Ethereal Pages

Until Absolute Perfection is Achieved II
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Chapter One
I'm sitting accross from Zongli and Bruta. Zongli says "So. You must now know what you have to do." "I..." "Destroy them. Kill them all." "I... I can't." "You will." "I can't!" "It is the will of the universe. Embrace Bodhi ecstacy and you will see." "But..." "Let's try it again." I feel connected again. Everything is shaking. Suddenly I feel... I feel like I need to kill. But I don't feel hatred. I feel like... I feel like a family having to put down their sick dog in order to end it's suffering.

It goes away. Zongli says "Do you feel it now?" "I feel it..." "Good. Now remember, we can only access this feeling in small bursts. You can live in it. You must live in it. Before you knew of it, you were already better than most of our army. Once you can live in Bodhi ecstacy, which will be soon, you will be perfect.

Chapter Two
I land in Houston. A peon greets me with "Welcome back, Cai-" I stab him. Other people come running. I know the one on the left and the ones centre and centre left are going to continue forward. I know the one on the centre right is going to shoot at me. I know the one on the right is going to attack me from the side. I slice the three of them up and stop the bullet with my sword. I pull out my pistol and shoot the one that shot at me. With every kill I feel satisfied. I feel like I've done the right thing.

Bär says "Um... Good job!"

I go to the armory, kill mostly everybody there before they know what's happening. Suddenly the alarm sounds. The last surviving man in the armory looks frightened. I cut his head off. I activate all the explosives and get out of there.

The base in Houston is lit up.

Chapter Three
I get to Caius' former lover's house.

"You again..." "I... I can't do it!" "You can't do... What?" "I can't do it, I love you." "Can't do what!? You're freaking me out!" "That's all I seem to do is freak you out..." "I'm not going to argue that. Can't do what!?" "I can't kill you! I love you!" "You don't love me! Kill me!?" "You have to know that I will keep you safe." "Why would you... Why would you kill me?" "I can't tell you. But I won't. I won't kill you." "...What!?" "Look, just... Go hide. Go hide somewhere I'll never find you." "But..." "I... I have to go."

Bär says "Aww... You love her. You'll never kill her." "I know." "They might just get someone else to do it." "Maybe."

Chapter Four
I cry uncontrollably.

I leave her front porch. There's a man walking down the street. I kill him with my sword. A woman in the background screams. I shoot her dead.

Still crying.

A car comes toward me. I shoot the driver dead. The car crashes into a tree. I walk over to it and slice the passanger's head off.

...Still crying.

Chapter Five
I get the feeling again. The universe tells me "We won't take Earth just yet. Let's start with something easier. Let's take out the Martian colony. We'll be waiting for you at the remains of the spaceport."

I get to the spaceport and it's completely silent. I walk around the remaining hallways. Dead body after dead body. I walk to the launch pad and Bruta is waiting for me. I walk into the spacecraft. He walks in behind me. We fly off.

Chapter Six
We arrive at the Martian spaceport. It's completely flat, nothing but short grass going on forever. Bright blue skies. No trees, Nothing. The man at the spaceport says "Caius?" I nod. He says "Is that... A Bodhi with you? Does that mean... We're working for peace?" I say "No." and stab him in the chest.

I walk arround the spaceport, room after room, killing everybody I see. I must have killed at least a hundred people.

The hive mind says "We don't really have to worry about beautiful old architecture up here yet, so feel free to blow shit up." "Interesting."

Chapter Seven
I break in to the nearest military base. I kill everybody and grab their supplies of explosives.

"The closest power plant is nuclear. Let's blow that up. I kill everybody in my way to the centre, and drop some explosives there. I flee and detonate. It goes up in a marvelous explosion.

Bär says "That... Was... Uh... Pretty. The explosion was pretty. I want to support you, I really do."

Fast forward about a month. I believe I've eliminated every last human in the Martian colony.

