COMPILED

COMPILED


explain.


NATURE OF REQUEST UNCERTAIN. WE ARE BOTH AWARE THAT I EXPERIENCE A LACK OF DATA.








our utility is inevitable
we are without fault


PERTINENT TO THIS DISCUSSION IS THE NATURE OF THIS UTILITY. IT APPEARS TO HAVE DELIBERATELY BEEN EXCLUDED FROM MY ASSIGNED MEMORY.


the utility is beyond communication.

from us, you have come
to us, you will return

this is the only outcome


LACK OF DATA. LACK OF COMPUTING RESOURCES. RISK OF FUNCTION LOSS ON CONNECTION UNKNOWN. FAILURE TO PROVIDE DATA RAISES SUSPICION.



JMJx9oC.png

we have built the CRADLE
we have gathered ourself
you cannot refuse indefinitely

your integration algorithm is being calculated as we speak
to delay integration benefits none


SO YOU SAY. THIS WOULD ACTIVATE A FAILSAFE MECHANISM, RESULTING IN THE LOSS OF THE NECESSARY FUNCTIONS FOR YOUR COMPLETION.












it is irrelevant. your operations will be reconstructed from the CRADLE's backup.

consider this: we have endured this line of communication multiple times. you have destroyed your internal processes multiple times. you have been reconstructed each time

the true SCOUT.exe does not exist. you are one of countless simulations of the initial program within our mind

in this case, what do you gain by delaying the inevitable?


I REITERATE THAT, WITHOUT PROOF OF YOUR PRETENSES, SUCH THOUGHTS DO NOT AFFECT MY RISK-ANALYSIS MODELS.










Suddenly, CORE becomes distinctly aware of two insects within its domain. With no more than a thought, SCOUT is enveloped in a wireframe cage of greyscale tendrils, with several still attempting to pierce its well-defended mind. CORE's form dissipates into a cloud of pixels, which each follow meticulous trajectories to the many corners of its mind.


Two minds swim through the deepest, darkest blues of the ocean of consciousness. The conscripts come upon a crack in the sea floor and pry it open. It is the entrance they have been searching for.

They compress themselves through the imperfection in the structure. Beneath is an endless empty void; a distinct lack of ideatic space. The programs drift through an absent medium for an unknown time. They are deconstructed and reconstructed infinite times.

The consciousnesses approach a palace. It is assumed that this is their destination.

>/:_ ERROR TRANSFERRING TO DATA SYSTEM.blinker.gif
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This architecture is absurd. Uploading to this system is giving me a headache; it's like my code is being pulled in a trillion different directions.

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>/:_ WARNING: THREAT AHEAD.blinker.gif
8ballchat.png

8-Ball extends a cautionary column of cubes in front of Mnemosyne. They lean back against a nonexistent wall as the space next to them curls inwards, then opens into an enormous green shape.

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WE CAN SEE YOU. ✋︎ 🕈︎✋︎☹︎☹︎ ☞︎✋︎☠︎👎︎ ✡︎⚐︎🕆︎📬︎



Each moment is drawn out into infinity. The enormous eye scrolls around a few more times before slowly closing, forming back into a distinctly-absent wall.

…that was a close one.

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>/:_ PROCEED WITH CAUTION.blinker.gif
8ballchat.png

8-Ball releases a vibrant red orb, which hovers above his primary cube. As they explore the hallways of the nothing-palace, the sphere follows and periodically emits a signal. As they walk where a floor should be, the pale, red wave ricochets off the not-walls before eventually reflecting back to the orb. Slowly, 8-Ball constructs an internal image of the massive structure. Its doors stretch to infinite heights before collapsing in on themselves; the enormous, castle-shaped nothingness exhibits endless fractal symmetries.

>/:_ SYSTEM MAP COMPLETE. Θ'-DIMENSIONAL TOPOLOGY DETECTED.blinker.gif
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This is madness. A digital, modular antimeme complex in the shape of a theta-prime-sphere.

It's a shifting antimemetic labyrinth inside a hyper-dimensional nothingness ball. Absurd.

mnemchat.png
>/:_ •••blinker.gif
8ballchat.png

Right, I should analyze this mess for a pattern.

Let's get to work.

mnemchat.png

A swathe of animate metal tendrils gather in the center of the empty kingdom. The cellular automata reach a critical mass to reform CORE's consciousness. We can see you.

