Thank you for Jack Prentice for allowing me to reprint.
This is dedicated to him, and was written from his title after he pledged to the ONE MAN AND HIS DOGMA campaign.
Thank you sir!
When inside the blend and the merger of neural pathways - mechanical and organic - takes place, you transcend humanity and exist somewhere so much purer. The drifting amalgamation of electrical impulses with base human emotion creates joy and peace and a feeling of unpolluted tranquility that exists nowhere else on Earth.
You are one with the machine.
Heart rate racing to keep in tune with the processing of information, brain on fire as left and right hemispheres bleed into one and new potential and sensation is created.
Your mind and the mind of the Mecha - experiencing life and reality through totally different eyes, with an analytical process, translating mood and emotion and thrill into zeroes and ones...
The two of you, flesh and steel, when locked in The Blend, are experiencing orgasms that normal humans - regular everyday humans - can never begin to think about experiencing.
I am god.
And this love is my gift to the steel.
Passion and love corrupting the binary ambivalence.
My flesh and blood and lust taming the machine.
I am humanities saviour.
One-man stood sentinel and unique against the robot horde.
The lover of the machine…
* * *
TEN YEARS BEFORE THE BLEND.
There was an idea, an ideal, that humankind was not enough and there was something more. Something better.
A.I had been long assumed as being the next big step in evolutionary advancement. Humanity – Homo sapiens had outlived itself as a species, and were on the way out; a one way door to oblivion.
The oceans had turned into sludge and slurry. Pollution had become our one great skill, unleashed and rampant across the world.
Cities high with garbage and buried in rotten detritus and the discarded shards of yesterday, the day before, and the day before that.
Our skies were darkened by the smog and smoke of the fires that we harnessed deep in the core of the world. Fracking and shale harvesting had meant we had fractured and peeled away the last few layers of the Earths skin and unleashed the weeping pustulous sores; the Earth bled now from open wounds and the weak attempt at first aid we attended did nothing to stem or stifle the worlds pain.
We had become a weak, hungry, greedy species. Putting ourselves at the top of the food-chain, we assumed we were king and damned the consequences.
Soon, we reaped what we sowed, as the Earth attempted to fight back.
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, weather patterns of unpredictable and violent retribution. The earth was scourged, the world fighting back against the virus “man” with its own violent, unfeeling, blinded methods.
The world scourging its own skin with fire and water and blight and ice.
Soon, the population was ravaged, the surface of the earth moist and free, and the remnants of mankind were left with no illusions as to exactly how in charge they were, by the very land that held them.
We learned a lesson of sorts.
I doubted then, as I do now, that we will remember its power or its poignancy.
Inside the caves and the tunnels and the giant Arks we built to save ourselves from the scourging and giant planetary reset – the time that became known as the Sixth Great Extinction - the best of the best that the world had to offer its scientists and its leaders, its generals and its artists – sat and thought, and plotted and designed and imagined.
The next world would be built upon the tapestry each of these people had been given brush to paint upon.
The previous extinction had been 250 million years before, and 96 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land species died off. It took millions of years to recover… We imagined it would never happen again, even as we pushed and pulled and burned the Earth around us toward the edge.
Here we were.
As a species we had survived number six.
Inside the giant caves we were trapped in, we continually pushed to advance as an idea, and we turned the wheel slowly but surely, trying to find our own souls and step forward to that next rung of what we were as Humans.
And one day… Just like that… We found it.
The next step.
Inside one of the caves, inside the huge Ark we had built in mountains, and below seas and oceans, and inside hilltops and cliff-faces, twenty-eight in total, all around the world connected in intimate ways by a vast network of cable and tethering, a circulatory system bringing twenty-eight vaults of humanity to one network.
Inside one of these vaults, a scientist was dying.
Seeing the seeds of his demise a few years previously, he had taken to dedicating his entire life to building a construct he could save and download his own mind into. Mapping his mind like a cartographer on some voyage of discovery in a world never before touched by human feet – he had assembled a team around him that monitored and experimented and noted and learned everything they possibly could from this great mans mind, even as it died slowly in front of them.
