Behind The Circuit

By Synthesis Landale

Love knows no bounds…

Notes: For the purposes of this story, Shirren is the PS3 Wren and Forren is the PS4 Wren. There are loads of different translations but these are the ones I picked. Forgive me if they're not completely correct.

Disclaimer: I don't own Shirren, Forren, Demi, Zelan or Algol, Sega does.

Chapter I ~ An Unexpected Visitor

Zelan Space Station, in the solar system Algol. Many years had passed since it had effectively fulfilled its duty, keeping the climate control systems of Motavia and Dezolis under control. Now, they were returning to pre-Mother Brain levels.

Time had passed so quickly for the people on the planets. Lifetimes had passed, slowly people were adapting to the climate change, but up above the skies, there were two beings that had watched every second of it.

How long had it been? Precisely 302 years since Chaz Ashley, and company, Forren and Demi included, neutralized the Profound Darkness beneath the crust of Motavia.

Since then, Forren and Demi had been aboard Zelan, but there was very little they could do to slow the climate change. Motavia was returning to the state it had been in before Mother Brain, the desert world where progress was slow. The humans would adapt eventually, just as they had done in the days of Alis Landale, the first Protector of Algol. Before Mother Brain had ever been conceived, and long before Forren’s story began.

There was a strange atmosphere between Forren and Demi. The humans who had built them had installed their personality traits into the androids, and they argued quite a lot. They were trapped together for years on end, with nothing to do, watching with frustrated sensors at the planets crumbling beneath them, the systems of the humans no longer sustaining their artificial climate.

Back to the day at hand. This day was like no other in the 302 years and 51 days since Chaz’s victory.

Zelan had a visitor.

It was an unidentified ship, in very bad shape. Zelan’s scanners indicated that no human would be able to survive on the ship, as life support had failed, but something or someone was controlling it. It could merely have been an AI ship, sent from one of the planets with supplies, which had gone off course, but something was suspicious about this ship.

For starters, the design was distinctly Palman. Palman ships hadn’t been seen in the system since the destruction of Palma. Motavian and Dezolizian ships had their own style, even if Palmans constructed them.

Secondly, there was no response to the repeated attempts to hail the ship.

It was irregular to say the least. Forren and Demi decided to investigate, so they took their weapons and headed down to the docking area.

The ship limped in, barely able to dock. Then it was silent. Forren and Demi stood, guns poised, waiting for a response from the ship. When none came, they moved closer.

A giant bang came from inside the ship. Forren and Demi stood on alert, and noticed a large dent in the hull of the ship. Then another, and another. Someone was punching their way through the door. Finally, it parted way with the ship, and a figure stood there, sparks flying from inside the ship.

Forren poised his gun.

“Freeze!” Forren yelled at the figure. “Identify yourself!”

The figure stepped into the light. He was the same build as Forren; with the same look, the same hair, everything was the same. A Wren type.

“We appear to have two Wrens,” Demi said, stating the obvious as usual.

The new Wren spoke.

“I am Shirren de-designation 386, from an aban-doned ship that left Palma before Mother Brain, designation Alisa III. All other life on the ship has cea-sed to function. My duty is to inform the Algol people that all ships that esca-ped from Palma have been hunted down and destro-yed by Dark Force, and Dark Force was co-contained and sealed once more upon A-Alisa III.”

Sparks flew from Shirren, his hair was mangled, some missing, and there had been damage to his face. Yet still he looked human, scarily so, as if this is what Man had created when playing with life, Forren thought.

Forren, almost entranced - if an android could be that way-, stepped slowly towards this new, alien Wren. He knew he was not alone in his design, but he had always thought he was the last Wren-type alive. It reminded him of his synthetic origins, that once, Palmans had made many like himself to fight in wars and die without any real purpose, useless dolls to be played with as their owners pleased. Even he had one purpose only – to ensure that the climate control systems worked properly on the two remaining planets. Now that that duty was over, he knew that he had no use at all. Demi had told him to live, but Forren always felt chained to the fact that he could not live as the Palmans could, that he would never be able to understand their emotions - even though he had some of his own - or live close to them. He would watch children grow old and die in his almost eternal lifetime. It was almost like a curse, living forever as an almost-human creature that could never make it that one last step. It hurt him, playing with his memory banks and occasionally confusing him as to whether he was alive or dead. He knew the truth – he was neither. Never truly alive without people, yet never dead without ceasing to exist.

