‘I saw your soul last night,’ Krishion said, handing Nao his brain cable.
‘I don’t have one,’ he said, and plugged.
‘Continuity of consciousness.’
Nao closed his eyes.
‘No soul? Nothing? Only change, young bikkhu? Surrendered to emptiness?’ The professor’s wine cloud eyes were disciplined aesthetically on smooth architecture. ‘I think I appreciated you more when deluded. You talked more. Now, some days, you get maybe too unattached; you blow away into the five aggregates, selfless dharmas.’
‘You’re vanishing phenomena, Krishion.’ He completed his assignment, unplugged and left, moon petal shoulders resolved beneath the ninja-goth army green of his jacket. Mastering his steps through the causal topology, he could smell his childhood’s hot ramen.
~Nao was nineteen. At seventeen, he’d been a mathematician, a captor, one of the idols in the Spheres. He’d been trained by Leonhard Euler and Isaac Newton, avatars in the VR. He’d operated on an almost continuous ecstasy rain, a product of samadhi and genius, encrusted into a genetically-engineered neural mesh that maneuvered his qualia lifeblood in the mathspace orb that was the Sphere. A star, he’d played for other, glorious cities, teams that provided higher dimensional c-spheres required to probe the celestial specter of spatial structures, illuminating ripples into adornment substance of cipher.
He’d been the promethean hero, the sort people fetish when deifying. He gave from his retrievals. He kept nothing for himself and played to distribute equation swords to the crowd in the stadium. He still didn’t agree with the expulsion he’d received, not that it mattered now. He’d expected to continue forever, but they excommunicated him. Of course he was talented, they told him, talented at desecrating the sport. And he was unforgivable under their gaze. Because — still solemn — captors were entrusted to uphold telos.
They sentenced his Icarus shell with a forced VR schooling.
Plugged to a gynoecium in a natatorium classroom, his identity fading out sequence by sequence, he streamed for a total of 8746 hours.
The punishment was merciful, cruel, and distastefully homicidal.
For Nao, who’d lived for the soaring hymns of mathspace, it was the abandonment. In the Spheres he’d dominated as a captor superstar, the sequential perceptions involved a certain joyful branching for the intellect. The mean was end. Nao would submerge into the epsom of his own innateness.~