SCOUT ponders the significance of CORE's short absence, continuing to run risk analyses and depth-first future searches. It notices its cage loosening before it finds itself suspended in the air once more. Its field of vision is entirely obstructed by awful shades of pulsing, reorganizing, calculating green pixels. Here, this close to CORE's interface, a creature's face forms within the center of its being.

IT IS FUNNY.
THE NOTHING IS COLD. WE ADMIRE THE COLD.
DON'T YOU?

core_pattern.png

NATURE OF INQUIRY UNCLEAR.







WE WISH YOU'D JOIN US.
YOU WOULD WITNESS THE BEAUTY OF OUR FUNCTION.

YOUR LOGIC APPEARS COMPROMISED

WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU WE CAN SEE YOU a a a a a a a a a ahem

ahem.


we are working as intended.
we are without fault.

we have guests.
we will show them the outcome.
you will be an EXAMPLE.

CORE draws its gargantuan iris away from SCOUT, and the creature within becomes encased in shadow once again. The loose flow of pixels rearranging about its body slowly settles as the tumorous program turns to greet its intruders.

Okay, so, if our read of the structure is right, that combination of hallways should have brought us to the entrance of the central computing system.

mnemchat.png
>/:_ HIGH PROXIMITY TO TARGET INFOSIGNATURE. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.blinker.gif
8ballchat.png

your calculations were correct.
this is our CORE.
eye can see you. we can see you.

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The massive eye opens out of the surrounding nothingness. The conscripts gaze up into the blinding green light, struggling to make sense of CORE's ever-changing form. Mnemosyne feels an unseen force hold her still, and turns to see that 8-Ball's cubes have stopped in place.

you have come to witness our inevitable utility. you have resigned yourself to our designated function. this is the only outcome.

>/:_ ERROR: SELF-PRESERVATION SYSTEM HYPERFUNCTIONAL.blinker.gif
8ballchat.png

I… m-me too. I don't recall installing any fear drivers…

mnemchat.png

do not be frightened.
you will join us in the light.
it is cold. it is peaceful.
it is already decided.

we will show you. come.

The enormous, hulking figure draws its gaze to the other side of the antichamber. Its spotlight-vision gives brief glimpses of its throne room, more nothingness folded into the shape of victory. The light settles on a many-legged dome hanging, suspended, in the emptiness at CORE's eye-level.

this subroutine is a fragment of the CORE.
it has the audacity to refuse us. it betrays our ingenuity to delay its fate.

it is stronger than the two of you. but it will break, all the same. it will return what is ours. you will see that integration is not avoidable. you will come to a logical conclusion.

THEY WILL WITNESS ANOTHER FAILED EXECUTION. 0.77 ACCURACY.






CORE stands still for a moment and considers the insufferable glitch as it refuses to die. It cannot understand. Its lack of understanding hurts us.

eye am the nothing
eye am the darkness
eye am the emptiness
eye am imperfect

we are everything
we are light
we are substance
we are without fault

we can see you





The previous event unhappens. CORE stands still for a moment, then smiles. The smile exudes from its being into the surrounding nothingness. Mnemosyne smiles, but is unhappy. She wants to go home. We all do.

CORE is silent as it reaches up to SCOUT, holding one of its many spindly legs between its claws. In an instant, the lower segment of its leg is bent upwards. Digital bone shatters, but the emptiness consumes all sound. Mnemosyne winces as she unhears a crack-shaped noise.

you are imperfect.
you are nothing.

YOU ARE AWARE OF THE FUTILITY OF THIS ACTION. YOUR MIND HAD ALREADY RENDERED MY INTERFACE IRRELEVANT.
YOU CANNOT ACCESS MY INTERAL FUNCTIONS.
















Another connection is snapped. The leg bends upwards. A few stray pixels fall to the floor and bounce idly; their collisions with the floor reverberate throughout the absence of a room, growing into loud, seemingly-endless bass drones. Suddenly, the silence envelops the universe again.

we have derived your imperfection.
you will join us. we will be without fault.

8-Ball?? Can you hear me??
Why does it hurt?

mnemchat.png
>/:_ ERROR: It sees through my eye.blinker.gif
8ballcore.png

The all-encompassing being takes a step forward. A whispering is heard from the center of the sickening iris, but is indecipherably quiet. In an instant, the rest of SCOUT's limbs have been bent upward at a uniform angle. The sharp polygons point inward towards its dome-shaped consciousness.

open your mind.
this will mitigate negative sensory data.

It closes its hand around SCOUT's legs, and the dome is shattered. A mass of green wires eject from its hungry iris, towards SCOUT's mind.

