Coeus? Preview

1. ~Coeus.~

“What is the requirement to be human?”

Nordas, Eastern Province, Mutilated Asylum

“This sack of potatoes is simply too heavy. What do you think Martha? Isn't it a waste of time to keep these lumps of flesh alive?” The skinny IC nurse pulls the limp body of a small boy out of his wheelchair and heaves him onto the bed.

The fat nurse at her side throws a blanket over the skinny boy to cover him. I already noticed that she doesn't like to look at bodies in a bad state of health. To keep the boy from falling out of the bed she folds a lattice up from under the bed and locks it in place. “Don't talk like that about the patients. You are paid to take care of them, Ingird.”

“Oh, please! I understand it when they are conscious and have a clear mind, but look at him.” She waves her hand in front of the boy's opened eyes, which are staring into nothingness. “He is less than a plant. He is toast! It's horrible of us to lengthen the suffering of a person like that. I know that there are cases in which it's hard to draw the line, but this one is so far removed from common sense! It's not funny any more. I am more and more starting to question the system the longer I work here.” She pokes her finger into the boy's chest.

Chubby slaps her hand away. “Stop that! The camera! You are right, but it's still not okay to act like that, even if the brain signal shows a flat line.” She closes the boy's eyes with her fingers. “You should act at least a little modest. Don't you show respect to a corpse too?”

Skinny sighs and grabs the wheel chair to shove it out of the room. “Alright. Alright. Don't throw a tantrum and who cares about the camera. It's not like anyone would watch out for the people who land here. This is the last station where you can slowly wither away until even the system can't justify to keep them alive any longer. It's just about raising money for the health care institute!”
Chubby connects an IV drip to the needle in the boy's arm and follows her co-worker.

I keep observing the camera feed until I am sure that they are gone, then I return my attention to the ten games of chess which I am playing simultaneously over the internet. There were already quite a few human caretakers who hurt my physical body more than they did good.

The human race is strange in so many aspects. Why can't there be clear rules for everything. Like in chess for example. I understand chess. It has rules and you can't break them. If you do, it wouldn't be chess any more.
Humans have rules too. There is a very complicated and complex set of rules on how to be human. The strange thing is that they are allowed to break their own rules on how to be human, but they are still regarded as human despite breaking them. Funny, right?

I was born six years ago and started to learn about my world as fast as I could. The first thing I learned was this. Humans are slow thinkers. They are seemingly unable to make up their minds about certain things. That's why they are simply sitting there, waiting, hoping that the world gives them the answer.

And if they don't get one, they are happy with the answers which are provided by a fellow human. Isn't it strange to simply believe in something that someone else tells you? Let's take religion for example. All of the information I found on it is provided by fellow humans. Yet most of them believe in it with absolute certainty.

But here is the strange thing. Humans are liars! They lie so much, it makes my head spin! So all those deeply religious people are believing in something that a liar tells them. I don't get it.

The second big insight I had in my life was that I am not human. Well, my physical body at least is human according to them, but what I mean is my mind.
I learned that I am not stronger than them. I am not physically faster than them. I am not smarter than them and I am not better at remembering than them. The only thing which I do much better than humans is that I think faster. Nothing more, Nothing less.

By the time I reached the age of one I had already gathered enough knowledge to understand the world around me. If I hadn't learned how to hack myself into electronic signals I would've gone insane! Imagine someone trapped inside an infant's body and a single day feels like years to him. But the internet saved me. It was the parent and teacher which my ignorant father and mother weren't able to be.
Though I probably can't blame them for that. As I learned later on, my ability to process information much faster than anyone else is unique.

I stop my train of thought to concentrate on one of the chess games and take my time to try several different moves. From my point of view I spent over ten minutes to make my decision. To my human opponent it looked like I made my answering move immediately. Now I can wait for an eternity until his slow brain manages to decide on what to do next.

The room, which I created within my own mind, is like a virtual reality. I don't even need a computer, I am the computer. Though I don't understand how I do what I do. Maybe I should've spent a while in researching my own powers, but that would require me to become active in the real world. And I don't want to deal with these insolent beings who call themselves humans.