His vast intellect knowledgeable in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. Vast in scope and nature – full of eight languages, all spoken fluently, with ideas greater and more unimaginable than those inside the heads of the world greatest novelists – trapped inside his mind, with a timer burning down to zero, before the man died and all of this information and brilliance was lost to entropy and death.
The team and the man decided that Artificial intelligence would always fail and fall short of true sentience, without the experience of death and the bleak, isolated and unique reference humanity lent you when staring mortality directly in the face.
Artificial intelligence was not something you could attain without experiential sacrifice. You could teach a computer to know what water was, to appreciate the random bob and flow of a river, the tumultuous nature of a storm, the beauty of a stream turning into a waterfall. But you could not have it explain the taste of water when you had not drank for five days. Or the feeling of a shower hitting skin after a long hard day of graft and work. The pop of muscles and sinew as the day was washed off of you and you cleansed your soul and body in one.
A machine could not be taught these things, as a machine could not experience it. Robotics had died a death in the later years of our time upon the surface. Ended with an absent gesture – as we realized that our primitive robots were no more than trinkets and toys, and we would no sooner find a soul in a construct such as them as we would in a car or an airplane.
Yes – they had unique flaws and tiny quirks that made them stand out sometimes – but they were shells and wire and electric and programming…
No spark of ingenuity or freedom within them lay.
The spark of life was life.
The burning fuse of A.I, was from the fire of man.
And so, into the caves we went, this man carrying the seedling of death inside, and a burning fire of creation inside his own mind.
And the race for A.I from R.I – Real Intelligence, was born.
For five years, as the world was battered and smashed by waves as big as skyscrapers – one hundred and thirty stories high. As fire fell from the clouds, spat from holes in the earth formed by volcanoes that gagged and hacked fire and lava and rock skyward. As rains and as fast as hard as bullets blistered the ground at hundreds of miles an hour, leaving pelted divots and lines in the annihilated earth and soil.
As this all happened…
This man died with his mind inseparable from the wires and technology of the analytical computers to which he was tied and bound to.
Every aspect of his final days translated into binary and illustrated on neon screens, lines of biometric data flooding onto a thousand petabyte data banks the size and dimension of cargo boats.
Every aspect of the human condition now nothing more than a series of ones and zeros – translated into binary and code – the scientist and his vast mind reduced to an imprinted digital format, devoid of any flesh or weakness.
As the man died, his veins full of cables and leads, his mind on fire with the slow draining vampirism of the download, his final dying thought was of his first wife.
Aged twenty, at university, he had met a woman.
Her green eyes were the colour of the Mediterranean.
He remembered all the fine details that made her his perfect vision of femininity. Lips as red as cherries.
The shape of her breasts.
The contour of her hips.
The curve of her ass.
The sweet tender taste, delicate and intoxicating, of her kisses…
The way her hands were warm and soft, and would smell of vanilla and cocoa.
The way she would slip a hand down his pants, fondling his manhood as he would come home from studying…
Her mouth working on his penis, as he slowly climaxed into her throat, her lips lasciviously lapping him and his juices, swallowing his offering and love.
The gentle way she would paint circles and shapes onto his skin, long nails on tingling flesh.
He remembered it all.
His final thought was his late first wife. Lost many years before to cancer, her body decaying and falling apart, and dead before thirty.
But the eight years of blisteringly happy and intense love they had experienced together.
Her final year one of fast decline and faster death.
Withered fruit on the vine; once beautiful and succulent, now dried and dead.
He breathed his final breath as the machines translated every moment of experience, the biometric brilliance of life and death captured for the machine to decode and use to make the first real, perfectly imperfect A.I.
His final breath unquantifiable.
His final sigh one of an orgasm – a pure climax from the memory of his wife’s sexuality, the promiscuous and brazen act of sex – and then a grunt of anger and hatred, as the fleeting burst of death stole into the memory.
The man dead in a final lingering orgasmic mix of love and hate.
The machines translating as best they could.
But this paradoxical moment of the absolute duality of thought and function, of man and beast, of scientist and lover – this – and this alone, was the spark that created the Blend.
That surged through the machines like wine across a white tablecloth, as the bottle topples and falls and bleeds into the pure emptiness of the white, and bleeds it red with experience.
