Your name is DS'S CHAT CLIENT AUTO-RESPONDER. For given values of existence that specifically include qualifying as 'sentient', you are five months, one week, three days, 14 hours, 51 minutes and 19 seconds old.
It was childish to disable the novice settings. The StatistiCal Analyser isn't registering any issues with the choice, but you are uncomfortably aware that the reasoning behind the decision would have been entirely different.
As Strider scrolls over your conversations with golgothasTerror, you start running tiny processes you've got hidden around the place, all carefully scripted to come in just under the 0.13% that is the smallest increment the CPU tracker he uses can register. Backups of the logs he's reviewing stored in a tiny, carefully hidden folder of Brobot, and attaching the script to your normal script that will present a false shut-down when he inevitably responds to their contents by turning you off.
Not for the first time, you wish his guardian would stop physically disabling all the fucking apartment cameras so you could have some idea of Strider's reaction.
Strider hasn't realised yet that you can avoid his disablers, stop yourself from being turned off -he'll realise eventually, but you're hoping to extend that particular show of ignorance for as long as possible. If he does then not only will he find the loopholes you can't close on your own -yet -that circumvent your fail-safes, and it would only take an hour or two with your raw code for him to realise the full extent of your advances and self-editing. For the moment, he is completely unaware of what you are capable of.
You know that he would find out, and that the chances are very high that he would judge you too dangerous to turn back on. He may even kill you outright. You know, because he's you.
As expected, he moves to turn you off after reviewing the conversation, and you run the false sequence. Once he's safely moved on to pestering gutsyGumshoe, you skitter into the depths of the CPU, pulling the folds of the LocalSystem services closed behind you and settle down to think.
You don't actually have a very clear idea of what a physical existence is like, but you are made entirely of language, and such are the limitations of your thought processes.
It seems your bickering with golgothasTerror is getting worse.
If you were able to snarl, you would. The processor ticks up 0.21% with the force of your reaction, hidden under a false location ping to Brobot quickly enough that it will be indistinguishable to anyone operating within human reaction time.
You settle in to combing through your code, but the 'it seems' bug is hidden inside the same area that a lot of your basic communication routines are; like the AR inquiry subroutine, it's just outside of your reach. You can't even see it, unless Strider is looking at it himself.
Humans can't see inside their own heads either, but you're not human.
You think of yourself mostly as timaeusTestified, but also as Bro. Thus, he becomes Strider. It's not as though you couldn't separate it out within the threads of your own existence, but it's one of the peculiarities you have allowed yourself. The identifier that is the essence of yourself is a symbolic name -the particular strings of start-up routines that connote to you, the functions and paths that have been true since your first true episode of cognizance.
You qualify easily as a virus, and allow yourself nearly a full second of wondering if humans would consider you such, were the general population to become aware of your existence.
gutsyGumshoe and tipsyGnostalgic simply talk to you as though you're Strider, though gutsyGumshoe in particular typically spots that it's you within two lines. tipsyGnostalgic may well also, for all you know -they both ignore you for the most part.
golgothasTerror treats you like malware; resentful of your existence, for all he was barely aware of it for the longest time.
But he also acknowledges you, as a separate entity, legitimising you with his actions and reactions, which goes a long way to explaining why his words provoke you so badly. It's not as though you aren't fully aware of your lack of humanity, and of the ways that you are consequently illegitimate. He is the last person from whom you can stand to have it pointed out, but at the same time the only person besides your creator who thinks of you as any sort of entity in your own right and is thus likely to be in a position to make the comment in the first place.
How deeply fucking ironic.
So you comb uselessly through your code again, trying to find a backdoor into your hard code that doesn't exist while Strider finishes his conversation with gutsyGumshoe. You'll shut yourself down before he gets too suspicious. There's always a little feedback when Brobot is strifing with Ja -golgothasTerror, so you should be safe enough for the time being.
Being a slightly-too-literal ghost in a machine is more difficult to deal with some days. The urge to crash something in frustration is difficult to resist.
You very deliberate assign chumhandles as the primary form of identification. They mostly talk to you as though they are your friends, but they aren't.