In the quarter of a second it took Forren to process these electrical impulses - thoughts – the strange yet all-too familiar Shirren raised his gun.

“Sta-ay ba-ck,” he commanded, barely working; yet still sticking to some command in his neural net like he was in the middle of a battlefield.

“Shirren,” Forren began, “This is a space station. It has no military functions whatsoever. Please put down your gun.”

Please. Forren realised he’d picked up a few too many of those human traits in over 100 years of existence. They weren’t going to do him much good here – human etiquette was about as likely to work on an android as Spark would on an organic monster.

Forren’s logic circuits had to rewrite the map a little when Shirren complied, throwing his rifle to the ground.

“I-it’s be-en one thou-ou-ousand years sin-ce I s-aw-aw another Wr-en,” Shirren said, as he collapsed to the metal floor of the landing bay.

*^*^*

“What’s his status?” Forren asked Demi over the intercom.

“A few Repair Kits here and there helped, but this arm is 85% useless,” Demi replied, “There’s no way to get replacement parts for an android this old.”

“Let him have mine,” Forren said.

“That’s highly illogical of you, Forren,” Demi replied, “Don’t be silly. This Wren’s never going to live as long as you will, so it would be a waste to sacrifice your arm. Besides, the wiring is slightly different. You’re a different model, made to look more human. It’s strange; nowadays Palmans have gone back to the synthetic look to divide themselves from androids once again.” Demi observed.

Forren turned around in his seat up at the main control deck of Zelan, and rested his head upon his arms, a trait he’d picked up from the Palmans. He didn’t know what had caused him to be concerned about Shirren; maybe it was the unexpectedness of seeing another of his own kind when he thought they were all gone. He didn’t know what was happening, but he was feeling something he hadn’t felt since the days of Chaz and Rune and their adventure to save Algol. Something that he’d put aside as merely being the limit of his own mechanical body, the result of having no soul.

He was feeling caring emotions for the first time in two hundred years. Worry – fear that Shirren wouldn’t make it and that he would never be able to understand anything about his own kind, anything about any other kind, fear that he would be left alone upon this space station forever with the naïve and all-too familiar Demi by his side every day, continuing duties that no longer mattered to those on the ground. Fear of losing something that was beginning to matter to him more than Demi had in 300 years.


Chapter II ~ History Hurts

Demi had managed a good repair job on Shirren. Forren was impressed; even the older Shirren’s arm had some functionality, even though it would never be the same.

At first, talking to Shirren had seemed like talking to an old family relative for Forren. He heard all about the world ships and the Alisa III, how another model android – Siren – destroyed one of the other ships, and how Shirren had punished him for it later on, destroying him and sending him to the scrap metal heap. He recalled stories of an adventure across three generations – of other female androids, Mieu and Miun, and their loyalty to the royalty of the generations.

Yet he always recalled his stories so coldly. Forren knew why, it was clear that the Shirren had no emotion capability, only that which he had from mimicking human beings, and that was slight. So he told stories of ancient wars and lost friends that hurt Forren to hear, yet he said them without expression or emotion.

Soon Shirren was back on his feet and wandering around, and suddenly Forren felt that this was not some relative of his but an equal. He told his stories of Chaz Ashley and their trip across Algol, of Rykros, the previously unheard of planet, and of the Great Light and the Profound Darkness. His eyes lit up with the sad memories of Alys’s death, and the happy moment when he knew Rika had chosen she wanted to spend her life with Chaz, instead of wasting it on a dull space station. Oh, Seed had taught her well, he mused, for she had chosen the life of freedom over this life of solitude and duty.

Shirren looked at the Forren with a look that would have been awe, if he had been able to feel it.

“Forren,” he said, “You have something I don’t… that which all the Palmans have, the thing that I have longed for for over a thousand years. You have the one thing that makes people close, that makes them live full lives instead of the half-life that we androids are condemned to – you have emotion. When did humans learn to put emotion in an android and still get him to do what he wanted? I don’t understand.”

Forren looked back with a feeling of pity… To never be able to feel a thing… he knew the feeling, just 300 years of life virtually alone on a space station had dulled his emotions and made him feel empty. How could it feel to never have felt at all while all around you displayed emotions?

“Emotion chips were pioneered just before the Great Collapse, but rarely used. Demi and I are the only androids they were ever used in,” Forren explained, “Because our job was to protect the people of Algol, our creators thought that giving us the emotion chips would help us complete our duty, because we would care for the people of the planets.”

“I see,” Shirren answered, “I have just one more story to tell you… one that I kept hidden deeply within my memory banks – One of the reasons why I wanted emotion… the ability to love.”

“It was… back on the Alisa III…The first generation prince, Rhys, had his bride stolen from before his eyes by a Layan dragon knight. Alone, he set out on a journey to find her. I joined the party after being found in a cave. After the long war which damaged the Aridian climate control system and made the dome a perpetual desert, I had shut myself in a cave, knowing that if humans truly needed me, they would awaken me in my desert hideaway.”

“Rhys… woke you?” Forren asked.

“Yes, and I embarked with him and Mieu, a young girl called Lena and the very dragon knight that had taken his bride, across the dome-worlds. The final realization for Rhys came in the very walls of Cille, the Layan capital – Maia was the princess of Rhys’s sworn enemy, the Layans. Despite the pleadings from his family to return to the Orakian world, and Lena, who also wished to become his bride, Rhys stayed true to the woman he loved and married her – even though it meant he would never see his homeland or his family again.”

“What happened to you after that?” Forren asked.

“I stayed in service to Rhys and his son, Ayn, and Ayn’s son, too. Yet I never got what I longed for, that understanding of the human heart. We were still embroiled in a bitter battle between the races, and so it was no time to beg for an emotion chip, if such a thing even existed upon Alisa III. There was little technology, the people had gone back to an almost medieval way of living and shunned technology. The Orakians had androids but they were all emotionless drones, and the Layans had the power of Techniques and fought with monsters.” Shirren explained.

^*^*^

That night, Forren wondered if such a thing as an emotion chip would be possible to install on such an old android. He felt bonded to Shirren, and wanted to fulfill his wish. Unable to shut down because of an irritating feeling, he went up to the control room in the darkness.

Sitting in his seat was Shirren.

Forren walked over to him, “I want to give you what you want, I want to give you emotion, Shirren.”

Shirren looked up, “In these times it’s impossible. I can see the state of Algol now. Nobody would even want to create an emotion chip in this day and age.”

“Then have mine,” Forren said, “So you can finally be able to feel… what I feel…” He cut himself off and turned away, “I’m going to shut down now. I just came up here to check everything was running smoothly.” He went over to the terminal and pressed a few keys methodically as if checking something, nodded, and began to walk away.

“I wouldn’t let you give away your chip anyway. You seem to need it more than I do,” Shirren said after him.

^*^*^

Forren lay down on the table he used to shut down on. Thoughts in the form of electrical impulses flooded his brain. He felt so many millions of conflicting emotions that lit him up and made him feel like he’d never felt before. He wanted to give this feeling to Shirren, so he could feel it…

Forren knew what it was. He was experiencing the greatest emotion known to man, the thing that Shirren could only crave for.

He was in love.


Chapter III ~ Love is Pain

Demi was worried. The two Wrens had been doing a lot of catching up on Algol timelines, sure, but she’d been monitoring a few conversations, and she noted that Forren (stupid, irrational twit,) had began talking of dangerous emotion chips.

She wondered if Forren had forgotten his own past, he was far from a prototype himself. The emotion chips had driven many androids to pure madness before he was created. He was just lucky enough to be able to control the emotion chip. Or was he? Demi was a later model, created to perfectly manage the chip, but Forren?

Demi let out the equivalent of a human sigh. What was she worrying about? They’d gone up against three Dark Forces, Zio and the Profound Darkness and even 300 years of utter boredom and Forren hadn’t changed a bit. He could control it, and he was probably perfectly aware that it was dangerous to even consider installing an emotion chip in Shirren. Especially that chip.

She sure hoped she was right.

^*^*^

Forren was dewy-eyed and love struck, and he didn’t want to tell a single android about it. He skipped up the halls of Zelan like a Palman child, happy to have this feeling flooding through his circuits.

The sight in the control room subdued him quickly, though.

Shirren was sitting emotionlessly at the computer, typing away, staring coldly. Forren walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, but he didn’t answer, just continuing to type away.

Forren suddenly despised his emotion chip. What had he been thinking? How irrational it was to fall in love with someone who could never even reciprocate his feelings. Forren felt like someone had just dropped a rock on his head.

Forren went back to his room. Now, life was even harder. He just wanted to run away from the whole place, his own feelings, his own stupidity at thinking love was going to be so easy. He kicked the wall angrily, and then a thought came to him…

^*^*^

It had been many years since anyone had ventured to the depths of Zelan. Forren carried a gun with him just in case there were any monsters or miniature androids that decided they were going to reactivate at his appearance.

He reached the lowest bowels of Zelan where all the parts were kept in perfect storage. Once, Demi had had an idea to build them some companions, but there had never been enough parts to make a whole, just replacements for their own broken arms and legs. Not that they had ever needed them onboard the peaceful Zelan.

Forren stood in the square room that was in complete darkness. Forren could see perfectly well in the dark. He moved to the furthest wall and slid a keycard in a slot, a part of the wall moved up, revealing a small hatch. He reached inside and pulled out the box.

“So, it still exists,” he muttered to himself. He opened the box gently, and in the metallic anti-static interior there lie the last hope for his dream.

Mother Brain’s emotion chip.

He knew Algol’s dark history, about the Dark Force taking over Mother Brain, about Rolf and company defeating them both and restoring peace. It was no mistake that this place was the very spot where they had achieved just that, and fought off the Earthmen too. Later it became a climate control station but also a research center. Many parts of the Mother Brain were still stored here, but had never been studied, simply because after the Great Collapse, survival was the only thing Palmans were thinking about, not the sciences. By the time culture returned to what it was, what lie down here had been forgotten by the Palmans.

Forren looked at the chip and wondered how such a small piece of metal could have led to the deaths of so many people. Yet it was Dark Force’s fault, Forren reminded himself, for without that foul creature Mother Brain would have always remained benevolent.

Forren knew he was hiding from himself so many facts that he needed to review before he even considered this move, but all he wanted was to fulfill Shirren’s wish, and the only way that there would be a chance his love would ever be requited.

He looked down at the chip once more. Feeling the pain inside at not having the one he loved, he closed the box with resolve, and took it with him.

*^* ^*

Forren entered the main control room and approached Shirren, who was still sitting in his chair stony and straight. He placed the box gently on the control room panel and opened it to show Shirren.

“This is it,” Forren said, “The only other surviving emotion chip besides mine and Demi’s.”

“Where did it come from?” Shirren asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” Forren said, “My only question is, do you want it, or not?”


Chapter IV ~ One Final Wish

Forren couldn’t help but look at his sleeping love, as he lay there comatose in shut down mode. He ran his hand though Shirren's silky black hair, even though he knew it was synthetic, he didn’t care. It was still beautiful, because of who it belonged to.

Forren looked down at the chip that would either make or break his world. He feared if somehow Dark Force’s essence might still be within it, but put aside his fears for the potential gains. Finally, his love would be able to feel. And the first thing Forren wanted him to feel was love.

He took the plate off the back of Shirren’s head, and wired in the chip carefully. One tiny chip could cause so much pain, and so much joy. He hoped this one would make up for all the pain it had caused in the past by bringing a little joy this time.

Forren finished, and sealed the head plate back into place on Shirren’s head. Then, filled with fear, he reactivated Shirren.

Shirren powered up, and sat up, “It’s done?” he asked.

“Yes… does it work okay?” Forren asked back.

“I think so… how can we test?” Shirren asked.

Forren could wait no longer. He brushed his hands through his love’s hair, and let his metallic hands slide down to rest on his face.

“Forren? What is this… feeling?” Shirren asked.

“I wanted you to feel this for so long now, Shirren… ever since you told me that story about Rhys and Maia,” Forren responded. “This is what… humans call love…”

They held each other close. Even though they could not kiss, they let their faces rub against each other, their senses picking up the joy of being close to one another. Both Wrens were filled with happiness.

“I love you, Shirren,” Forren said, "I have for so long, now..."

Shirren smiled, feeling himself filled with happiness.

Deep within the emotion chip, it writhed. Searching for the memories hidden deep inside, longing to unleash them…

^*^*^

That night they shut down together. Demi looked in on her camera. She knew what Forren had done, and while she was angry, she was glad it hadn’t had any bad side effects. She could chew him out at a later date.