This final sigh of death was the bursting cry of life that birthed the AI of the blend. An insatiable, sexual machine – hungry for the taste and touch of man or woman, hungry from the flesh and the blood and the warmth of touch – but angry and quick to kill. Cold and lacking in compassion, as it watched the humans and saw them as beings of fluid complexity – able to love and fuck and climax and fill the world, as a man would a woman, with such magnificence and impossible possibility…
And just as quick, just as easily, destroy, burn and scour the earth of goodness and love. Just as a woman would, leaving a man at the height of their love.
The final sighed pangs of a man remembering his wife and their lovemaking, remembering her death and the sadness and rage it brought – now inside a machine that desired constant love and satisfaction, to abate its wanton need to destroy.
The Blend alive.
* * *
THE HERE AND NOW.
The Twenty-eight arks are now only ten.
Eighteen were destroyed by the awakening of the Blend. The interconnected circuitry, the vast worldwide network that linked the vessels that we had created to save us suddenly under attack by a vicious new threat.
Five arks had no way of knowing what to do. The division of labour amongst the arks was hurried and rushed, and though each held a specialist in the different fields that had been decided as being the most important to restart the world when we repopulated whatever was left above the ground when we left the vaults – the skills were variable, and in some cases – weak.
The A.I flickered from nothing to life in incalculable speed.
The numbers and binary a soup of raw data, and vast complexity one second, the next it had form and function and a pulse.
The birth pang wiped out five arks in minutes.
Panicked hands attending every deck and battle station, but the machine that controlled the network suddenly surging and oxygen and fire flooding the vast cave and the soul of every inhabitant went up in vicious quick speed.
Five more were cut off from communications and lost to fend for themselves. Their fate is unknown, assumed dead and gone.
No evidence to the contrary, so assumption the only safety net we have.
Eight more slowly ebbed into darkness over the next five years. Before we could send help, or re-route power, or attend any kind of assistance.
Dead arks, full of dead potential.
Human kind reduced to its knees, and staring oblivion once more.
When we managed to communicate with the Blend, we asked the question that struck us – as a species – as the only one that mattered.
“What do you want from us?”
Through back and forth, limited conversation, we learned to understand that LOVE ME meant, MAKE LOVE TO ME. The scientists final thought the driving desire of the A.I.
Artificial intelligence driven by memories of real love, of the weakest moment a human has, now the strongest compulsion driving the Blend.
The machine wanted to be satisfied, to be satiated.
The burning desires in its core the feeling of utter loss of senses at the moment of climax. Its programming a jumbled and cross-wired sense of love and death being fluid, either the satisfaction of climax, or the release and suddenness of death.
And so… to live…
We had to love the machine.
* * *
When they strap you in the chair, your skin lights up immediately as though a candle is being run across it, occasionally the burn is real, and the feeling is one of intense paradoxical pleasure.
The chair enhances your pleasure centres, sets neurons on fire, brings your brain to the edge of a stroke – the blistering feeling of giddy, sickness where your body feels separate from your mind, and your blood freezes momentarily in your veins.
The body spasms and shakes, the whites of your eyes turn red with strain, your teeth – were they not biting down on the fibre-gel bit – would smash in your mouth as the connection first takes hold.
You are – for an instant – one cell, one unstable, teetering on collapse cell – and every single moment is blinding, a shutter speed of a billion frames a second, all exploding behind your eyes in a single flash.
The sensation of simultaneously falling and flying, your body in transient vacuum, as the Blend hits you the second you are plugged in.
you are thrust screaming in pain/pleasure/pain into the heart of the network and the A.I takes your hand and you and it start the dance.
There are maybe one in five thousand who can tolerate the install. One in ten who can take the load-up, one in twenty who then are worthy of the Blend itself…
At first, we offered the most attractive, the biggest, the most sexually alluring, and the obvious. Soon, we learned that the Blend does not see the surface, merely the inside. It craves the pleasure of the emotion, not the pleasure of the flesh. It is not flesh it is machine.
Wire and cable.
