He was quiet again, maybe he didn’t expect me to ask that. He looked like he was considering something important for a bit. “Well, yes I suppose you would be wondering about that. I believe after a month your body will be acclimated to the additions enough to live freely and move about as you wish.”

■Twenty Eighth Day of the First Month “From today onward, you should be without issue.” He spoke to me while writing something in a notebook. I guess whatever part I played in his research was over, and I was deemed safe to move about freely. “You are free to live as you wish.” “After everything that has happened, how exactly am I supposed to live?”

“Now how should I know? To each their own, and all that” “I guess...” “Is there anything you want to do?” “Since I served as a subject for your research, I’d like you to listen to a request of mine.” “Let’s hear it.” “Please take me as your apprentice!” This was the first true desire I’d had since losing bits of myself last month.

■Seventeenth Day of the Third Month Since that day, I have been living as Master Machina’s apprentice. Learning under him is difficult, he expects much from me in very short amounts of time. At first it seemed impossible, and he would get frustrated with me, but recently I’ve started to produce better results and he seems more tolerant of my work. 

He’s been giving me simple machines of his to fix as practice. It seems like he’s working on thirty different things at once, because there’s always something he wants my help with. Today he handed me a small doll machine and told me to try fixing it. However, when I took it to my workbench it sprang to life and moved about and sang me a song. 

It wasn’t until later in the evening I remembered today was my birthday. There was no way Master Machina could have known,  it must have been a coincidence and the doll just wasn’t broken. ■Fifteenth Day of the Fourth Month Today was troubling. I was worried that one day my parents might come to take me back home. 

I never wanted to go back to that house. I couldn’t seem to calm down, and I asked Master Machina about it. “Don’t spend effort worrying about trivial things” “But...” “I took care of that a while ago.” “You mean?...” “I have already acquired the necessary permission to have you live here.” “You went to my house?”

“I happened to pass by when I was out.” There was no way that was a mere coincidence. Just like my birthday. Master Machina was too kind. ■Twenty Fifth Day of the Sixth Month Master Machina seeks to create machines that can move, think, and feel like a person. Something like me but all machine, I suppose. A machine with will of it’s own. He thinks machines like that will help us. 

Take care of the sick, travel to bring supplies in dangerous weather, keep us safe. Master Machina is truly a great inventor, but to make a heart from metal and gears, can it be done? ■Twelfth Day of the Eighth Month “Just one thing. There’s just one thing missing.” Master Machina has been repeating this phrase as of late whenever he’s working. 

I want to help him, but he says it’s too advanced for me to assist. But I’m running out of time. I need to complete his work for him before the end of this year. ■Seventeenth Day of the Tenth Month The heart of a machine. A heart is a living thing, not static, in constant flux. 

This is something that does not come natural to a machine, which is static by nature. Studying under Master Machina, I was able to take back my life, my heart. Though my time is short, it’s been a truly happy existence. To seek happiness. Is that the nature of the heart? Perhaps. To give a machine a heart, is to give a machine a desire for happiness?

■Nineteenth Day of the Eleventh Month I found Master Machina’s scrapped plans in the warehouse. He always told me not to go in there, that I wasn’t ready to join him and help him work on his masterworks. But I don’t have a lot of time left and I wanted to help him finish it. I see now why he scrapped these plans and was looking for another solution.

They were plans for transplanting a person’s heart, a soul, to a machine shell to give that machine life. Was his intent to use me for that? Was that the only reason he saved me? But he also abandoned these plans, he was trying to find another way, one that would spare me. I’m not sure how to feel. I still want to help Master Machina, but...I’m not sure.

■First Day of the Twelfth Month “Master Machina.” “Yes?” “Do you mind if I have some time off? There’s something I’d like to do.” “I see. Yes, that seems quite reasonable to me. It seems your condition is still stable. Seems you will outlive my projections, that is reassuring. Please do as you like.”

“And...there’s just one more thing I’d like to ask.” “Hm?” “What would make you happiest?” Master Machina answered without hesitation. “The completion of my research. I thought by now that would go without saying.” “Okay. I thought so. I recently found my happiness too. So please...don’t lose your way after today. Please continue down your path.”

“I, uh, yes I’ll be sure to do that.” He seemed unusually perplexed by my comment, but he’d find out soon enough. I was sure now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Mariabella. I hope the next life is kinder to you. One where you can play outside without fear of disease, horrid family, or a blind fool like me.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings