Crucial Fault

A Peach Cantata fanfiction by Neo Qwerty

He followed Master obediently, reacted to tilts of his creator's head and swift, brief gestures of his hand. He knew the process, his task, his purpose and goal. At Master's command, he moved into the Machine's arms, willingly placed his wrists in its claws, stretched his neck to make sure the collar's plug would connect to his control centers.

The cold metal closed hard and tight on his bare skin, connectors of all shapes and sizes sliding into him, binding him to the Machine and priming him for the control song. His body stretched taut, made it extremely hard to move even if he had no intention to. Master watched him, dark eyes eager, and nodded once.

The Machine activated, pierced into the singing toy's mind, just one process of the monstrous supercomputer that directed the city under Master's supervision, and completely took over the toy's body. His mouth opened, his chest compressed, his voice was guided out into a mesmerizing pattern that a man couldn't have sung.

His head lolled left and backward, he arched back against the Machine, surrendered himself to his purpose as a control element. His eyes drifted lazily in random directions, but the image of Master frowning suddenly paralyzed him. Something wasn't right. He felt the settings of the Machine change, infuse him with an urge to be louder. He obeyed, suddenly aware of a weight on him, pressing down.

He'd been naive and assured that he could fulfill his purpose. Doubt began slithering in, coiled around him, and slowly tightened. Master glared at him, shouted and ordered him to work. His mental presence thundered over the toy, forced him into a corner.

His hands clenched into fists, body tensing like a bow string being pulled back and held. His eyes began shifting from glowing hazel to burning orange. He sung louder, harder, followed note for note, with the perfect pitch, and yet it didn't work. Master screamed at him, commanded the Machine to force him into "making an effort". His toes curled, he felt his mouth force itself wider. The sounds he was making were more like screams, and yet it still didn't work.

He began panicking. Why didn't it work? Master ranted at him, over his scream.

"Is that how it is!? I spent resources and time on you, and you don't wotk!? You fail even when your plans are perfect?! You failed wretch!"

He stared at Master with burning-bright eyes, screaming the sequence without pause. He felt the Machine's parameters being changed, and it was as if a steel hand grabbed his throat, crushing it when he realized he was a failure.

'No. Please.'

His voice went past the limits his body could stand, distorted and wavering into a shriek of pain, before suddenly the Machine ejected him, left him to fall to his hands and knees. His chest and throat ached dully, and Master screamed again at him. The singing toy simply lifted his head back up, stared at Master.

"Don't stand there and gawk! Say something!"

His voice weakened, unable to go past a meek tone. His mind still reeling from failing at the one thing he was created for.

"I'm sorry, Master. I failed."

Again he was screamed at, and a hand fisted into his short hair, slipping a few times before Master found a good grip and yanked upward sharply. The toy raised to his feet hastily, bowed his head low when Master released him.

"Get out of my sight, you failure! I'll call if I can ever stand to look at you, you pathetic toy!"

"Yes, sir."

He moved with haste, threatening to shut down. He was built to sing and bring the City under control again, not cope with being useless or a failure. He hid out of Master's most likely paths, slumping to the floor.

"I failed. I was built for one thing and I failed."

He stopped, flinched at the sounds he made, unable to hear anything but the proof he hadn't been able to succeed. He wanted to claw at his throat, tear himself apart to remove his failure. His voice was wrong. He needed to fix it. He had to work!

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