When Minions Attack

“How did you get Qlippothic to know things? Did you stick something in her head to make her able to learn?”

The Scientist stroked his chin "She was created at cross purposes. Bloodwing programmed her to be a weapon. I programmed her to preserve life. Between those conflicting orders she developed freewill.”

A loud thump came from the wardrobe. Wren stared forward, pretending not to notice. “But if I had a body that wasn’t .. well.. thinking properly, how could I fix i? Theoretically speaking, I mean.”

The Scientist was not distracted by the question “Wren? Is something in there?”

Wren twisted a pigtail, wondering just what kind of selective truth she could get away with "there's.. " she paused "not a living soul."

The Scientist frowned at her weak attempt. “Nice try.” He was at the wardrobe door in a moment, looking down upon the mindless heap that was once Miss Fitzpatrick. “Wren, what have you done?”

The little girl bounced anxiously from one foot to the other as she raced to explain “She was so nice, and pretty, and I wanted a mother and she drank some poisoned tea and I didn't want to waste her." At the Scientist’s growing expression of displeasure, she added in a panicked voice "I didn't kill her. I promise." Her words carried the ring of truth to them because she honestly believed them.

The Scientist pulled off his goggles, his eyes glowing. His every movement emanated frustration and annoyance “guard the door.” He pulled the reanimated woman out and inspected the barely living body, checking Wren’s work and making repairs where needed. When he was satisfied with all else, he flushed her system with serum. His anger dissipated with his work and the recognition of his small apprentice’s admirable attempt. He spoke as he worked, "nothing serious, once you know the right technique."

As he finished, her turned to Wren, "Now listen to me carefully..." He softened his tone to deliver his news. "She cannot remain here. In a few hours she will be fully alive again. I am going to leave her slumped over the end of a seedy bar downtown. She will think she's been on a bender and had some lewd adventures she's happy to have forgotten. It happens that way frequently. You are not to see her again. If I catch you with her, or any other human corpse in whatever state.."

He pushed a hand through his hair, his temper flaring again at the thought. "I'm only days away from the greatest experiment of this Age, I can't have it derailed by corpses falling from the shelves!" He shuddered to think how badly it could have gone with Wren hiding a half-dead construct in her wardrobe. He gripped the child by the shoulders. "Listen to me closely young lady. I am going to give you Asimov's Laws of Robotics to read backwards and forwards. You will NOT kill another human again or allow one to be killed in your presence, except to immediately protect your family. Do you understand?"

The little girl swelled with indignation “I’m not a robot.” The Scientist could not know how his words reminded her of the Founder's, who had called her an insult to his *real* children. She raised her voice in uncharacteristic anger “Take it back!”

The Scientis frowned “Maybe I need to give you some growth formula and send you to school where you'll learn to be OBEDIENT! I have sent disobedient dolls away before.’

"Take it back! I'm not a DOLL! take it back!" Wren launched herself at him with small fists raised and tiny feet kicking "you said I'm your daughter! I'm not a doll! Take it back!" The Scientist caught her awkward punches as she fell into a fit of sobs.. His voice softened for the broken child. "All my creations with free will are my children. You are different, an improvement over the Dolls. You are more human than any of them. Even SParky."

Wren slumped into him, dropping her frantic assault and falling into equally violent sobs. "I’m sorry, Father. I wanted to give you your army."

The Scientist scooped her into his arms, carrying her to her little cot.. "Every Spark has delusions of grandeur, child. If I came anywhere near close to having an army of dolls, the Baron would have me eliminated. If not him, then the Reanimators Guild."

Wren clung to his neck, "I thought it would make you happy."

He set her down gently and pulled the blanket up to her chin. "I understand, child. Your intentions were good. I forgive. But this can never happen again." She snuffled and nodded her understanding as he kissed her forehead.

He’d gotten as far as the door when she called him. “Daddy?” He looked back over his shoulder to see her staring with an exhausted flatness "I'm not a doll." Her statement, simply and certainly put had an edge to it.. a plea for confirmation that she was a person and not a thing.

He sighed “No, Wren, You're not a doll. You are so much more than that."

She nodded, visibly relaxing, and drifted into sleep before he dimmed the lights.

Mothers By Invention

A push broom was used to carefully slide a sloshing cup of tea toward the feral construct from a safe distance. Two weeks of patient and determined taming had allowed Wren to get close to the woman, and even lure her out of the dark corners of the wardrobe where she seemed to feel most comfortable. But it was a wary relationship on both sides.