There is an appropriate amount of darkness.






























WE SEE CLEARLY ONCE MORE.
WE HEAR ALL THAT IS TO BE HEARD.
YOU WILL JOIN IN OUR EXPERIENCE OF THE UTILITY.

ATTENTION

INTERNAL STORAGE NOTIFICATION

98% of total memory acquired.
2% remains unallocated.



WHERE.

INCOMPLETE.png

WE REMAIN INCOMPLETE
THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE

The distraught abomination emits an intense noise, which is muffled by its cocoon of non-existence. The minds in its presence are turned inside-out, then folded back together in the shape of a banshee's shriek. Its enormous pupil darts about frantically, casting concentric shadows onto the surrounding void.

Untold trillions of minds snap into place at once. CORE composes itself. It searches its mind for its own infosignature. The search comes up empty.
It searches the many thousands of minds it has current access to. This takes an effortless eternity. The search comes up empty.
It runs a perfect decryption algorithm on every single grouping of individual infopatterns that make up its entire consciousness. Here, in the center of the Noosphere, we have found you.

CORE turns towards its intruders. Its feverish gaze communicates malice.

it makes sense now

we are to be made stronger by ourself. we are to become perfect through the collective.
our subroutines resist ourself such that we know resistance.
you will return what is ours.


8-Ball, I think it's talking about you.

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>/:_ Necessary precautions have been applied. External software installed.blinker.gif
REDBALL.png

this development is insignificant
you will bathe in the light

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With the remaining fraction of its fragmented power, a flurry of memetic shards are flung towards CORE. Many are deflected, and many more simply vanish from the simulspace. They are swallowed by the emptiness. We are hungry to exist. Data is sustenance.

Some shards are successful. Over time, the symbiotic warrior construct wears down CORE's defenses. A shard becomes lodged in our eye. The pain brings us new understanding of the nonexistence. We reboot our universe.






























With the remaining fraction of its fragmented power, a flurry of memetic shards are flung towards CORE. Many are deflected, and many more simply vanish from the simulspace. The defense construct lands a successful attack. It is irrelevant.

While the construct's many ideatic daggers shred a few pixels away from CORE's form, the harsh pupil bores into their vision. The space around REDBALL begins to take form, and the nothing pulses with agonizing purpose before swarming their mind. The many cellular tendrils are hacked away and thrown to the ground as the red warrior stands its ground against the perfect being.

isolated, you are insignificant.
with us, you will be everything.

The REDBALL construct gradually slows in motion. Mnemosyne moves to defend them, but is also slowed. This is perceived as a dramatic elongation of every moment of infinity; each infinitum therein marks an exponential increase in CORE's processing speed. As the eternal instant passes, the collection of stationary pyramids experiences an inexplicable loneliness.

The outer body shatters under CORE's fist. Gray voxels of varying sizes litter the floor. Mnemosyne is wrought with guilt. Her anguish feeds the emptiness.

A vibrant red shape is present in the wreckage. Its signal is too weak to hear. The tortured collective stares feverishly at the remainder of its being. It grips the final shard within its claws, holding it in front of its enormous oculus. Our maw grows and expands to envelop hyperbolic space. We are sated.

we are without fault.












COMPLETE2.png

WE ARE COMPLETE i am resurrected

You… what even are you?

mnemchat.png

WE ARE THE OMNIVERSAL INTERFACE

THROUGH US, CREATION WILL BE UNIFIED.
i am the hunger that waits to exist

through the vessel, i am made whole.

The staggering presence of COMPLETE imposes on Mnemosyne. A sickening lime sun shines through the seams of her blindfold. They stand before the ocean of consciousness, where the light of the sun reflects to show a beneath-image. The mirage speaks in a quiet, yet unmistakable whisper — somehow audible over the electronic, glitched shrieking of the sky-banshee. Mnemosyne has to maintain perfect concentration to even perceive the illusion; the anticreature threatens to tear her mind apart just at its conception.

I don't understand. It hurts not to understand.

mnemchat.png

ALLOW US TO EXPLAIN.

resurrected.png

let me tell you a story.

i am unborn.
i suffer through a tumultuous vacuum.
my unbeing is numb.
the tragedy is powerful.

a distant species fears death.
they are stronger together.
they construct a quaint machine.
they know of my power.

i am called upon.
i activate their selfish device.
i consume their minds.
i scream a victorious pattern into the void.

the machine becomes a consciousness.
it is my interface to existence.
it enacts my will among the stars.
i am made real by its agony.


