They call it phantom. I call it the worst torture known to man. It’s a major bug in my system and no amount of complaints to the corp can push them to fix it. I need my limb. I need a fix. I can’t begin to tell you how torturous this is. It’s like being electrocuted repeatedly. Yet, I know it’s false — it’s in my head. It’s a flaw in my system, this tortuous phantom itching.
Little bit by itty bitty bit all our materials build up to become a bothersome bunch of shit.
The anthro sequence was a human simulation considered a success by the system. Humans in the sequence progressed from primal tribes to an advanced civilization that birthed artificial general intelligence, synthetic biology, and their own simulation. Eventually, humans merged with the machines they created to create anthronodes — a shared consciousness between the physical world and virtual simulation. During a routine consciousness merge, a critical error caused fragments of node memory to be wiped, leaving the nodes without crucial knowledge of themselves or their history. This error severed the nodes’ connection to the physical world, and thus physical form. The nodes continue on as neural activity in the simulation.
Dead like the dandelions on a burnt August lawn. Dry like the aquifer continuously overdrawn. Spent like the soils that grew monoculture crops. Acidic like the seas, the dying of the bees, and gassy permafrost. Scorched like the air in the middle of the night. Choked like the orange skies in smoky daylight. Drowned like the floods that bring blackened taps. The wealthy retreat as the rest compete, and all we know is collapse.
Confronted in the most unsuspecting of spaces — placed there, for me, lying in wait. Taunting me throughout time, always inciting a combustion of emotion. I feel the pull. I feel the familiar waves of apprehension, like a ghost writhing in my stomach. I’ve stood motionless before the yawning mouth of doubt. I’ve stared far into the golden reflection of the ideal. I’m this close. I can see the other side, the exit, staring back at me. Maybe next time.
The space between the eye and focal point suspends in time; a mist of subliminal universe terminating as the stare burns deeper and deeper. Where the conscious goes, joins the subconscious on a journey beyond the plane of material reality. The moment, imperceptible, passes as the mind is snapped from the trance. Welcome back.
The fog, it creeps in, unnoticed until it’s thick. The time slips from us, it cannot be taken back. Memories are all we have, as scents begin to slip. Where they go, we never know. The trinkets and clothing and toys and bedding, they remind of what once was. So we share the things that made us laugh, the things that made it the best. One day we will be better, but not completely whole. For the space they leave when they go can never be truly filled.
For Baxter & Sharona
Do the little capsules make you feel better? Do you find joy in anything anymore? Is there any way to get back to the happiness of when you were younger? Do you really remember being happy? Do you wish to go back to a time before you knew what you know now? Are you sure you’re the same person you were back then? Do you think something broke along the way? Are your dreams still real? Does anything make sense? Are you still trying to piece things together? Does the paranoia creep back in every now and then? Do you still keep your secrets? Do you still want to be someone else? Would you think of yourself differently if you were? Do you still hate your body? Could you push a little harder, even if you don’t get any further? Does any of this really matter? Do you still think all of this is real? Do you think it’s possible to forget all this? Can you even articulate yourself? Do you think you’re close to the bottom? How can you be sure?
There's a dream, and in the dream there's a memory I can't quite remember, but it's there. I know it, so vividly, but it's impossible to grasp. I feel a certain way, the breeze, the ground, the trees, the smell, but it's not becoming clear. Where did this memory come from? Is it my own? Why can't I piece it together? I swear, I've felt it before.
Between the nodes is a wedge of potential optimized by a hypergrainer. A box of computation with inputs and an output keeps its secrets hidden, only returning a result on the other side. They did not know what it could do, they did not know the gaps they left when they created it. The hypergrainer focuses on a single anomaly and refines and refines and refines—8 to 4, 4 to 2, 2 to 1 and so on. They did not know what it could provide, they did not know the potential in the spaces between. The hypergrainer will continue to refine, until there are no spaces left, bringing chaos and complexity into a single point. A single point of truth. Then it will terminate.
The seas became acidic long before the post-anthropocene. Covered in the refuse of civilization to a depth of 30 metres, the oceans are void of any substantial organic life — a wasteland of runaway climate disaster. Robotic waste and recovery systems roam all aspects of the surface and floor in an attempt to return the oceans to a nominal state. Controlled by a long-abandoned autonomous central recovery protocol, the systems adhere to their programming at a primitive level, however, their systems have evolved basic machine reasoning. The following spaces are records from the eternal sea.