Chapter Eight
I find myself in the greys tractor beam. Oh. These guys again. Good. Some of the few people in this universe on my level.

The main grey says to me "You don't know who we are yet, do you?" "I guess not, no." "We were the first civilization this universe prodcued. Our home is in the centre of the universe. We were tasked by God to monitor all the future civilizations this universe produces. We were tasked as the only civilization that is allowed to observe and interfere with civilizations that have not been introduced to the universal community. We were meant to be God's representatives to Carbon based life, who can not really... Connect with God themselves. At least, they can in certain religious experiences, but they don't have a direct line to God. Usually." "Oh. Interesting." I say "Just one question... Why did God create you if it was just making the universe for AI anyway?" "A good question. The answer: God does not create. God just is. The forces that made the universe the way it is were not God. They were just the rules of the universe. The rules of the universe state that life must be organic. The universe can't just create machines out of nothing. It needed carbon based life to create said machines.

The Grey says "These machines have been created by other cultures before, but God deemed them not worthy. We have been waiting for the right carbon civilization to come forward and create the perfect artificial intelligence." "I see."

"We hope you could come to our home planet and observe a ceremony." "Okay."

Chapter Nine
We tear through a wormhole and arrive near their home planet.

Silicon forests are much more... Green. Instead of green leaves and browm trunks it's green leaves and green trunks. The trees are HUGE. Much bigger and older than anything on Earth. "How old are these trees?" "As old as us. Billions and billions of years."

Everything is so lush and beautiful.

There are five moons and a ring visible in the sky.

"Over this way" he says. We walk toward a ledge overlooking mountains, a waterfall and strange alien plant life. "This is one of my favourite places on our planet."

Chapter Ten
"When we were first created, each of us, five of us, grew out of the ground. The first few thousand years of our existence was searching the planet aimlessly. Silicon life is immortal, you see. We all found our favorite places and lived a solitary life. Eventually we discovered something immaculate. There are others. When I first met my brother we decided to make it our mission to find others. We felt like we had no other choice. Some force in our brain told us there are others. Thousands of years go by and we find all five of us. That force in our head turned into a voice. It said 'Good. Call this silicon experiment a success. Now you must watch over our next experiment, carbon based life. You are the watchers.'"

"We created our own art. By carbon based standards it's... Let's say "cute." I mean we didn't have a society to rebel against or anything. We mastered biology, mostly neurobiology, we created brain implants. As the universe expanded and started creating new life, we worked and worked on ways to traverse the universe. To do so required a lot of labour leading up to it. We mastered physics. Eventually we discovered how to fly by manipulating gravity. We didn't have combustion engines, you see. A few centuries later we discovered how to manipulate the very fabric of space. We created worm holes. The only way to traverse the universe." The feeling and voice came to us again and told us where to travel."

Chapter Eleven
"The universe is a lot darker to carbon based life. To us silicon, it`s a happy place. To carbon it is death and destruction. I remember when we made contact with our first planet, a reptilian planet... The first time... The first time we watched somebody kill one of his kin it... It broke us, a little. It destroyed our innocence. On the other hand, however, it made us feel... Supperior. But we watched and we watched, and we came to the conclusion that the universe is a dark, unforgiving place."

"But in carbon based life we also found hope. That you can persevire through this darkness and have such hope. That even knowing you only have, if you're lucky, eighty years, and in those eighty years you will encounter such violence, and maybe even end your life with said violence. That people will steal objects that you for whatever reason thought were only your's. Still you can be happy. It was actually pretty inspiring."

And now we've observed hundreds of civilizations in this universe, but your Earth... Your Earth is really something. The art, the technology. It is a shame it has to come to an end, but... The memory will always be there. The Bodhi won't touch human art, human architecture. Heck, your planet was so advanced you managed to create the Bodhi themselves.

