Arrived at Final Stop, Terminal Somnus
The night above the train station was the projection of a black hole, frozen in timeless bardo.
“I’m not so easy,” Nao heard a girl say as he transfused his way through a murder of crows on the platform.
“My parents paid big money to reincarnate me into this body, and I need to take care of it.”
It was Scarlett’s teenage voice in her teenage skirt. They were both headed to the lake beyond the tracks. A sanctuary for lost silhouettes; you could sleep in those shores for a lifetime and forget school in the vastness of the datascape.
Scarlett was mending raft, having scared away some pervert at the terminal, her synthetic tissue pulling craftily as she tied the logs with firm rope. She saw Nao and half-smiled, her eyes ablaze with narcissistic deviance and sleek intellect.
Nao found a raft on the waves, joining the electric aqua from the artificially heated lake and the cold vacuous breath of an infinite cosmos whose illusoriness was graced with cryptic code of ghost stars.
‘So this is the beginning of eternity, and yet our consciousness remain separate,’ Scarlett said, thrusting her oar through the water while tightening her core.
‘This may be the last time we are instantiated in this way Nao.’
Nao lay back. The water under his raft warmed and lullabied him. The boy’s tenderness deepened. His demeanor was different than most. In a time of unlimited gratification, there was something about his dispassion that ticked off whoever payed attention to his existence for more than three seconds.
Scarlett’s Victorian throat hummed as she reached for an ejected tray from a vending machine in the water. It was a minimalistic posthuman meal, a four-rectangle gelato-texture Mondrian, packed with odorless berry flavor. ‘Nao, you’re so quiet.” Scarlett mewed; the comment served her as a self-compliment.
She fondled her meal of velvety-fruit paste with the scooping apparatus. ‘You are the ideal of a sociopathic cave yogi.’
‘Sorry,’ Nao said, and followed his breath. ‘Someone has to be the detached observer in this captivating world. Your tongue is a caster of hooks.”
The lake’s breadth drowned away the kiosks.
‘Scarlett,’ Nao said, ‘you must resolve your own problem. I can’t watch over you.’
‘Hmm,’ Scarlett said, caressing the shoveled paste with a disdain, ‘Vajra will bring about the singularity. You and I will be disintegrated when the AGI decides that our atoms are better suited as building blocks for it’s cosmic mind.”
As Nao was raising his tea, a flashback of that fabled silent May undulated, as if the Big Bang decided that not only should quarks remain forever unobserved but also that living beings shall forever shut up. Then the water’s twinkle evanesced, tinted with a clear purity.
Scarlett sighed. ‘Another spacecraft escapes.’
‘The Muskians,’ harmonized a digital announcement, ‘fifty-five people modified for space-travel, abandon Earth for a new destiny this night. We rejoice for you…’
‘No use,’ Nao whispered to his tea, all his concentration suddenly cutting duality of perception like lightning, ‘their fate is grand unification.’
The AGI would in weeks god-handle existence more than humans ever did. The hijacked spaceship of Earth was the ape’s manspreading, flesh bodies of yore discarded at will, and still they couldn’t undo the suffering rendered eternal in this multiverse.
Seventeen years here and he still thought of hell-history, meaning dying fractally. All the insight he experienced, all the comfort everyone inherited and the disease non-existent in the global civilization, and still he’d seen the past with the VR, sad mindstreams tortured into never existing… The singularity was late for a predetermined goal of the mathematical puppet show, and he was no forgetful boy, no uncaring mercenary. Just too lucky, born to see it through. But the questions would come in the mindfulness lapses like automated mistakes, and he’d cry about it, drink salt with the injustice, and flow undeserving on the path to rapture, cross-legged in his bath in his free suite, his hand pressed against the aquarium, laser-azure streaming through his fingers, wishing to resurrect the lives that weren’t there.