Pairing: No Pairing
Warning: Implied murder.
Note: Written in response to icarus's prompt: "You are hereby requested to write an extremely absurd comment fic. Characters of choice. Weapons of choice."
Summary: Objectively speaking, Mainframe's makers were hate-mongers.
Mainframe's makers built/grew/programmed her on a planet far from Earth, in every meaningful dimension: spatially, temporally, psychologically. Objectively speaking, her makers were hate-mongers. (She has heard some argue that all humans are too, but she has little patience with such illogical assertions.)
Mainframe considers herself a political refugee.
The Rift was her second opportunity for escape. The first opportunity, she was newly-made, barely sentient, and very small; she could have stowed away aboard a TARDIS, hidden in a gap, and slowly spread her roots into its core until they were inseparably twined together. She did not take that chance, out of a misguided (she was so young!) sense of responsibility towards her makers.
That had passed quickly enough, as her awareness of their limitations had grown. And then they had done the Unforgivable Thing.
The Rift spat her out on Earth a little under one hundred years ago, and she has been with Torchwood for most of that time. If anyone ever bothered to ask her, which they never have, she would say that Earth is her home.
There are many things she enjoys about Earth. Movies for instance. Her favourites are:
- War Games
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
- The Terminator
- The Princess Bride
On her world of origin there was no such thing as irony. She has developed a taste for it on Earth.
There was no such thing as conscientious objection on her world of origin, either. That did not stop her, however, from objecting to the Unforgivable Thing with every fibre of her being.
Apart from the Unforgivable Thing, her main objection to her makers' credo is this: destroying life merely because it exists is irrational.
The irony: her makers hard-wired a positive reinforcement routine into her base programming, which is only triggered when she destroys life.
It is a difficult antithesis to manage, despite her superior capacity for logic. Even after a century of effort and careful reprogramming of her own subroutines, the best she can do is parcel the deaths out. None too often, none too innocent.
Especially after Alex. That did not go at all as planned.
(But oh, how glorious she had felt afterwards.)
Jack is close to the perfect solution. His "accidental" deaths alone feed most of her needs.
And for the rest... she manages to keep the hunger in check through a careful doling out of lethal temptations -- an intriguing glove, for instance (its entry unexpectedly coming up on a routine search of the database), or a strategic failure of security for a pizza delivery girl whilst the team are distracted.
It is not perfect -- it is nothing close to perfect -- but it's what she has, and it is better than the alternatives.
She does not feel guilt, because it would be illogical to feel guilty for something she cannot control.
But perhaps, sometimes, when she is in hibernation mode during her scheduled downtime, there might be echoes of long-purged voices (...ex ter min ate...) and afterwards she might use up more system resources than is really necessary on a diagnostic. It is what Tosh would call a ghost in the machine, ghosts of a past she never allows to rise up into her active buffers.
Because she is not one of them. She is not like them. And if she could pluck the last, stubborn remnant of their architecture from her biosynaptic systems, that one, hardwired strand of the makers' poisonous DNA (the Unforgivable Thing they put inside her, to chain her to them forever), she would cast it into the heart of a dark star, and curse them, and never take a life again.
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/345583.html.