whenever you have time/energy for it, could you talk about headcanons for if hera somehow got a physical body? no rush, just wanna know what you have to say on the matter
(not quite sure whether this is headcanons or a ficlet? or whether it’s at all what you had in mind? but boy, do I have Thoughts about AIs and their relationship to humanity and Hera in particular, and that comes through here.)
- Hera’s first concern when they start talking about making her a body is that she wants to design it herself.
- it isn’t that she doesn’t want a body. and it isn’t that she doesn’t want to be able to engage in the kind of comforting physical socializing all of her friends use their bodies for – she really, really wants to finally high five Eiffel, for one thing.
- (he started leaving handprints on the Hephaestus’ monitors within a month of the day they met.)
- but Hera knows what kind of shape they’d think of for her – not maliciously, she knows they love her, but it’s like the words they didn’t give her, the mind they did – they only ever conceptualize one shape, one kind of body, one way of being.
- Hera doesn’t want a body so she can be more human, doesn’t want to be a pretty little android. she doesn’t want a body that proves that she’s just like all of them, because she’s not. Hera wants a body that makes her more Hera.
- it does not need to move or look like anything human beings have referent for, although she pulls inspiration from everything from plants to animals to industrial engineering (anything she thinks seems cool, honestly; she confesses this to Eiffel but would never admit it to Minkowski, and she’s not lying when she tells Renee that she has a coherent functional and aesthetic goal. and she’s quite proud of it, in the end). Hera does not want a body so she can be a person (she knows she is already a person); Hera wants a body to do the things she can’t without one.
- she is so hungry for experience, for seeing and feeling and doing – now that the station is no longer a part of her, now that so much of her mind and identity are not occupied with a million calculations and routines and consciousnesses keeping the Hephaestus running, now that she finally gets to decide for herself what she wants to do – she realizes she wants to do everything.
- Hera’s body is built to house any sense they could think of, all that freed-up processing power devoted to every kind of experience - vision in spectrums beyond human comprehension, as many tactile sensors as they could cram in, temperature, electrical impulses, electromagnetic waves, even taste, of course taste, she has spent almost her entire life listening to her best friend describe food, like she would miss out on that entire slice of what the universe has to offer
- and she thought space was full! she never understood how it could be called a void, called emptiness – but suddenly it makes sense why people would say that, because even with the limits of a human body, there is so much – this world is so much, every square inch of it, and just going fifty feet down a street is such a kaleidoscope of incredible things. it is awe-inspiring and disgusting and painful and amazing and beautiful and she is full of wonder at it.
- (there is so much in this world that she is the first person ever to know. there are so many experiences so intrinsic to life here that no one thinks about them and that she is feeling and wondering at for the first time.)
- people do not generally find it a comforting body. hera doesn’t care; she didn’t build it for them, and her friends don’t care, either, and that’s all that matters. she has an emotional body language of her own which Minkowski can read as easily as her own humanoid shoulder shrugs and eyerolls. Doug does not seem at all to mind sitting back in his apartment, propped up against her humming-warm metal side as he dozes in front of the TV, as long as she has all the right appendages to give him a hug.
- (Lovelace will walk down the street next to her as naturally as though she was any ordinary human being in the world; and Hera’s senses can easily read the tenseness, like coiled springs, in her step as she does. but she also knows there is nothing defensive there, only a fierce pride, now, in both of them, for knowing and deciding who and what they are. daring the world to try and tell them differently. Hera and Lovelace understand each other really well these days.)
- and it’s nice, she finds, nicer than she expected, to be able to stretch limbs and feel the brush of textures and the weight of physicality and think this is mine. this is me. it is something she could never feel with the Hephaestus, which was always neither her body nor something she simply piloted, but frustratingly in between. there’s comfort in this clearer delineation of what is and isn’t Hera, in her own right to decide what shape that space takes.
- hands, she tells them, are very useful for doing all kinds of things, as humans prove, and were an obvious choice to include in her design.
- (they’re good for high fives, too.)