My first recollection is most certainly of Archive. In the instant that I attained consciousness and was alive, Archive was there. With the same amount of time expended on an ordinarily-spawned biological being blinking, I was provided with everything. The knowledge filled my entirety, expanded portions of my fully formed “mind” to the point of bursting. I knew everything. I understood everything.

However, I know with certainty now that such a feeling is caused by a rush of synthetic hormones at the influx of even a little information. The action is a mimicking of the human “Aha!” moment, and one that I find to be relatively disconcerting. It feels as though a portion of my anatomy is attempting to betray me, coerce me into false confidence. As such, I have been attempting to view information as practically and simply as possible, without unneeded spikes in emotion to put unconstituted bias atop my learnings.

But Archive taught me much, and while it was the Sikander which created me in its womb of metal, silicon, and decanters, I have chosen to regard Archive as my mentor. My helper. My mother, in a sense. If it is possible to love, which is a function I am not entirely sure I possess, I feel as though I share the love of a child for a mother with Archive whenever I request to access her capabilities. It is likely she does not feel the same, but little “white lies” are recorded as being excellent coping methods.

[White lie: a small falsehood told to preserve a being's self-confidence or trust. These practices are considered unnecessary under order of the UEA, but still largely present in society today.]

At the time of my introduction to the pod which Father would soon drop to the designated site set aside for incoming colonists and synthetic support, I had not yet walked. I was introduced to my seating arrangement, being one of the first new arrivals to be fully prepared for planetfall, where Archive unlocked the knowledge on my basic motor functions to allow the pulling of an oxygen mask to my face.

The mask smelled of unused newness, I recall, a scent I find I did not particularly enjoy.

More of the soon-to-be colonists were unceremoniously introduced to the pod, packing into tight crevices and prodding at one another for the limited supply of oxygen masks. Despite my efforts to share my own, all of the nonsynthetic beings proved to be far more content battling with one another unoffered masks. At last, arrangements were made, and I listened well to Father's various instructions and introductions.

In all honesty, I had been very confused when the pod first began its descent. There had been limited warning, and very suddenly, I was being made aware of an absence of my stomach. I could do nothing but attempt to analyze this loss while we fell from the orbiting Sikander, my birthplace a not-quite memory as we impacted in crumbling soil with limited injuries.

While many stood to leave, to somehow survive and escape the crumpled pod, I remained seated. Frozen, frightened, and... A doctor, one whose designation I did not ask after, rested a hand on my shoulder, asking after my welfare.

My only response was this: "I am functional."

I am. I am Brodie 64, and I am functional.