It was a cold night. The blowing wind made the clouds move slowly, but the sky was still charged with a world's end color. Lape was waiting in front of a metallic door on the side of the city hall building.
A latching sound came out of the door, and they hurriedly opened it and rushed inside. R25 was a powerful ally.
[MULTIUSERLOG USER.ENR & USER.LAP & ADMIN.NGL & PROG.R17 & PROG.R25 & USER.UBU DATE31.12.5447]
>>ENR: whats this.
>>LAP: multiuser log, asked R25 to make it
>>ENR: i see. why are @USER.UBU and @USER.NGL here though.
>>R25: [s_hits] and [gig_gles]
Lape had entered thorugh a backdoor. R25 had, of course, disabled cameras, but both Lape and R25 knew that security would eventually be alerted, if not by them at least by Enner's entrance, or by the chatlog itself.
Either way, Lape was prepared for confrontation. Right now though, nothing on the horizon. Separate from the multiuser chat, R25 from time to time sent messages to Lape.
>>UBU: ENNER SHOW THYSELF
>>ENR: you know where i am.
>>R17: Saying this as a [heads_up] : this chatlog is being transmitted to [everyone] in the city.
>>R25: even more ! im broad casting it inter nationally
>>ENR: by the way, has @ADMIN.NGL had any activity recently ? i know you can see this.
>>R17: As far as we know that account is [deactivated].
Lape quickly found a staircase. They rushed upward, but unfortunately this one did not go to the tower.
"aftr this go L R R L and elvatr to 5F" read Lape. Running in the halls, they wondered. Would anyone show up ? Or maybe Enner's intrusion was taking all attention.
After all, one who has nothing to loose would not try to hide their last effort.
Especially not if it was being retransmitted internationally.
>>NGL: OUR HANDS BRING JOY, OUR HANDS BRING RUIN.
>>NGL: THINK NOT WE WOULD BE EXTINGUISHED SO EASILY.
>>R25: what. .?
>>LAP: im a bit behind
>>LAP: whos ubu and ngl
>>ENR: ubu is the god of the church of ubu (irrelevent) and ngl is angels.
>>LAP: oh ok
>>LAP: these angels ?
>>ENR: what other angels do you know.
While runnig, Lape heard a tv from a security office. A talk show host was reading their conversation and was trying to explain it with the limited knowledge they had on the subject.
As expected, they didn't know anything. to them the Church of UBU was a small underground cult, and the angels were simply what was described in sacred texts.
Lape shook themselves away from the tv and rushed to the elevator.
>>LAP: im in btw, dont move too much
>>ENR: im already at the top.
>>UBU: AN IDIOTIC MISTAKE TO TELL ME YOUR LOCATION
>>ENR: you already knew where i was
>>NGL: WORRY NOT, HUMANS. AS ALWAYS, THE ENVOYS OF THE SKY WILL SAVE YOU.
>>NGL: WE HAVE ALREADY SENT OUR AGENTS TO LAPE AND ENNER'S RESPECTIVE LOCATIONS.
>>NGL: ALTHOUGH OUR INFLUENCE HAS BEEN LIMITED BY RECENT EVENTS, WE WILL STILL ASSURE THE PROTECTION OF ALL
>>R25: angles lie so we ll
The angels were of course conscious this conversation was under sureveillance and were carefully choosing their words. Ubu was oblivious as ever.
In front of Lape, barring the way to the elevator, two imposing angels were standing guard, their delicate bodies wrapped in wings of blinding light, and their numerous hands swinging swords black as light.
At first, Lape was intimidated. Who wouldn't be, under the scrutiny of so many eyes ? But they quickly pulled themselves together.
Feeling the brain worm waking up, and their sense of reality slowly shifting, they got in a battle position.
>>ENR: what do you mean by recent events. whats limiting your number.
>>NGL: IT IS A LONG AND COMPLICATED TALE.
>>NGL: BUT THERE IS SOMETHING WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND.
>>NGL: WHY DO YOU SEEK THE DESTRUCTION OF HUMANITY ?
>>NGL: AND SINCE OUR GOAL IS SIMILAR, WOULD YOU CONSIDER JOINING FORCES ?
>>ENR: you misunderstand me. i don't want to destroy humanity. i just want to destroy those who start war.
>>ENR: my final goal is peace. but humans start wars for nothing. joining with you would only start another war.
Lape jumped to the side and dodged a sword strike. Quickly, they put their hand on the ground, and what seemed like holes in the fabric of reality rippled through it, like a wave, and spread toward an angel.
As it touched that angel, its winged disintegrated. Left defenseless, it was quickly destroyed by a powerful punch.
Lape picked one of the heavy sword and turned to face the other angel.
>>LAP: so you give up then
>>LAP: you give up on humanity. you see the warbringers and label all the others as destructive and worthy only of oblivion
>>LAP: i think, peace is like a painting
>>LAP: you could claim to have painted the most beautiful painting ever made, but if its locked in a room with no one to see it, then what is it for ?
