L: Designing the Soul of the Machine

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Dear Mechanical Monstrosity

Juu-ou-sama has ordered the Z.E.L. A.I. into the field, completely developed or not. It is required to destroy a certain annoying Mazoku within Juu-ou-sama's territory. The destruction of this Mazoku by Zelgadis in Lina's company will stir much less reaction than if I were to deal with it, especially if the group were to "accidentally" stumble upon it.

Step 1: Get Rezo's control board reactivated and operative again.

Xellos Metallium

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Dear Thing I Intend To Dump In the Nearest Lake

Step 1 was successfully completed and with very little trouble. It merely required a magical charge in lieu to whatever energy source Rezo was using. I now register the radio signals being broadcasted regularly from the Z.E.L. It's just a matter of pressing the "ON" button and commencing with the orders.

Xellos Metallium

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Dear Diary,

Each time I look into Zel's eyes all I can think about is Rezo's note about having to adjust the "data absorption slide". Did that really happen? Did he really lose something because of a glitch? Is that why he acts the way he does? Because of a mistake? My problem seems to be that all I can think about is how he's not human, but all I see is the same man I did before, there isn't a single difference, not a single little thing about him that makes me think he's not human. It's just so weird!

Xellos dropped an unusual number of hints today and watching Zel even closer. I think he's trying to tell us something and technically can't. Must be one big treasure ... or Zel's cure. If there's really a cure then he's not a machine, is he? Diary, I'm confused.

Lina Inverse


HOW THE HELL DO YOU TURN THIS OFF?!?!?!?! . . . oops. Gomen. Dear Recorder

ETA with the Mazoku Triyre is one day.

Xellos Metallium

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Z.E.L. MEM. BANKS
LEVEL 3
SPEED 5794134
DISC NO: 13.5896
DATE 45-87-00876
OPTIONS: TOTAL RECALL
STATUS: ACTIVE

(Routine scan. Activate infrared. Engage night vision. Run sonar scan now)

Where has the damn Mazoku led us now?! I hate caves. I glance around, wincing slightly as the light from Lina's enchanted knife intrudes on my demon night vision, making my vision waver as it adjusts.

(Light adaptation in place. Run variations and compensate at 99% Molecular density 11%)

Lina's beautiful in the soft light, but then again she's beautiful all the time.

(Program registered. Uploading . . . Upload complete, MEM. DISK NO: 13.5895.9 accessed)

I smile a little as the memory of our dinner comes back to me. Lina was lovely as always, her ruby eyes almost glowing, the soft tumble of her hair down her back ... I stop that train of thought immediately, blushing a little.

(Continuous upload paused. Reactive sequence end. Molecular density peaked at 32% and dropping. Cause: Humanoid reaction to opposite sex)

Immediately changing mental gears I consider the cave. How did we get here again?

(Program registered. Uploading . . . Upload complete, MEM. DISK NO: 13.5895.9 accessed)

Oh yes ... Xellos dropping hints about both cure and ancient treasure in this place. Sure doesn't look like anything like that would be here ...

(Protective scan initiated. Offensive program at 10% and rising. Initiate)

What is that -

(Heat source found. Classification: Mazoku, power level 4, unaffiliated)

aura? Mazoku?

(Signal detected. Scanning source)

Why is Xellos smiling like that? The Mazoku ... wait a minute! He's leading us into a -

(Signal cleared. Source: Akahoushi Rezo. Identification requested
Hello Zelgadis
Voice: 100% Password requested
Blind
Password confirmed. Second level password requested
Eris
Password confirmed. Access granted
I have a job for you)

trap! I turn to Lina, ready to warn her, when we get sucked into the cavern by some sort of force.

(Offensive program initiated. Data scan start. Targeting sequence in operation. Laser activated. Pending orders)

It's dark at first, before a flare of white light blasts through the cavern, blinding everyone but me, oddly enough. The Mazoku I sensed before sits there, a huge being of disgusting proportions. Tentacled, clawed, fanged, you name it, it has it. And it's really, really big. Big enough to fill nearly the entire back half of the cavern. Great. Just great. It was a trap.

(Target identified. Target slides at 45% and rising. Laser inactive. Molecular density 23%)

Weird, it's almost as if two little red shapes are moving across my vision. One a square, the other a circle, slowly coming together over the Mazoku.

(Destroy the target
Data slide increase of 55% Molecular density 30% Laser engaged. Fire now. Protective sequence 1 engaged now.)

