"Oh, it was very easy at the beginning. I suppose it was easy at the end too. It is any man's drive to reach an unattainable situation if there is even the smallest hope of its plausibility. There was no emotional connection at all. I just pressed buttons. It's a simple thing, pressing buttons. Eventually you start to know that, well, I come in here every day and I press buttons, and soon enough you start to notice things like the slight give that comes if you press one corner, or the way the edge is just a tiny bit set off the console so that if you push your thumb under it it pulls up a little. Press down, pull up, repeat. We had the lab windows dimmed because the techs didn't like it, you know, seeing him in there. It was easy to forget. What I would start getting concerned about was whether the stickiness of the button was getting worse or not, whether I'd have to see someone to look at it, put a little oil down.
"Didn't I think that I was hurting myself a little? Of course I did. That was the thing we'd gotten the funding to research, It was progress, it was the future coming down like...there were fiery chariots. It was a direction . It was a sign, saying look at you, making a mark on this world. Making the button stick a little harder this time.
"I'd think about it in the idle moments. I'd find myself drifting back there to look at him. I would wonder what I was there for. I would activate the systems and only afterward realize that we were done for the day. The quota had been met.
"I thought somebody would have to remember, sure. It had to leave a mark on someone, and soon enough I started seeing the marks as soon as I turned the blinds off. But that was the future. It didn't have chariots. I couldn't possibly be going there.
"Somebody was, but...I never considered that man to be me.
"There's your answer. Sleep tight, Epsilon. Sleep well, Agent Washington. We'll have another evaluation in the morning."
Author's Note: Inspired by the following from deviantArt: "Whatever happened to the Original Allison really impacted him, to the point of wanting to literally tear himself apart." ~jspx
The question of "how could someone to that to themselves" hung over my head, but then collapsed when I realized people do that sort of thing in real life all the time.