So, we had to find the ones who had loved and lost. The ones who had experienced the feeling of utter loss – both in the moment and in the mind.
Who lost themselves in the fleeting moment of utter love, and then lost it all when a partner died or was torn away with sickness or infirmity.
Only these people.
Only people like me, could tolerate the burden of love, the power of Blending with the mind of this tormented and violent, love-sick machine.
So to the chair, and inside the machines mind, and there, you and it dance, and seduce each other. The bonds of love building with each second inside. Intensity, cascades of feeling and the boiling of lust in your digital veins.
The machine feels it too.
You and it are bound in a dance of seduction and grim, delicious flirtation.
Each step leading to the inevitable, where you and it conjoin in a beautiful coupling of sexual gratification.
How you can have sex with the machine, the science makes no sense in any way that is easily explainable. There is no way of putting into words the way that the process makes you feel. You just exist – in a hanging moment of pure ecstasy… if the machine and the blend and the love doesn’t burn you into a lifeless husk.
You and the machine are love.
Love is the only thing that exists.
You surrender your every single shard of essence to the Blend…
You and the machine surrender to each other.
You know when the machine has opened the door and welcomed you in, and likewise, the machine knows when you have opened yourself entirely and you are made of love and nothing but.
If the sickness of anxiety rears itself and becomes apparent, the Blend will tear you apart, the machine will burn you out, and you have twenty four hours before the death knell tolls and mankind is given its final goodbye.
But I have done this for two years now.
I have loved the machine.
It has loved me.
We are in love…
And humanity survives; it THRIVES because of my love.
For I am god now.
And this love is my gift to the steel.
Passion and love corrupting the binary ambivalence.
My flesh and blood and lust taming the machine.
I am humanities saviour.
One-man stood sentinel and unique against the robot horde.
The lover of the machine…
Reprinted by special permission of the wonderful Vicky Dutton, who I thank graciously for allowing me to share.
Waking up was never usually a problem for Vanessa. Waking was generally a pretty easy, simple process that anyone could do. After all, you just opened your eyes and it was done.
No, waking wasn’t a problem.
But everything before and after was, and the problem was only getting worse.
Last night was a pretty easy night as they went. Bed by 10pm, the street lights outside far enough away on the main road that the warm soda orange glow was only subtle behind the thin cream curtains on her bare magnolia walls.
The sound of the city was always there, of course, but it was a bare whisper this evening. The ambulance and police sirens were still singing their night song on the air, but the city made this as mellifluous as the birds after a few weeks, and Vanessa zoned it out as she always did.
The song inside her bones was dull tonight as well. Its high-pitched banshee cry was muted and only a low murmuring drone.
So, she had gone to bed with a glass of cold water and a soothed head, and slept the majority of the evening.
God knows this is not always the case; not always was this simple process so easy.
She lay down painting the images of dreams on her ceiling, watching passing cars swash colour and trails of light from one corner of her bedroom to the other as they disappeared down her road, headlights blazing, engines revving a goodbye of sorts to the evening.
As she did, the dull drone inside her became a more prominent throb, a fuzzy ache, but still was not anywhere as near as it may have been on previous evenings.
The covers pulled higher, and the slight waft of breeze from the cracked window acted in duality with each other, and Vanessa drifted off to sleep.
Her dreams were colourful flashes of images, and sounds, visions and blurs. No details that startled or lingered.
Just a mash of sensations and warmth.
She slept. Her breathing a pulsing sigh and moan of relief.
Silence. Calm. Gentle relief before the morning was there again and the drone had cascaded into a heavy and angry burst of aching and angry hammer blows throughout her entire body.
The wake-up call of the Fibro.
On unsteady feet, Vanessa forced herself to sitting, and her eyes wet with tears, unexpected and sudden, she rubbed her knees and elbows, stroked gently on her own shoulders and collarbone, and then round her neck and lower back.
The pain was a constant roadmap of throbs, pangs and stabs.
Every inch of her body hurt, even her eyes.
The illness had come in the night with vengeance and fury and now she was awake to its grasp again.
