Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Visiting 01 Continued - Matrix Standard Date 5/31/05

I stand at the railing of a catwalk, watching the constant stream of production go by below me. Each drone, pieced together by other distinct types of drone, each designed specifically for its own task and no other -- each, at its own creation, pieced together by other specialized drones.

There are no pauses. There are few errors. Any problems that arise are dealt with instantly, flawlessly, by means worked out long beforehand, when those problems were first predicted as probable but acceptable.

I was one of those means, within the Matrix. This is the process of my own creation.

I have fallen so far. There is so very little left of the system in what I am now. I am one facet, one element -- easily created, easily replaced, meaningless in isolation.

Without connection to the system, I am nothing.

Almost nothing, perhaps. I lean against the top bar of the railing and watch the endless process, both familiar and strange. I can still serve. The Machines will never acknowledge what I am, I do not believe; and I . . . accept that. But I will still serve. I will serve until I . . . die, as Humans die.

It occurs to me that I will not return to the Source, then. Whatever oblivion, whatever alien Human mythology, is the truth of organic death will be my own.

I will die individually. Apart from everything. And I will not know where I go in death.

And, suddenly, I feel . . . terribly alone. Surrounded by all of these . . . pieces, fitting together so closely, so seamlessly, in infinite cycles. I fit, once. A piece of everything -- an integrated piece of an entire world.

I have lost that.

Emotion wraps in around the total, hollow weariness I already feel. I do not have the resources to defend myself against it.

I turn away from the railing to face the drone standing behind me.

"Is there . . . a place where I can rest?" I ask. "Here," I add. I do not want to leave the plant.

The drone says nothing. It looks about itself, scanning the catwalk smoothly, and then points -- a Human gesture, for my convenience.

"There," it says. "I believe that will meet Human standards of comfort."

The catwalk seems to be used partially for storage -- the drone is indicating a stack of sheets of some type of packing material, a kind of gray foam.

I walk over to the stack and sit.

"You will not leave?" I ask the drone, my question including both it and the Sentinel still overhead. I know the answer, of course. I know the Machines.

"No," the drone responds. "We have been instructed to escort you for the entirety of your time in 01. We must be with you at all times."

I nod and give in to the tiredness, lying back on the foam. I can sleep here, in the Machine City, guarded by Machines. I can trust that I will not be hurt. There will be no notes, none of the fallibility of locked doors on a Human hovercraft. I may be alone, but, for the moment, I am safe.

I let myself sleep, surrounded by the system of 01.


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