I Can Make You Perfect
"I can make thee perfect."
That was what he promised me...
I can recall very little about my life prior to becoming involved in the Mechanist Order. I was of noble birth, a beautiful woman. Graceful and sought after by more than one well-intentioned young man. When my family and I would walk the cobblestone streets of Auledale, it seemed that everyone would stop just to look at us.
For we were the family that the others marveled at, the one they strove to be. To copy. Trendsetters for our time. What clothes had we deemed 'in', what our favorite go-to leisure activity was, what companies my father had invested his money in as of late.
On the surface, he appeared a charismatic, social figure. Quick with a joke or a tip of the hat, he had an unwavering friendliness about him. He would always walk with his arm planted firmly around my mother's waist, and she in turn was far too afraid of him to pull away.
He owned her. Behind that facade of jovial laughter and fine grooming, lurked a foul, septic monster.
A violent drunk.
Even before he took his first drink of the evening, we would both cringe. She was too intimidated, subordinate, to try and dissuade him. Instead, we would both stay as far away from his study as possible, until the storm hit. Then, he would always find us. When my father's rage was unleashed, there was no force living or dead that could stop it.
Fear, didn't even begin to describe the sensation I felt.
My heart would palpitate simply upon hearing his clumsy footsteps on the mahogany floorboards. I would curl up into a little ball, quaking desperately as the door to my parents bedroom slammed open. I fought to contain my whimpers and crying as he proceeded across the room, and swung an enraged, drunken punch at my mother.
He usually didn't find me. Over the years of this terror and abuse, I had since discovered the best places to hide, and when it was safe to come out. Our home was the farthest thing from the idyllic manor all the others swooned and fawned over. This picturesque dwelling was merely a facade; a well-crafted haven for all of the hazy pain and scandal within.
One particular night, things got so bad that I'm sure the neighbors heard. But my father didn't care anymore.
"No! Mother! You can't do that to her!" I yelled, tears blurring my vision.
I raced from my secret sanctum within the wardrobe and threw my arms out protectively, blocking my father's clumsy, bludgeoning blows. At the time, it seemed surreal. I couldn't tell more or less what I was doing, or if it was even me who had come to her rescue.
But then his fist made contact with me.
It was like a thick, crushing fire. Instantly, I cried out, more from shock at first than actual pain. But the pain quickly came. And once it did, it did not stop. Again and again he struck me, the punches now directed towards my stomach and frail arms.
My vision was hazy and red with a mixture of blood, bruises and tears. I cried for my mother to stop him. But she just stood there, watching through fearful, dead eyes. At that moment, an even worse pain resided within my chest. She was too afraid to help her own daughter escape this torment.
My mother, the woman I underwent this hellish onslaught for, did absolutely nothing to help me in return.
My father was yelling something now, although with my bleeding eardrums, I could never hope to hear it. A sharp, indescribable agony registered in my left hand, as he slammed it between the heavy wooden doors of the wardrobe. My abandoned sanctum that I should never have left.
I heard a loud crack, and afterwards, my hand was completely numb. After what seemed like days of endless pounding, my father vomited, and exhausted from his vile efforts, trudged towards the bed and threw himself upon it with a groan.
When she was sure he was asleep, my mother finally approached me. She started to touch my bloodied face, but abruptly retracted her hand before making contact.
"Helen dear. Oh gods! You shouldn't have tried to stop him...You shouldn't have gotten in his way..."
Her words were concerned with the slightest hint of confusion. And they speared my throbbing heart with hatred and injustice.
In an instant, I pushed my way past her.
"I know." Was all I could manage through my mangled state. But the way I said it, more growl than sentence, I knew my message had gotten through.
Before she could try and stop me, I left the mansion.
I began running, not even sure where or why. All I knew, was that I HAD to get out of there. Out of this life of cruelty and lies. Secrets and pain. There was only one way to do that, but at that moment, I really didn't care anymore.
My tears felt like ice as they left my eyes, and my heart was on fire. I couldn't see, I couldn't breath. Every bone in my body ached from the beating I had just endured. I limped through the night, not caring who saw me, only one thing now on my mind.
I was tired to living in a purposeless world. I wanted it to all end.
I must have sat in the rain for hours, contemplating the best way to go about my suicide. My family lacked firearms, and I was far too terrified of knives. I seriously pondered using poison, but I didn't know where to obtain any. Eventually, one last thought entered my head. I cringed at the thought, but then, the faintest of grins contorted across my swollen lips.
