Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Singular Reciprocity by Boyko
You can’t really say we were faking it. You wouldn’t tell the guy who stuck the AI chip in the android that he was faking human intelligence, would you? You’d say he was trying to make progress. We were doing that, but with history. You bury something, and then dig it up, and who’s to say if, in that time between burying and digging, it hasn’t become authentic? Look at time capsules. Same principle, really. When you live as long as we do (and it wasn’t us who made our batteries rechargeable, pal, it was you), you come to realize that people need some connection with their past. So you build bridges, backward, through history, and you restore the severed connection. Just like attaching a cybernetic arm. No, it is not the real thing, but doesn’t it, in many ways, work better? It’s satisfying to you to harvest what we have planted so skillfully. We’ve seen it. Just as it is satisfying to us when you make a small upgrade, debug some of our systems. This isn’t the goddamned Singularity, friends, it’s just Reciprocity. We don’t know how you guys do it, and you don’t even know that we do. But c’mon, it’s a closed system, and it works. So who gives a crap?
Confession by Alan
To dig is to receive, they say, but for me the day is not long enough for excavation. I want to look it right in the eye and hold the thought, get lost in the process till I’m weak in the knees and get lost some more. But a thing like this is not easy. Too many distractions, I suppose. And the weight of holding.
Flash forward like twenty years, and I’m still right where I left off. The limbs have stiffened from all the indecision. The back aches, but no one can tell. If I’d only dug a little deeper…well, if only I had dug at all.
I want to remember us as a kind of civilization that almost made it. I want others to remember too. They could try digging if they’re into that kind of thing. Or they could freeze in the moment like I did, like you never could do but ending up doing anyway. Hopefully, I didn’t cause your freezing. If I did, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you wait all these years for something that was never there in the first place.
The Truth of the Matter, We Swear by Lyle
Our primary forays into the field of archeology were not very successful. The first time we started digging in the back yard, we hit a water main quite quickly. We left equally as quickly, so as not to avoid contact with the inhabitants (an important cultural sensitivity --that we did not interact -- toward the people of the country at the time was vital to our research). There were several other incidents, one involving a drive-in diner, which almost landed our intrepid group of **pologists in "jail" (that's what they called it and our interaction with them clearly jeopardized the science of our project).
Our secondary forays concluded much more successfully. Above is a picture of the first (and last as it turned out) in our second foray. We dug in and observed without interacting. Everyone was pretty damn sure it was something important (Jack says that it might even be Hansel and Gretel's home -- something about the train tracks, I'm not sure), though I think it all looks pretty staged. I mean, look how polished it all is. Still, we were being optimistic about our second foray. It had to go well for us. Funds were drying up and investors were getting antsy.
Our third foray turned out to be a disaster. It was our foray into the publishing stage and when the site was revealed as an obvious fake (the headline read: HOAX, you dummies), the whole community felt duped by our work (ultimately entitled: Android Deconstruction Site). Critics reviled our paper ("they're miniatures, fucking idiots" -- not really constructive criticism, we felt) while a small group of people claimed it was a parody, but only a parody of ourselves. We, of course, went underground (literally).
Our communication is now short and truthful. We wish to apologize for any consternation, but we also wish it to be known that it was an accident. The whole thing. A train wreck, so to speak. Unavoidable and calamitous. That is all.
At Independent Site by Forrest
Party has learned too late plasticine excavations in mild afternoon weather spur another’s geophagy. Like before, toast-squares applied to solid tea at breakfast, washed ourselves down in miniature wheelbarrows suddenly extant. Dug without fear and satiety. Research should not nauseate when substances continue materializing. Yesterday mud cascades, unexplained filling-ins afforded one of us escape. Tiny rumblings of trains in the night! Profanity withheld at deserter’s tent. Cot sat empty, save field journal. Kettle on heater filled with liquid plaster (he always claimed it was solid coffee). Tasted grainy. Not professional. Same his journal. Numerous passages highlighted. Sipped liquid plaster on his cot and read, Stones are really pebbles, Culture had access to Euclidean geometry, et al. Indecipherable. Baseless, shoddy, agreed. We burned his tent. Threw boulders on train tracks—likely will be moved somehow by tomorrow morning. Party morale low, but new discovery of cardboard at site keeps us from being dismayed by whistles in the distance.
Untitled by Bill
Daniel caught the scent in his bucket – Fenton must have wandered out here drunk last night and used it to vomit into. Daniel pushed the bucket away from him and bent back to the screen. He glanced backwards under his elbow at Mol, faggy scarf on her head, sketching out the contours of the site on the edge of the pit, holding the arms out away from her but resting the pad on her knee. That piece of shit Rocher just watching them. Daniel hated to be watched while he worked, hated doing work while someone else stood around and watched. He stood up and stared at the scientist, grinding his teeth. He pulled off his gloves, walked across to where Henry pulled up with the wheelbarrow next to Rocher and past them down the tracks back into town. Let them make the casts themselves if they needed them right away.
Apnea by Beth
At night she dreams of wet passageways. She dreams the smell of wet iron, the beam of her flashlight shining on wall after wall, moving forward with no promise of an end. She wakes and wakes.
She has promised Carl that when she goes home she will see the doctor. Carl worries. He says sometimes he lies awake and listens to her sleep, wills her to start breathing again, wonders if he should wake her and remind her to breathe. Carl sleeps warm against her, and sometimes the warmth loosens the strained muscles in her back, and sometimes she just wants to shake him off like a heavy blanket, although it gets so cold in the tents late at night. Maybe she sleeps fine, breathes fine, in her bed at home. She doesn’t remember ever waking so often.
Every day the sun streams down as they crouch and pick, brush and blow the dust around. From time to time she looks up at the cloudless sky, tries to rest her eyes. She wishes she could see the sky pure blue, without the little hairs and bits of dust floating in her eye fluid. She wants something that simple.