He is Null Achtzehn. He is not called anything except that. Zero Eighteen, the last three figures of his entry number; as if everyone was aware that only a man is worthy of a name, and that Null Achtzehn is no longer a man. I think that even he has forgotten his name, certainly he acts as if this was so. When he speaks, when he looks around, he gives the impression of being empty inside, nothing more than an involucre, like the slough of certain insects.
"Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves."
And what of the immortal soul in such transactions? Can this machine transmit and reattach it as well? Or is it lost forever, leaving a soulless body to wander the world in despair?
Kiriyama...saw past him...nothing there...emptiness.
Barely human...like a machine...he doesn't care what happens to himself...he doesn't care what happens to himself...empty inside...no consequence...it's not just us...he doesn't care about himself.
"You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you'll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no...anything. There's no chance at all of recovery. You'll just—exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever...lost."
Later, much later, when Piers and Ilane are able to look at their third son again, they will reflect that it was almost like losing two children. Conal
goes off to the Palace with the shadow of what he has done still hanging over him, and when they return from the Yamani Isles he is a stranger, a tall, whip-thin, silent boy with a badly-healed broken nose and huge shadows under his pale grey eyes.
The door opened to reveal Applejack. Despite the fact that she’d been in the middle of breaking and entering, there was no anger or hostility or alarm or anything whatsoever on the Earth pony’s face. The emptiness which sat in Applejack’s eyes was the same as that in Rarity’s own. Both of them walked forward. Their shoulders bumped against each other, their sides slid alongside one another like two pieces of wheeled luggage at a train station. No words were spoken.
It is said that memories are what make us who we are. Personal, private, intimate— small fragments of the life that we have lived. Memories are precious gems to remind us of times when we were happy, or they are weights that burden and callous [sic] our souls. Without our memories we are nothing but a living shell that is empty, with no past or origin, existing simply to exist.
That is what I am.
I have no recollections of my past that are my own, knowing only what is recounted to me. Within my mind's eye are no faces of any beings that I recognise as mother or father. There are no friends or siblings whose names I recall fondly, nor are there any happy memories, or moments that have shaped and moulded the entity that I am.
You won't talk. Or - you
can't talk? Hold on, hold on, wait a minute, just let me - OH! No. YES! Nooo! Think it through - you spoke before. I heard your voice. An intelligent voice; no, more than that, brilliant! But, looking at you now, all I can see...is...Beast. The animal. Just the body. You're just the body, the physical form. What's happened to your mind, hmm? Where's it gone? Where's that intelligence?...Oh, no...