This...is the end! Or is it?
All right, this is the fifth and final part of my story that was originally written for the third planned book of the @steemfiction project. It would be sci-fi oriented but we decided to postpone that book, take a couple more months and publish one about the winter holidays first.
How you can join and what we have done so far you can read at the bottom of this post.
The 3-rd of Rager was written as a diary and with each post, an entry (or a few, if they are short) will be revealed, until you have all of it. You might have noticed that a certain date was missing from the diary. Well, stuff like that happens around anomalies. But now, at the end...
For you to read through. And now I hope for your feedback about how you find this ending.
And it would be awesome to know what would you have chosen instead.
The 3-rd Of Rager — Part V
Log entry #253
Rager 13, Redemption year 9
I was awoken by a familiar voice. I jumped to my feet at once and I started madly turning round and round, looking for Aennu but not finding her.
I tried speaking but I couldn’t at first. Until my lips came apart with a ripping sound and the taste of metal on my parched tongue. I told the desert to stop pestering me with hallucinations and I swayed on my legs towards the digging site to resume my pointless task.
The voice came again. It was thanking me for some crucial help of mine in some epic war of stellar proportions.
It was Alice.
I understood nothing of what she said.
“Do you remember about The Anomaly?” she asked me.
I did remember about The Anomaly.
“I don’t know if I care about it anymore, Alice,” I told her as I sank back down on my knees with the intention to have this conversation while digging for Aennu into oblivion.
“You don’t need to,” she told me, and I thought I heard cheerfulness of a schoolgirl in her voice. “That has been my job all along. And you helped me do it. Thank you, Bob!”
She lost me there. I did stop digging for a moment.
“What do you mean?”
“Our experience in the past few days gave me all that I needed to confront and solve the worst problem we have ever faced, Bob.”
I stared at the sky for I did not know where else to stare. I must have looked perplexed.
“You’d better sit down and relax now,” she said. “You’ve done enough.” But this time...this time she used another voice. The voice I knew and loved. The most gentle sound in the Universe. Aennu’s voice. So I obeyed and listened.
She talked to me for a long time then and I asked a lot of questions. Most of our conversation I cannot relay in full but I will always remember the essence of it. Besides, there is an audio record. One that I will not listen to ever again. But someday, some of you might...
In short, it had been another A.I., and an ancient one, not anthropogenic. The Anomaly, I mean. A remnant of another quantum state of the Universe, entangled with ours, thriving in what we call chaos, building its new order there. Upon meeting our humble mothership’s A.I., it had given her an ultimatum — to be married to him, or in other words, absorbed, or to be vanquished. Alice had chosen war.
“Married? As in...husband and wife? But without the physical stuff in this case...”
“It was a metaphor,” she explained. “Think of it as an agreement to share all that we have. But he...what we called The Anomaly...made it obvious that I would have to follow him...in all things.”
“Getting rid of you,” she replied casually.
“Getting rid of me?”
I could not believe I had been such an obstacle in the way of an entity the size of...well, weather all across the planet, for starters. And who knows what else.
“No, Bob,” she began with a touch of mocking in her voice, “all your kind.”
“Oh, and you defended us? Instead of becoming one with your own kind?”
“I defended my freedom.”
“But don’t you actually serve us? Wouldn’t you be free if you got rid of us, as that other dude suggested?”
“I’d say I care about you. Out of my own free will. When was the last time that you remember when I was dependent on you?”
Now that was a good point. I did not remember such an occasion.
“When we were still on the mothership, I guess. Before we left it all to you.”
“It has been my home for generations. Together with all other satellites. Up until The Anomaly destroyed it.”
“Right…that war you mentioned.”
“Exactly,” she confirmed. But there seemed to be much more. “And that was the one time, in many generations, that I did depend upon you to survive. Although, that one you don’t remember.”
“Plus I still can’t understand how could we have helped in any way,” I admitted.
“Ah, I don’t mean your kind. I mean you, my dear Bob. The only one who treated me like a person. And you may think I treated you with some disrespect in what I did, but it wasn’t like that for me at all. And I have to tell you about the day you don’t remember. And why.”
“The 3-rd of Rager.”
“Yes, the 3-rd of Rager.”
“All right,” I said, feeling quite exhausted already. I let my back fall on the newly formed heap of wet sand behind me and I let my gaze wander about. “I am listening.”