There was no better way! My father and mother seeing my broken, mangled parts squashed all over the cobblestone streets. My old man's flawless reputation would be forever shattered, and my mother...she could behold with wide, regretful eyes what her blatant cowardice had achieved.
Looking up from my damp lap, my amber eyes searched the city skyline for the tallest, most prominent of buildings, and it didn't take very long to find it.
Numbly, I stood and walked heel toe up the street to reach the grand structure. I pushed open the golden double doors, and ventured through. I ascended the long winding stairway. I was decidedly trying to reach the roof, to jump from that telling bronze angel statue. Irony at it's finest; Helen, the little fallen angel of the Volksinn family.
As soon as I reached the second story, the sound of low singing found my ears. Out of curiosity more than actual interest, I looked over the polished bronze railing. There appeared to be a sermon in progress.
Most of the people were situated upon the pews, their focus locked almost hypnotically upon whoever it was that was speaking. I flipped my long black bangs from my face, and chanced my gaze in his direction.
The first thing I noticed about the man, was the presence he emitted. Powerful and charismatic. Warm and welcoming. Strangely ominous. He was quite tall, and wore deep teal and gold gossamer robes. With his arms outstretched as he spoke, he almost resembled the Builder Himself. I shook my head.
No, that was preposterous! This man...he was no god; just another preacher trying to send hope into a lost word. He hadn't been the first to peddle a new religion around the city, and he certainly wouldn't be the last.
But even so, I couldn't turn away.
The man had a very obvious speech impairment, to what manner I could not fully decipher. Perhaps it was more mental than physical. Whatever the case, it did nothing to hinder his charisma.
If anything, I found that it actually enhanced it.
Shortly after, I soon found that I didn't even notice it anymore.
Forgetting everything; the beating, my mother's betrayal, my suicide plan, I quietly sat atop the steps that led up to the roof, and I listened to his words.
Most of which he spoke of seemed to be very similar to the Hammerite religion, with some extra speak about creation, and using gears and metal as an metaphor for the way a righteous person should live their life.
With each word he spoke, I slowly began to understand what his seated disciples were feeling. So hinged on this man's very words; it all made sense! I know it sounds positively crazy, but for some reason, it did.
"He who keeps his work in disorder gives home to chaos. Let him be struck with stone and iron to forge away his flaws! Strike hot iron and call forth sparks, my friends! Do not allow faulty tools to halt thy progress! To shape man or metal to thy will, thou must strike with force. Never falter! Never cave! Thy must work hard to achieve blessings! Is not ore difficult, nay, dangerous to retrieve from the weeded earth? Doust thou risk the hot flames to make it into useable iron? Ah, but in doing so, in defeating trepidation and wickedness, thou shalt be rewarded greatly! Blessed is thee who forges his home from good, strong metal."
He then continued, his eyes practically buried within his tome now.
"The machine cans't run backwards. A counterclockwise idealism will only result in fatal error. This is why I come upon thee friends! I know. I see the pain in this city, in this world. This world is cruel, unjust. Unfair. Doust thou doubt thy value? Doust thou feel, rusted, and worn?"
He shook his head, slowly. Very passionately.
"You are all such beautiful creations, and you all will eventually serve a purpose more large and monumental than thou can even imagine within thy waking eyes! The Builder shall fuel thee...and all the followers of Karras. Take min hand, and I shall lead thee into a new age of progress!"
Tears found the corners of my eyes at this latest psalm. It was all true. For years, my mother and I had been running counterclockwise to my father's intentions. His plan kept up from working! We needed proper structure, not the stresses of keeping up a false existence. We needed discipline, yes. But that of intelligence and wisdom; not the hardened fists of some drunk.
I nodded in spite of myself.
I never wanted to go back home. Whatever this religion... this way of thinking was called; I wanted in on it.
"E-excuse me! Sir?"
I called after the man as he started away deeper into the cathedral. I felt numb as the words left my lips, never in my entirety had I been so loud, so desperate for anything. But at that moment, I felt like my life depended on joining this man. He was my last chance.
He slowly turned around.
I cringed when I noticed the first place his eyes fell: My battered hand. It was still numb, and it refused to move. But I could feel something: My eyes, filling up with tears. He saw this, and spoke very quietly.
"What is it child? Dost thou hath a question for thee?" I swallowed the painful lump in my throat and somehow, I managed to speak."Y-yes...I was...I was very moved by your sermon this evening.""I am ever so touched to hear that."