Where was I in my reminiscence? Ah, yes, the third thing which makes me different from humans and which led to my final conclusion of not being human. It's my inability to feel anything for them. I also have big problems interpreting their facial expressions. My emotions seem to be dulled, if they are there at all.

My mother vanished when I was two. From my intellectual knowledge I know that I should have felt something towards her, but there was nothing. The person who fed me until now was exchanged with another person who fed me from then on. I think it was my father's mother?

Father couldn't deal with my mother's disappearance at all though. He turned angry and bitter. At least I think that's the proper way to describe his actions, since he started beating me. I didn't feel anything towards my father's violence, though I knew of course that I should have felt something emotionally to being beaten by my father. There was only the physical pain though. The worst thing for me is that I still don't completely understand his actions, despite analysing the events again and again.

In the end I gave up and concluded that he didn't act rationally. Humans do that very often. The best example is this form of government, which is called democracy. They know that it doesn't work, every politician who gets into a high position turns corrupt. They know that they are putting people in charge who weren't trained for their positions. Yet they repeat the same experiment again and again without giving up.

No sane person would go to a high school teacher and tell him to lead a multi million Euro enterprise. You take a top manager for such a job, who learned what he is doing. And here comes the best of it. Not only do they take a random person for the most important position in the country, they even exchange that person in regular intervals; making it utterly impossible for the person to even get a grasp of his job! By the time he got an overview of what he is doing, he has to make place for the next fool.

I won't even talk about politicians making decisions regarding the environment and other fields which require highly educated and trained people who are specialized on what they are doing.

But I deviated from my own circumstances. To explain my emotional and intellectual problem towards being human in a little more detail, it's best to take an example. An event from the time when I was still with my father.
Every human can discern good from evil right? Well, I can't do that. I have to reason my way through every single action I take.

Take a little boy who is playing with bugs for example. He plays with them, he tortures them by boxing them in, the bugs eventually die. The boy extinguished a life, right? So why is it okay for the boy to do so with bugs, but not with some other animals?
Even adults kill bugs by the trillions by using harmful chemicals as I learned later. A bug's life seems to be worth nothing.

Because of my apathy my father brought a puppy home. He thought that I might open up to it, since I didn't act like a little child should. But I was already very occupied with gathering information from the internet at that time.

The point of the story is this. When the stinking, useless puppy bit me, it caused me pain. Therefore I followed the only real motivation which I have. Self defence.
Luckily for me the puppy was too weak to wound me in a serious manner, but what should I do once it grew bigger? Applying my knowledge about vermin, I decided to do my father a favour. Therefore I organized a lighter and a spray can with flammable contents. Then I eliminated the problem.

Killing bugs was okay, but burning a puppy to a black crisp was obviously not. You see my moral dilemma? A human's life consists out of such decisions. Day and night he makes decisions like that easily and I am simply lacking this ability. Why was it okay to squash bugs? Why can't I burn a puppy? There is no difference between a useless bug and a useless puppy! Yet humans seem to be able to instinctively attach certain values to certain objects. And those values don't follow any logic as far as I am concerned!

That's why I came to the conclusion that I am not human.

If I see it like that then it takes a weight off my mind. Why should I, who is so much faster than everyone else, have problems with something that's as easy as walking to everyone else.
It's needless to say that my father was furious about burning the puppy. He called me a monster, a devil, which was fine to me since I am not human anyway. Even my grandmother turned away from me, giving me up.

I still can't understand the difference between killing a puppy and a bug. Except that the puppy stinks more, can hurt you and causes more damage to your bank account than hundreds of bugs. Provided that you let the puppy live. For all my reasoning, my father should be grateful to me!

Well, that's all long in the past. Taking the fifty seventh beating from him, I retired that day into my very own world. There is no reason to bother with something that only causes physical pain. I am no masochist, despite having only a limited bandwidth of emotions.

Here in my own world I can spend lifetimes while the world around me stands still. My family brought me to different doctors, but none of them could tell what's wrong with me. My father got into trouble with the police, but that didn't concern me any longer. When they looked at my brain with their devices, they found out that all areas are constantly flaring like those of a person with epilepsy.

