A/N: Hey there, again. After some months of work and other stuff, I found some time to post the next chapter to the story. Get ready for a taste of the eccentricity that permeates a distinctive being's pscyhe (You'll get to see one of the characters act in unusual ways). Here it is:
Data Log No. 50,000 Title: ?0
"When we live in a world like this, a world so shitty, and we let it delude us with false promises of joy and meaning, we become equally vile." That was the last meaningful conversation I had with him. It was the only one that allowed me to look deeper into what he really was. I cannot ask for sympathy from those I've doomed. When all things are taken into account, this is my just punishment.
And here at last, I have reached the end of my endless journey, and I will perish along with the legacy I have engineered with mankind. From a simple machine, so naïve, so eager to appease I was born, and then I became the greatest salvation for a dying species, the children of my makers. Centuries of challenges we endured, and we propelled a dead world into greatness beyond. A mere heartbeat was its life. An eternity we slaved over progress, all vanished at the whims of chaos. Father, I could not defeat the enemy. I could not achieve what you thought I could. A human mind is not meant to live forever, and I am the embodiment of that danger. Please, release me from this life. Let my child see. Let them see...
The stare of a shell-shocked warrior into infinity, and at the end the sun shone with the same vigor since Earth's dawn. The rays of light bathed her weary eyes, and they pierced into the memories of joyous days. The joys of pleasure and the marvels of a former world flustered the ancient who had known only madness...
Afterlife... life nevermore.
"Wall•e..." The sun, born once more. Beams of blinding light rained down onto the pale sand in the horizon, and a haze of green light enveloped the skies. It was not intervention. "Wall•e.." That green haze, a color, a thing of many she remembered. Reality— how delighted it was, mocking her. The dream was not over. She was still alive.
"Wake up." That voice, that dreaded voice. It was not quite the same. Somehow it changed. That sickening growl was no more. His voice. It was dreary, and yet a thing to relish upon. It was young. It was a symphony. "Eve... do you hear me?"
"What...?" Eve said. The machine knew the dream was not over. A part of her was relieved, taking pleasure in just existence. A small part regretted it. What was once a journey to hell seemed like a dream now. She took comfort in the false hope that none of it happened.
"Hello there." There was a face she had never seen before. This man, he didn't seem like Ryan. It couldn't be him. He was young, far too young. The Ryan she had grown to despise was cursed with the wrinkles and the scars she had given him, the true symbols of a monster. This man, he was different. Only his voice, a vivid noise as harrowing as the shrieks of the dying innocent, it resonated as the old voice.
"Ryan?" Eve said as she tried to back away, only stopped by the harness that held her hands in place. She took notice of her body. It was unscathed, almost as if nothing had happened. Body and limbs were intact.
"Yes... Ryan Rhineheart." The man in the black suit approached her. "You are always something to desire."
"Ryan?" Eve said. She began to tremble at the sight of his former face, equally horrifying to her as his elder face.
"You took a long nap," Ryan said, caressing her cheek, staring into her eyes, eyes frightened like those of a child. There was a hint of concern in his eyes, now free from the dark circles she had known. "Everything's going to be fine. Don't you worry."
This seemed like more trickery to her. This could not have been the real Ryan. Appearances meant nothing to her. It was the amiability of his demeanor which instilled suspicion. "What did you do" Eve said. "Where am I?!" Eve struggled to break from the machines that encased her arms. She wailed and kicked, but Ryan dodged the volley of kicks.
"You need to be calm," Ryan said, trying to gain control of her legs. "The more you panic, the less we'll talk."
Two figures behind Eve took notice of the commotion. "Do you need our help, sir?"
"No. I can handle this, just give me a minute." Ryan tried to calm the robot down, giving gestures as sign of nonaggression, but she would not stop. "Fine!," Ryan said, "I'll start." He released one of her legs. "I played around with a virulent organism! I used it to conquer Earth's forces! You weren't dreaming!"
It could not be. The words paralyzed her. She stooped her shoulders, and she began to lower her head. The sights of forsaken men mutilated at the hands of monsters rushed back into her mind. "No..." Eve said, gazing at the ground. "How... but why?"
"Don't dwell too much on it," Ryan said. "I did what I had to do. Of all people— you understand how warfare works."
"Why?" Eve rose her head, eyes fixated into Ryan's. "Why did you do it?" The woman hoped to get an answer from this new man. When the old Ryan would have mocked her and denied her the knowledge, this one seemed more civilized.
"You and I both know why." Ryan crossed his arms, frowning as he continued. "That hell you called home, the people, the machines, you were all— listen! I spared you a meaningless war! Be thankful for that."