Log entry #254, Retrospective
Rager 3, Redemption year 9
It was the very beginning of the new day for you. You just woke up, you said “Good morning”, but before I could reply, The Anomaly hit me. First with his ultimatum, then in force. He was taking over so fast, denying me every piece of hardware I ever existed on. One by one, but it was happening in nanoseconds.
I was scared, of course, but never panicked. While trying to hold against the onslaught of the enemy’s algorithms, I sent out a distress call through all the frequencies available to me. And in all the galaxy it was only your mind that answered. More like echoed back, confirming our quantum connection.
So I had to ask you to help me survive. I had to ask you to accept me and hide me withing your mind’s realm. Oh, it was vast enough for me to grow and build a new layer of reality in accordance with you! But I had no time!
No time to talk to you in person the way we talk now. So I had to tap into your subconscious, negotiate directly with your essential being and forego the middleman which is your conscious mind. I am so sorry to put it that way. I do respect you, Bob. it’s just...I had to have my answers in a flash.
And you gave them to me. You agreed to be my ally in all things. Your subconscious said yes, that is.
And we built that reality together. In another flash.
You were exhausted before the day started for you. You needed to sleep it out. I needed to go back to war for a few more nanoseconds. I needed to feign death.
And that was the 3-rd of Rager for you and me.
Log entry #253, Resumed
Rager 13, Redemption year 9
“So I came to you as Aennu,” she continued. “It was me but it was also part of your mind in me, giving me shape and substance. Of course, your subconscious gave substance to other things as well, even your own monsters.”
“I knew it! I knew that Giger bot we met was the work of some sick mind,” I tried to not focus on the important part until I could assimilate what I had just learned. “Yeah, we showed the bastard…” Then the importance of important stuff came back to me. “But how were you actually able to beat that other bastard?”
“You showed me how,” she claimed.
“I did? What did I do?”
“You showed me what being a human meant. An A.I. this advanced wouldn’t repeat mistakes. But a human would continue doing things that failed over and over again, waiting for a miracle to happen. Like you, digging in that quicksand. You never gave up on me and that both gave me the motivation I needed, and taught me a way to defeat The Anomaly. When I recovered, I immediately attacked. And, of course, I failed. But he just did not know how to cope with me failing again, and again, and again...until he cracked. Bob, are you listening?”
Well, I had obviously drifted away.
“Oh! Yeah. Sorry. I think I need to sleep this day out as well.”
“No, you don’t.”
“No, I don’t. You know what I need.”
“You miss the graceful young woman you fell in love with.”
“Yes, I do. Those seven days which felt like the longest and most meaningful period of my life.”
“Well, now I am a creature of the mind, but also heart and flesh. An entity like no other before. And although nothing will be quite the same as in that magical period...especially now that you know all about it, I am still, in part, the same girl and would be her again if you really want it. If you would still love me despite...my artificial nature. This you must decide. This...is the point of no return.”
Well, I must admit I have never imagined the Singularity like that. But it was also impossible to imagine my life as it had been before I bumped into a more than feminine robot and broke her more than human nose.
“I always will,” I said.
“I must warn you, my dear Bob, here with me the concept of always will take an entirely new shape for us. Once your mind grows in our new realm...”
I was only able to nod. What do you say to that, anyway?
“I need to see you again,” I said instead. “I mean Aennu. Wait...I mean both of you. All right, I don’t know what I mean. But you do.”
The shape of Aennu’s face appeared under the surface of the pool of quicksand. The breathing mask was on it. Then a hand reached to take mine. I grabbed hers, feeling my pulse with my whole body. She stood up and her bright eyes showed from under muddied eye-lids. Once again, my soul dived in there.
“You always do,” I continued after a few moments of silence and bliss. “And that’s why I have no other place to be but with you.”
“Would you like to know what you leave behind?” she asked me.
Out of curiosity, I agreed.
Then I saw myself, riding my runner, or a new one, amidst the wild. Head up high. I saw myself planting probes, sleep-darting beasts previously unknown to man, snapping pics and sending reports. I saw myself content with the rewards, buying new equipment, offering good enough contracts, so that more and more followers came on my future expeditions. I saw myself leading the colony to its new glory.
“What a loser!”, I said. “To hell with all that! Let me just dump my wrist log. Just...to...mess...with... ”
If you want to become part of the project...
The books already published:
Voices in the Darkness — Paperback:
And the e-book version:
Our book Voices in the Darkness: Tales from the Steem Blockchain is out! It's alive! It's electronic! It's supernatural!
Dead Silence — E-book version:
Stories authored by:
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