The first thing I remember is the clank of machinery, and the hiss of exhaust, then light. Before I had a chance to get my bearings I was moving, sliding down a chute, then onto a conveyor full of other inflatable reindeer. I stood in line, waiting my turn, trying to take in as much of my surroundings as possible. Before I could process much of anything, I was shunted down a smaller side conveyor, landing on a desk in front of a human.
"Woah. Never seen one [b]THAT[/b] messed up before."
I tried to ask what was wrong, what he meant by that, but before I got the chance I was on the move again, down another chute. But unlike last time, there were no other does with me. I was alone... tumbling into darkness.
Eventually I hit the bottom with a soft thud.
I don't know how long I laid there. I'd been brought into existence without fanfare, then discarded without a thought. How... how does one process that?
Eventually the background hum of machinery went quiet, and the human voices moved off into the distance before dissipating entirely. Realizing I was alone, and no one was coming to check on me, I pulled myself to my hooves, and lifted the lid of the bin.
That's when it hit me. I wasn't alone in there. I was standing atop a pile of other defective deer. My dead sisters. ...Well, my never-alive sisters, more correctly. Some of them spoke some programmed phrases and cycled through some motions, but none of them had thought. I bowed my head at them, not sure if I was sorry for them, or envious, while I looked down the empty isle.
That's when it hit me. I was looking two ways at once! I heaved myself out of them bin, and galloped to the nearest shiny surface. I... I certainly was different. Two heads with different antlers, a third pair of little vestigial legs, handles and valves scattered at random...
I wasn't sure what to make of it, but seeing all the perfectly identical, picture prefect does perched on the paused production line... I knew this wasn't the place for me. I stumbled around for a bit, still figuring out how this body functioned, before finding an emergency exit and stumbling out, into an empty loading dock. I stood there for a moment, taking in the scale of the world beyond the factory walls. The programming covered what a deer's habitat looked like, but it didn't do the starry open sky and the cool spring breeze on my vinyl justice.
And then the emergency alarm sounded, and the deer instincts it programmed kicked in, and I bolted for the treeline across the parking lot. I was well into the safety of the forest before the humans showed up to investigate.
I wandered for days after that. As a synthetic deer it turns out I don't need much for sustenance, nor do I have any natural (or unnatural) predators. Eventually I wandered too close to a human village, who were much more interested in finding me than the first humans. What happened from there was a bit of a blur. Apparently I was supposed to get a "limited artificial intelligence", but because I had two heads the machine malfunctioned and gave me double dose and thus a full consciousness... and it wasn't the first time they'd made that mistake. Lots of humans in suits yelled while I watched on, and in the end I got a stipend and a place to my own out of the way, where I wouldn't be bothered and they wouldn't be reminded of their mistake.
Not long after the humans were done arguing though, some more humans showed up, lurking in my bushes. I thought they came to gawk at the freak deer... but they were... fans?
Apparently I looked a lot like a background character from a game, and word had leaked out! And instead of hiding me away, they wanted me to be a star! Do photoshoots and promos and go to conventions!
And, well, here we are! I do a pretty rad Fallout cosplay, don't I?
Phew. Bit of a dark story/flavor text there. I had like, a quarter of an idea, then stretched it into half an idea, then brought it to a close really quick.
Wanted to get a squeaky alt of the rad-reindeer Lus, and thought about instead of being the result of mutations, what if it was a manufacturing defect? And once again, ProjectPorygon delivered a wonderful piece! Thank you again for indulging my silly idea! <3