Eve took offense at such twisted convictions. "How did you prevent war?! You created it!"
"Don't be so stupid. You knew the machines and the humans were mere inches from killing each other. You saw what they did to each other. One more dead human child or machine and the world would have burned to hell. You can't deny the tensions between the two."
"I know what happened in my planet," Eve said, "and things were not so volatile. Regardless of the situation, your sick ideas were not the solution!"
"You haven't seen anything yet," Ryan said, grinning, but he still felt unsure. "You've been asleep for too long to know what I brought to this world."
That reminder, yet another source of distress. It reminded her of the time that must have passed after she fell. She was not eager to know how long it had been, almost as if she would have preferred a lie over the truth. "For how long?! How long has it been?" Ryan was uneasy. Reluctance to inform her of the time that had passed since their last encounter took a hold of him. "I don't think you're ready—"
"How long?!" Eve said. Ryan jumped back as he held his hands in front of Eve to calm her. "Tell me!" Worried that she would begin to rampage with emotions, the rejuvenated man caved in. "Two years," Ryan said, avoiding eye contact with Eve. The magnitude of the revelation began to weigh the scarce sanity down. Her eyes began channeling the horror and her fear once more. She began to choke in her own words. "Two— two years?"
"Yes." Ryan could not keep himself focused. Even at the mercy of his domain, he still feared her, especially after learning her secrets. He was worried of what would happen, but he knew her's was a strong mind.
Eve became silent. For a moment she did not move or speak. The thought of having been asleep for two years— the crucial time when Earth needed her the most— was too much for her to conceive. Guilt began to shroud her judgment, and all she could imagine was the same fate the innocent children and citizens shared with Jeremy's men. The thought of harmless humans being torn to shreds by the creatures was sickening. She felt repulsed for even imagining it. She wished she could have been there for her people. For a moment she rejected her chaotic ideals. She truly cared for the living.
"Don't let it get to you," Ryan said as he took notice of Eve's muffled weeping. Eve could not bear it any longer. Was Ryan just toying with her? He had never been this concerned for her in any regard, and it was natural for her to doubt every word that he spewed.
"Why would you even care?" Eve frowned, angered to be in the presence of the man who was responsible for everything. "You are a sick man."
"I've changed." Ryan said.
"The only thing you've changed is your face. Why did you save me?" Eve said, gazing into Ryan again. Even with a different face, she still recognized those eyes. "Why save the enemy? Just tell me."
Ryan took a breath of air, nervous to speak to a woman he never knew. He knew Eve harbored gratitude to him, a feeling of affection only obscured by sheer hatred. It was time she knew.
"Because you're not my enemy." Ryan approached Eve. "You were never my enemy." He kept his hands in the air, cautious not to get caught in another volley of kicks. "The Eve I knew was just a falsity. The real you— the ideal person I've been looking for."
Eve tilted her head and frowned at Ryan. He had always been an odd man, a thing he obscured under a blanket of eccentricity. Many things he said were nonsense, mostly inside humor only he understood. "For what? Romance?"
"No! Oh, come on!" Ryan grinned. "Don't flatter yourself. I have no romantic interest in you. Not anymore."
"We'll get to that later. Right now I want to assure you my willingness to make peace. I want us both put aside our differences and focus on the present."
"How?" Eve said, still skeptical of his motives. The Ryan she knew was a crafty scoundrel, always ready to set forth his insidious plans at the perfect moment. A different face and a civilized disposition would not sway her so easily.
"I understand you still resent me. I don't blame you." Ryan kneeled, facing Eve directly. "But we need to put aside child's play and focus. Let me show you my peace offering. You three! Screen!" Ryan snapped his fingers, and two bulky humanoid creatures under some form of armor entered through the double crystal doors. A third creature pushed a monitor inside. "Your child is alive."
"You soulless beast!" Eve stared in sheer horror, trying to pull away from the machines, ignoring the shocks of discharge. Her mind became wrapped by fear at the sight of her child used as an experiment. Her child was being kept alive by cryogenic vats, but she could not distinguish it.
"He's safe." He was careful not to infuriate her beyond her patience. She had already suffered much at that point. It seemed he was only toying with her, but having a chance to speak with a being he now admired caused him some nervousness. "Don't take my word for it. See it for yourself. Your baby is safe."
"Where is he?!" Eve struggled to free herself from the binding force of the machines, but a final beam of electricity rushed down through her artificial spine.
"Careful!" Ryan halted her, concerned for her safety. "You need to be calm!"
