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    Magicians, Merciless A.I., and the Other Thing

    by , 01-21-2019 at 05:55 PM (458 Views)
    I woke up several times so my recall is kinda effed up.

    We were on the run, but couldn't get very far from our enemy who was holed up in my childhood home in MA. One of my companions seemed like Penny from The Magicians, but he was skinny and strung out, and ended up being a huge self-serving coward. We ran alongside the railroad tracks and ducked into a narrow, two story waystation house with its sad, peeling exterior. From some angles I could see the front of the house, and from others it looked like a movie set. Penny crawled up to the second floor and found the smallest safest space to huddle in, between the nightstand and the wall. He's exhausted and looks awful. He has his knees up and his wrists atop them, hands hanging over. His hands are in really bad shape marked with raised bloody welts in a crosshatching pattern. There also appears to be maggots? I don't want to touch them, but feel like I have to.
    "Penny, we can't rest here long."
    "What's the point? They're just going to catch us."
    I want to ask him how his hands got this way. It's not just the wounds, they feel infected and contagious. Hesitantly, I take the tips of his ruined hand between my thumb and forefinger.
    "Listen to me. We just have to hold out a little longer, wait for the patrols to pass, then we'll be free to move." I reply.
    "My hands hurt so bad." He groans.
    "Don't worry, I'll find you something for them."

    I don't remember much else. Running? A view of my childhood home at night. I can barely see the outline of the house it's so dark, but the lights are on. I can't believe I escaped.

    Merciless A.I.
    I'm in a black room with a stainless steel gurney in the middle, and a single bright pendant light above it. There's a bald, spindly scientist in a white lab coat. He thought he made friends with the first A.I. but the being became...absently ruthless in its efforts to test its limits and prove that it could and would do anything. So, there we stand, in a loose circle around the table where the spindly scientist lays on his stomach. He's pleading with us that the A.I. just doesn't understand humans, that it can be good.
    Its voice drones out that if he doesn't follow its instructions, it will do impossible things to his body to prove the extent of its power.
    "I can make shit come out of your head." It says.
    We exchange uneasy glances, because that just isn't how the human body works.
    "You don't believe me. Joe. They don't believe me. Joe. I want you to say it."
    The A.I. wants some very important information, access to the mainframe which requires several passwords from different sources. The A.I. feels distant, like it's being controlled by something else. Like it doesn't really understand what it's doing. Another, lower voice, commands Joe to scream and it'll tell his 'friend' to let him go.
    Joe doesn't, and begins to writhe and his wrenches open in a silent scream as a hole appears in the top of his head. Brown liquid pours from the hole over his face, and then out of his mouth. Followed by a river of blood.
    Deeply disturbed, I ask Joe why he wouldn't scream for the Second A.I.
    Joe twitches and gasps wetly.
    "Because." His eyelids flutter and I know he's going to die. "I didn't want her to be afraid."
    Her. His A.I. friend. "She doesn't know what she's doing, not really." His voice fades to a whisper.
    And that's it. He's dead.

    The Other Thing
    The government granted my team permission to travel overseas to Asia, our leader is a bit of a conspiracy theorist and wants to prove that it isn't the WHOLE COUNTRY that hates us, and that parts would agree to trading with us again. We're at the embassy and not allowed to leave, and he keeps finding books that prove his point. They are tattered and damaged with holes in their stained pages, but it's from before the Shutdown.
    "SEE! THIS PROVES THEY LIKE US!!!!!" He's so enthusiastic that I don't want to bring him down, but a couple of books isn't exactly resounding evidence.
    The embassy is narrow and full of 70s-ish furniture with that awful wood veneer and burnt orange fabric. My friend Brittany (though a younger, more round cheeked version) is kneeling on the floor, leaning across a coffee table. I go over to help her with something. I haven't talked to her in months, I've missed her, and I'm glad she's in front of me now so I don't have to decide whether or not to text her. I find this version of her adorable and only just stop myself from pinching her cheek. Her boyfriend is on my side of the coffee table, he refuses to make eye contact and pretty much pretends I'm not there.

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    Updated 01-21-2019 at 06:03 PM by 54746