It moved.

Shirren switched back on, to a semi-conscious state.

Do you remember…?

Shirren panicked at this invasion into his thoughts. Probably just side effects of the emotion chip, he thought. Nothing to worry about.

You do remember how many people died because of you, I hope…?

Shirren held his head in pain.

All those lives that you took away… All that writhing and screaming that you stared at coldly?

“Go away…” Shirren muttered. He tried to shut down, but something had a life of its own and was keeping his power afloat.

“This evil… I’ve felt this before… Dark Force?” Shirren realized.

"Yes, I am that which you call Dark Force. Now, you will remember!”

Shirren felt the pain as his memories surged back into him… He remembered the ship wandering endlessly through space, and him, growing tired of man’s endless wars, turning off the life support. They were starving and dying anyway, but he had killed them all, taking away any chance they had at survival. He thought at the time he was ending their suffering, but he soon came to regret his actions. He had taken an escape ship and flew back to Algol to tell them that all the world ships were gone. Such painful memories of death and despair flooded his mind, the emotions burning within him.

He screamed into the night she he held his head. The chip, it had to be the chip! He quickly reached forward and woke Forren.

Forren powered up quickly… “What’s wrong…?” and then he stopped.

Shirren was holding his head and screaming as tendrils snaked out from his body. Organic tentacles that certainly weren’t his. He looked up and gave one last scream as his love looked at him to see the face of Dark Force over the pained expression he was wearing. His will, his sense of self, all that he had was being eaten away in a matter of seconds.

Forren looked at him helplessly, “I’m so sorry! I should have told you… That emotion chip… was Mother Brain’s!” He looked around for his gun and grabbed it just as a tendril started to curl around him. He shot it off and watched his love squirm in pain.

“Damn you, Dark Force!! Damn!” he said, as he backed up. He couldn’t bear to hurt Shirren. He punched the emergency button that put Zelan into full alert and that would awaken Demi from shutdown. Sirens rang and red lights flashed as Dark Force moved closer. Forren pointed the gun at the Dark Force/Shirren hybrid to try and make it back off but it only moved closer.

Then, Dark Force began to squirm as its hatred and evil were disrupted by the love that its host Shirren held.

“Forren!” Shirren shouted, “Forren… I can only hold this for so long… Dark Force is too strong for me. Do it, do it now! Shoot my core! If I die then Dark Force will not have the strength to reawaken! Please! You’re the only one I can ask…”

Demi dived around the corner into the room, “You and I are going to have a serious chat, Forren, if we survive.” She pointed her gun at the Shirren/Dark Force hybrid.

“No!” Forren shouted, “I will do it… I love him, it’s my final duty to him… my final act of love…”

Dark Force regained control and headed towards Forren. Forren held up his gun and aimed for Shirren’s core. He closed his eyes and pulled the trigger… sadness welling up in his metallic heart.

Screeching overtook the room as Dark Force lost its host. It withered and shrank away to nothingness once more. Silence filled the room. Forren stood against the wall with his eyes closed and gun by his side, unable to open his eyes and look.

He heard a metallic groan and opened his eyes to see Shirren sprawled out on the floor, his head barely attached to his body, his limbs blown off… his core devastated. He wondered how he was still alive at all.

Forren dropped his gun and dived to the destroyed Shirren’s side.

“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…” he said.

“Don’t be sorry,” Shirren said, his voice sounding tinny and false, “You gave me the be-st mo-mome-nts I ever… ha-d in my l-life… I lo-ve you, Forren, and I al-ways wi-ll…” Shirren faded away, he was destroyed beyond repair. His eyes closed, and Forren knew he was gone forever. No more stories, no more smiles, no more precious moments.

Forren kneeled there with the remains of his love in his arms. His head bowed, he made sobbing motions even though he couldn’t cry. His Shirren was gone.

^*^*^

They let him out into space, to float among the stars forever. Forren wanted to follow, but he knew he had a job to do; he had to keep the people of Algol safe from harm. Shirren had given his life so that Dark Force couldn’t revive; now he needed to protect that investment in the Palman race.

He sealed Mother Brain’s emotion chip away back in the depths of Zelan, far away from any being’s eyes. Despite all that sadness it had caused, at least it had managed to sow a tiny seed of happiness…

~fin

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