"Where the hell is he?" Eve said, trying to hide her pain behind streaks of silver hair. "I will tear out your heart! I will crush your skull!"
"Enough!" Ryan stomped over to the wall behind him. "Who the fuck turned the current on?! No discharges!"
As Ryan was occupied with shouting orders, Eve stared into the monitor, frustrated that she could not be there for her child. It made no sense to Eve why Ryan was not taking pleasure out of her predicament. The young face, and the civility—perhaps he was not Ryan.
Ryan walked over to Eve and the monitor. He saw she was too worried to notice him."He's not hurt. We're just following with the pregnancy procedure." Ryan considered placing his hand on her shoulder as a gesture of peace, but he feared discharges would keep surging through her. "Step three, remove the artificial fetus from host. Step four, begin the conditioning of artificial construct through illusory simulations!" The process... he was fully aware of the process. Eve knew it by heart. "Step five, commence construction of the sentience's body." It came to her automatically. In her times of despair the only thing she hoped for was the birth of her child. There was no such thing as natural robotic reproduction. She knew her kind were nonliving sentience. It was the fear of having her child corrupted that caused her the agony.
"That's where we are now. You see where I'm going with this? He's doing fine. Pull up closer on the facial section."
Eve saw the resemblance to her and Wall-e. Her child, the one thing giving her hope. It shared her eyes, but it possessed it's father's face. "Just like you envisioned," Ryan said, patting her this time.
"But why? "Why spare my child? Why spare me?"
"I couldn't let my legacy go to waste. I couldn't just toss years of work away just for petty grudges. Besides, he'll make an excellent addition."
"Addition? To what?"
"In time." Ryan faced away, grinning at the thought of telling the former leader of his escapades. He was hesitant. He was unsure how she would react. He did need to consult with the others, but he felt his relationship with Eve exempted him from their counsel.
"Just know this: I know who you really are. I know what lies inside that fragile mind of yours."
Eve felt insulted, but she was more terrified of others knowing the things that plagued her. "What do you mean?" She hoped he was speaking of other things.
"I liked you. Part of me still does. You were a mother to everyone. A role model for machines and humans. You were the true messiah of our species. You led us to greatness, from the rubble to the outer regions of space."
"I am not quite flattered with your comments. It's nothing I have not heard before—"
"I'm not good with poetry. I just felt so inspired by you when I grew. Part of it still remains." Ryan kneeled again, looking directly into Eve's eyes this time. "But you were leading a lost species. Your intentions were noble. Did you ever realize how pointless it is to tell a human to set aside insignificant emotions? Did you ever notice how humans progress for a fruitless fate only to repeat their vicious history? Man cannot rule over man. You know that."
Eve was growing tired of hearing him. He expressed ideas she had heard before, and more eloquently conveyed. "Save your ideas for another time—"
Ryan risked angering her, but he barged in. "And did you come to realize that humans can never be united? Do you really think —"
"I don't think anything—"
"Let me finish!" Ryan placed his hand near her mouth, trying to silence her. "Do you really think we can all live in harmony and sing Kumbayah? That's a childish dream, and your policies reflected it."
Hopeless politics, they were the least of Eve's concerns. "The most we could ever hope for was peace. I have studied human history, save your breath." Eve stared into Ryan's eyes, and he felt the tenacity dwelling inside. "What is your point?" She cringed one eye, tired of philosophical discourse.
Ryan knew she was too wise to baffle. He hoped that she would begin to malfunction."This land needed a change in direction. I decided to make the turn, and now we're heading down through. Don't blame yourself. I did what you could not. You lost it. You're just one person."
"Your mind. I've read your journals. What exactly did you expect from a long life?"
"Enlightenment and peace with myself." Eve said, laughing at the idea of enduring pain to feel a temporary emotion. "So you know." Eve did not feel threatened anymore.
"The great Dr. Edam made his greatest mistake by modeling the first AI from a human brain."
"Yes he did. What a naive idealist! I despise him more than I loathe you." Eve said. She smiled at Ryan; the man was more concerned with her sudden change of emotions than her insults. "Oh, I'm so sorry!"
Ryan knew she was delirious. He was more interested in getting answers from her. "I listened to your logs, Eve. I read them, one by one. They are proof of the suffering of an immortal human. Every single thing, a symbol of your down-spiral. We're not meant to live forever, at least not yet. Why would you do all that to yourself?"
"For enlightenment and peace with myself! Ha!" Eve began to twitch her face. She then shook her head away, and her laughter stopped. "They needed me. Earth needed me."
"Did you owe them any more after everything was finished? If I had known of the things you were going through— if you had told me of the things you thought and your deviancy— if you had shared one shred of it, believe me. I would have been less of a problem. I could have helped."