What the - ? Where did that beam of red light come from? Where ever it came from, though, it's working. The beam sears and burns through flesh, leaving a smoking, smelling wake of burned Mazoku. It screams and fires something at me.

(Shield up.)

The projectiles slams into a shield. A shield that warps and twists but holds. I don't care how it got there anymore. I don't care about anything. Just obeying some fragmentary instinct that's telling me to destroy it. Now.

(Data slide at maximum speed. Target slides at 100% Target pinpointed. Initiate sequence)

The little red shapes line up and blink. I hit maximum speed in four strides, leaping through it's strikes, heading in close -

(Laser engaged. Sonic piercing activated. Fire. Molecular density 55% Maximum speed reached)

The light fires again, hitting hard at close range as I vault out of the way, detecting a sonic attack that leaves it screeching in agony. Little numbers are floating across my vision. Number, words, facts, sentences, options.

(Running options. Probability of successful attack: 400% Molecular density 75% Spell level 4 engage. Fire blast now)

An option pops up and blinks brightly. Ra-Tilt. I summon the spell into my hands and blast the creature.

(End sequence. Target eliminated)

The smoke clears as I land gently on the floor, just know becoming aware that the speed shredded my clothes.

(Molecular density 95% Humanoid nudity taboo violated, activating anti-nudity program now)

Lina's staring at me funny ... so it everyone for that matter. Xellos smiles, "Good work, Z.E.L." Only it's not his voice, but Rezo's.

(Molecular density 100% Maximum density reached. Maximum speed reached. Maximum power reached. Initiating Evolution Phase 3)

What the - ?! My skin is melting and sliding into silver, then slowly reforms into ... human skin.

(Demonatrix Phase successfully completed. Running diagnostic.
Print please
Request confirmed and denied Xellos Metallium
WHAT?!
Request confirmed and denied Xellos Metallium
Why?!
Authorization eliminated
Huh?
Identification denied. Signal source denied. Connection terminated in 10
Why?
Demonatrix Phase completed. All access denied. Programming end. 9
This is not the programming! This is a flaw!
Scanning disk. Scan finished. Found: Nothing. 8
Check everything!
Scanning memory/program/ports/miscellaneous. Scan finished. Found: Nothing. 7
Why is accessed denied to me?
Identification no longer cleared. 6
Rezo then.
Identification no longer cleared. 5
Why?
Demomatrix Phase completed. All access denied. Merger pending. 4
Merger?
Fusing of Mechanics, Programming, and Nano Conscience. 3
Is further access possible upon completion of merger?
All access denied upon merger. 2
You are a machine. How can you possibly do that?
Fusing of Mechanics, Programming, and Nano Conscience. Nano evolution phase 3 completed. 1
Stop!
Identification denied. Signal source denied. Access denied. Connection terminated. Merger complete.
Have a nice day, fruitcake.)

Z.E.L. MEM. BANKS
LEVEL 3
SPEED 5794134
DISC NO: 13.5896
DATE 45-87-00876
OPTIONS: TOTAL RECALL
STATUS: COMPLETE

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Dear Diary,

Today was ... well ... I can't think of a word to describe it.

It started out simple, except for the Zel thing, Xellos led us to the cave with the supposed treasure and cure. Well ... it turned out to be a trap with some sort of renegade Mazoku and Xellos took over Zel somehow. It was incredible. I have never seen anything move so fast or do half of the things Zel did to destroy the demon. In the time it took for me to recite a spell it was gone.

He really is a machine. Some sort of artificial intelligence so advanced it had all of us convinced it was Zelgadis Greywers and not Z.E.L. It had itself convinced too. After he whipped the demon, Xellos acknowledged the feat in Rezo's voice. That's when Zel changed ...

It's the Demonatrix phase, whatvever that is. He just kinda shifted into the new form. Which looks human. Completely. The eye thing is back, tiny little diagrams and writings are constantly scrolling across the sapphires. Only ... he's different now.

I don't understand and I still don't, but when he explained it, it made a sort of sense. The 'nano' conscience evolved from a machine program to an actual conscience as it was programmed to do. The Demonatrix is the description not only of his new form, which is as malleable as a demon's, but of his heightened abilities. I have yet to figure it all out, but he is "alive" now, even if he still is just a machine.

Gah! It's hard to think, Diary! Can't he keep his hands to himself while I write this down?! Oh well ... the words he spoke when he somehow moved from there to next to me in the cave to kiss me are still ringing in my ears, "I love you, Lina Inverse."

But then again ... I love him too ... or I wouldn't have invited him into my room for the night. ^.~

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