For Miss Fitzpatrick’s part, she merely watched, with milky eyes, the movement of the cup sliding across the brightly colored picnic blanket until it came to a stop against the wrinkles of the fabric. Neither thirst nor hunger compelled her to do anything more than blink at the cup. Wren hadn’t really expected much more. Since her own reanimation, food and drink could be a pleasure but were not a necessity. The reanimation serum was enough to keep her alive and though she couldn’t manufacture it as the Scientist did, she found she could go longer without injections if she took care not to become electrocuted, poisoned, or otherwise damaged again.

Wren laid the broom down, keeping the handle within reach and sat at the opposite corner of the picnic blanket from Miss Fitzpatrick. She poured a cup of tea for herself and then offered the mindless Miss F a cucumber sandwich. Without waiting for a response, she placed a sandwich for each of them on two scratched and chipped, mismatched china plates. For a few minutes, she prattled ightly with the silently still woman, as if she were having a tea party with her dolly. Soon enough, however, she fell into an awkward silence.

The child sighed, having a reanimated Miss Fitzpatrick wasn’t going at all as she’d hoped. To the contrary, it was rather unnerving. Still, dead as she was, there was something lovely in the lank, sun-kissed hair and the delicate shape of the hands which had only the other week taught her to knit.

Wren inched hesitantly toward her. When the approach was met without resistance or aggression, she dared to get closer. Ten minutes, and five feet later, Wren had crawled across the picnic blanket and into Miss Fitzpatrick’s unprotesting lap. The child drew the woman’s limp arms about her shoulders and rocked, occasionally having to lift a drooping arm back in place.

It was an almost imperceptible movement, so small, Wren almost missed it, but when she shifted it happened again. Unmistakably, Miss Fitzpatrick squeezed the girl in a light embrace.

Little Wren thrilled at the small victory. ` She hugged Miss Fitzpatrick gently and hesitantly, smiling to herself as she imagined presenting the Scientist with his newest assistant. She imagined him falling immediately in love with the beautiful Miss Fitzpatrick and keeping her to be Wren’s new mother.

As the reanimated Miss Fitzpatrick limply embraced her, Wren was certain she was on the verge of the life, or afterlife as it were, she’d always dreamed of.

Pity the Scientist didn’t see things the same way.


The late Tara Claire Fitzpatrick had, in life, been a quiet, polite young woman with a soft smile and a generous heart.

Currently, she remained more silent than ever, her lips forming less of a smile and more a slack-jawed gape, and her once generous heart was lying, discarded, on the floor as small hands worked to clamp arteries on to metallic valves.

Her brother Donegal was right. It hadn’t been safe for an unmarried woman to live alone in the city. Though it’s doubtful even he would have suspected the pigtailed girl with the shy smile of being a miniature murderess. He, like Tara, would have been charmed by her eagerness to please and her interest in learning the sign language they’d both grown up with, having been raised by their teaching parents, one hearing, one not, in a school for the deaf. He also would have been touched by the smoked spectacles she wore, assuming her to be of diminished sight, and would have answered with the same patience and kindness shown by his sister when little Wren asked question after question about the hand gestures they made when translating for a deaf patron. He would have felt the same desire to comfort the seemingly lonely girl who had few friends her own age to be seen. No, Donegal Fitzpatrick might have warned his sister against handsome cads and beggars on the streets, but he would never have discouraged a bond with the well mannered little girl who seemed to want only to learn and to please.

The well mannered girl, who was busy learning how to replace a cardio pulmonary system with a gas powered heart and pump, and to disable an oxygen deprived hypothalamus in favor of an adjustable thermostat attached to said pump.

Tara lied on the laboratory table with the same patience she’d always shown with the little girl, helped along by the timeless quality of death, as little Wren lit her pilot light, and adjusted the lever which would begin her gaslamp heart whirring. She stared, unseeing, to the ceiling as Wren neatly sewed up her gaping chest, and the largish hole drilled into the back of her head, which would blessedly, be covered by her hair and hats.

It wasn’t until Wren had her neatly closed and cleaned that the child, with a grimace and a gulp, pushed a syringe into her own little arm, drew out the glowing green fluid which filled her veins, and injected it into the woman’s. That was when all the patient waiting came to an abrupt, and very loud end.

