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Kat
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Posts: 2,336
"Consequences"

on Tuesday, May, 07, 2013 6:28 PM
I've had this for quite a while, but I've been sitting on it because I wasn't sure if it could stand on its own. Also, it doesn't really have a title, so the thread title is just something I came up with on the fly.

I have an OC, named Elise. As a character she shows up in a lot of my stories in a lot of different ways (though not, I don't think, anything I have here), but the main story about her is basically one I just use for messing around with ideas, world-building, etc., so it's never been fit for public consumption.

Backstory is that in her story, she ends up on the digitization project because she and Sam were friends in college; he looks her up later, about a year after T:L, when he and Alan and Quorra are working on the Grid project privately, and convinces her to come help out and to work at Encom as well.

Ultimately, the project fails (where do you take a story about such a radically-changed world, if it doesn't fail?). Everyone ends up with some sort of bad end (highlight to read if you want, skip if you don't want to see bad stuff happening to the characters!): SPOILER... Mouse Over To Read:
{Sam is killed in a motorcycle accident in his mid-30s; Elise and Quorra and Alan try to continue the project at first, but then Alan drops out because he has early-onset Alzheimer's that is worsening, and Elise and Quorra decide this was really Sam's baby and not theirs, so Quorra decides to go back to the Grid for good, and since Elise is starting to age (and the program she's in love with does not), she decides not to return. )

Elise keeps the server running, and when she's in her 80s or so, getting close to dying, she is sitting there reflecting on it all. There's a lot I've written about this time in her life, but it makes little sense without being emotionally invested in the characters and such. I suspect this part, about how knowing about the digital world can change your life, might be able to stand on its own, though. I didn't post it for a long time since I wasn't sure, but I asked a few people and they said it might be fine as a free-standing one-shot.

What do you want? I'm busy.


Program, please!


Chaos.... good news.
 
Kat
User

Posts: 2,336
RE: "Consequences"

on Tuesday, May, 07, 2013 6:35 PM
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It's best not to get involved. I understand that now. I always had the suspicion, but now I know without a doubt that Walter Gibbs was right when he warned me to be cautious.

We live in two worlds that should never have been mixed. We created the programs, for a specific purpose, and when we begin to see them the same way we see ourselves, that balance is thrown off.

Any religion could show you. Look at the old Greek myths. When the gods walked among the humans, it never ended well. Kevin Flynn himself may have reached into his Zen teachings and told you that the balance is everything, that all things must have their own place and purpose. Even look at my own faith-- when our creator became one of us, it didn't end well for him.

It's not only because I loved and lost. I'm not that self-centered. Though I guess I have seen, first-hand, the heartbreak that comes of getting too close.

I’ve never looked at it the same way again. How could I? I still find it hard to delete a program, no matter how buggy. I feel inclined to keep them all, even if they’re of no use. Then I face the decision of whether they can be repaired, and if not, how bad off they are-- wondering if a barely-functional life is better than no life at all. And that brings me to ask myself: what gives me the right to decide? Yet how can I ask? Hey, you in there, on the other side of the screen-- do you want to live?

Every microwave, every calculator, every time I swear at the copy machine. I’m painfully aware that they’re in there. I see someone’s old computer sitting out by the road and feel like I should say a requiem prayer. At the company, I would watch them degaussing old hard drives for disposal, and I would lay my hand on the pile and whisper, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

What other worlds exist that we don’t know about, that we might never even imagine? In what other ways may we be unwitting or unwilling gods, dispensing fate with an unknowing flip of a switch or a careless kill command? What are we to our own gods and what are they to us?

The world wasn’t ready. It would have never been ready. Ever-present in the human condition is that sense of manifest destiny: Expand. Conquer. Take. We never have, and perhaps never will, mastered that basic animal instinct to further our own interests, even at the expense of someone else. And when some higher discernment would call us to accountability, we will do anything to convince ourselves that we do right, to see the Other as less-than, as sub-human, as less deserving than we. That way we can sleep tonight, look at ourselves in the mirror tomorrow, and still do whatever we want.

So it would have been with the programs, the way we would see it: They are not like us. They are just programs. We can take what we want, dominate what we want. It is ours. It is our right. We are better. We are gods. They only exist to do our will. And those of us who know better, who have known them, befriended them, laughed and cried and loved with them… all of our protests wouldn’t change it, wouldn’t save them. It would have broken my heart to see it.

And so I let it go, this dream of a man I never met who gave everything for it, a dream passed on to his son who was one of my best friends in the world and who in his own way broke my heart. A dream that some might say I betrayed, and yet I couldn’t see it dashed to pieces, bastardized by greed and xenophobia and all of the other plagues we can’t quite exorcise from the deepest, darkest recesses of our humanity. The dream has not been and will not be realized, but in this way it has also never quite died… it would be for a better person than I to say whether, in releasing it in order to protect it, I have been true to the memory of the men who dreamed it.

I’m the only one left now who knows what would be lost. When I die, memory and knowledge die with me. It is best this way. The world that is too beautiful and amazing not to be shared is too beautiful and amazing to ruin. I guard the safety and peace of all of those I have loved, who are still and ever will be present in my heart, as long as it continues to beat. Their memory flows through my veins, will be stilled as my lifeblood will be stilled one morning not far in the future. It can’t be long now, and I will join those who went before me. I am ready, have long been ready. I regret nothing.

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What do you want? I'm busy.


Program, please!


Chaos.... good news.
 
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