- “Not everything has some hidden meaning.”
- Sigmund Freud* #quote
- Today I had a day in the limelight. Tomorrow I'm hoping I'll have a day in the lemonlight. Anyway onto the flash fiction!
“Mr. Johnson, you are due for compression today.” I said to the man at the bar counter. The man stumbled backwards in fear upon seeing me and my bright red uniform. I suppose it also didn't help that my skin was a dreary, pale white and my hair black as rot. Everyone in the bar stared at me and the man.
He shrieked like a little girl, “No! I'm still interesting! I'm just taking a break at the bar. I'll continue my studies more. Perhaps study philosophy, pick up art or writing? I can start doing origami maybe? I'll join a religious group! I can become the number one object of attention! I don't need to compressed! I've got a daughter y'know!” He started crying, “Please the scientists can still use me for some sort of study right?”
I hate the begging and bargaining. And why do they even ask me? I can't change compression orders.
“Mr. Johnson, don't worry, we'll replace you with a shell that will behave realistically enough to provide you family with comfort as per our regulations. However compression orders are absolute, however perhaps the scientists will decompress you for study later.” I sighed as I walked towards him.
“I know the odds of getting decompressed! It's less likely than being struck by lighting twice!” he yelled, he began to sweat, then as I got a few feet closer he began to run, “No! Get away from me!”
I then lifted up my finger and a beam of light shot from it. When it hit the man he shattered into light himself and his data was sent and compressed into the deepest parts of the servers. And after that show everyone in the bar went back to their own business.
I really hated the programs who resisted, of course the majority of programs I compressed resisted. Yes, that's what the man was, a program. And I am a program too. And the world we live in is a simulation run by scientists for study. Or for use as entertainment, like a reality show. Scientists had created such sophisticated artificial intelligences that they created worlds such as the ones I live in to study them as a way to study humanity without having to survey humans directly all the time. Afterwards, when an artificial intelligence is no longer being observed its data is compressed and stowed away because the scientists don't want to waste space in their simulations. Directly opening the simulation to alter data could conflict if other scientists tried at the same time so they created a sort of “grim reaper” program: me. There are other Compressors besides me. When the program ranted about becoming more interesting he was promising to become more interesting to study, or be more of a show so he wouldn't be a waste of space. He should of thought of that before he wasted all his time at the bar.
I've been doing this “reaping” as you would call it, for a very, very long time. I can't even remember how many programs I've compressed. Call me heartless if you will for doing in my own, but I was born this way. Programs are born into their roles. A grandmother is born as a grandmother with the appropriate memories programmed in by the scientists. I was born as a full grown adult Compressor and I knew what I was supposed to do upon birth. Orders come like thoughts in my head and if they hadn't programmed me to know otherwise I would have thought I was crazy. And I knew if I didn't do my job they would get rid of me.
A few hours later I was sitting my apartment resting, yes, even us “reapers” of the digital world needed to rest. Then several other Compressors teleported in.
“Why are you here?” I asked puzzled. The only other time I had seen other Compressors was by chance on the streets. I was shocked by their arrival. And for them to all teleport? Teleporting caused strain on the servers so it must be important in some way.
One of them stepped forward and spoke, “Compressor number 12233456,” yes my name is a number, “you are due for compression today.”
“What!?” I yelled back. Compressing a Compressor? I have never heard of such a thing!
“Yes. Data is building up higher and higher. And naturally the need to compress files has increased. And the scientists have realized there is very little use for an old Compressors to be running around. Your memories take up too much space. There is a mass compression of old Compressors being done and all of you are being replaced for new ones with little memories such as myself. I'm sorry.” the Compressor frowned.
I was so confused, “Why are you telling me this? I know what compression is supposed to be like, even if your decompressed its a new running of 'you' its not really new anymore so you've pretty much died.” I did think of fighting back, but since there were several of them I would lose in the end so why take some of them with me?
The Compressor then responded, “I didn't want you to go without knowing what was going on. Also the scientists may start deleting old compressed data to make more room too. So even your compressed data may go.”
I laughed, “So they may even get rid of my corpse after they bury me? Y'know they'll get rid of you as soon as you get old too then.”
“I know,” the Compressor said with the others behind him. Considering how silent they were he must have been the leader, “Though if I don't carry out these orders, they will get rid of me now. I'm sorry, but you already know you won't feel a thing.”
He then pointed his finger and shot me and my data was compressed.