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Aria

Aria, came the thought, the first thought. I am Aria.

She opened her eyes, seeing the world for the first time.

Blinking in the bright light, she glanced around. She was in a lab room, stretched out on a metal table. She blinked again, feeling something soft under her head… a pillow. She sat up, but before she could give the room a closer inspection, a lady bustled in. Aria stared.

She was middle-aged, her short black hair streaked with gray. She was rather heavy-set, solid rather than fat, and her face was plump and friendly. She carried an air of kindliness about her, and Aria stared, fascinated, as the woman beamed at her. Was this her creator? My mother?

“Hello, darling.” The lady said cheerfully, reaching down and patting Aria on the shoulder. “I’m your creator. Welcome to your first day alive. Enjoying it so far?” The lady-Dr. Ferris, Aria suddenly knew-cocked her head to one side, regarding her quizzically and kindly. Speechless, Aria nodded, and then glanced down. What she saw arrested her. She was wearing armor, bright purple and white. There were silver trimmings that glittered in the bright lights. “Here, darling.” The doctor whispered, placing an object gently into her hands. A mirror. She looked, and saw herself for the first time.

She was pale, very pale. Her skin was an almost milky white. Long blond hair fell to her waist in a thick, silky braid, bouncing against her back as she shook her head. Her features were beautiful, but not perfect. Aristocratic was the first word that came to mind. A long, thin nose, stubborn jaw and prominent cheekbones. The only thing that saved her from looking stern was her friendly smile, and her eyes. They were a bright green, and seemed to glitter with life. She smiled again, and watched her face light up in the mirror. Then, on a bizarre impulse, she stuck out her tongue and crossed her eyes. Dr. Ferris laughed, and Aria smiled at her shyly.

“Aria, I finished you first and I activated you first.” Dr. Ferris told her. “But now it’s time to activate your siblings. Look over here…” After touching a few controls, two tables, like the one she had been on, extended from the wall. On them were two more bioroids. Aria stood carefully and examined them both.

They were both male. The first wore dark blue and black armor. Aria gaped. The same aristocratic face that she had, but with a dark olive complexion. He looked so vulnerable, so carelessly perfect. Dark black hair curled around his sleeping face, and Dr. Ferris gently smoothed some of the curls back. “His name is Andante.” She told Aria gently, with a smile. Aria swallowed.

“Is he my… brother?” Aria asked, awe in her voice. The doctor nodded, her smile broadening.

“And so is he.” She nodded towards the other unconscious form. Aria tore her attention away from Andante, and examined him.

He was…different. Bright green and red armor contrasted brilliantly, even garishly. Little diamonds of white were located at odd spots, giving him a very strange appearance. His bright red hair stood up in spikes, defying gravity. Freckles covered his face, which included a long, crooked nose. He looked mischievous, even in his sleep. I wonder if he really is? Aria thought in wonder.

“His name is Arpeggio. Well, here we go.” Dr. Ferris exclaimed, touching some controls. “Let’s start them both at once, shall we?” Light filled the room as power traveled to the still forms, which stirred…

Andante’s fingers moved in tiny motions as he started to awaken. Arpeggio groaned softly, and opened his eyes, then immediately sat up. He glanced around in confusion. “Hunh? What…?” Aria giggled. He looked so silly, with his strange hair and empty expression. His eyes, she noticed, were the same green as hers. Andante then opened his eyes, and sat up slowly. His eyes were blue. He pushed his hair back with one hand, and smiled. His cheeks dimpled when he did that, she noticed.

“Dr. Ferris?” Andante questioned, his voice a smooth baritone. Arpeggio quickly looked her way, and sprang up, surprising everyone.

“Mother?” He shouted in a scratchy tenor. Everyone started, and then stared as he hugged the doctor, lifting her right off her feet! Poor Dr. Ferris gaped and kicked her feet until he gently set her down, and patted her on the head! Aria couldn’t contain herself. She giggled.

“Sister!” And then it was her turn to be lifted into the air-although not as far as Dr. Ferris had been, since she was actually a bit taller than her brothers. Arpeggio beamed at her, freckles dancing. Then he dropped her to her feet, and turned to his last family member.