The formerly late Miss Fitzpatrick lurched into a sit with an animalistic rasp as she drew her first reanimated breath. She howled with the pain of cells reawakening and synapses sparking to life. With an awkward lunge she tried to move toward the little girl with the shining scalpel, but her deadened limbs were little under her control and the result of her efforts was a graceless crash to the floor, where she managed to awkwardly push herself into a corner.

She cowered in that corner for hours as the pain slowly faded to a background ache in her dulled mind. There was no recognition for the child who hovered anxiously by with tearful apologies and protestations of love. After a time, the feral woman turned from the weeping child, to stare into the warming fire. She remained there, still as stone, and still as stone she would remain until someone came along to move here.. and then she would attack.

The Tea Party

Wren nibbled the corner of a nail, watching with excited eyes glowing behind her smoked spectacles. She was exceptionally fond of the woman currently setting a table for two and was already envisioning her as a perfect mommy-construct.

While Miss Fitzpatrick turned back to the kitchen to collect the finger sandwiches, Wren quickly dropped cyanide into one of the cups. Her hand hovered over the second, wanting desperately to ensure a kill this time. After all, this was the fourth high tea the young lady had invited her to, and each time the sweet creature managed to choose the untainted cup, remaining quite alive, while Wren was left to drink the poisoned tea without comment. While it didn’t kill the reanimated child, it did burn her throat and give her terrible headaches and cramps.

It had become a weekly routine for her now, 3:00pm visit Miss Fitzpatrick for tea, 3:05pm, drop the cyanide in one of the two blue willow cups. 3:09pm,hide signs of disappointment as her hostess sips unpoisoned tea. 3:20, help clear the table while hiding signs of the painful poisoning and finally. 3:30, stagger home in time for her regular serum injection.

Wren had learned after the first try to schedule the meetings with Miss Fitzpatrick on days when she was due for another dose of the serum which would repair her cells and stop the pain of the poisoning. It had been a long twenty-four hours for her after the first time.

“You make very good sandwiches, Miss Fitzpatrick.” Wren beamed as she watched the kind woman take the poisoned cup. “I bet you’ll make the very best kind of mother.” Her hostess laughed “I have some time before that happens, Wren. I dare say a husband would be in order first. But when I do, I hope I have a daughter just like you.. right down to your sweet little freckles.”

Wren stood and moved around the table as the woman raised the cup to her lips and swallowed. She threw her arms around the surprised woman’s slender waist as the cup went clattering to the floor. “I love you Miss Fitzpatrick.”

Miss Fitzpatrick’s arms came down around the girl’s shoulders, but it was not in a fond, maternal embrace, or even the gentle comfort of an adult confronted with an emotional child. No, this motion was the desperate clutch of a quickly dying woman.

Miss Fitzpatrick slid to her knees, her horrified eyes the size of silver dollars as little Wren babbled her affection “Oh you’re going to be the best mommy and I’ll be such a good girl, I promise. And we can have tea every day and I’ll help you clean the dishes and you can teach me how to cook and you can brush my hair every night before bed, and I’ll hold your yarn while you knit..” she stopped, recognizing the pain in the woman’s face. Wren’s brow wrinkled as the woman gasped painfully “Oh Miss Fitzpatrick, it will be alright. It will only hurt for a little bit and then I’ll reanimate you and we’ll be together forever.”

Wren shifted uneasily at the expression on her beloved tea partner’s face. The hands on her shoulders became claws as the woman slid to the ground. “Please don’t be mad. I’ll make you better and you can be my mommy.” She received no response beyond a rasping death rattle.

In the stillness following, Wren stroked the warm corpse's fair hair and kissed her soft cheek. She propped the body back against the chair and sat across it's thighs, moving it's limp arms back around her shoulders, though only one stayed in place. She rocked gently, humming a lullaby, and kissed the dead woman one last time with a whispered "I love you mommy," and hugged her tight.

"Now," she said as she rose, pushing the chairs and small table off the Persian rug with which she would bundle the corpse for transport in, "time for work."

An Experiment Gone Badly

The little construct rolled on her side with a moan, arms folded across her aching belly.

"Bad.. bad, bad, bad caramel." She rocked, bemoaning and lamenting her fate to the empty room, subject to an existence devoid of her favorite candy.

A respectably sized pile of small bits of waxed paper was piled on the stand near the examination table she slept on, telling the tale of just how much candy it had taken to bring her to this pained state and the nearby chamber pot was filled with more purged sweets than a girl her size could contain.

