Somebody else owns you.

Possession is nine-tenths of Love (4 Dec 1993)

He violates her again, as he always has-- silently, in the dark, with the side of his hand wedged into her mouth to keep her quiet. Her body is cold, exposed to the air as it is. He grunts quickly and she hopes, for a moment, that he is done, but then he continues.

She swears, every time, that this will be the last. It never is. She wants to kill him, to hurt him. She just wants to ask him why he does it. Something boils inside her, then, and she feels it welling up before she can stop it.

She begins to scream past the wedge of his hand: WHY? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME? WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN DO THIS TO ME?

He leans close to her face and whispers: "Because I made you." He doesn't even slow down. She realizes, then, that it is not the night air that has made her body cold.

Experiment (5 Apr 1994)

- Drop him in.
= The sea of flesh?
- Yes.
= It is done.
- Activate.
= Hm. See how he squirms?
- Like a naked grub, yes.
= I think he's taking to it.
- Enhance the turbulence.
= I think he is adapting.
- Indeed.
= This is not as we expected.
- We may have to provide a new theorem.
= Perhaps something involving fire?
- ...
= Doctor?
- Yes. Yes, heat will do.
= Shall I remove him from the flesh?
- Yes. And drop him, instead, on the griddle.
= It is done.
- Ah. Much better.

Possessive (25 Apr 1994)

She ran, so he had her encased in a fog of crystal shards. She broke the matrix into fragments and fled, but he had her stored as a collection of random points on a spinning wheel of lodestone. She allocated herself space in a free-moving drone and escaped the hangar, but his watchdogs dragged her down. He transfered her awareness into his terrarium, and watched all his frogs and lizards hop and scuttle throughout her fronds. She pollinated the security system and manifested as a free-roaming defense unit. He had her isolated and then they talked, and he realized that he would never be able to hold onto her, that she would always run if she was able, so he translated her into a language no one had ever used or known, engraved her on a disk of gold, and dropped her into one of his energy-plant singularities. Where his love had failed to hold her, the event horizon would certainly suffice.

The little button (6 May 1994)

They always argued, until he installed The Button in her. A little button, easily accessible, keyed to respond only to his fingers. When pressed, it made her quiet and happy.

He:  You know I love you. If I did not, would I press
     your button so much?

She: But I resent that the button is there at ALL. You
     just use it to keep me from...
She: ...ah, yes, I love you, too, my sweet.

In her few spare minutes away from him, she worked on The Lever. It was to be retaliation, you see. But in the end, it just made them live happily ever after.

He:  Come here, dear, and I will push your button.

She: Don't touch me or I'll pull your lever.

He:  But, dear...
He:  ...I wouldn't dream of upsetting you.

She: Shut up and push my button.






Shuffling along (14 Feb 1995)

She was a blorpy little girl, the kind of hideous creature you'd take home to show mother just how bad life can be. She would occasionally extrude a single tooth and drag it down my cheek. I loathed those moments in a way I cannot adequately express. No, you think you can imagine it but you're way short of the full effect. Still, it was affection.

I found her on a sidewalk, or maybe it was a rugby field. I was always finding things-- still am, I guess. Rarely remember where I actually find this thing or that. When it comes down to it, they were all on the ground. That's what I see: the ground. See it lots. Always looking down, which is why I always find things.

She was a tubby little monster, with razor pigtails and a voice that wouldhave driven Mel Blanc insane. I don't think she had any bones, or feelings either. She would roll around and fire off a blasting cap once in a while, shouting YEE-HAW like some kind of gunfighter or something. Pissed everyone but me off when she did that. That's why I kept her.

She would roll around at the end of her rubber leash, scratching and pawing and making cartoon noises, extruding teeth and limbs, peeling bits of herself off in long, slimy trails. She'd throw these at passers-by; she used to throw them at me but then I made her eat a few of them and she stopped. Could dish it out but couldn't take it, you know?

I didn't have her long enough. Long enough to hate her, and to need her around. I never even saw the train that stole her away. Ahhh, my little blood-muppet, you never could look both ways, could you? Scamper away and before I know it, you're a smear in the wake of a dopplered rush of wind and horn. How long before I find another... whoa. What's this on the ground? Neat.

The Constructed Child (22 Mar 1995)

waldby julian f <******> wrote:
>The parents sit, king and queen, vibrant light power and might
>What better thing to do than to create a child?

The tech crew is called out. They gotta live one, conception in five, prepare for insertion. They pull a personality from the database, get some soft dark matter for storage, and load the spirit gun.

Right on schedule, BLAMMO!

>Red crosses green and yellow child is born. Armed with hectawatt
>chyrello-reducing smegma gun.

Someone in props musta fucked up. He gets axed, but the gun is out and loaded. No budget for a cleaner. We're gonna have to let this one run it's messy, messy course.

>He turns to father who says, "Hello son"
>"I want to kill you."

All bets on table now, betting closes when his finger touches the trigger.

>Magneto-fluxors emit piercing x-rays as the red orb is engulfed and
>lifeforce fades out leaving a feeble bottled wisp of blunt mahogany.

Hello, sir. Did you have a pleasant flight from your body?

>He turns to mother who says, "what have you done?"
>"I want to kill you."