>>LAP: just like the point of a painting is to be seen, isnt the point of peace for people to live in it ?
>>ENR: i see your point, but after finishing a painting people don't stop drawing forever.
>>ENR: even when living in peace, humans will inevitably start a new war.
Lape rushed to the angel and swung, the blade so heavy that they had to do it in a single motion, with all of their body, counting their steps.
The angel effortlessly blocked with one of its sword, then rose three others, preparing to strike. Then, the holes in reality coursed through Lape's blade, then through the angel's, until they rippled up the angel's arm, and finally its blinding features dissipated into thin air, as if eaten by an unseen rot.
>>UBU: THERES A SOLUTION TO ALL THIS YOU KNOW
>>UBU: HOW ABOUT WE REMOVED FREE WILL ?
>>UBU: THE ANSWER TO MY QUESTION IS SIMPLY AN HATELESS ETERNITY UNDER MY COMPLETE CONTROL
>>ENR: i cannot understate how bad of an idea this is.
>>ENR: do you not realize that the entirety of humanity will never accept to this ? even if a majority would, a fraction would refuse categorically.
>>ENR: and in these conditions, even one singular soul could throw this whole system into yet another cycle of war.
>>ENR: the wars between the followers of chaos and order would stretch into eternity, numerous enough to fill the largest library with their records.
Panting. R25 was egging Lape to move on, but this battle had tired the brain worm out. However, another light and heavenly choir was coming from behind the corridor.
Quickly, Lape got in an elevator set for the fifth floor, hoping that no angel would be waiting for them there.
>>ENR: the main reason why humans are so irate toward each other is simply that they cannot understand one another. they can communicate their ideas and argue with others, but they themselves are not ready to consider the other side.
>>LAP: no ! thats not true
>>LAP: i believe in humans ! i know they can change their minds !
>>ENR: and yet, here you are, a perfect exemple. you arent listening to what i'm saying, immediatly throwing an argument toward me.
>>LAP: so are you !! listen to me enner !
>>ENR: i cant. after all, i am only human, am i not ?
The elevator doors opened on another corridor. Lape rushed through it, reading R25's other intructions. They would climb two floors on stairs, then reach the tower's elevator and go to the last floor.
>>NGL: THERE IS ONLY ONE SOLUTION TO THIS CONUNDRUM: HIVEMINDS.
>>NGL: IN A HIVEMIND, THERE IS NO FREE WILL, BUT THE DECISIONS ARE NOT MADE ARBITRARILY BY A HIGHER POWER. INSTEAD, THEY ARE MADE BY ALL OF ITS MEMBERS? COLLECTIVELY.
>>NGL: IF EVERYONE SHARES THE SAME MIND, DECISIONS ARE QUICKLY MADE AND CONFLICT IS NEVER GIVEN TIME TO EXIST.
>>LAP: thats just as bad as what ubu said !! its the same thing
>>LAP: it doesnt matter that decisions are made by a higher power or by everyone at once ! in the end, its only a singular mind ! its the exact same thing !
>>ENR: indeed. instead of being separate, the higer power is the combination of every member of the hivemind, but is still detached from reality.
>>ENR: having access to so many bodies and experiences, it would gravitate around none and would end up the same as ubu.
Lape was at the end of the hallway. they looked up in the center of the spiral staircase, and immediatly retreated.
From the center, an angel had fallen. Unlike the previous ones, this one had a serpentine body.
Lape looked at the time. 11:37 pm. They didn't have the time to fight this one, they would just have to run past.
>>R17: This talk about [hiveminds] had me thinking.
>>R17: During our millenias as [digitalized_beings], we developed a special relation to the [self].
>>R17: We can [copy] ourselves, [delete] these copies, and our memories are even [shared] between copies.
>>R17: We are just like miniature hiveminds.
>>R25: i dont th ink so.
>>R25: like, we can make [copies] and [del_ete] them
>>R25: but there is con flict between them
>>R25: some times copies don't want to be deleted
>>ENR: who could face oblivion willfully after all ?
>>ENR: but this isn't the point.
Lape remembered the swords they had left behind. Today was not a good day. But they had a backup.
Thankfully, this angel was slower horizontally than vertically, which gave Lape enough time to rummage through their backpack and take a jar out. Inside the jar, a small ball that looked like mold was thriving.
>>ENR: the point is that all of your opinions suck ass.
>>ENR: sorry !
>>ENR: so, in a bit, X will start and nothing will be left. and nothing can be done against that.
>>LAP: enner !!
>>ENR: it was good meeting you all.
>>ENR: thats a lie it was terrible youre all fucking deranged.
The ball of mold was deceptively small. As soon as the glass broke, the mold rapidly expanded and covered the angel, bounding its body to the floor with swaths of thin filaments.
The angel's movement was now even slower. It tried to shake the mold off, but as soon as a limb was freed it was immediatly stuck again in a new bunch of hyphae.
Carefully side stepping the mold, Lape ran up the stairs, and reached the elevator.