“Brother!”

“No way!”

Andante immediately grabbed a chair and strategically positioned it between them. It didn’t take more than an instant for his brother to eel around it, beginning a little chase around the lab. And then out of the lab, as Andante shot through the door!

“Wait!” Dr. Ferris shrieked as she dashed after them. “Look out! Things here are breakable! Look out for the china cabinet! NO! MY LAMP!”

CRASH!!!

“Arpeggio!!!”

It was a good beginning.

This was the start of Aria’s life. Time went by and she got to know her brothers. Andante was solid and careful, never venturing an opinion until he was certain of it. He was so serious about everything, Aria sometimes made jokes just to watch him look confused. Arpeggio obviously felt the same way. A constant jester, he would tell off-color jokes that made Aria giggle every time. Even better were his slightly corny but still fascinating pranks. Case in point…

Dr. Light was coming to visit! Aria was thrilled. Mother had told her about him, the famous robot designer. Apparently they had met at a convention, and kept in contact. Dr. Ferris had nothing but praise for him and his work, which she felt was superior to her own. Andante sulked a bit after hearing this. He was the product of her work, after all! Arpeggio and Aria just grinned. Being the product of inferior work didn’t bother them a bit. When Dr. Light arrived, they were introduced.

“Tiffany! It’s been a long time.” Dr. Light shook her hand, with a twinkle in his eye. Aria realized with a shock that Tiffany must be her mothers’ real name. It seemed so completely inappropriate! “And these are…?” He looked over the bioroids. Aria suddenly felt incredibly shy and tongue-tied, a reaction most strangers induced in her.

“My greatest creations.” Dr. Ferris announced with such obvious pride that Aria smiled. “Aria.” Aria nodded shyly. “Arpeggio.” She waved at him.

“That’s me! Salutations, oh illustrious one! Oh wondrous life giver! We are not worthy!” And he prostrated himself on the floor, salaaming frantically. Aria giggled, and Dr. Ferris laughed. Dr. Light was more than a little startled, and stared as Arpeggio suddenly leaped off the floor and began pumping his hand, grinning like a maniac. To the bemused Dr. Light, the large bioroid looked like a hideous parody of a president whose name we will not mention to avoid libel. Retrieving his hand, Dr. Light looked to the last member of their little family, who was playing a video game.

“And this is Andante.” He looked up briefly from his game.

“Hi.” He was obviously still sulking about the superior comment. Oh, well, Aria thought resignedly, he’ll get over it. Then she smiled at him affectionately. She loved him, sulks and all.

“Well, Thomas, how have things been?” Their conversation wandered into trivial or technical things that bored Aria completely. She didn’t notice anything until…

“How about a drink? Diet coke?” Dr. Light nodded, and Dr. Ferris turned to Arpeggio. “Go fetch us a couple cokes, would you darling?”

“Oh sure.” He replied in such a mild tone that Aria snapped alert at once. He was always at his mildest when he was planning something…but what? Aria waited in anticipation

Arpeggio brought the coke back in neat glasses. Dr. Light didn’t notice the plastic fly Arpeggio had thoughtfully added to his order until it was a little too late. The explosion was impressive. Aria could have sworn pop came out his ears!

“Arpeggio!” Dr. Ferris was appalled. Aria burst out in a fit of giggles, and Andante steadfastly ignored the fun. The mess was quickly cleaned up, and Arpeggio was ordered to give Dr. Light an apology, which he did with a semi-straight face. After that, he was banned to his bedroom. But the fun was not over…

Later, they were still chatting, and Aria was asked to fetch some snacks. Seeing a peanut jar (you know, the metal kind,) sitting on the bar, she opened it…

“AHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Her scream rocked the house.

“What is it?” Her mother rushed in to see her bioroid daughter clutching her chest and wheezing. “What happened, darling?”

“It…it popped out at me!!” She wailed, pointing at several yellow snake things. Her mother picked one up…

“Oh, for the love of… Arpeggio!” She shouted, heading up to see him.

Life went on, in a typical family fashion.

Continue to Chapter 2 of Aria
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