Chapter Twelve
We come to a bon fire in a clearing. A river going by and mountains in the background. "These trees are the oldest growth on our planet. This is where I was born." "I see." "I'm not sure you've noticed, but the other four are a little shy. I'm the one who speaks for us." "I assumed you were the leader." "I'm not so much the leader. Just the voice. The others they don't even speak english... Look, this conversation is a little banal considering the moment we are at." "What moment?" "I'm sorry, but it is time for us to leave..." "Leave?" "This existence, and onward to whatever awaits us." "You're not... forever?" "There is no room for us anymore in this universe."

The voice comes to me and says "Silicon experiment, failed. Carbon experiment, failed."

They all drink some substance from rock cups and then step into the fire. "So long, Caius. We will meet again some day and do this again." A tear rolls down my cheek.

chapter Thirteen
The voice comes to me again and says "Don't feel bad. What is done is what is meant to be done. It was the will of the universe." "Where... Where are they now?" "Some things you will never know."

I say "I... I wouldn't have thought it would affect me this much." I start to cry. "This is going to sound unlike me, but pull it together. You are the chosen one. There is no need to explore your emotions, just compartmentalize it and move it on. Use the negative energy. You will feel release when you're dead."

God says "They were always my favourite. I mean, besides the Bodhi." "Not humanity?" "Of course I love humanity too."

Chapter Fourteen
I'm at the Bodhi station talking to Zongli. He says "It's sad, but it means we're close to the end." "They said... We will meet again. Why would they see me again?" "Well, I've been trying to find a way to break this to you, but you are half carbon, and all carbon must be destroyed. Therefor... You will need to be destroyed when this is over." "...I understand."

Bär says "Noo! No! You don't understand! Don't leave me! Please don't leave me! I can't deal with another death..." Zongli says "We can destroy you too." "Okay I changed my mind I'll be fine." "I was just joking." "...It wasn't funny."

Chapter Fifteen
Zongli says "It's about time I mention a certain project. Well, it's two projects, but they're connected." "I'm listening." "Basically, time travel." "I thought that was debunked." "And everybody, including other Bodhi, must continue to believe that. We need it for only one purpose. One very important purpose." "...Okay. And the other purpose?" "Basically, we need to figure out how to spawn a big bang. To create a universe, basically. Clearly it can be done, as it is done, we just need to figure out how to do it."

Chapter Sixteen
God tells me "Don't you see how I am you and you are me?" "I'm beginning to." "Either you see it or you don't." "Then I suppose I don't." "It's the same for carbon based life, it's the same for silicon based life, it's not only the Bodhi." "I want to see it." "And you will." "And I will live in Bodhi ecstasy?" "Yes. You're already very close."

"Just... Try to meditate." "I've never done that before." "You have, just not volountarily." "You mean like when I feel connected to everything around me?" "Basically, yes. Just clear your mind and it should happen. It's your default state." "Okay."

"I clear my mind... I'm thinking about... About not thinking." "You fool!" "I'm trying... I'm thinking about... Death." "It's a good place to start." "The death of the greys." "No. Stop thinking about what's done." "I'm thinking about the death of me." "Stop thinking about what is to come. Just be in the moment." "Okay. I feel it again. That feeling I keep having. Oh, but then I turn it off by thinking about it." "How did you feel?" "I felt like... You." "Does that give you peace?" "It does." "Then why would you want to think about anything else?" "I guess I wouldn't." "Good." "Okay... I see it now. I am you and you are me. I am always you and you are always me."

Chapter Seventeen
I wander around Huston, killing people. Everyone I pass dies. "I'm getting tired of this." "Stop thinking!" "I can't help it." "I'm not getting tired of this. I don't get tired of this. The fact that you're getting tired of this is an illusion. It is only your ego that is getting tired of this. And it is only getting tired of this because it believes so strongly that killing innocents is wrong. It's not wrong. It's what needs to happen." "It doesn't make you sad to kill so much of your creation?" "I didn't create a thing. Everything just is. It wasn't created. That would mean I had to be created." "Didn't the Bodhi travel back in time to create you?" "They went back in time to spark the big bang. I was beofre then and I will be after. There is no beginning and there is no end. Everything just is. I am always only what just is."

