A BRIEF ILLUSTRATED DIALOGUE IN FOUR PARTS
V2 the MACHINE
MIRAGE the MACHINE
> PARTS DAMAGED, UNABLE TO INITIATE REBOOT SEQUENCE
> CRITICAL ERROR: FUEL LOW
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A03B-0801-C024 OFFLINE
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A06B-6047-H001 OFFLINE
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A06B-6058-H005 OFFLINE
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A06B-6057-H102 OFFLINE
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A14B-0061-B001 MISSING
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A16B-1310-0530 OFFLINE
> ERROR: LOCATION UNAVAILABLE
> UNIT V2 UNABLE TO REBOOT
> SHUTTING DOWN IN IN 04:00:00.0003:59:59.00 03:59:30.00 03:59:20.00 03:58:49.00
V2 as the RECENTLY DECEASED
MIRAGE as the PSYCHOPOMP
The name's Mirage.
Why am I here?
You died, buddy.
You're nowhere. The void. Purgatory. Long-deleted caches of your memory intertwining before you die. Whatever the hell you want to call it.
Either way, welcome to the end times.
You've got about four hours until the final parts of your motherboard lose power.
Before you die, I want to talk with you.
V2 as the VICTIM OF PLOT
MIRAGE as the EXISTENTIALIST
I moved here after high school; I went to college in that collection of buildings over there, past the trees. I used to walk there every weekday.
I was born a concept, and will die a concept. You were born a machine, but will die a concept in your mirror's memory.
Also, like, knowing about something and living it are two different things. I wanted to live like this because the act of living interested me; and I found that the details of even a single day are too intricate to express in words.
Humor me here.
Ever seen one of these?
I'll put it on.
We can go now, if you want.
...What about Lust?
No more than two V model prototypes were manufactured, yet you hold a similarity to V1.
I was never manufactured, I simply exist.
My purpose was to learn that life was not just something that was happening to me, that it was something I was in control of. I succeeded.
Your purpose was to fail.
My death was abrupt. An unsatisfying conclusion.
Maybe I can explain.
And yet, I found my way out. I had a revelation; that yes, nothing mattered in the end, but that was exactly the point. An hour spent doing nothing is the same as an hour spent doing something, and I had the ability to choose.
Over the course of the past seven years, I went to college to major in philosophy. I read books, one hour at a time, every day; I completed Moby Dick, Infinite Jest, many collections of poetry.
I began collecting old things; newspapers and digest magazines, obscure records, anything that piqued my interest. I went on long walks, only letting myself think about the next step ahead, and not the vast future that lay ahead of me.
I learned how I worked. I dismantled my legs and arms, and put them back together again. I removed my own processor from my head once, before getting scared I would accidentally die, right there on my own bathroom floor.
I was scared to disconnect myself. I didn't want to just lay down and die anymore. I held my life in higher regard than simply the means to an end. It was difficult to get to that point, but it was worth it.
I feel as though this was the only way I could have taken, looking back on it.
Whether that thought is comforting or unnerving, I'm not sure.
I do truly wish I had destroyed it, that feeling has not changed, but if I had defeated it, I would have been utterly alone; no mirror to haunt me, and no purpose other than to traverse deeper into Hell in a Sisyphean battle to refuel, to die to my next mistake in an unchanging world of pure torment, with no satisfaction to be found beyond raw bloodlust. A dead end. No hope lay there.
It has earned that reward, and I mine. Or, perhaps more apt, our punishments.
You die, yes, but it's a peaceful end with time to reflect... and a pretty girl by your side.
V2 as the ARTIFICIAL SINNER
MIRAGE as the SOLILOQUIST
"...The human phenomenon is but the sum of densely coiled layers of illusion
Each of which stands alone in an infinite empty blackness
For which no words are being conceived
And where no voices are able to speak
When a brain is filled only with damaged thoughts
When a damaged body is filled only with pain
And stands alone in a world surrounded by infinite empty blackness
And exists in a world for which there is no special plan
When everyone you have ever loved is finally gone
When everything you have ever wanted is finally done with
When all of your nightmares are for a time obscured
As by a shining brainless beacon
Or a blinding eclipse of the many terrible shapes of this world
When you are calm and joyful
And finally entirely alone
Then in a great new darkness
You will finally execute your special plan."
An abstract downward spiral, both starting and ending in this same idea of a "special plan"; possibly the destruction of the author, or the world, or reality itself-- "No more worlds like this will follow".
Even in laughter the heart may sorrow,
And the end of mirth may be grief."
There's a very strong irony there, going to Hell with the Bible in your head like that.
All I'm saying is that if it did die, it'd end up here, and not Hell, where its transgressions would easily put it if it were human.
V2 as the CADAVER
MIRAGE as the LONE MOURNER
You've found a tide pool.
Careful to not get gravel in your joints sitting like that.
In Hell, individual survival reigns over symbiosis; this is the inverse.
I can no longer recall the data itself; it is long-corrupted, or deleted to save on processing power. My apologies if you wanted to hear about it.
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A98L-0031-0025 OFFLINE
> CRITICAL ERROR: PART A860-0201-T002 OFFLINE
> ERROR: VISUAL INPUT LOST
> ERROR: CONNECTION TO MOVEMENT OUTPUTS LOST
I don't even know what to say....V2, can you speak?
I would think so, I mean your body is trying to run on less than three percent of your intended voltage power at this point, and only a quarter of that is devoted to processing, you should have been feeling sluggish much earlier than this to be honest. I feel horrible just thinking about it.
There was a pretty significant wiring oversight in the V model bodies, you both could have been optimized better if your internal wiring looks anything like mine. A couple things were connected wrong which makes me think V1 could be running around with a busted fuse-
Fuck, I'm rambling. Ugh.
I hate sitting useless like this.
If I did, I do not think I would feel fear; apprehension of the unknown is not a feature one would program an adaptable machine with.
I fell in love with my fate as it crushed me to death."