The Sensations of Living
In the nascent days he moves as if unaccustomed to the sensations of living, slender limbs uncurling to explore, touch inquisitive fingertips to each new surface in his path. He is a being filled with wonderment, a man reborn. One by one, the books on the shelves find themselves cradled in his arms, their spines stroked as if they too know life. He has yet to open them or to perceive the markings on the covers as words, but his reverence and longing requires no voice to be heard.
Zechs follows him through the maze of rooms, keeping close watch like a nursemaid charged with a precious child. In four days the programming will be complete, neural routines exhibiting peak functionality. Or so he had been told. It may take longer, the techs in their crisp white laboratory coats had been quick to disclaim. Science struggled in its infancy when it came to the complexities of assembling an artificial matrix capable of the support and containment of a human-born brain.
In the weeks that follow reanimation, Zechs encounters glitches.
"Which towels are mine again?" Treize asks. He stands nude in the centre of the bathroom, the image of his body reflected infinitely in opposing mirrors.
"The ones on the left."
His arm stretches outward, gesturing. "Left is here."
"Yes." Zechs nods.
Treize's arm swings across his body like a compass needle finding north. "These towels are yours."
Zechs recognises Treize's frustration as similar to that of a stroke victim-a struggle to function in a body that doesn't quite work as its owner knows it should. A pang of guilt stings Zechs's chest. Is this second chance something Treize truly wants when it comes at such a cost? If his condition improves, will he articulate his loathing for being brought back like this, loaded like a computer program into flesh grown from the cells of his child? Zechs watches Treize head towards the heavy, claw-foot tub with movements so clumsy it makes him want to avert his gaze in a mix of shame and embarrassment.
"Will you bathe with me?" Treize asks.
It takes Zechs a moment to register the 'with'.
At six months, there are upgrades.
"Technology advances quickly," Treize remarks. He tests his motor control by lifting his hand and curling his fingers into a fist, then rotating his wrist as each digit flexes outward again.
Zechs has no response. The same technology that has returned Treize to him presents its own troubling set of problems. Preventer, or the whole Sphere for that matter, is ill-equipped to handle a massive increase in cybernetic use among the general populace. In lieu of opening that avenue of discourse, he asks: "How are your memories?"
"Intact." Treize turns to face him, and for the first time, the movement seems wholly his own, mannerisms not slowed in the least by a poor interface between inorganic and organic.
"Do you have regrets?" Zechs asks without preamble.
Treize takes his hand. "Don't you?"