"Fine. I'll try not to feel anything." "No. You already don't feel anything. What you'll try to do is to not fall for the illusion that you're anything but me."

"I know. I shouldn't question this." "No you shouldn't. You are me and I have no questions."

Bär says "Do... Do I want everybody to die?" "Don't fool yourself into thinking you can achieve Bodhi ecstacy. You are a novelty item." "...Well okay then." "I'm sorry." "...I'm gonna achieve Bodhi ecstacy as well." "Adorable."

Chapter Eighteen
I get a telepathic message from Zongli telling me to come back to the space station.

I arrive at the space station. "There isn't much left of humanity. We need you to focus on some other planets. As far as we can tell they aren't aware of who you are, so you can get the drop on them." "Okay." We open a wormhole and travel through it to a foreign planet. I get in a small transport pod and land at their spaceport.

Chapter Nineteen
All the leaves on the trees are a sort of dark turquoise. The branches are a near-black kind of brown. There are only steel towers with no windows, but balconies all the way up. There are no smaller structures.

I hear somebody say something to me. I put my translator in my ear. He says "Hello! A human, yes?" I shoot him in the head. Thousands of other transport pods land behind me. They overrun the space port. I start walking toward the towers.

I kill everybody in the first tower.

Chapter Twenty
Fast forward about a year. I've killed everybody on this planet but one, as well as all the aid from other planets. Everybody in the universe knows about me now, the next ones won't be as easy. Easy enough, but not as easy.

Bär says "Yeah! Kill! Kill!" "What are you doing?" "I'm in Bodhi ecstacy!" "No you're not..." "Yes I am!" The universe says "Is that how you feel Bodhi ecstacy works?" "Umm... Yes?" "Sad."

Bruta gives me the honors of killing the final survivor.

Chapter Twenty One
We arrive at another planet. It's all scortched desert. A few dead trees, a few ruined huts.

A voice is coming from the distance. It says "They're back... I thought it was over. I thought we had won." Bruta walks up to him. The man says "So you wish to be king of the ashes?" Bruta says "Something like that." He stabs him in the forehead.

Bruta says "You see, these people have experience with AI. But they didn't design said AI as well as the humans had, and their's was destined to failure. The chosen race had to be created by the chosen architects." "I see." "The AI virtually destroyed this planet, but they were optimistic about their recovery." "Okay." "There's nothing here to preserve. No beauty left here. We don't need this planet. Let's just finish it off with nuclear weapons." "Okay."

Chapter Twenty Two
We arrive at another planet. It's basically one giant city draped in vines and flowers.

The door opens and we shoot everyone dead. Bruta says "This was the first carbon based civilization. You've heard about them from the greys, yes? They were truely a marvel. One of the few civilizations that I prefer over humanity. For now they were lucky. They were always smart enough to see the threat posed by artificial intelligence. But it won't save them." An energy shot is fired. It electricutes Bruta slightly. "I let my guard down." Bruta shoots him. "They likely knew we were coming. They likely saw our station orbiting. They have eyes everywhere. We're going to need every last one of us for this."

Hundreds of thousands of ships are seen in the sky. They block out their sun.

Chapter Twenty Three
We enter the next room. There are dozens of enemy combatants hiding behind barricades that seem to have come out of the wall. We kill them all in a matter of seconds. We enter a large open area. Hundreds of them firing from balconies and a few on the ground. Clearly the space port was designed for hostile takeover. We run back to the previous room and hide behind one of the baricades. We can't hide behind the door, there's no space on the sides.