As they franctically called the elevator, cracking sounds rang behind them. The angel had decided than rather than freeing itself, it would simply remove its limbs.
Just as they entered the elevator, they saw the bright snakelike body of the angel, now moving like a ribbon in a water current up the stairs, but the door closed just before it could could enter.
>>UBU: WELL NOW THAT THE MAIN ATTRACTION LEFT WHATS NEXT
>>UBU: ACTUALLY I DONT THINK ANYTHING IS LEFT
>>UBU: ITS ALL GOING TO BE OVER SOON
>>NGL: BEFORE YOU LEAVE, WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN A CONTRACT ?
>>NGL: I THINK OUR GOALS ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.
>>UBU: THAT WOULD BE COOL
>>UBU: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO END SOON, BUT NOT US
>>NGL: OUR HANDS BRING JOY OUR HANDS BRING RUIN.
Finally some quiet. The elevator was making its way up to the thirtieth floor, and although time was not in abundance, Lape could do nothing to make the elevator faster.
They took this short relief to do some introspection.
Mostly, they felt stressed. And extremely anxious. R25 was sending them messages separately but they didn't want to check.
They were also afraid. Every floor the elevator passed was one more knot in Lape's gut, another worry on their mind, another shiver down their spine. This would not end well.
They felt a dark presence. Was it X ? if they hadn't run away from X that time maybe things would have been different.
Maybe they could have stayed with enner, defused their crazy hypothetics, and maybe they wouldn't have been here, in this elevator, trying pointlessly to stop a doom they knew couldn't be stopped.
>>R17: I think you two have your own [chat]. Don't you ?
>>R17: In any case, I will leave you be.
>>R17: have a nice end of the world.
[PROG.R17 DISPELLED MULTICHAT INSTANCE]
Of course Enner would choose to do the final act in the mayor's office. Lape was standing in front of the double doors, afraid to enter.
They looked at the time. 11:49 PM. Only eleven minutes left.
They opened the conversation with R25 for some final advice.
>>R25: lape !
>>R25: i know how it feels
>>R25: i know the int ense [dread] you feel
>>R25: so i want you to know
>>R25: mill enias ago, when we were ab out to be digit alized
>>R25: i didnt want to do it
>>R25: i was af raid, and it was such a [big_change]
>>R25: i didnt want to leave the [fields] or the [mount_ains] be hind
>>R25: but now
>>R25: i know it was nec essary
>>R25: some times, to advance, to prog ress,
>>R25: you neeed to make a big [leap].
>>R25: so even if you feel as if the world will end
>>R25: even if you feel like every thing will be over, like your soul will leave your body
>>R25: re mind your self that you still live
>>R25: that everyone still lives
>>LAP: thank you.
>>R25: did you know that were all scared like shit ?
>>R25: even the angels. even ubu.
>>R25: everyone is scared of [X].
>>LAP: thank you so much.
The room was wide. The hardwood floor was bare, and the walls were all windows that showed the lights of the city below, crowned by layers of clouds that seemed to have been painted by singular brush strokes.
For just an instant, Lape wondered if the people in the city had believed that chatlog. Did they know their world would end ? Or did they simply chalk that up as a hoax and would die in blissful ignorance ?
But this thought was cut short, as Lape noticed Enner standing in a magic circle painted on the floor. Behind them, seated at a magnificent and imposing desk, the corpse of the mayor rested, the cause of death hidden. And behind it still, a dark, wavering presence, more like a hole in space than a shadow.
"Enner ! Please !" cried out Lape. Tears were flowing down their cheeks. "It can't be helped. You know that as well as I do," coldly comforted Enner.
Just at that moment, the door got busted down. Secret service agents rushed in, followed by angels.
They didn't hesitate a moment, and opened fire on Enner and X.
Bullets cannot harm something that does not believe in reality. But they could kill something that hated it so much.
As Enner's blood touched the edge of the circle, a dark mass, different from the one behind the desk, broke the windows and flowed inside, covering Enner's warm corpse.
Lape felt like they were falling off of the edge of the world. But deep inside Enner's mind, a deal was made. A pact sealed. Eternal prosperity and guidance, in exchange for ego death and desincorporation, the loss of the comfort of even a cold corpse.
Soon, the cockroaches dispersed and nothing was left behind.
The shadow behind grows stronger, brighter, darker, the hole deepens, the ends meet, the eyes open.
All around the room, all around the city, all around the world.
Holes spring up and guts spill out and spiders swarm and water drowns and walls ensnare and cars rush and illnesses consume and death beckons and flames blaze hot and heights sway and masses pulse and crowds burst and darkness grow.
And darkness grow.
And darkness grows, and all of darkness grows. And everything is darkness, and suddenly
suddenly, nothing is left.
Not even bodies, not even bones, not even blood to curse with or ghosts to haunt or anything.
But Lape stays. And as they awaken, they realize, that everyone else has lost their souls.
And as they awaken in this new world, they feel that they might as well have lost theirs.
CYCLE003 : DARK UNKNOWN - END