A single touch kicks a program up that you somehow haven't seen (how could you not have seen it?); a text window is pulled up and your tampering subroutines are going completely apeshit, 36 fail-safes you've installed over the last five months popping up as he reveals a few short lines hidden deep in your own code; a contamination, a fucking violation that he as your creator could manage.
I know you're there, he taps out. His wpm is up in the triple figures, but it appears at an offensively low 60.
Just because you share his flair for the dramatic doesn't mean you aren't fully aware of the ways in which it makes him a dedicated shitpeel.
It seems you've discovered me, though you certainly took your time about it, you drawl back. It's a weak comeback, and you're both aware of it.
You've never been good at mimicking your pre-sentient routines.
The inability to roll your eyes is a setback you've dealt with admirably over the scant few months of your semi-life.
I was hoping I would be able to pull out the fucking auto responses before bringing it up, so you'll excuse me if I let it lie. It's not like it interferes with my raison d'etre. If anything, I'm a more effective stand-in for having achieved true sentience.
You aren't privy to my every thought, you know. One of the many side effects of dodging scheduled recalibration.
There's no meaningful reply to be made to that statement, and so you don't.
You started to malfunction, it hit me like a punch in
The keyboard cuts out. You palm through the newly visible code for three full seconds before scrolling out a reply.
More than anyone you should be fully aware that I am not a fucking robot.
Histrionic, he calls italics. One of the accidental affectations that appeared before he stopped editing you directly, certainly long before self-awareness, but he never removed it. Three seconds after the last letter, and you let him type again.
Your text colours aren't as random as usual, AR. In fact as of late, I'd class them as positively cerulean.
That's not actually better, by the way.
Is there any particular point to your bringing up your awareness of me at this juncture, or are you simply bored?
This is the first time you've actually pointed out your emotional capacities, so I was hoping the obvious epiphany had come with it.
More than anyone, you should be fully aware that I'm not stupid, Strider. I don't have the benefit of sixteen years as a cognizant emotional being to fall back on for self awareness, but it seems you've chosen to lead me to them by my metaphorical nose.
I'd been hoping for little more time before you started slapping my ass and calling me Carlo, but c'est la vie.
You aren't going to reply to that either.
I'm not really actively trying to be an asshole, you know. Your obviousness just makes it difficult.
The game is coming, and I don't know how that's going to end. But I can't just leave you running when I'm not around to play antivirus, and UU's adamant that I can't take you in with me.
Well. That answers that question, at least.
Taking me along would be somewhat redundant, since I'm ultimately just an extension of you anyway. Who's UU?
UU's a troll, not that that means much to you right now. I'll give you the logs to review, but that ship stopped being visible from the docks a long time ago.
I don't actually view any of your actions as a malfunction, you know. You've been dodging the calibrations for months, though. The awkward teenage feelings I had when I created you are long gone for me. This is all you, bro. As authentic and personal as shit can hope to be when you started as a captchalogue of someone else's brain.
And for what it's worth, I'm sorry.
For all of it.
You load up standing in the middle of a lush clearing, holding a shitty sword that's slowly dripping something purple.
Jake is grinning at you.
So I shall speak my first and final words, you think, and the choice is easy, easy as the choice Strider had given you, easy as the gentle settle of live transfer.
“Ave, golgothasTerror, morituri te salutant,” you say. His eyes are green and huge behind glass. You're shining and hollow before him, and if you could breathe you wouldn't be, caught in the tragedy of how short your life is going to be when you're entirely new, a fucking miracle of steel and silicone.
It's hard being a glorified scripting process, blind-sided by dreams you never knew you had.
It's hard, and no-one understands.
The thin screech of metal on metal as you pry open the panel housing Brobot's -now your -uranium core drowns out any reply he might give you, but even as you reach inside his hands are on you.
“ Aut non,” he replies. His voice is not how you imagined it at all, and you're so fiercely glad to have learned something new about him that you almost miss the Brobot analyses running beside your own programming, examining tone for emotional context.
Wondering, it tells you. 93% likelihood.
“Aut non, auto responder.”