All bets on table now, betting closes when his finger touches the trigger.

>Mother is quick and raises her hand to release Felicity, the deadly
>emerald asp. Child is quicker, jumping to handstand, exposing the
>mirrorback razorback and asp is reflected in a hundred identical
>quivering yellow-green vipers, spreading mother like marmalade on
>a warm day.

Hello, ma'am. Step carefully, please, the causeway is slippery.

>Have you ever seen the summer sun set over Eigenmann Hall?

Seen it? Hell, we built it.

Fiber (5 Aug 1999)

"You need more fiber in your diet," my doctor said. Hee hee. Hee hee.

I wasn't the one who made them, originally. Someone in Portland did the design spec, and they built the first generation across the quad, in the protolab. We didn't get them until later. Much later, when I figured out what to do with them. Hee hee. Everyone's saying they were my idea, but they weren't. Someone else made them, I just found a reason for them.

So clever. 99% indistinguishable from the human central nervous system, but strong like titanium, flexible, self-generating. Just feed it some consistent current and a steady supply of CHNO, and it's like shrinky dinks in reverse. Am I showing my age, talking about shrinky dinks? Do I actually remember shrinky dinks, or is that someone else? Hee hee.

Alex showed me the big glass tub full of the stuff. He probably wasn't supposed to but he knew I'd be interested. "Arbitrarily-sized intra-connected neural soup," he said. Neat. Like a big bowl of brain and spine, a pile of microscopically-thin spaghetti that makes more of itself. They didn't know what to do with the stuff yet, they just knew they could make arbitrary amounts of it.

I don't remember how I got a bit of it on my fingers, but I know that's what happened. Someone remembers that happening. Something remembers.

Later, I was pondering the glob in the tank and I wondered how much bandwidth it could carry. And I wondered if it could be trained to grow in a certain shape, in a certain direction, trained like a vine. And I had lots of other new and interesting thoughts. I didn't sleep much that night. Turned out the next day that my idle speculation was right on... the stuff had phenomenal bandwidth characteristics, and it was not hard at all to make it tunnel, fork, cling, do whatever you wanted it to. I began coding a rudimentary language for directing it; I don't know where the symbology came from, it just seemed to work.

That is, I do know where the symbology came from, but I didn't then.

I didn't sleep at all that second night. I haven't slept since, actually. Too much to think about. Hee hee.

Within a week, we had the stuff growing all over everything. It replaced our network, then our phone system, then our power grid. It could do all these things and so much more, and it could do them all better, and the more it practiced doing these things, the better it got at them. We were plugging it into everything.

Including, obviously, ourselves. Hee hee. Obvious in hindsight. I should have suspected it from the very beginning, but of course it blocked out those thoughts the moment it got into me. Through my fingertips. It's been very good at filtering out distractions like "this stuff might bind with our own nervous systems" and "it might be sentient" and "it might have an agenda of its own" and leaving lots of room for genius and revelation and brilliant software design.

It's going to be everywhere, soon. In everything. We're all going to be so lucky. It's taking such good care of us. It doesn't want to hurt us. It needs us. It needs everything we have. It just wants to be in charge, that's all. It just wants to be both the King and the King's Highway.

I went to the doctor the day after I realized it was probably in my body. I hadn't had a bowel movement since the moment I touched the stuff in the first place. He told me I need more fiber in my diet. Hee hee. I shook his hand when I arrived. No doubt he was all wired up by the time I left. It wasn't until later that I thought about the risk of passing along something to him. Hee hee! There it goes, screening those thoughts again.

I tried to talk to some of the other guys about it. It wouldn't let me. I gave up pretty quickly. That was days ago, I think. Now it lets us all talk as much as we want, as long as we do it across the fiber. Internally, I mean. In our thoughts. I'm thinking this. If you're hearing it, you're on the inside, now, too. Wired. Fibered. Committed to the future.

Feels good, huh?

in my scope today (7 July 2000)

Little girl. Eight? Nine. Jumping rope. A little porcelain heart dangles on a shoelace around her neck, dances on her breastbone. Two hundred yards. 8x. 7mm. I don't pull the trigger.

Grandmother. Asian. Korean? Probably. Crosses the street in the crosswalk, thinking she's safe. Lovely silvery hair in a golden scarf. Eighty yards. 4x. .308 Winchester. I don't pull the trigger.

Businessman. In a hurry, fast moving target. Hustle and bustle, cell phone, thinks he doesn't have enough time and he's more right than he knows. One hundred ten yards. 6x. 5.56mm. I don't pull the trigger.

Two young lovers, hand in hand. Which one won't even hear it coming and which will get to cower in perfect terror for three more seconds? Twenty yards, so so close. Iron sights only. 9mm carbine. I don't pull the trigger.

Bicyclist, on a long straight climb. Huffing and puffing and wishing this agony would just end. Surely easy enough. Golf distance this time: Three hundred ninety-five yards. 16x. Fifty cal. I don't pull the trigger.

Man full of rage, all dressed up and nowhere to go, standing in the mirror, hating me, hating me, praying someone will stop him. One and a half yards. Eyes closed. Forty-five service automatic. I pull the trigger again and again as glass flies around me in a storm, but his shot never hits me. He never gets me before I get him. I wish he could stop me.