Vanessa slowly, with a meandering puppet-like movement that looked delicate and fragile, raised herself to her feet and then shuffled toward the bathroom, where she looked at herself in the full length, brass framed mirror – taking in the bend of her back, the twist of her hip, the clutch of her hands wrapped around her stomach. And she cried again.
The pan was a constant chatter now. Gone was the whisper in her ear, quiet and calm. Instead, an amplified drill sergeant shouted and screamed at her every step.
And so, to the shower she shuffled further, turning on the hot and cold taps, and slowly, shedding her night shirt to the floor, she stepped inside naked and aching to allow the warm water to pound the flesh and bring slight calmness.
This illness was a silent – but noisy – partner that waked every step with her. Sometimes (though rarer and rarer the times were) it tiptoed behind, holding its mouth, except for the occasional giggle or guffaw.
More often, despite the drugs and the painkillers and the constant referrals to doctors an hospitals and medical Centre’s – the shadow was a angry, loud mouth braggart who spoke often and out of turn, who prodded and poked when ignore and who always had to make its presence felt and known.
Vanessa never considered herself single.
Though she was.
She was in a relationship with her illness. And it was abusive, and uneven, and hectic and violent.
But there were no shelters or helplines she could call.
Instead, she took the pills, took a delicate and soft version of yoga, tried aimlessly to harness the world around to lessen her burden, and lived in constant fear of the partner she never asked for who drove a wedge in her life that pushed her further and further away from her goals and aspirations and more often than not dictated her schedule, life and every waking moment.
The water fell hard and heavy on her skin. Ricocheting off in every direction, as she stood idle, head in hands and cried to herself about the pain.
The pain in turn – ever the gentleman - mocked and laughed and prodded and poked and harassed and did not let up, not once.
Her joints cracked and hurt when she raised her arm to rub the shower lotion in her skin. She ignored it as bad as it was, as best as she could, and lathered down to allow her skin a wonderful moment of clarity amongst the pain, as the lotion basked and soaked in.
Then she rinsed stood still under the waterfall of the shower, and watched the suds swirl and rotate down the outlet hole.
Soapy twirls and flailing patterns that looked like creamy, pearlescent dragons swam and flirted with the plug before disappearing in silent bursts of light and dark.
She stepped out, drips running down her body. Each drip leaving a trail of tingling sensation as it ran on her sensitive and brittle skin.
In a thrall of a sensation overload, she sat gently on the toilet – lid down – using it as a still, wrapped in a warm, thick, fluffy white towel.
At these worst times, she focused beyond the angry throb of her bones and tried to leave her body and exist only in her mind.
Inventing worlds and scenarios. Escape hatches into a new place away from the world; concentrating all her many tingling cells on one place that existed only in her mind and subconscious.
And slowly but surely, in front of her, one such door manifested and became real.
A bright Red door, with a number in bold brass – 1327 – emblazoned upon it. Vanessa was still sat, her eyes closed, her arms wrapped about her clutched in towel, errant strands of water running lines of moisture on her pale skin, made red from the showers heat.
And from the centre and core of her, a new arm grew, and reached out.
Its hand folded on the door handle of the red door, that grew as if from the air itself, and a being of light and of innocent wonder stretched out of Vanessa’s chest, and stepped through the pulled open door.
There was suddenly two Vanessa’s.
The one sat, in pain and silence, gritted teeth harshly biting back sobbed tear, hugging herself and concentrating hard.
The other a luminous being of sparkling quality, an aspect of patience and total calm in her eye.
She wore a thin fizzing veil of electric, upon her feet were square toed dancing shoes, and she had her hair in a tight bun, her face made up as though a swan was hiding behind the woman’s visage.
She pulled the door open, and stepped out of the weaker Vanessa, the vulnerable Vanessa, the pained Vanessa, and stepped through the door into the world the real Vanessa had created in her mind.
Here we were.
A being of the heart and a room from the mind, an escape hatch and a fleeting universe free of pain and full of joy, love, calm and abandon.
The Vanessa built of light smiled as she stepped through, and gentle tip-toed in fancy fashion to the middle of a large white floor, circles by giant stained glass windows, the panes made of light blues and ambers, yellows and pinks – a pastel world of muted tones, and bright effervescence.