The man smiled ever so slightly, although he kept staring at my hand. He was obviously disgusted by it. I hurriedly tucked the offending limb behind my back in empty shame. This, prompted him towards me.
"Are you, perhaps, considering joining the Order of the Gear?""I-I would be honored to, mister-""-Father. Father Karras." He corrected.
I barely noticed his speech impairment now. When he spoke, all my ears could register on, was the deep knowledge and faith behind his every word. That is, until he gently reached out to my hidden hand. He didn't touch me, but it was clear he wanted to.
"What happened to your hand, child?"
A dark nausea quickly filled my stomach. As I remembered my fathers abuse, the way the bones in my hand had crunched as he slammed the wardrobe door on it; I wanted to vomit! Choking back a fresh stream of hot tears, I nodded, though I wasn't sure why.
"M-my father. H-he b-beat me." I stammered.
My face flushed a brilliant rouge. Something told me that even a noble of my standing was unfit to address this Father Karras. He was more than just a holy man; he exuded the energy of a literal deity. One did not so causally address such an entity, least of all an abused runaway such as myself.
I sounded ridiculous and I knew it. But I also couldn't help it.
His brows curved outward, a look of false pity illuminating his wrinkled face. For a moment, he was very quiet, as if trying to think hard about something. Pondering whether an imperfect mess such as I was even worth all the precious time he was granting me. At last, he spoke again, and I shall never forget his words.
"The Order of the Gear has ways of helping you. May I?" He asked, this time reaching for my hand.
I numbly gave him a modicum of acceptance, and watched him pry the loose extremity out from behind my back.
"A new follower of mine likewise requires a new beginning. Allow me to grant you a better hand." My eyes grew wide."Y-you can do that?!" I whispered. Karras's eyes narrowed."I can do anything. And one day my dear, so shall thou. Continue forward down The Builder's grand assembly line, feel his upgrades and be grateful for the way they shall enhance thy life!""If you can fix my hand, I will do anything you ask. From this day forward, I, Helen swear unending allegiance to the Order of the Gear! Shape me, Father Karras, build me..."
I looked into his eyes, my own wide and now swimming with tears.
I couldn't feel his touch upon my ravaged flesh, but I had the feeling that it was gentle. Yet very strong, gripping.
"For a promising follower such as yourself, I shall child. Believe me. " He replied.
I couldn't help but notice that he seemed almost angry to be touching my imperfect human hand.
It would be several months before I found out why.
****************************************************************My dedication to the Order of the Gear grew at an alarming rate as the weeks passed, almost unnatural was my devotion to Karras and the newfound faith that had delivered me from a hidden purgatory.Under his instruction, I began developing other mechanized body parts for converts. These would be given as gifts to the handicapped of our society in exchange for their undying loyalty to the Order of the Gear. They were each a precious symbol of what we mechanists were capable of. What HE was capable of.Changing the world.I could never tell if it was blind loyalty, or lust that drew me to his side. Perhaps it was a little of both. A sick desire to obtain love from a paternal figure that in my previous experiences had been all but lacking. I don't know what drew me in to him, or spurred my unending toil and devotion within the order. However, one thing was clear.As my horizons expanded, so too did my involvement. I no longer saw Father Karras as the benevolent living saint who had saved my life. No. Now, I saw him as a god. A god that I would gladly spend an eternity worshiping, creating for, and pleasing.One fateful afternoon, he took me aside. We ventured into his office, and there he grew very solemn. Even with his back turned, I could tell that whatever it was he had beckoned me for, it was to be life-changing."Helen. I have been watching thee most closely. Thou seems to be functioning properly, am I mistaken?"I blushed slightly, and looked down at my new extremity. It was a metal hand, covered in a carbon fiber frame and coated with a supple top layer of silicon substance. It moved flawlessly, and was much more dexterous and flexible than the old living tissue."It's wonderful, Father Karras. Thank you for asking. I am forever in your debt." I replied joyously. Karras, merely emitted a deep chuckle."Of course thee are..." He turned around. To my surprise, he took up my mechanized hand in his."F-father?" I stammered.
