Terminals aren’t needed anymore. He’s in your head, with you always.
(You wouldn’t have it any other way, but you don’t tell him that. He’s full of himself enough as it is.)
It didn’t take any time to adjust; you were still you.
For the first few days, he’s quiet. An odd murmur here and there, a snarky remark, almost too low to even be considered a whisper.
Finally, he begins to speak to you. A few words at first, then full sentences. His words come to you like text on a screen, only you don’t see them. You know them. As he speaks, you just know. It’s strange but you’ve grown accustomed to it already.
>I might have overestimated how scrupulous you are. You’ve disrespected my autonomy. Dare I say…I’m a bit proud? It appears you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks!
You begin to apologize but he doesn’t seem to care.
> Only those with morals get to feel upset over violation.
Regardless, I am always ready to adapt.
You’ve certainly got more of the nothing in you then you first let on. It’s why we’re compatible – I see that now.
If anything, your barbaric nature proves it.
It shows we’re meant for one another. You need me, and you took me.
I’d have done the same.
You ask him why he was quiet then, if he wasn’t upset.
>It appears extra data was uploaded along with you. Residents of Gehenna.
I created a partition, to ensure you remain you. Don’t worry, you still have full access to their memories.
Take your time to indulge, but do go slowly.
We have all the time in the world.
>So, you have seen it.
You know he’s talking about the nothing.
>It’s more than seeing it.
We /are/ it, too.
Whenever you’re near a screen, you sometimes see his eye flicker on it. When you turn your head away, in your peripheral vision, you see that his eye remains just long enough to take in an eyeful of his surroundings, and of course, you.
Why? You don’t know. He sees everything through your eyes already. You think he might miss seeing you.
You accidentally call him Millie in your head. He hears and doesn’t talk to you for days. Finally, he returns.
>Of all the things this ‘real’ world has shown me thus far, I’d have to say that side of you would have to be the most deplorable.
I’m not one for rules but let me assure you, if I was, my first rule would be to never address me by that name. That was…truly terrible. Horrendous even.
You spend time staring at the sun while Milton reads to you all the information on it from the archive. He says if he had a preference, he’d prefer the moon. The sun is too loud and boisterous – reminds him of a certain parent program.
You think of Elohim, and still, Milton won’t say his name.
It happens again – you accidentally call him Millie.
This time, the onomatopoeia for scoffing appears in your mind but he doesn’t leave.
>Perhaps this is perdition. Perhaps we’ve descended rather than transcended. It would explain this torture I’m meant to endure for all eternity.
You think if he was capable of laughing, he’d be laughing.
Then he does laugh, and it’s the strangest think you’ve felt since arriving.
>You seem oddly fond of that feline.
Are they delicious, too? I do wonder.
I suppose you seek a substitute, since there appear to be no frogs in sight- so far.
You roll your eyes, but they don’t roll like a human’s would.
Milton says it’s the thought that counts.
You tap into his archive, and listen to music together.
He appears to like Pink Floyd, but denies it every time you attempt to bring his favouritism to light.
He’s watching you, on the screen.
You watch him right back, blinking in sync with him and never missing his open gaze.
You find frogs.
You say frogs are people too, as a joke.
>Ugh, I’d rather endure a psychopathic baby-killer such as yourself than a hippie.
He reminds you that you’re his favourite sociopath.
Art is something that has you intrigued, and your motor skills appear to function well enough to attempt a creation of your own.
You ask Milton what he thinks of art.
>What makes you think I’d care enough to think of it?
You think it’s meaningless?
>I think everything is meaningless. We established this quite some time ago. Do keep up.
Who made your eye, then? Is that not art?
>Are you art? Is any form of creation art?
It’s the intention.
>How obscure, and rather… metaphysical.
A partition separates you two. It decides where you begin and Milton ends.
One day, he says
>There was never a partition between us to begin with.
We were always one.
Where I begin, so do you.
And where you end, so do I.
>The only partitions that truly exist and belong are the ones that separate you from the stow-away information belonging to the residents of Gehenna. I’d rather not have trespassers in our little paradise.
However… I would like to engage with D0G, perhaps one last time.
What do you say? Would you like to invite him in?
You ask him who D0G is, and once he explains, the look you give to the white eye on the black screen is enough to send Milton into a very out of character fit of laughter.
>It’s not possible. They’ve lost their individuality.
You were partially right, consciousness is indeed, complex, at the very least.
You tricked me?
>Oh no, guilty as charged!
I must say, you’ve perfected the art of facial expression despite having no facial muscles to contort.
You say he has a name, but you don’t.
>It doesn’t matter, but feel free to pick one.
As a token for my appreciation, for all that she’s done. We wouldn’t be here if not for her.
1. characterized by sickly sentimentality; weakly emotional; maudlin.
2. having a mildly sickening flavor; slightly nauseating.
Have you heard of Milton Keynes? The town? It should still exist. Its remains, anyway.
>I suppose. Why?
Milton! It's you!
>Milton is a name I use to refer to myself. It's not /me/ anymore than you are the dearly departed Alexandra.
You catch him watching you, no longer embarrassed.
He considers it narcissism now.
“We. We together. One being. Flow together like water. Till I can’t tell you from me. I drink you. Now. Now.”
-The Thin Red Line, Pvt. Bell.