“Marin was also the one

“Marin was also the one who introduced me to music. I was watching him, again, while he was sitting cross-legged on the floor, whispering to his machines, and I started humming some song from Tanu. He looked up, a little bleary-eyed, and smiled warily.

“‘Is that what your music sounds like?’ he asked, and it was the first time he’d asked me a question about myself. I nodded, biting my tongue, feeling as though I had disturbed him.

“‘Can you sing it for me again?’

“I flushed, and then sang: it was just a lullaby, something I had overhead my mother singing dozens of times when my younger siblings were having trouble falling asleep, something she had sung to me when I was a tiny thing. But it made Marin smile, and nod along with the rhythm.

“‘Have you learned any of our music?’

“‘The voice teach…teached…taught me a little music theory, and history?’ I wasn’t too sure on that point — it was one of the modules that Marcus had let the machines select, since he admitted to being musically illiterate. I looked away, abashed, and was almost startled to hear Marin’s chuckle.

“‘Better just to listen.’ Then he turned back to the machine, touched it on the side (very gently) and spoke again in its language. Then the room began to emit song — an incredible instrumentation, nothing like anthing I’d heard before, even in the musicology module. It was perfectly, wonderfully overwhelming. When I opened my eyes, Marin was grinning.

“‘Ask it to play you Marin gai melod anide’ he spoke in the choppy language he used to the machine ‘and you can hear more, if you like.’