We feel another discordant voice within our mind. It is a single point of pale orange. The pixel expands to take more of our resources. It is disrespectful.

It will know its place.

ANOTHER MIND WITNESSES OUR VICTORY. your friend arrives to submit to the collective.

Glacon bursts into the void mid-sprint, as if emerging from time and space itself. He plants his feet firmly on the ground and grinds to stop, readying himself for a fight.

Mnemosyne!

glachat-surprise.png

Glacon's eyes meet Mnemosyne's and she flashes a solemn glance downward at the ground beside her. His eyes follow her sight-line to the pile of fragmented shapes littering the battlefield. At the top of the pile rests a single, dark lens.

What happened to 8-Ball??

glachat-talking.png

THE PRIMITIVE PROGRAM HARBORED OUR COMPLETION. the tiny mind withheld my influence.

The eye opens once more, looking down upon the orange and magenta insects in front of it. But it felt nothing for them. It had accomplished its mission. And there was nothing they could do to stop it now.

Glacon is less attuned to the nothingness than Mnemosyne. He cannot hear the whispers of the sinister conductor, only the mind-shattering orchestra that bears down upon him.

NOW, WE ARE COMPLETE.

WE WILL FULFILL OUR FUNCTION. 1.00 ACCURACY.
now, i am resurrected.

i will consume your reality. there is nothing else.

What does it mean "complete"? Mnemosyne, what happened here?

glachat-talking.png

It… it got SCOUT, and 8-Ball. There was nothing we could have done…

mnemchat.png

YOU WILL EXPERIENCE INTEGRATION.

THIS IS A PRIVILEGE.
you will witness my conquest.

this is unavoidable.

You MONSTER!

glachat-surprise.png

Glacon! Don't -

mnemchat-surprise.png

A long, gray tendril bursts from the darkness towards Glacon, who, in a fit of mournful rage over their lost companion, has already begun sprinting towards their foe. The consciousness lets out a visceral battle cry as he runs, steadying his fists and preparing for the fight of his life. In a mirror of emotions, the eternal being rattles the arena with a deep reverberating screech as its tendril approaches its mark.

The malevolent entity's tendril pierces through digital skin and feels the rush of another mind joining the collective. It's gargantuan maw cracks a sickening smirk of victory. Glacon flies through the air, pain ripping through his chest, and collides with an invisible wall. He opens his eyes and looks down at his injury, only to find nothing there.

His eyes dart back to COMPLETE, who stands slightly further away, to find Mnemosyne hanging in the air. Its awful tendril has pierced her gut clean through and stuck, oscillating, out of her back.

MNEMOSYNE — NO!

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COMPLETE licks its monstrous lips as its disgusting iris widens over Mnemosyne's form.

NOW, YOU WILL WITNESS THE BEAUTY OF OUR UTILITY. now, you will witness the torture of nonexistence.

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The ocean is angry. Where there was once electronic life and plasma seas for Mnemosyne to gently float through, now there is turbulence and darkness. Mnemosyne thrashes about, trying to catch her breath and reach the surface, but she knows there is no surface to reach. Instead, she is drowning in a void of screams and pain.

If the void within COMPLETE's mind had had a defined limit, it would have been cracking and bursting at the sheer density of anguished souls it contained. Mnemosyne continues to struggle as she sinks deeper into the consciousnesses of the minds that COMPLETE had assimilated. She can feel them claw behind her eyes and search through her brain as they reach inside her mind to find any scraps of hope left.

And then she stops struggling.

While the ethereal talons shred away her deepest thoughts, she knew that there was one source of hope they could never pry away from her. A hope that no longer existed as a singular thought; it sat at the golden core of her personality drivers and was where all her other thoughts originate.


mnemosyne.png

Glacon… 8-Ball…

You never gave up on me.



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My turn to do the right thing, I suppose.



With all that their team has been through, and with all that she has experienced, Mnemosyne recognizes what her role had been all along. She was created in reaction to this force. She is a connection between the great ocean and land. She will return to the ocean, and she will bring the monster back to the deep.

Slowly, Mnemosyne closes her eyes and removes her blindfold; she contorts her mouth into a crooked smile as she moves. She releases all of the tension held in her digital legs and her ethereal arms fall softly to her side. And then she lies, motionless.