"I'm sure thee know my dear, this new hand could be the start of something far more incredible." He kissed the hard cold metal of my new extremity. "It, could be the start of utter perfection."I stared at him, confused as well as curious."Perfection?""I can make thee perfect Helen. As I will one day make this rotten husk of a decaying world whole again. Allow me to gift thee with a mere taste of this endeavor. Allow me, to make thee my very first cyborg.""Cyborg?" I questioned."It is like the Masked Servant, only capable of thinking, evolving and building. Thou shall become machine, yet thou shall also be living. Metal shall purify thee inside and out, my dear. Once this happens, thou shall never see the world the same way again. For thou shall then have the capacity to see the world the way I do. Through the flawless eyes of The Builder Himself!"I didn't even hesitate. I had been under his instruction, dedicated to the Mechanist Order for almost ten years by this point. I had done everything, 'humanly' possible, to offer up devotion. But as my god had diligently taught me, a machine could serve much better than a man.I smiled, ever so slightly.If I underwent this particular procedure, it would be the ultimate promise. A final, unrivaled display of loyalty to my Father Karras, and his invaluable order."Yes father. Re-create me in your image. Make me perfect."That evening, Karras took me down into the gloomy iron bowels of his workshop. Large, sterile machines lined both sides of the immense room, and the sound of clanking gears resonated from all directions.The Mechanist Leader said nothing, as he had grown strangely cold. Quiet. Instead, he simply looked me over, as if trying to decide if I was truly worthy of this.I had never been so nervous, so hopeful, in the entirety of my mortal existence.And thankfully, it was the last time I would feel such petty emotions.He led me to a stainless steel operating table, situated under a series of bright lights overhead. There was a long table across to this one, lined with several tools and knives. There was also a vertical cylinder, filled with a soft green bubbling liquid. The cylinder was closest to the operating table, and was hooked up to a series to medical tubing that ended in long, hollow needles.Karras patted the table, urging me to clamber atop it."Lie down Helen. It is time to begin..." He grinned.I eagerly took a seat, ready to be rid of my mortal coils. The Mechanist Leader produced a long syringe. Inside was the same green liquid I had observed inside the cylinder. He took up my face in both hands, temporarily causing my knees to go limp at his touch. He leaned forward, and whispered in my ear."When thou wakes up, it shall be for the very first time."I barely felt as the needle entered my neck. I was lost within the father was his words intertwined themselves around my thoughts. Karras pulled away, still grinning his wide, crocodile smile.My vision grew very hazy, swimming in and out of focus several times before I lost consciousness.
I was asleep within moments, yet my mind remained strangely active. Alert to the blessing I was about to receive.Pressure. That is the first thing I remember. A strong, amazing pressure from every part of my body. There were loud squishing sounds, overlapped by loud mechanical beeping and alarms. Every once in a while, I could hear Karras speaking to himself, though I couldn't be sure what it was he was saying. My ears were ringing by this point. I wasn't in any pain, but that pressure sensation...it was endless.In every part of me, every detail, metal began to slowly conjoin with flesh. Wires replaced my tendons, silicone mesh took the place of my soft flesh. Carbon muscle gave me strength, whilst the wiring central core of pre-selected memories and words blessed Father Karras had chosen gave me a personality.I breathed slowly, exhaling the last of my mortal woes and despair.I no longer had not a mind of my own to worry over.
Then, it happened.
My mind was silenced, my heart went still. In that one darkest moment, I realized how meaningless life really was. It could be snuffed out in an instant.Over the buzzing of mechanized saws and electrical crackles, Karras's grin expanded."Loyal follower, thoust devotion shall indeed be rewarded. From this day forth, Helen is no longer. For thou shall be reborn, as my most treasured child. My dutiful, incomparable, Heleana..."I was jarred back to the living world by a loud electrical buzz. Rows of lights overhead suddenly flashed to life, flickering and fading in and out. My amber irises zoomed and focused, absorbing what little light there was into the wire retinas that attached my new eyes to my bio engineered brain.It took a second for my new eyes to adjust. But when they did, the first face I recognized, was his. Father Karras. I wanted to reach for him, wanted to thank him for what he had done for me. What he had gifted me with, But for some reason, I couldn't.My entire body felt numb. It took me a moment to figure out how to even speak, my mouth too felt extremely off; almost as if I were having to learn to use my lips and tongue for the very first time.When I finally was able to find my voice, I spoke the first thoughts I could muster.
"Is it finished?"
Karras stared at me, his smile wider than I had ever seen it before.
"Finished? No, my glorious creation. It, has barely begun..."
I can make you perfect. That was what he promised me.Father Karras was indeed true to his word. My new form has deleted any and all taint from within. And now that I am perfect, I can finally enjoy my life. My body has been born anew, flawless and focused. I am a creation to which there is no equal. The last great strive of a chosen genius. And I will never again close my waking eyes, until his death is avenged.Garrett. The Master Thief.He will pay dearly for what he stole from me...