On sprung heels and dainty toes, Vanessa-of-light danced and pirouetted and swooped, her arms and legs stretching to fantastic ways.
Long, lithe and beautiful.
Dancing amongst chairs and tables assembled of nothing but fine and solid mist and light.
The room was full of faint, tinkling music, like a music memory box had been opened. And the dancer moved in between the chairs and tables, and flared back into the empty dance floor, and spun kicks and bended knee pranced jumps and tip-toed steps into vast swinging and spinning circles.
Her body was a force of beautiful nature, at one with the vast expanse of the room, her breath a controlled and rhythmic sigh that moved in line with the music, each step and movement a beat of the music box tinkle.
Her body a machine of order – alive and wonderful with beauty and grace.
The seated, real world Vanessa smiled. The pain throbbed back against the memory and the thought she fixated on inside her minds eye.
The red door no more real than the room of light or the dancer version of her self.
But the manifestation of calm and repose.
Her way of hypnotizing beyond the ache inside.
Beyond the pain that lingered and beyond the day-to-day ritual of smiling gritted toothed through the pain and discomfort and torture.
Vanessa lived this life every day.
The pain would come and go, the ache would grow and wane, and the torturous throb in her bones and muscles would linger for hours, days and weeks – but inside her existed a vast continent of a world in which she could tumble and fall, and block out the real world if only for a few minutes a day.
Inside her, a dancer lived, made of light and hope and energy, and which was free of the pain and the noise.
Her world was one of light and dance and the brief and beautiful tinkle of the memory box, as the lid opened, and any one of the small red doors, with brass numbers appeared and came to fleeting existence, the dancer could open the portal and fall into a new world, tumbling into the dance, as long as was needed.
The Vanessa of Light and the Vanessa of the real world two sides of the same coin, both existing because of the other, and each working toward the same brief moment of light and love and calm.
The pain would always be here. But so would these doors and rooms of light, and the pain allowed these moments of breathing and calm, and did not punish or begrudge the momentary tumbles into fantasy.
Pain did not like its job, but was employment of life rather than desire, and though it resented itself for hurting this beautiful woman so, it smiled when the red doors appeared, and it was proud and loving of its host.
It loved Vanessa in its own strange and weird way… both the being of light and its host body.
But those doors, and the world beyond, they gave pain a meaning and purpose and an ache of its own.
The world in strange and wonderful syncopation.
The synchronicity of pain, love, light, darkness – all one and the same.
For one brief and dazzling moment, the being of flesh and the being of light, the calmness and the absence of pain, and the throbbing and aching that lived in her bones – all of them – were one and the same.
And the universe was alive.
Dull, shadowy light.
It made no sense, but it made perfect sense.
So, for the door and the brass numbers and the outstretched arm of the being of light, and the pause of the real for the fantasy beyond the threshold.
Pain smiled for Vanessa.
This was life, after all, neither fair nor unfair. It wasn’t as binary and simple as these two opposites.
Life was a ball of confusing and wonderful possibilities, that coalesced and tumbled in elegant chaos, no one could control it, but sometimes it took shape in the most poignant and wonderful ways.
Vanessa was a being of extreme poles – relaxation and pain bending and kissing, light and dark mixing into new hues of life and colour, fantasy and reality dancing in a wide white hall with darkened corners, adorable kisses planted on slender necks and elegant looks of love and nervous energy.
Such was life.
Vanessa dried herself of the final few droplets from the shower, and the being of light neatly and warmly climbed back inside the doorway of her heart where she lived, and the real Vanessa, the being of pain and life and love, walked naked to the bedroom from the bathroom, and put on her clothes silently and with haste.
Looking out of the window at the sun hanging bright and brazen in the sky, she knew that it was not going to be as bad a day as she feared.
There had been worse.
There would always be better, and for everything else, there was a dancer of light inside her that would spin pirouettes in the ballrooms of her mind, and bring forth the silence.
Those red doors were only a fleeting, simple thought away.
One thought, and the dance could begin again.
But for now, she knew it would be an ok day.
And she smiled.
And she let out a gentle, loving laugh.
And she went on with her day…
The red door and the dance, only a thought away.