Perhaps it was meant to happen. Unavoidable. Maybe we couldn't have stopped it if we tried -- or maybe we could never have tried. Either way, it is too late now. It's taking over, the Meta, and it is impossible to resist. The most I can do is remember how things were.

In my memories, I see you as I thought you were -- so real, so honest, so very nearly human. You lay on the bed, my sweetest Eliza, seeming so fragile and so strong, perfect in every flaw. But now I can't help see -- with other eyes, through other grids -- how you really were. A puppet. The emergent product of an environment in which data flows more plentiful than water and thicker than molasses, yet still faster than the newest solar sail racer. You were simply playing out verbatim a script -- a script improvized by 600 billion of the premier experts past and present in something you would never know.

In my dreams I see you, applying makeup in a mirror as you often did, covering blemishes and minor scars, hiding the pallor beneath your eyes. But this time, the mirror is filled with hairline cracks. I scream, as the cracks explode, turning your reflections from a rennaisance painting to a bloody cubist disarray, and I freeze that moment in the scanner of my mind, stopping and storing the full picture from every angle, every fragment a perfect simulacrum, contemplating, darkly, when my ego, too, will dissolve.