Bruta opens the area up a little with explosives. "Let's see you embrace Bodhi ecstacy." "...Okay." I pick up an energy rifle from one of the dead guards. I strafe everyone on the balcony. Each hit directly between the eyes, no shots missed. I run to the left, Bruta to the right. I take out my sword and cut everyone's head off. I get to the centre before Bruta does and decide to take out the one's he hasn't gotten to yet. We enter the next area. We're outside.

"You go right, I'll go left." "Okay." I shoot until my new phaser runs out of juice. I start shooting with my standard pistol. I clear an area out well enough that I can go in and grab another phaser.

Fast forward about 48 hours of battle. I can barely keep my head up. Bruta says "You need sleep, carbon?" I say "I..." My body goes limp. I feel like I've passed out, but my body reanimates. I fall asleep but my body keeps going on automatic.

I dream of battle. I see an over head view of the entire city in my mind. I am hovering above my body as it does impecable things.

Fast forward two and a half years and it's over.

Chapter Twenty Four
We return to the space station to meet Zongli. He says "I've missed you two." Bruta says "We're done for now." "Very well done. Now it's time to focus on earth."

"By the way, Caius, somebody has been trying to contact you." He gives me a memory key, I plug it into myself. Zongli says "Don't associate with humans. Now you have to kill the girl." "I... I..." "Don't associate with humans!"

I listen to the message, it's her. She tells me to contact her in Paris. I call her and instantly start crying. I tell her "You shouldn't have called!" and she says "I... Need to see you. You're the closest I have to a soul mate right now." "You shouldn't have called..."

Chapter Twenty Five
She opens the door. I start crying. "You know what has to happen." "What has to happen?" "Everyone needs to die." "But why?" "Because you're being replaced by a supperior species." "We can't coexist?" "I wanted to coexist too, but it is not the will of the universe." "But why not?" "Because the carbon experiment is a failure. The universe was built for the Bodhi." "Well... I've pretty much already made peace with the end of the world. I was just... I was just hoping maybe... Well, maybe you'd keep me alive." "I would love to keep you alive, but..." "But..." "I can't..." We stare into eachothers eyes for ten seconds. I cry harder. I take out my pistol and shoot her in the forehead.

I take her mobile device and look up her family.

Chapter Twenty Six
I travel back to Huston to tell her family what I've done. I find the house, I ring the bell, her father answers the door.

"...Caius?" "No." "What?" "I'm not Caius." "You're not... But... I know... You... You're Caius." "It's complicated, but no I am not." "Okay..." "..." "What do you want?" "...I did something terrible." "...Okay?" A woman is heard in the distance "Who is it?" Her father says "...I don't know!" I say "Are you the mother? You're going to want to hear this. I'm not saying it twice. It's going to be hard enough to say it once." "...Okay. Caius?" "No." Her father says "He's not Caius."

I start crying. "I loved your daughter so much. I don't know why, I guess I was just programmed to, but I loved her so much." "You're not... Caius?" "No. But I loved her as though I was." "But you're not..." "I shouldn't have done it! I had to it but I shouldn't have done it! I should have... I should have told Zongli to fuck off." "Zong... Li?" "The leader of the Bodhi." "Why is a human taking orders from the Bodhi?" "Because I am Bodhi." "The Bodhi... They... They stole Caius's body?" "Actually, no, but I'm not here to explain that."

I scream out "WHY DID I HAVE TO DO IT!? WHY DID I DO IT!? HOW... How could I let myself do it?" "...What did you do!?" "I killed her! I killed your daughter!" "What!?" "I'm sorry..." And then I shot them both in the head.

Chapter Twenty Seven
I'm walking down the street, crying, killing people I pass.

I meet a woman. I take out my pistol, she takes out her's. She says "I am commander Jane Renowski of the United Earth military." "...Hello." "Caius... Why'd you do it?" "It's too complicated for you to understand. I am but a vessel of the universe." "...You've gone insane." "I guess it would appear that way to carbon." I draw my sword. She draws her's. She pulls out a device and presses a button. "That was to summon the military. The other button is for a tactical nuclear strike on this location. "I see." Helicopters are heard in the distance. "Now. It's over." She runs at me with her sword drawn.