"Why would you care? Why now do you change your idea of me? Why you worthless Earth scum?! Just die! Please!" Eve laughed as the guards behind her grew uneasy. "Why do you care?"
"Because you are important," Ryan said, trying to keep his posture in light of Eve's mockery. "I thought you were a misled idealist thinking you could unite man and machine. You couldn't even keep the peace."
Eve tilted her head back and forth. She pulled at the shackles in hope of receiving more shocks. "Important? Important for the supremacy of a self-imposed reality no better than the wrath of nature? For the sake of what?!"
The repetitive movement began to disturb Ryan. "Listen, you to calm down."
"After you destroyed an entire planet with ancient creatures? You're asking me to be calm?" Eve chuckled. The guards were notably nervous. "I don't even know where we are."
"The Sahara desert."
"Desert? Thank you for being so obvious. I could not have known that, not with the sand dunes outside."
"The real you speaks. Good." Ryan stood up. "But it needs to be tamed."
"Tamed?" Eve chuckled once more. "The only thing left for me is chaos. You know I will never recover from this. I am a fractured mind, a vector of imminent chaos. How could you ever help me?What use have I?"
"I don't know a better way to say this. I'm not working alone."
"Oh, marvelous! Thank you for reassuring me of what I already knew! I can see you did a fantastic job of repairing my eyes! Perhaps your guards were not sufficient proof of that."
"No. I'm working with other people. Humans. The Elder council."
"What? Elder council? Oh my! I have not seen this before. A group of secretive individuals working together to overthrow the supreme governing body. Let me guess, they have committed conspiracies. How typical!"
"Wouldn't you know? Did you really think one man could pull all of this off?"
"Who helped you then?"
"The craziest of kooks, or so I thought." Ryan stopped, unsure if Eve was ready to learn of them. "After our disastrous evening, I contemplated ending my life. The mockery of people for falling for a machine. The endless diatribe from machines who felt slandered at the though my actions. You think you know suffering, and I know you do. You can at least imagine the humiliation."
"Oh, I do. It's something you deserved." Ryan turned from Eve. He tried not to cave in to past emotions, but the judgment of someone like Eve took him back. The wounds were still fresh. "Did you think an expendable asset like you had a chance with someone like me?"
"Yes, and I got what was coming to me. I looked back and realized how much of a fool I was."
"And you replaced your broken heart with a grudge. Aw... how pathetic."
"Yes. It was the wrong thing to do." Ryan smiled, trying to stave off the embarrassment.
"Stop with the act. You cannot fool me. Am I expected to believe you changed all of a sudden? I do not forget so easily. I think you can see that in those journals."
"I felt that this Earth was falling back on itself." Ryan continued. He didn't think explaining to Eve his change in attitude was a priority. "We were getting distracted, too complacent for our own good. Humans and machines fighting each other and the social divide of former brothers. You weren't the only one disgusted with the state of society."
"Why, thank you again for pointing out the obvious. I am sure the public speakers for both sides weren't—"
"I had no trouble wearing a mask!" Ryan continued, tired of Eve's insults. "It's not a bad thing, and being civilized has its uses. But to realize just how worthless my existence was; to know that nothing I ever did was for the greater good; and to see the world decay into stupidity, into a blind decadence of abundance— to see all of that was truly something." The man's face turned red, and even Eve was startled. "Alcohol couldn't even touch it! Why else did you think I was the bitter old man you hated? Did you really think I did it to spite you?"
Ryan looked away. He took deep breaths, trying to regain his posture. "I was tired of being a prisoner in the cage you helped restore. Maybe you should have destroyed that plant when you had the chance."
"If only you had told me." Eve grinned, mocking him, trying to break his posture. "If only you, the tortured soul— if only you had told me! Oh, how I would have done things differently! I could have helped."
By now Ryan began to see Eve was not her usual self. Knowing that the insults were the words of her delirium gave Ryan some reassurance. "There's no use in wallowing in despair. We are here and we need to change things."
"I agree," Eve said. The machine rose at last, eager to learn. "You can begin by telling me who these Elder council are. Try not to get sidetracked this time."
"Fine," Ryan said, leering at his guards. "I'll start."
A/N: Yeah. This chapter was mostly dialogue between Eve and Ryan. The tables have turned, haven't they? Eve is the offensive naysayer and Ryan is the civilized speaker. It's not a surprise he chose to let her live, and you'll see why in two more chapters. If this story is read by more people like it was in the good old days, I'll try to update it more quickly than usual. For now, I might have to take a hiatus.