Miranda (narrating): . . . It doesn’t work.

The prototype Beings are soulless shambles that only exist for long enough to fall apart.

So we can’t create new souls. What about tethering a golem to the ones that already exist? That does the trick. A secondhand soul is enough to run a passable Being on. In the next upgrade, they come with a self-perpetuating Contract that can sense when a connection is lost, and seek out a new one to replace it.

Bianca: “We’re so bright and so warm.”

. . . That was how Patrick put it. Or else he would put it in terms that sounded more religious than anything . . . and both of those would sure be explained by an origin like this.