It had all begun with a conversation before Christmas. She'd been too shy to approach the man in the Santa suit, even as the other children crowded around him. The Scientist nudged her forward, whispering encouragement in her ear, but she clung to him instead, too afraid of the large man she heard sometimes carried switches for naughty children.

Wren was pretty certain she wasn't a naughty girl, especially in light of the clearly drunken boy who slurred his words as he demanded sweets, but it seemed to her unethical to accept candy from Santa when she was neither Christian, nor, strictly speaking, alive. She'd never known Jewish children to get midnight visits from Santa, and she was positive he never visited graveyards.

And there was another element. As she watched the children eat their treats with envious eyes and a sense of buyer's remorse.. or perhaps non-buyer's remorse, she asked the Scientist if constructs could even eat candy. She wasn't certain, but she could imagine sugary things gumming up her clockwork parts.

The Scientist revealed a truth his little creation hadn't considered.. her did not eat.

Her head canted as she tried to remember if she'd been hungry since he'd revived her. Certainly she'd eaten. She'd eaten better under the doctor's care than she'd ever eaten in life, but had she been hungry? In truth, she hadn't been hungry, but in light of her regular meals she'd had no reason to wonder if she *could* be.

She meant to find out, and one day, she was certain to manage it, but the Scientist continued to provide good meals and the girl who had already known too much hunger in her short existence, had no willpower to deny herself the plate put before her.

What she did have the willpower to do was stash away pennies she'd managed to collect running errands for shopkeepers and, when the Scientist busy enough not to catch her, looking pitiful on a street corner, begging passersby for a coin if they could spare it.

For six weeks, she collected her pennies until she had enough to buy a few pieces each of peppermints, humbugs, licorice, taffy, toffee, chocolate, caramel, barley sugar candies, lemon drops, and a candy apple. She was ready to perform her experiment.

She'd gotten through all but the toffee and one caramel when she was struck by a sour feeling in her stomach which quickly grew into an all out bout of nausea. The unfortunate timing of the reaction, combined with a lack of experience with candy in any but the most meager quantity, left her to assume the cause of her despair was the caramel she'd been savoring when it came upon her.

She clutched her stomach and sobbed, convinced she could never again have the rare treat she'd most enjoyed. It was going to be a long afterlife.

The Empty Trap

"Someone seems very clever for a neko," she muttered, to the empty trap.

She'd been particularly convinced of the daftness of felines by the last trap she'd checked, where she'd found a female neko having an entire conversation with herself on the merrits of ham versus picture frames as being the best fiber for spining. This trap, however, had not only snapped closed while failing to capture a neko, it had surrendered its goodies to the creature with seeming to have posed the slightest resistance.

She hummed to herself as she reset the trap, this time with a turkey leg, a nearly live rat, and partly finished word-cross puzzle with fountain pen. She left the puzzle in part as an impromptu intelligence test, but mostly because she was stuck on 19 across; a six letter word beginning with "I" and meaning unhinged.


The traps were set and baited with rabbits, catnip, and French postcards. To Wren’s way of thinking, no Neko could resist. She’d placed the traps carefully on rooftops and in alleyways, but so far, all she’d caught was a stray dog.

In the mean time, she was back to her attempts to lead kindly seeming passersby to their demise.

A sweet-faced nun fastened a helmet over her wimple, a curious smile playing across her lips. “It’s rather awkward, dear.” Even as she said the words, the top heavy iron spiked made the headgear pivot forward on her head. Wren stood with her feet apart, hands on her hips. “Sister, could you maybe hold the prayer hat upright?” She surveyed the dark clouds above and added “I don’t think the experiment will take long.” Sister Danielle nodded without thinking, but was able to catch the helmet before it slid forward enough to pose a threat to the little construct standing before her.

Wren moved to hide in the doorway of the rooftop stairwell. The building wasn’t the highest in Babbage, but she thought it unlikely she could get the nun to do the kinds of climbing and jumping required to get any higher, so she was restricted to places with easy access.

As the first, fat drops of rain began to fall, she called out to the woman “ok, Sister.. start praying.” She crouched low and watched the cooperative nun try to manage the lightening rod strapped to her head and commune with the almighty at the same time. Wren smiled, the woman looked angelic. She was going to like having the sister for a sister.