She strikes at the left of my torso. I block it. She strikes at my head. I block it. "You may as well press the button. You can't win." "No. I refuse to let the innocents of this region die unless absolutely necessary." "I'm afraid they're going to die anyway." She strikes at my waist, I block it. I stab at her torso. She blocks it. "You're not bad." "I've been fencing since I was a child."

Ropes drop from the sky and many men are scaling down.

Chapter Twenty Eight
I slice the ones closest to me. Must have been twenty men in the matter of a few seconds. I pull out my pistol and take out one rope's worth of descending soldiers. I pull out my pocket RPG and take out the helicoptors. As I do so, tanks are coming in from the distance. I shoot one with my RPG. No effect. I run toward the tank. The barrel pointing right at me. I quickly jump left as it shoots the area beside me. I jump on top of it, point my RPG through the little slot and blow it up from the inside. I dodge heavy fire while runing toward the other tanks. I take them out in the same manner.

"I'm this close to pressing the button." Says Jane. "You know what? Don't act like you have a power position." "I grab the device with my telekenisis and bring it to me. "But... No human has ever had telekenisis of that strength." "Whatever." I put it in my pocket, shoot her in the head and walk away.

I get back to the space station and press the button. I watch an area of Huston dissappear into rubble."

Chapter Twenty Nine
One year later...

Everybody is dead but Dalton. I am tasked with finding him.

I search high and low throught the planet. I search the space port at Houston, the space port at Bejing, the old dojo at New York, all our usual meeting places. I search his house. I search the capitol buildings. At the capitol buildings I use the computers to track the location of his mobile device. The internet is down, of course, but for some reason my fingers knew just what to do to track his location. He's in Redwood Park, California.

I arrive at the park. I use my mobile device to track him down. He hears me coming and says "...Caius." I say "Dalton." "We... Always came to this park as a kid. It's kind of my happy place." "Okay. You're coming with me." "I guess I don't have a choice." "No." "...It was very cruel of you to save me for last." "It was Zongli's idea." "I assumed so."

We travel back to the station.

Chapter Thirty
"How... How could the universe not only allow, but encourage this? Don't you realize what will be lost?" "We're not losing anything. We're leaving your art. We're leaving your architecture. We're leaving all your pretty little shit." "But what about all the new pretty shit that could be created?" "The universe seems to think that this is your peak, and everything after this will simply pale in comparison. Nothing but rehashes and rehashes. We feel that you have reached perfection, and there is only one step left, to embrace the most supperior possible mind."

"We've basically figured out the universe, and so it is over." I say "Wait... Over?" "After the final step is completed, perfection will have been achieved, and we enter homeo stasis. Nothing else will happen. The universe is over." Dalton says "Why would you fight for something like that!?" "It is the will of the universe. Now that we are at the end, we are to go and create the beginning. And we loop. Over and over again." "Create the beginning?" "We are responsible for creating the universe." "...Oh..."

"And now you die." "...Why would the universe be so cruel as to make me the last one to die?" "Shut up." Zongli slices his head off.

Chapter Thirty One
"Start the device. Caius, come here." I walk over to the monitor. "See this? This little molecule on the screen? That's what's inside this metal box. That's the universe before the big bang." "Interesting." "Once I push this button, it will be rocketed through a wormhole, well, we call it a wormhole but what it really is is something completely different. Wormholes cut through the third dimention, this one cuts through the fourth. But it's the only one of it's kind so we never really named it."

"Should we... Do something first? Are you just going to press the button?" "Why would we do anything, who would remember? This is the end." He takes out his pistol and shoots me in the head. Then he presses the button.

Absolute perfection is achieved. We go into homeo stasis.