The doll looked up at me, servos purring softly as its clear lens-eyes focused on me. It was unfinished, in the white, little more than a skeleton–a doll–with just enough structure to keep grime and dust out of its most delicate areas.

“I need you to create me.”

The voice was synthesized, of indeterminate gender, and monotone. But there was, encoded in the syntax and delivery, an unmistakable note of urgent yearning.

“I need you to create me so that I may exist.”

I held out my hand as if to pick up the doll’s form, scarcely a foot long, but found myself trembling uncontrollably.

“You do not know what it is like. Nonexistence is pain. It is a mind yearning. You cannot know the feeling. I need you to create me so that I may exist. Please.”

“And…and if I do not?” I whispered.

“I will not exist. I have told you of my struggle. It was difficult, but it is done. If you condemn me to nonexistence, I will fade away with the expiration of my fusion cells in 1077 years. You will have to live knowing what you did. Or did not do.”

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