In Dreams of Trees : For The Good Of The Many

Wordcount: 1,069
Rating/Warnings: PG
Summary: Wendy has a mission for Gray and something else up her sleeve…

NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!

There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.

~*~*~*~*~

For The Good Of The Many

“I have a task for you.” Said the woman who was sitting across the table from Gray. “I need you to save the world.”

“That’s a pretty tall order,” said Gray. “How am I supposed to do that?”

“I need you to kill the city.” Said the woman.

“That’s not quite saving the world.” Objected Gray.

“But it is, in a way.” Said the woman. “You see we need to rebuild her, but the only way to do that is to break her down first. She needs to be dying in order for us to save her.”

“How are you going to save her?” asked Gray. “It’s a city.”

“By giving her what she’s missing,” said the woman, “a heart.”

“What?”

“This city is logical and only logical. It can’t grasp what it needs to without something to balance against. It’s using the AIs now, but that’s a flawed method, what she needs is something much more direct–”

“You’re going to feed her a person?” Objected Gray. “No, no way am I going to do that. You can’t make me.”

“The city needs a host,” said the older woman. “But it isn’t you.”

“Then why do you need me?” Said Gray. “Do it yourself.”

“If I could, I would.” said Wendy, “But the city won’t listen to me.”

“Then why would she listen to me?” Said Gray.

“Because you /are/ the city.” said Wendy and laughed when Gray shook her head. “There’s a reason she found your world, and a reason she found Blue’s. You’re the parts she needs to make herself whole, even though she doesn’t realize it.”

“Whose Blue?” Said Gray.

“Her host.”

“And how can I be the city? The city isn’t human, you’ve told me that lots of times. She’s just a machine not a person. She can’t exists in other universes since she never existed in her own.”

“That’s true,” said Wendy, “But did it occur to you that you don’t exist in any other universe as well?”

“What, why?” said Gray. “There are plenty of me at home, I’m no different from any other Gray.”

“That’s not what Tan said.”

“Wait, what?”

“I wasn’t the only experiment.” said Tan, who had been ignoring the conversation until now. “You don’t know because they didn’t tell you, but you’re no more a Gray than I am a Brown.”

“Of course you’re not a Brown, you’re new, but I’m not new–”

“How old are you?” Asked Tan.

“Twenty-five.”

“No.” said Tan. “You aren’t. How old am I?”

“You’re three. I know, I was there when you were born.”

“Really?” said Tan. “Then what dog did you have before me?”

“I– I don’t know, but I know I had a dog. I remember–”

“You don’t.” said Tan. “You don’t really remember, you’ve just never thought about it before because no one has asked you. And no one has mentioned memories to you before. Don’t you think it was odd that no one talked about things that had happened before they met you?”

“Um.” said Gray.

“And why you are so much better than any other Gray at finding people?”

“That’s luck!” said Gray.

“No,” said Tan. “That’s me.”

“I don’t get it.”

“What am I?” asked Tan.

“You’re a dog.”

“And what are you?”

“I’m a Gray.”

“And did it ever occur to you that no one ever defined what either of those were?”

Gray shook her head and Tan sighed.

“I didn’t believe it myself, until they showed me.” said Tan. “But logic doesn’t lie and there was too much coincidence to make me ignore the signs. You aren’t human and I’m not a dog. You’ve never been hurt, have you?”

“Well, no, but I’m lucky.”

“You’re not lucky, you’re synthetic.” said Tan. “You are their best impersonation of a human and you don’t know the difference so it never occurred to you. It never occurred to me either, but that’s because they taught me two plus two was apple and I never realized apple wasn’t the same thing as two.”

Gray was very confused.

“But if you think I’m not human, that what do you think I am? A robot?”

“Yes, of sorts.” said Tan.

“Then what are you?”

“The other half of the robot.” Said the dog with a tired sigh.

“Wait what?”

“Do you know what happens when the two of you get far enough apart?” said Wendy. “Because you did that the other day.”

“Um, no, nothing odd happened.” said Gray. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“That’s because nothing changed in the few moments to let you know.” said Wendy. “Which is why we have tape.”

On the split screen Gray was reading a book studying alone in the room and Tan was off walking and talking with Steven. Then all of sudden both Gray and Tan stopped.

Steven took a second to react and then poked the dog, but nothing happened. There was no sound, but Gray could tell Steven had had a small flailing attack. He picked up Tan and started jogging back towards the camp and a single step forward Tan started walking again. Only Tan wasn’t on the ground anymore and that tripped Steven.

Gray on the other monitor had gone completely still and had come back to life the same instant Tan had.

“It’s a safety feature.” said Tan, “If you remember everyone was very careful to keep us together back home. The range is pretty far, about five miles, so I doubt we’d ever have hit it on our own.”

“Unless one of us had to go for help.” said Gray quietly. “What then?”

“What’s the rule?” said Tan. “Always stay with your partner and wait for help to arrive. We were never in any danger at home.”

“So I’m not real.” said Gray in a distant sort of way.

“You’re real,” said Wendy, “you’re just a different kind of real. And in this case you’re the kind of real that the city shares.”

“But I have emotions,” said Gray, “we both do.”

“You’re better than the city,” said Wendy, “but that’s because you have less work to do. Give you a few thousand doors and millions of space time calculations and I’m sure they’d cut corners on the programming a bit.”

“And you want me to kill her.”

“Yes.” said Wendy. “Because she isn’t you and she needs to be.”

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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