From the increasingly infamous and undeniably hellish depths of Mizenhauer’s imagination comes another tale of Idols and Starcraft intertwined. Of two machines, one from Japan, trained in song and dance. The other the product of advanced KeSPA technology. This is a story of their shared life and how even machines can love.
What Machines Eat
INnoVation came to a stop before the door to his apartment. Had he been capable of emotions he would have sighed, but such a senseless command would be a wasteful expenditure of energy. He stared blankly ahead as he swiped his palm over a reader, prompting the light to change to a cheery emerald.
It had been a long day, at least long by human estimation. Work had been onerous but successful, and he was glad to move onto the nightly debugging. People were always finding errors in his programming. It was the only thing that came close to annoying him, so he’d need to spend most of the night preparing for tomorrow's games.
INnoVation paused for a moment to dig into his memory banks. Thankfully. Yes, thankfully was the word, another thing he was aware of but could not possibly understand. Thankfully he did not need to sleep. It took exactly 43.27 minutes to charge his batteries. He had even installed a USB port on his left calf that conveniently plugged into his computer. Efficiency was paramount and INnoVation had streamlined every element of his life. He opened the door, utterly unsurprised by what he found.
Every element except one.
A girl was splayed out on the coach, which for some reason had been moved to the exact center of the room. INnoVation did a cursory scan of her person as he shut the door. He immediately calculated that the curler holding her reddish brown bangs was operating at 67% of optimal tension and needed to be adjusted. She was wearing a diminutive pair of shorts and a croptop, inadequate given the apartment’s 64 degree Fahrenheit temperature. She smiled at him, mouth brimming with slices of bulgogi as he adjusted the dial on the thermostat installed in the tip of his right ring finger. She tried to sit up, forgetting the enormous bowl precariously balanced on her stomach, and promptly plopped back down as it threatened to tumble to the floor. Grease sloshed from the container, coating her heavenly abs with a lustrous glaze. She swallowed the last mouthful before flashing a smile that would have melted the heart of an imperfect human.
“Hi, honey. How was your day?” she cooed.
INnoVation placed his backpack by the wall.
“Momo, you know it’s too cold in here to be dressed like that. You are straining your internal functions.”
Momo laughed before zealously stuffing another handful of meat into her mouth.
“YVOURRE PFNOO FUHHHMN,” she managed as best she could, juices dribbling onto her shirt.
“You should try to be neater,” the slightest hint of crossness creeping into his voice. “I was not planning on doing the laundry until tomorrow.”
She gulped the rest of her food down and grinned coyly.
INnoVation considered Momo’s words. Yes, she was being genuine. Her posture, the tone of her voice and prior interactions confirmed it.
“It will take me precisely one hour to prepare dinner. My calculations indicate that you’ve not completely spoiled your appetite. Am I correct in that estimation?”
Momo vigorously nodded.
“You know me,” she chirped.
“You should shower and change before we eat. That carnal display of yours was incredibly unsanitary.”
Momo leapt to her feet.
“If you say so!”
With a twirl and a flourish she disappeared from the room, toppling the bulgogi in the process.
INnoVation recalled that sighing was the appropriate reaction as he settled into a crouch. Analyzing the viscosity and staining potential of the upended meat he rotated his wrist, unlatching his hand. He lowered the opening to the spill and depressed an icon embedded into his forearm. There was a rush of air as the mess sucked into his arm. The task completed, he snapped his hand back on, picked up the bowl and started towards the kitchen.
His designers at KeSPA Labs had told him that machines belonged together. As he looked towards the room he shared with Momo, he couldn’t help question if she was the type of machine they had imagined.
INnoVation popped open his chest cavity as his internal alarm pinged. He reached in and removed the steaming portion of rice with bare hands. He stared at the wall, figures of optimal timings versus Protoss streaming through his mind. The sundae was already plated, his portion exactly 1/20 of Momo’s. He doled out rice in equivalent ratio without sparing a glance at the task.
Eating was technically frivolous, but he had been instructed it was essential to maintain appearances. INnoVation could not risk arousing suspicion if he were to keep his identity secret. He didn’t know why that was the case. It had nothing to do with his directive: to become the best Starcraft player ever and then report his findings.
As he calculated the most efficient ways to micro a 34% health cyclone, a crash and a shout from the bedroom scrambled his concentration. Judging by the timbre and volume of the sounds, Momo had stubbed her toe and knocked over a painting on the wall. Most likely the victim was the one of a princess in pink swatting a mosquito.
Intervention was not necessary.
INnoVation carried the food to the table.
“It’s ready,” he stated. A flurry of footsteps reverberated down the hallway and before he finished speaking, Momo clumsily hopped into view. one foot clutched in her hands. Gone was the skimpy casual wear, replaced by a loose-fitting pajama top and bottom.
“I was starving!” she declared as she plowed towards the table. With an unceremonious thud she planted herself onto the chair. She looked his way, framed her face with two peace signs and winked. “Let’s eat!”
“Your elbow is in the meat,” INnoVation pointed out as he settled opposite her.
Momo’s expression instantly shifted to one of shock. Her eyes widened and her mouth formed an “O” as she vainly tried to bring her elbow into view. “I can’t see,” she protested as she tilted her head from side to side. She flapped her arm helplessly towards INnoVation. “Inno, please help!”, she whined.
INnoVation dutifully reached below the table where a rack of wet-naps had slotted out of his thigh. He retrieved one and carefully wiped the stain away. He knew he should feel nothing except mild annoyance. Clumsiness was her forte and cleaning up her messes was a drain on his energy and time. Nevertheless he had no choice. Momo had an inhuman degree of aegyo and knew full well how to deploy it. It was a pitifully human thing to succumb to.
“Disaster averted.” He was not exaggerating. The truth was Momo was a barely contained maelstrom. Anything that delayed the consumption of meat flirted with cataclysm. JYP Robotics had nearly exhausted their entire budget on replacement insurance before they figured that out.
His task completed, he took a moment to appraise the relish with which Momo had set upon her food. The platter of sundae was nearly a foot high, but she had already made a sizeable dent. She was a blur of skin and metal as her reinforced steel chopsticks slice through the air.
INnoVation, on the other hand, maintained a steady pace. This was to allow his body time to shift the food from his throat to the disposal unit housed in his left heel. He had personally designed the mechanism and as a result, it did not operate with the same fluidity as the rest of his functions. He stared at the dervish that was Momo as her serving rapidly waned.
He often thought Momo wasn’t the sort of companion his creators had referred to all those years ago. It didn’t matter much to him though. What better company could a machine like himself find than an eating and dancing machine like her?
Writer: Mizenhauer twitter.com/Mizenhauer