When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: |
nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness
and the beginning of peace.
George Bernard Shaw
What follows is the fourth code-complete run of Bombast II, the artificial intelligence first described in EGR Release 0.27 - I Was a Teenage Brain Surgeon. Since that initial trial, the system has been deployed twice more: in EGR Release 0.28 - Signs and Portents and in EGR Release 0.29 - The Cover Letter. However, several serious problems were discovered in the semantic network generation module after the last run and the system was taken down for complete debugging and re-compilation. We believe these problems have now been repaired, though it is extremely difficult to establish a dependable baseline upon which to ground such judgments.
The BOMBAST II Transcripts, Run 4:
Something in the Way She Moves
They were not memories yet, though he wished they were. It was January and the road wound upward through the rocky passes bound in snow, almost impassable in places. Desolate. What was she doing now? He turned quickly from the thought, pressing his forehead against the cold glass of the passenger window. The driver was silent, knowing he didn't want to talk.
People spoke of living in the moment, as if that was something -- if only you were a better person -- you might want to do. He was in it now all right, one seamless and interminable stretch of agony, its eyes wide open watching him, detached, observing its interesting experiment in pain. Hell is curiosity without compassion. What does it feel like when you cannot breathe it wanted to know. What does it feel like when you think it could go on like this for another hour, for a month, a year, forever?
The car finally arrived at 12,000 feet, someplace I'd been but hadn't been. Faces I recognized the way you recognize the mailbox, or a stop sign. There was a cabin and a bed. I had three Valium left. Good thing. I slept.
What happened in the days that followed was like everything that's ever happened, only you didn't usually notice how it went. Waves. It all comes in waves. Ride when you can, hang on when you need to, but they never stop. Voi