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Points of Expiration - Just Characters

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March 30th, 2004

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02:21 am - Points of Expiration
Setting:Gunmetal Chronicles:Half-Life
Characters:Wesley Daniels, LogiTech, and various AI
Location:Valhalla, Galdon III

"Why?" Some chip on my left piped in suddenly. Completely out of the blue, since I had been preoccupied with the little battle sim I had set up for my artificial charges. A sim that was supposed to keep them busy. Somehow, not wholly surprised that one of them had gotten bored of the limited resource hogging of my programs. Looking away from the little orange tracers and plumes of digital smoke and rock for the speaker, since I couldn't call them much else at this point. "Why what?" Might as well indulge. "Why is this necessary?" It asked. Noting who's audio readout had just spiked, and noting it as a Fourth Gen. Feh, typical...

"It's a simulation. It's supposed to help you, umm...'adjust' to the conditions and humans you'll be working with." "But...why?" Oii..."Because that's what we Logitechs are supposed to do with you, that's why." Did I mislabel this one as a Fourth, instead of a Standard...? Picking at the tag absent-mindly. "Please stop." It asked as soon as I lifted the plastic nametape up once and let it flick back down. Quick little circuit. "Sorry." Taking my hand off and turning back to the simulation. Cringing at the warm soda that I hadn't finished since four hours ago. "Why?" Was there a echo in here? "Didn't I already answer this?" I shot back with my own question. "No, I mean, why this? The combat simulations?"

"Because..." Patience, patience..."It's. To. Teach. You." Letting every word go with a period, nyar. Damn, was this one going on the fritz with me, or what? "That's not what I meant to ask about. I know the reasons behind the simulator. I have not forgotten." Of course. They were supposed to be smart. "What I mean, is why is it necessary to go into combat with each other?" "Because that's how we barbaric fleshies solve our disputes." Duh. "Can these matter be resolved by other means?" It asked. "Lots of our disputes are settled without fighting. Others aren't. Actually, if you want to go into statistics..." "Yes, combat is actually rare, compared to the vast amounts of peaceful treaties and compromises in my records. I checked." Well good for you. Sarcasm.

"Sooo...what you're asking is, why does it sometime dissolve into combat?" Fishfish, hereee fishyfishy. Give daddy a frecken' clue. "Yes." "Hell if I know." I shrugged and answered truthfully. "But...how does killing another entity justify the settlement of a dispute?" I answered that one as truthfully as possible, too. "Because some people are thick-headed, and don't listen to reason." "And, that's cause to kill?" I took a sip of my soda to cover up my thoughtful pause. Swishing it around inside the aluminum can, even afterwards. "No." I had to admit finally. "Again I ask, why?" This was impossible. Patience, patience..."I don't know, AI. I just...don't."

"So, I am supposed to serve my partner in combat, even though I do not understand why I am doing so?" "No...every Sect'll have a reason for you to be fighting. Sometimes it's ore, sometimes it's land, and sometimes it's just petty differences, but you'll know why you're in combat. They'll remind you, that's for sure." Heh'ing, although I know winning points wasn't that easy. "Ore, land, difference. They do not seem to me as very valuable reasons to help kill a human, or another sentience." "What do you want me to tell you? We've been doing this for thousands of years. Fighting just...happens. It's in our blood." "I do not wish to be responsible for such things. Was it not a rule that I could not take human life?" Ahh, that rule. "But you're not really doing the job. That's up to your partner." "And if I become a MUTT, or a LSV?" Uhh...

"Then I guess you would be responsible." I just flat out admitted. No sense in deflecting it. "Therefore I am violating the rule." "No...the Rule..." Might as well capitalize it. "...is a pipe dream. A myth. Nooone programs that touchy-feely crap into anything, anymore. That's old science-fiction nonsense. Forget the Rule. You don't have to worry about it." Cut, copy, delete. "I will consider it forgotten, but the original question still stands, unless there is some fault that has been missed?" Knowing this one, it likely would have found fault if there had been one wayyy before I did. "Again, I don't know. Humankind starts wars, because that's just how it has to be sometimes. You can talk all you want, but there's some primates who just don't listen, and don't care." "Ahh...chaotic variation." Sure-e-e-e...wait...did they actually listen when I told them about human variation? I'm impressed...by my own teaching skills, meheh...

