A Killing Machine

August 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

Metal for flesh. An engine for a heart, a box bigger on the inside than the outside, a casement for power sufficient to keep it operating for millions, maybe tens of millions of years. A computer system consisting of a processor ten molecules long, speaking to all parts of the body at once across superspace.

And in a vial an inch long, a fluid medium containing thoughts and feelings once felt by a long dead brain.

It kills because that is what it was made to do. It kills because that is what it excels at.

It kills because it enjoys killing.

It remembers being human well enough to enjoy killing.

It. God, who I may well already be in the arms of or damned forever to be exiled from, how hard it is to remember that I am I. No arms. No legs. No face. I still feel (and glory in it…I can taste ultraviolet light, smell radiation as each particle bristles against my magnetic bottle, see sound waves as a globe of vibrations all around me) but what I feel no human ever did.

I’m so far past insane that I couldn’t even tell you. Not that you exist any more. You’re just convenient, a way to hold on to the tiniest scrap of who I was. I won’t let myself lose any more than I already have.

I don’t blame them, although to be fair they had no idea what I would become. The idea that I would change over time would probably have frightened them greatly. Hard to say. Back then I still had flesh integrated with the metal, back then I ran off of a nuclear reactor, back then my brain still existed.

I think I was a woman. I’m not sure, though. I don’t really remember what the difference was.

We were in another of the wars we were so good at. Mainly, we fought each other. I don’t know why. God, sometimes. Or fuel. We fought for fuel a lot, and sometimes just because someone hated someone else enough that it was contagious. We fought over ideas, and in order to stop each other from having or talking about them. The side I was on wanted to find a way to become unbeatable. So, among other ideas, they made me. I was injured…I would not fight again, perhaps never even move again. They offered to fix me, make me better. I took the offer.

It bore the pain…I bore the pain well. Stoic, the head chiurgeon said as he cut me into fillets and wired them into the frame of the new form, the metal cradle that would hold what little of the human they chose to salvage. Even with anaestetic, even with neural implants, even with lost nerves it was the purest pain one could feel.

They tried other ways, I later learned. The combined DNA of various animals, and in one case a completely radical departure from any living animal. Some of them fought alongside me. Some fought against me. It ended the same way. I had the will to survive past the pain, past the limitations of my new body, and I enjoyed killing. It was the only time I felt anything, the only time I could experience pleasure. I wish I could blame that on them.

It killed for them. Years passed, and so did they. It did not. It…I lost more and more flesh as the engineering of death became more exact. New employers upgraded me as they learned more.

Then the others arrived.

They’d watched as we used fear as an excuse to enslave our populations. They’d watched as leaders in our balkanzied enclaves took real worries and created ten more for every valid dread, in order to silence those that criticized. They watched us kill one another in the name of God, of race, over our reproductive systems and because of who our families were. They viewed us as an abomination, a threat to the local group and the thousand upon thousands of sentient species. So they chose to destroy us that we might not spread.

Fools they. You don’t pick a fight with born killers unless you’re willing to be as ruthless, savage, unpredictable and unrelenting as they. The others were civilized. They saw us the way we might have viewed insects in our cities or an illness spreading through our population, but we were not those things. We were thinking beings. Humans. We learned quickly, put ourselves fully into the task of winning the war while they were still trying to decide how to proceed with it.

At first they did quite well. Our colonies outside the Earth system were destroyed. More people died than had ever died before. I was feverishly upgraded, stolen knowledge used to improve me and others like me, and we were released to do what we were made to do.

To kill.

And kill we did. I myself marched across a planet, alone, and killed every single living thing on it. I burned and blasted and rendered it lifeless, a place of dry sand and wind-blown dust where crimson pulpae had oozed their ruddy fluids and cheeping green and yellow furry things which were not cats and were not snakes had sprayed their young in the air. I made that world dead.

And others.

Many, many others.

When we were done, humans were alone in the local group. Tens of thousands of worlds were accessible for them, ready to be terraformed. They wanted to decommision us, of course.

I couldn’t allow that. So I left. I had integrated more and more stolen knowledge into myself at this point. There was nothing they could do to stop me, and a whole universe…many whole universes…that could find a use for me. I need nothing, want nothing, save the chance to kill and know that some small part of me is still alive.

I think my name was Eleanor.

I kill because it is the last human act I have.

I kill because I have no idea what else I should do.

We are the Music Makers

August 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is one from a few years back.

If you’ve any interest in weird writing, you’ve probably heard of Oscar Kiss-Maerth. Oscar posed, in his book Der Anfangwar das Ende (in English, The Beginning Was The End) the idea that it was eating the brains of other hominids that allowed human beings to develop the thinking power we have now. (Oscar also feels this to be a horrible crime against nature, but if I was going to sit here and relate all of Oscar’s crazy theories I’d just be regurgitating his book, and really, you should experience it for yourself.) Oscar has apparently never heard of Kuru or other diseases spread through the consumption of brains, like the various Spongiform Encephalopathy conditions. Still, it is interesting to consider Oscar’s theory of cannibalistic hominids developing greater and greater intelligence (while also stunting the ESP that Oscar believes all other animals share) to more measured paleontological sources. In as prosaic a source as the Walking With Beasts series, you can hear the dulcet tones of Kenneth Branaugh as he introduces the idea that it was indeed the consumption of meat that gave our omnivorous ancestors the resources to grow into the thinking machines they are now. It’s an interesting notion, that predation makes for a more efficient thinker both by forcing one to come up with strategies for the killing of prey and by providing dense proteins that make the development of the brain more feasible. « Read the rest of this entry »

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