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...You don't actually have to standby, you can carry on trash-heaping
edited 14th Jul '15 8:19:25 AM by SolipSchism
Misread that at first:
I can't shitpost for the life of me. I'm too rational. But I write soft sci-fi, which is very irrational. What am I?
You're too rational? My mind literally feels like a cage because I analyse the shit out of everything. Yet I can post weird things just fine. Also you're a normal person just like the majority of other people. Unless you're not a normal person but you probably are, statistically. You know. As I'm not in the statistic norm (since I'm actually a minority and not just making shit up to feel special on the internet), I'm totally qualified to say this.
Well dying wouldn't be so bad, Lior but suffering some horrible wounds that would cripple me or something would be sad times.
edited 14th Jul '15 8:25:35 AM by death_vlk
I'M HAUNTED AT NIGHT BY HER CRIES
YEAH I'M FROZEN COLD
I do analyze things too much in order to rationalize them (thanks anxiety), but I guess in fiction I don't care as much. I suspend my disbelief too well sometimes.
I sat in the darkest, dustiest corner of the train car, head back against the wall, eyes closed, idly flipping through my files.
Brahian: Dancer at the Trash Heap. Ties to management certain, but unidentified. Not receptive to bribes. No family members or close friends identified. Not a practical target for coercion.
Vlk (Deceased): Member of the Tree. One daughter (see attached file). Strong signs of high-functioning psychiatric instability; probably susceptible to emotional manipulation.
Hope—"Hopey": (NEW DATA) Leader and founder(?) of the Tree. Head of the Collective. Motives uncertain in light of data suggesting he is a double-agent (Collective compromised—agents untrustworthy—see attached file on Collective).
Son of a bitch. That bastard Vlk had answered my most burning question, but all the answer had done was throw everything else about my mission into question. The mission itself was suspect—if my own organization was being run by the same lunatic I'd been tasked with eliminating, didn't that mean the organization itself, and all its goals and methods, were equally unreliable?
...Maybe it was just the machines swimming around in my body, but the core of my mission was infallible. It had to be. This ... cult, this Tree, was a threat to ... everything. Free thought. Individuality. Human-level intelligence. If it continued to spread, the only comprehensible outcomes were more like the climax of Neon Genesis Evangelion than any twentieth-century Apocalypse prediction based on bullshit Mayan calendars and solar flares. The world would end, the human race would become extinct—and no one would even notice, no one would acknowledge it.
I had to complete the mission given to me by the Collective. And if that meant sloughing the Collective off like a layer of necrotized skin, then so be it.
A little yellow light flashed in the corner of my vision. I waved a hand in its general direction; the gesture was interpreted correctly by the software in my spinal cord and a square of light blossomed into the darkness behind my closed eyelids.
My eyes came open, even though it made no difference.
The familiar face on the invisible screen smiled. It wasn't a pleasant expression.
"Me. Nice try."
"I killed you." I didn't speak aloud; I was in privacy mode, which meant my spinal cord intercepted the signals sent from my brain to my diaphragm and vocal cords, translating it into subvocal gestures that would be heard by no one but the person on the other end of the call.
"You didn't exactly stick around to watch me die, did you?"
"Irrelevant," I snapped. "Your body's cleaned, dressed, and in a hole in the ground by now."
He smirked. I could just make out the wall behind him; it was tiled. A bathroom? "My will says I want my body to be thrown through a church window and left to rot on the ground. Surely that wish should be respected."
I gritted my teeth. The software didn't intercept that, but Vlk would see it anyway.
"I get it," I said after taking a few breaths. I leaned back against the wall again, tilted my head back, and closed my eyes. "That was a body double. Someone you planted where we knew you'd be."
"You're half right. But there's no 'double'. I knew no simple doppelganger or clone would fool you. Rest assured, you had a short-but-fulfilling conversation with my very real, very sick body."
I took a second to digest that. Then I smiled in spite of myself.
"You jumped ship," I said, admiringly. "A bold move."
"I'll expect reimbursement when you come to your senses," he said mildly. "I liked that ship. Well, that's not strictly true, but it was worth a lot to me in any case."
"Who did you get to take your place?"
"Nobody you'd give a shit about."
