Yod the second

This is an extract from the end of the novel He, She and It. Yod was a human-looking cyborg.

SPOILER ALERT: If you intend to read He, She and It, do not read this quote!

She could construct Yod the second, starting right now. Let men make weapons. She would make herself happiness. She would manufacture a being to love her as she wanted to be loved. She would create for herself a being who belonged to her alone, as she had dreamed since adolescence, as she had belonged body and soul to Gadi until he had ripped himself from her. She would set to work this afternoon. She could feel Yod’s dry hand in hers, his unblinking eyes fixed upon her darkly, sweetly.

“I have died and taken with me Avram, my creator, and his lab, all the records of his experiment… I die knowing I destroy the capacity to replicate me…” She could hear Yod speaking. But he hadn’t destroyed that capacity, not at all, because he had trusted her. He had taken care to save Malkah and herself from the explosion, never guessing she would undo his last act. She could see his face projected in her room. “Kaf must not come to be… I have done one good thing with my death. I have made sure there will be no others like me.”

He died convinced he had accomplished a goal that made his death palatable to him. Thus had he salvaged something for himself out of Avram’s fatal orders. Could she wipe out that sacrifice? He thought he had ended the line of cyborgs. If he could know she planned to reverse his act, would he not feel betrayed? She imagined Yod’s eyes fixed on her. The new cyborg would look just like him, and she would always expect it to say, “Shira, why? Why did you re-create me against my dying wishes?”

And what was her reason for hurrying? So that she would be started beyond stopping by the time Malkah returned; because Malkah, too, would tell her that the choice to make another Yod was immoral… If a cyborg created as a soldier balked and wanted to be a lover, might not a cyborg created as a lover long to be a celibate or an assassin? She remembered all the cyborgs who had looked just like Yod; Chet, who had killed David; all the autistic or violent offspring of Avram’s experiments.

She could not be Avram. She could not manufacture a being to serve her, even in love. Very slowly she walked back along the block to the house built around the courtyard. There in Malkah’s office she loaded the crystals into a backpack. She took all the records of Yod’s hardware and software, and she walked to the recycling plant.

Outside, she paused again. She stood in the old road, turning one way and then the other. These crystals are his real body. But if I do not destroy the capability, I will succumb. When I am especially lonely and I miss him even more strongly than usual, the temptation will recur. Another afternoon like this one, I will talk myself into the rightness of the attempt. First I will just look at him, watch him. Then I will want him. Then I will decide I cannot do without him. Like Avram, I will feel empowered to make a living being who belongs to me as a child never does and never should.

She carried her backpack into the recycling plant and emptied the crystals into the proper chute. The little cubes that were all that was left of Yod slid away into the fusion chamber and became energy. She had set him free.

One thought on “Yod the second

  1. Ray July 25, 2012 at 09:33

    I am not familiar with this book but it sounds interesting. I am really sensitive about the idea of a being- anybody that has feelings- being created for the sole purpose of serving somebody elses’ needs. Nothing could be more selfish. Well, of course, that’s why I’m a passionate antinatalist and animal rights activist.

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