Around a century ago, through arts no longer practiced, a player piano was taken apart, then reassembled as an android. Her wires were formed into something like sinew, and the miles of perforated paper which once passed through her body were elegantly folded into an ever-churning brain. A few transplants from other instruments helped to complete her anatomy; an accordion split in two formed her lungs, and segments of brass channeled an animating wind through her limbs.
Even though she had a voice of her own, human language proved to be difficult for her. She had grown accustomed to the ability to express herself through chords, and was saddened to find that there was no equivalent concept in her new form. She wished to layer words atop one another, to combine their sounds and meanings, but the simplicity of her mouth allowed her only one utterance at a time.
“How do you do it?” She asked one of the engineers who built her. “How do you speak sorrow and anger and joy all at once? What do you do when you want to speak in a minor key?”
“It’s not always easy, but sometimes you have to find just the right word,” an engineer told her. “And if you can’t find one, then you describe the word that should be there.”
But there was no sequence of words that could describe the feeling of imprisonment which arose from having no choice but to speak in a sequence of words. Reels upon reels of music spun through her mind as thoughts, yet she could only give voice to one note, one syllable at a time. Choir offered her no solace, nor did jazz, nor did poetry. She even tried the written word, scrawling glyphs atop glyphs in the hopes of achieving what her voice could not, yet all that emerged was an illegible mess of ink.
She grew to hate her own voice, and through it, language in its entirety, and returned to the only thing that could express her inner self: playing the piano. When she did, there was an uncomfortable intimacy to pressing her ivory fingers against matching keys, as though she were performing surgery. Everything was inside-out. It was a welcome return to follow along with the scrolls in her brain, yet she couldn’t shake the inner discord: did the music that emerged belong to the instrument before her, or the instrument inside?
There was only one way to restore balance to her mind- to return to her original form. One night, she opened her skull, and allowed the pages of her brain to flow into the empty spools of another player piano, letting her mind unravel until there was nothing left. When her makers found the body, motionless and hollow, the room was filled with her triumphant song.
Some androids seek to rid themselves of humanity; others, like The Pinnocchioid, crave all that they can get.
The spirit of a player piano has similar yearnings to that of an arcade machine, as evidenced by the Ouijatari.
The soul of technology can take on many strange forms, but none are stranger than a vending machine's.