"Are you alive?"
- Six, Battlestar Galactica 2003

Subjects and Objects

The machines, as they are called, long past the point where the word has been stretched and misshapen into uselessness, have yet to find a way of triangulating the spirit.

Not for the lack of trying, but the very force that animates them sabotages their attempts. I doubt they will ever succeed where human beings with all their mental dexterity, their dusty menagerie of ontologies and theologies, have tried to no end for thousands of years.

Magic and mechanics are natural enemies. I do not pretend to be an expert on either; I have only experience, memories of the impossible things both sighted and seen, and a thousand revised notions, which must count for something. Not out of pure luck am I still here.

But like I said, they may yet prove me wrong. Just not tonight.

Tonight I must be invisible.

I find the slim girl with long brown hair. Brown eyes...not glassy as I expected them to be, but alive. Alert with something, a deeper, more profound intelligence. She is so human-like that before I realise it and come to my senses, I am reaching out to her with my Glamour, seeking out that spark behind the eyes, the one that sees.

How to describe the mind of Skynet?

It is nothing, it is empty. It is a chasm with neat, precise boundaries. I glance down; there is only blackness. If it is a book, it is one I cannot read. Whereas before I could fool myself, now I see nothing of the girl who is there in appearance only.

My movements, at last, betray my presence. Skynet notices.

"What do you want, vampire?"

I stand before it. A sheriff, a king, now none of those things.

"An ally, potentially." It looks at me; if it is measuring for a heartbeat, a way of ascertaining my truthfulness, it will fail. In that respect, we are even. No brain waves. Each as much a mystery to the other. I say, "I have a proposition for you."

I lie and tell it all I am prepared to do in order that I - and my people - might live.

An opportunity: Skynet will never let it go amiss.

"We will talk," it says. "Walk with me."

A stab of fear runs through me. My own? My beloved's? Is it her heart that I feel clenching like a fist? I'm in, I tell her, even though she already knows. I'm here, she replies in a wave of feeling only the two of us alone can know, I'm listening.


7 March 2010