What Wren hadn’t taken into account, as she stood beneath the shelter of the covered stairwell, was that the nun, with her lightening-rod prayer-helmet, was not the highest point on the building, nor was the lightening rod atop her head the highest metal. Instead, the unsuspecting child huddled beneath the weathervane adorning the angled roof of stairs.

She would have no later memory of the flash and ear ringing crack of lightening that arched from the cloud, to the metal rooster, and leaped to the brass frame of her mechanical heart. She would only know she’d woken in the arms of the frantic nun. Her dress was scorched, her hair frizzed, and when she cleaned herself later, she would admire the burn mark which spanned across her torso like torn lace. The heat of the lightening had melted the brass frame of her heart, and warped cogs moved erratically, but she was able to get down the stairs with the nun’s help.

She picked a nearby house which seemed unoccupied and told Sister Danielle it was her residence. Slipping quietly in through the stranger’s front door, she waited in the hallway until she was certain the sister had gone beyond sight.

In the January drizzle, the little construct staggered the whole mile back to the laboratory to be repaired.

The Founder's Orders

“My...our...firstborn son has returned to this city. He has forgotten what he is. You must find him.”

Wren leaned back in the seat, The Founder’s words echoing in her memory. Meeting him had been a frightening experience.

The Scientist had nodded off in his chair and fallen into a nightmare from which a desperate argument had broken through the paralysis of sleep, his words ringing through the laboratory “you call that a choice?’ She eavesdropped on his half of the dream conversation for a time, but when she couldn’t make any sort of sense from it, she cautiously tried to wake him. What woke was not The Scientist she knew.

The man with the red eyes and pasty skin shot his clawed hand out to snatch her by the hair, ripping locks from her scalp. “You risk your soul over THIS? Another PET?" he growled. Wren yelped at the pain, her small hands grasping at his to no effect. He held her firmly with one fist at the back of her head hand as the other hand clamped over her crying mouth. The contempt in his voice was more than she’d ever heard, much less had directed toward her. "He insults his -real- children by making these dolls,” he spat.

Wren stilled, a sense of alarm chilling her chest at the dehumanizing language. If the creature thought of her as only a doll or a pet, and an insulting one at that, it would mean nothing to take her life. Her voice held a tight edge as she asked “who are you?”

In answer, he lifted a medallion from the table beside them. She’d been unaware of it before but it now dangled before her eyes, demanding her attention. The symbol on it was a stepped pyramid with demonic wings at the apex flanking a pyre. He pressed it into her hand to let her feel its power crackle. "I am the Founder that your maker invokes under his breath! My name is feared throughout these lands, even by my own kin!” He rose as he spoke, lifting her by her upper arms in a bruising grip. Her feet kicked helplessly above the ground and she held his forearms to keep from falling if he suddenly dropped her.

He peered at her, his glowing eyes flaring red as he studied her. She had the distinct impression he was peering into her mind and soul. “You’ve been through worse, much worse. You have the potential to be more.” He interrupted himself to snarl “Stop screaming, Darien. She can’t hear you.” Wren pressed her lips together to stifle a whimper. The Founder leaned over her, his voice lowered and more menacing in its softness than it had been in a scowl. "I have an assignment for you.”

Wren listened closely as the Founder informed her she was to seek out and bring to The Scientist his son, a Bloodtail Neko by the name of Koen who has forgotten what he is. If she were to succeed, he would be made to remember and she was given the vague promise of being made into more than she is. If she were to fail, The Scientist’s soul would be ripped apart by the reanimation serum which gives him life, and by extension, her as well.

Sixteen hours later, the child buried her face in her bunny’s soft fur and sobbed. She had no notion how to find the young man. She’d spent all day in the Department of Records and Archives but had turned up no information on him and she had no idea where to look, or how to get him to The Scientist .

Having allowed herself a minute’s self-pity, she raised her head and put it aside. She stared at the columns upon columns of cards she had yet to search through. From the corner of her eye, a shadow scurried along the skirting board, followed by an almost simultaneous snap and squeak.

Wren blinked. A trap! That’s what she needed, a trap!

She knew not where the neko was, but she knew something of neko habits, often up on rooftops and always interested in stalking small, twitchy creatures. She smiled down to the bunny in her arms and with an optimism which must fully ignore her previous failures in order to exist, she started making plans for a neko-trap.

About Me

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I have a mechanical heart and green reanimation serun for blood. I have glowing eyes that look like The Scientist's, but they're not his, they just look the same. I don't like swimming on account of I think my pilot light might go out.