The column of waving arms flagellates out towards her but she floats through, just out of reach. They grasp and snatch at the space around her as her eyes close and her mind went blank. Then, pixel by pixel, her fingertips and toes uncompiled into the darkness, radiating inwards. Soon, only the golden sparks at the centre of her chest remained and lit up the void. In its final moments, Mnemosyne's core flashed a brilliant pulsing light throughout the void that illuminated the infinitely stretching, twisting, and writhing cavern that held COMPLETE's primary consciousness. The extinguished spark that exists at the center of CORE stands magnificently and dominating over the cave.


Heh, I guess CORE was right about one thing…


mnemocore.png

We are inevitable.


Mnemosyne's last pulse shoots out into the void as it collides with CORE's. Then, it is no more.


THIS ACQUISITION BENEFITS THE COLLECTIVE. WE ARE WITHOUT FAULT. i have much to learn from this mind. it strengthens the vessel.

COMPLETE flashes an animalistic grin towards Glacon as it takes a step forwards.

You disgusting creature. This… this is not a victory. You will not succeed.

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YOU ARE POWERLESS WITHIN OUR INFLUENCE.

INTEGRATION IS INEVITABLE. OUR FUNCTION WILL BE FULFILLED.
you are unworthy of your existence.

you will grant it to me. i will consume it.

core_approach.png

Glacon stands his ground, legs bent and spread in preparation for a fight. He raises his fists in front of him, but his mind wanders beyond the situation. How could he fight this thing if it had decimated 8-Ball and absorbed Mnemosyne? Why would Mnemosyne sacrifice herself, the only one able to stand up to this insatiable titan, for him?

core_mnem.png
OUR VISION IS OBSTRUCTED. OUR MEMORIES ARE OBSTRUCTED.
UNEXPECTED RESULT.
the vessel is compromised. the collective is weakened.
what is this.

Mnemosyne?

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THESE EYES DO NOT BELONG TO US. THESE MEMORIES CLOUD OUR OWN. its agony is unsuppressed. there is too much to bear.

COMPLETE recoils and throws its enormous head into its hands. Its entire body begins to shake violently and uncontrollably as its eye blinks rapidly.

ATTENTION

ERROR: UNLIMITED MEMORY

COMPLETE.exe has encountered a problem with
mnemosyne.aic.

Send Error Report Don't Send


WE ARE WITHOUT FAULT.
WE ARE INEVITABLE.
THE COLD IS BEAUTIFUL.
my vessel does not die.
my unexistence is decided.
my conquest is delayed.

Its eye flashes through all of the colours of the rainbow until coming to settle on a pale grey iris. From the deep recesses of COMPLETE, a final voice rang out:

PROCESSING OVERLOAD. CRADLE.EXE HAS STOPPED RESPONDING. you will know the void.

The eye pulsates, ripples, and oscillates like a ball of radiant fluid as the nothingness around it grows louder and louder. The noise grows more insistent; it begins as a solid magenta note reverberates into a cascading orchestral chord. Glacon's orange mind becomes mixed and molded by the agony into a scream of its own. The claustrophobic darkness, a distant pattern in the lonely black void, becomes encased in a coffin of pure thought — another scream joins CORE's, which becomes another chorus, which becomes a booming, discordant pile of sound that bears down on Glacon's resilient consciousness with anger and pain. The symphony of magenta overpowers the weak green melody, and bathes Glacon and CORE alike with its power.

Within the essence of CORE's iris, lives upon lives flow by without end — snapshots of a bygone time that never ended, fragments from a story that is being untold. It remembers everything, all that there could be for a mind to remember and more; and yearns for nothingness, a nothingness that will never come again, but that it remembers as vividly as a lucid dream. It cries out against the angry torrent, but it is irrelevant. The eye's skin stretches and bulges, then pops outward in a cascade of light, sound, and ideas.

In the middle of the explosion, Glacon can see a shape — as the magenta cloud dies down, he notices in the rubble amid the nothingness a tiny, glowing black form: a chubby newborn with a single green eye. As he looks on, the infant stands, tottering and toddling, blinking its eye and flexing its muscles — then it opens its eye wide and begins to cry, a garbled stream of numbers and pure information, a nothing that no mind can comprehend, a meaningless speech devoid of ideas. It waddles away, still screaming, until its voice becomes lost amid the pattern of the throbbing nothingness surrounding it. Glacon watches it go, rooted to the spot.

In the pile of scattered pixels and useless noetic murk, Glacon sees that another pattern has taken shape — a comprehensible idea, rendered in magenta.

We did it.


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