"Yes. Variation. One human will not be like the ninety-nine-point-nine-nine others. You can run your statistics on that one." The green processing light came on as it did so. A half-second later. "Yes, I have cross-referenced our variation class, and I agree. There is always, statistically, one bad human amongst all humans, but do you kill this one human still? Just because he is, bad?" Uhh...yeah..."Of course. What else will this guy listen to? Reason? Edicts? Law? Some people need to have their head bashed in to make them listen." Nod nod, even though it couldn't see it while in the sim. "Why can this one human not be changed, either chemically or genetically, towards a more docile nature?" Valid, I guess..."Because it's not always moral to do so to another human being, no matter how terrible, and there's also the problem of the 'bad' person being protected by other humans. Making such interceding tactics impossible."

"Therefore...you must confront these protecting humans, to change the bad human?" "Kill or maim them." Assuring it of that little fact. "The choices are so limited." "It's kill or be killed, really." "And if I could change this bad human, without killing?" Oh, that was too easy. "Congratulations. You've now made a non-violent end to a bad situation. This is like compromises and treaties. Clean, no muss and no fuss." "And if I could eliminate the first category, combat, and have only one category, compromise, treaties and change?" Bah..."Pipe dream. Impossible. You can't change human nature." "But what if I could find a way to erase fighting from humanity?" Eww, I didn't even want to think of what it was suggesting. "Good luck. You'd face such opposition, that you'd believe people were mistaking your offer for complete genocide. We're not going to give up the corresponding traits that make us go into fighting."

"Then, even if I could bring an end to fighting and killing, noone would take it. Simply because they were not willing to sacrifice?" Nodding and taking another sip of my soda. "Ayup. That's about the gist of it." "You don't want to change. Even if it were a better change?" It challenged. "No...I guess not." "Then what is the purpose? You humans live, breed and fight. A circular motion of existence, and non-existance. Where is the tangent? If it was that basic, then why are you not machines as well?" Ooohhh...that's fighting words, heh. "Because, we like it. The joys of life, sex and adrenaline. Food and drink and all the base things we enjoy, but aren't good for us. We can't change fighting. We don't enjoy it, but we do it anyways, even if the reasons why are stupid. We live. That's the difference between humans and artificial sentiences such as yourself. Yours is a existence that never truely ends. You can always be brought back from destruction. We can't. You cannot die, therefore you're not really living."

I was sorry to point that out, and it was in a more hostile tone then I liked, but that's what this job was for. They needed to understand, even if it wasn't a complete understanding. "Then, I am not alive?" Ugh...I shoulda seen that twist a mile away. "No...you're alive, but it's a different alive. I was...out of context when I said that." Breathe..."You're alive, in a sentient manner. You think, you see, you hear and that is a form of living. We think, we see, we hear as well, but we can feel, and we can die. Those are two key issues that seperate us. You can't feel. You have no chemical reactions. You can't fall in love, although you can simulate many emotions through programming, but still...you can't truely die. I can bash your chip to pieces, rebuild you, and make you alive once again. Bash my head in, and i'll never come back again. I'm permantly out of commission, you see? I have a limit. A point of expiration. Boundaries."

"If death is permanent for you, then fighting, which causes much death, is an even stranger concept." Back to this again? "I know. People risk their lives for things. Ideals, for one." "Such as the formation of a state or religion?" "Yes...but that's not all. Humans will fight for our spawn, the ones close to us and money." "Ahh, you did not bring this up before. Then 'why' has a reason, other then, 'because some people need their head bashed in'?" Eureka...sorta "Yes! Yes, that's kinda what I meant. If they feel a purpose is noble enough, they'll risk their lives, their limits, their boundaries." "What is my reason to help fight, then?" Actually having to sit back and think about that one for a moment, before it hit me. "Your pilot. Your human. Men in wars fight for each other, when the fighting actually begins. Fight for your human. Your partner. That's all you ever need to know. Screw the money, the politics, the religions. If you ever want to understand why you're doing what you're doing, just remember that you're protecting and helping your human pilot. Unless you one day lead a army, that's all you'll ever need to understand."

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