Hearts And Minds (Cell)

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Hearts And Minds (Cell)
Date of Cutscene: 08 May 2015
Location: A Red Ribbon Regiment Base
Synopsis: Cell and Android Sixteen have a discussion about perfection, souls, and what it means to be alive.
Cast of Characters: Cell (Dropped)

The door swung open easily for Android Sixteen. All doors in the Red Ribbon Regiment bases did, since he was the sub-Commander. The authority was second only to Cell himself. It was a strange change, Sixteen considered as he scanned the room, from being trapped in a tube.

Cell stood, hunched over the operating table. On it were the ripped and twisted remains of a Red Ribbon Regiment uniform. Cell's tail had dug into the table itself - likely, Sixteen decided, out of anger.

"What is it about me," Cell demanded, "That makes me perfect?" Sixteen's voice analyzer ran the question twice over before he settled on an answer - passing joke protocols and flattery routines (he never used those anyway) into the concern simulator.

"Another failure?" The android monotoned. Cell's head tilted upwards.

"Of course it was another failure," the commander buzzed, "It was brilliant, clever, and all kinds of smart. It was foolproof, but apparently it wasn't genius-proof." The bio-monster turned to face Sixteen, compound eyes narrowed in frustration.

"So what do you think, big brother? What did the old man have that I don't have?" Cell's fist hammered through the operating table with a single motion, sending chunks of it flying every which way. Sixteen casually batted a hunk aside as he watched Cell start pacing around the room.

"Nothing! Less than I have! He only had his own brain! I've got more genius than I know what to do with! The powers of a demigod! Pieces from every species known to man! So what is it?!" Cell roared, "What is it that I'm missing?"

"Unknown," came Sixteen's steady reply. He weathered Cell's anger like a rock in a storm, unmoving despite the buffeting winds, "The project is not progressing to satisfaction."

"No," Cell agreed, leaning against the remains of the table and pressing a hand to the gem on his forehead, "No it isn't. It's not progressing to my satisfaction. Whatever it is about me that makes me perfect, I can't isolate it." The biomonster barked out a cynical insectoid laugh. "Gero figured it out but I CAN'T!"

"You are angry," Sixteen observed.

Cell turned to look at his brother. Compound eyes stared at him, focusing slowly. "Of course I'm angry. I'm always angry. I don't know how to do anything but be angry, Sixteen. I can't do anything but hate, hate, hate."

They'd had this conversation before. Sixteen's eyes did not move from Cell's. "Yes. Except me. And Son Gohan."

"You're an exception," Cell waved his hand, "A hole in the programming. An exploit. A loop. I don't feel anything about you. Probably the same for the rest of the family."

"And Son Gohan?" Sixteen pressed, "After your conversation with him, use of familial metaphors to describe Gero-type Artificial Humans has gone up ninety percent."

Cell was quiet for a moment, moving to lean against the wall. His gaze became unfocused and distant, locked on the wall. Eventually, Sixteen moved next to the Commander and imitated his stance, big robot arms folded in front of broad robot chest. Cell's tail twitched thoughtfully.

"I didn't hate the kid," Cell admitted, "That story about his dad...I don't know. Never felt.../feelings/ before. I wasn't aware I could. I didn't know the puppet could work without the strings. But now that I've felt it, I'm starting to wonder."

"Wonder what?"

"Will Seventeen and Eighteen make me perfect? Or just make me stronger?" Cell's eyes swung upwards. "What is it that makes a *soul*, Sixteen? What is it that makes a *person*, instead of what we are?"

"Running search-"

"Oh, don't do that, you big idiot." Cell tapped him on the arm gently. "You can't answer it. I've read enough to have an idea, though. Good and evil. Right and wrong. Feelings. Being free."

Cell pushed off the wall and spread his arms. "We aren't free, buddy. We don't have souls. We march to the beat of the old man's drum, prisoners of our construction. We can't feel happy. We can't feel sad. You're a machine, and I'm...hate. Hate, hate, hate. Engraved in every tiny little strand of DNA, every single strand of RNA, every bit of my existence. Every neuron fires with the flames of wrath."

"Affirmative," Sixteen countered, "We are built to fulfill a purpose. We are built to kill-"

"Son Goku is dead!" Cell roared, rounding on Sixteen and pounding his fist into the wall next to the Android's head. The wall bent and groaned with the stress of it as Cell's face twisted, a mask of fury. "He is *dead*, Sixteen. We were made to kill a guy who never came back from Space. But I'm still shackled to that goddamned code! Because instead of a soul, instead of being a *person*, I'm a puppet, a robot, an abomination! I'm not even my own abomination! And the worst part is, I know everything that went into me, I know how to make another one...but I *can't*, and so I can't figure out how to fix what he did wrong, because whatever he did wrong, *I* can't even get to! Rrraaaah!"

"Supposition," Android Sixteen offered, unblinking, "If you were to replace Seventeen and Eighteen with something to fill your missing elements..."

Cell sighed and removed his hand, waving it as if that had actually hurt. Sixteen knew it had not. "Fill what elements, Sixteen? My capacity for good and evil? My ability to feel something other than the staggering, monumental rage that apparently is all Gero felt was needed? Besides, I don't know what elements go into Seventeen and Eighteen to complete me, and I'm not capable of doing anything but searching for perfection."

"Observation. You have already recontextualized your mission of 'kill Son Goku' to 'kill All Saiyans'. If you recontextualize your search for perfection, and had access to Doctor Gero, it may be possible to alter your parameters."

"I'd need-"

Cell paused.

His mandibles twisted. "The capacity for good and evil...access to Gero...and recontextualization of perfection."

"You have created a plan," Sixteen noted.

"Yeah. I think I have. But we need some supplies first. And we need our brother and sister to come home." Cell sat down on the ruined table and steepled his longer, wicked-looking fingers. "And we'll need to go see the little green guy."

"Affirmative."

"Get your coat, Sixteen," Cell pushed off the table and strolled out the door, a tuxedo assembling around him as he moved, "We're going to need to meet our maker."

"Correction," Sixteen offered, "I do not possess a coat."