"I'm hurt. My Collective values all individual life." I paused, hoping he'd catch the implication.
He didn't. Or he ignored it.
"Go ahead," he said. "Track down Hopey. Kill him, if you think it'll help. But I'm sure my short-term renter didn't tell you anything I wouldn't have said in his place."
"He'd read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," I mentioned wryly.
"Cute. I mean the important shit."
"All that flowing prose about cellular automatons and minds-as-computers?"
"Fuck off. The Tree."
"Ah, that's right—about how the Tree is a family, with many-identities-as-one. Very zen."
He shrugged. "You don't have to believe anything I'm telling you. I'm not telling you the Tree is invincible out of some attempt to make you stop. I'm just ... telling you."
"Where are you?" I said suddenly. "I'd really like to finish the job."
Vlk snorted. "Ha. I'm beyond your reach." A distant squeal and a sense of inertia pulling me away from my seat distracted me; the brakes of the train as it pulled into a station. The gleaming tiles of the walls outside did nothing to dispel the sense of dank gloom in the underground tunnel.
"If you're in the networks, without a body, all I need is a different kind of virus."
"You're so fucking sure of yourself," he said. Something nagged at the back of my mind—something just out of focus. I told myself it was just his smug fucking superiority. "Just watch. The Tree will bring all of the things you're so scared of—the end of the world. And you'll thank us for it afterward. You have no fucking clue what's coming."
I killed the signal; I was almost apoplectic with frustration; for all I knew, the thing I'd killed had just been a fucking robot—oh, flesh and blood, but with a personality entirely composed at someone's computer, without a spark of life in it, preprogrammed to have all the right responses to the slow destruction of the body.
I resolved to kill him—again—at the first opportunity. It was pure revenge fantasy; it wouldn't serve my mission at this point, but goddamn, it would feel good.
As the train started moving again, I realized what had been bothering me.
Tiles on the walls.
A bystander on the platform slid slowly past the window. He was smiling as he raised his right hand and waved at me. I surged out of my seat, but it was too late—he was gone, and the train was moving back into the long darkness between stations. And Vlk was out of my reach—again.
edited 14th Jul '15 8:29:30 AM by SolipSchism
OH MAN, I HOPE I'M DOING SPACE/SCI-FI HEROIN IN THERE
Oh wait lol I suppose I should ping ~inhopelessguy since he's the only person who'll give a shit about this
Also vlk but I can't ping Vlk and I'm reasonably sure he'll see it anyway, even if he doesn't feel like reading it because no one loves me
EDIT: Oh hey vlk didn't see you there, which makes sense, you being a ninja and all
edited 14th Jul '15 8:35:32 AM by SolipSchism
Oh my God. That Retcon/plot-twist.
vlk was mad at me for writing him all OOC so I fixed it :p
...Or tried to, idk, maybe this real-vlk is just as OOC but I tried to fix it.
Aw man. Well there's always hope for me to be doing space heroin next time.
I approve of this rewrite. This is IC enough for a good fiction story.
edited 14th Jul '15 8:38:00 AM by death_vlk
That... was amazing...
The one thing I can't help but wonder is that if Brahian's a dancer here, what does that make Faust?
This is beautiful.
Thank you, father.
I'm just into this. It's something I'd read/write the hell out of, honestly.
I'm too focused on Mass Effect to read this.
Sorry Solip, but Wrex and Garrus are more interesting.
idk who the fuck Faust is
I mean I know the Goethe character but like
I can't write people I don't talk to often enough to pretend I know how they would act
Oh good, you said Goethe and not Marlowe.
I'm sure Silkydad will have me down to a T.
I'm sure he'll work in sweeties or cakes in somewhere.
Ooooh. That's a good idea. All the clues I give you (or whatever) are confectionery-based.
Yes, vlk, I'm aware that Marlowe's was an adaptation.
I'm not completely culturally illiterate when it comes to anything before 1850.
Hopey's villainous Motif is candy/confectionery
edited 14th Jul '15 8:49:36 AM by SolipSchism
@Solip: Faust is the non-binary spouse of Brahian. They post sporadically in various right side threads.
FYI, Faust/Brah isn't actually a thing.
It isn't? Huh...
Well ... just making sure...
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