Cogito Ergo Sum

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Title: Cogito Ergo Sum
Author: Doctor Xadium
Date Written: 2005
Continuity SSEU Earth 1337-B
Time Placement the Modern Day
Synopsis Tomoe Hotaru has been given a new lease on life; but can she stand to live with what she has become?
Rating
Additional Notes



SSEU OVA 1: LOST IN TIME: COGITO ERGO SUM







JANUARY 5th, 1989

"Wake up, sweetie."

The voice was soft, yet somehow toneless. There was a quiet grief in it, laced with something akin to a cold pride as well.

"P...papa?"

Her voice was meek and quiet, tiny and small. It quivered slightly. "It hurts... to move."

"You took a big shock," the older voice said, trying to be soothing, but somehow lacking. "It will take time for your body to adjust."

Slowly. torturously, she raised her arm. It felt heavy, leaden, like a loosely connected weight that had little to do with being a part of her body at all. Raising it higher inch by inch, she observed it. The skin was pale and bloodless, almost like alabaster, or some kind of rare ivory. So unlike her usual looks. She kept raising up the arm, feeling a kind of itching coming from it. It was kind of like the pinpricks one might feel after their arm had fallen asleep. But something was amiss.

Raising it as high as the arm would go, she shuddered in shock as the light shone through a part of her elbow, highlighting a square box-like shape of a motor-servo. As she involuntarily flexed her arm, she could see the whirring of the gears and motors within.

Young Tomoe Hotaru screamed for her very life.

JANUARY 6th, 1989

The warmth of the liquid surrounded her. Her body was floating. It was so peaceful. So calm. She closed her eyes and let herself sink into the blackened waters, content... at peace.

With a CRASH she was jerked from the tub, the strong arms of her father holding her aloft and wrapping her wrists in bandages, which were rapidly blackening with the substance that was pumping though her body.

"WHY!" Hotaru screamed frantically, thrashing and kicking violently, wild-eyed and feral, even as her father draped her over his shoulder and took her back to the lab for "repair." "WHY WON'T YOU LET ME DIE?!"

"Because... I love you..." Professor Tomoe managed to choke out, almost soullessly.

JANUARY 7th, 1989

Hotaru sat on her bed, her knees drawn up to her chest, chin resting on them. Her knees. Hah. Most of her lower body was barely biological anymore, thanks to the machines her papa had put in her body. There was no blood in her body anymore, just some kind of oily blackness. She lived, but was in constant pain. Every movement was agony, every breath labored and painful. That and the pounding in her head... its continual rhythm driving her mad.

Desperation to escape the agony had caused her to try and end her life not more than 24 hours ago. But as she had laid on the operating table, watching her father desperately running around with the students from his school helping him, saw the look of panic and grief on his face as he feverishly worked to stabilize her condition, she knew she couldn't--mustn't-- do that to him again. The loss of Mother had hurt him enough, and she realized that she was all that was keeping him alive now. But the hollow, distant look in her eyes sometimes made her wonder if it simply would not be better if they had all died in the lab accident. And... her stomach...

To save her, Papa had put something in her stomach. It looked like some kind of seed. But whatever it was, it had caused her wounds to heal, and let her live again. Somehow it allowed her body to accept the strange machines... but the headaches it caused! The wretched agony! At what price would she have to live this life?

APRIL 15th, 1989

Every time the microwave oven turned on her right arm would spasm. Televisions simply crackled with static at her approach, to the point of being almost unwatchable. Her papa was working on making better shielding, but she had simply chosen to retreat from the technology, and found herself immersed in the family library. Books allowed her mind to escape, even if for a moment, from the daily aches and miseries of existence.

"THE HOST is riding from Knocknarea
And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;
Caolte tossing his burning hair
And Niamh calling Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.

Hotaru read the words of Yeats and sighed. She would like nothing more than to escape her mortal nightmare. There was a woman in her father's life now, a strange, grey-skinned redhead with beady black eyes named Kaori. The older woman made Hotaru feel strangely afraid and angry every time she saw her... the way she hung off papa's arms, smiling that wretched false smile, and trying to insinuate her way into the family. To make matters worse, Papa had assigned her to be some kind of blasted guardian! Outrageous! Intolerable! It was her fault that woman was there! Because she was too much for papa to handle... And the headaches... still plaguing her... blackouts she could not explain... and the death of her pet fish...

Hotaru slammed her book shut. She was more at ease with her strange body now. It was surprisingly resilient and strong, technical problems aside. But... what... was she? Man or machine? What place did she have in the world? She had no right to make papa suffer like this!

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?


What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

...

Hotaru felt at ease in the cool night. Something about the light of the distant stars embedded in the hollow darkness of the night sky called to her, resonated with the very core of her being. Somehow, as she walked the streets of Tokyo, her grey shawl wrapped around her as protection against the cold, her knapsack slung over her back, she knew this was the right thing to do. Father had Kaori now, her loss would mean less to him. He would grieve, but eventually continue. Meanwhile, she would go somewhere where she could be alone, to live or die in a place removed from society, where she would be a burden to others no longer.

"I was so rambunctious and tomboyish," a voice said, wafting from somewhere under the pedestrian bridge Hotaru was on. It was light and happy, seemingly without a care in the world. Hotaru felt queasy in the stomach, wishing that she could be that carefree. She started to move away.

"Mama was always yelling at me, saying how troublesome I was," the female voice continued. "How much of a burden I was."

Hotaru stopped in mid-stride, and just listened.

""Didn't that bother you?" another voice, this one male, asked.

"No," the female replied. "Because I could tell by the look in her eye when I came home a bit late, or when my grades slipped in school, how much she was really worried about me. She didn't let it show for long, but it was there... so I just took it in snide."

"Stride", both Hotaru and the man corrected, Hotaru under her breath.

"That didn't stop you from getting in ferocious arguments with her, though," the man replied with a chuckle.

"That's what family is about silly," the woman replied, a hint of humour in her voice. "We joke with each other, fight each other and love each other, sticking together through thick and thin... didn't you have a family?"

"My family..." the man went quiet. For a moment there were no sounds.

Hotaru took a deep breath. " "We joke with each other, fight each other and love each other, sticking together through thick and thin..." Those words echoed in her mind. She didn't see her family being like that anytime soon... but perhaps... if she stayed... and actively tried to get to her father, get him away from that red-headed parasite... perhaps one day... she could have that too.

Turning, she headed for home, the strange wheezing and groaning sounds of a TARDIS dematerializing lost in the howl of the winter wind.