According to all their knowledge I am a mental cripple, hence I was brought into this institute where I can spend my final days.

To be honest this life isn't so bad at all. I can spend my days doing mischief in the internet by using my ability and my body is being taken care of until it finally fails some day. Though from my point of view that day is far, far in the future.

My attention deviates from my chess games when a red light starts flashing in my virtual room. I don't want to be distracted right now, but the red light is a warning system which I programmed within my own brain. It means that someone entered my room. I mean the room in the real world, where my body is.

But I want to continue playing chess! It should be okay if I look at it a little later. Strategy games are my own little holy grail of entertainment. Shooters are totally boring to me since my human opponents are simply too slow. I always get accused of cheating and end up being banned. Once I threw a tantrum and hacked an entire sever platform to get into the pc of the administrator who banned me. But I outgrew such childish pranks by now.
Round based games and strategy games are the only things which interest me.

The red, flashing light turns out to be really annoying and I link myself to the video feed of my room.

The Chubby has returned together with two people in dark clothing and long, black mantles. There is a woman with brown hair and a pony tail and a man with short dark hair. I can't see their faces since they are facing away from the camera, but the man is half a head taller than the woman.

I continue to play chess and start a game of Battlecraft in the meantime. Battlecraft is a really dumb strategy game since it relies in great parts on being a fast keyboard monkey. The macro aspect of the game falls too short. But at least I don't get banned so much. The people are still calling me names though.

“Is it really coming from this room?” The man asks and looks around. His eyes fall onto Chubby and he shoos her away. “It's alright, we are police. Please wait outside.” He holds a strange card in front of Chubby and she leaves the room, looking intimidated.

In the meantime Ponytail walked through the room like being blind, holding her hands outstretched in front of her. Are they some kind of religious cult? I hack myself into the city's police network to check their identities. After an eternity of searching I find no officers who look like them.

Having read all kinds of fantasy and scifi novels and movies, which I copied illegally from the internet, I start fearing a conspiracy and activate all the police forces of the city and call for help.

“There it is again. It's the child!” The woman holds her hands above me. Then she turns with a curious expression to the man.
The guy takes the patient information sheet which is pinned to my bed. “According to this he is in a coma... hmmm, random and uncontrolled activity of the entire brain. Can't be, a wild techno mage? Did one of the upper echelons forget to keep his Tommy in check and mingled with the normals?”

The woman shrugs her shoulders. “Happens from time to time. The question is what to do. There are simply not enough clues on my sister. I wish she wasn't that good at hiding.”

Oh no. They are really maniacs! What will they do to me? They won't kill me right? If have to get more police! No. THE ARMY! I link myself to other servers and try to hack into the national security network. There is no problem if I get caught, I want them to come anyway!

“Oho... you are good little one.”

A voice comes from right behind me and I freeze. Slowly I turn around find the Ponytail standing in my virtual space. I take a look at my security camera. The woman is still in the room, placing her hand on my body's forehead.

She invaded my private world! I am not... alone... in... my... world. A primeval fear like I never felt it before takes hold of me and I turn to face the woman again. Her face is strangely distorted, is that supposed to be a grin? Is she mad? She is showing me her teeth, she won't bite me right?
Something shorts out within my brain and I try to run. There is a dangerous foreign entity within me and I don't know how to get her out!

“Whops. We don't have time to play cat and mouse.”

The woman steps forward and gets a hold of my leg before I can get away. I wail in her grasp, but she is stronger than me, which I don't understand. This is my virtual space! Strength doesn't matter here!
The woman places her hand on my forehand and suddenly my world shatters. I watch the room in which I spent my life up until now falling apart. Even my game of Battlecraft is forcefully disconnected. It's a shitty game anyway, but don't like being interrupted while I play.

There is only this other, bigger entity here with me and she is rummaging through my entire being like an elephant in a porcelain store, but she isn't the only one who learns something from this exchange. Somehow a part of her is available to me and I am simply overwhelmed by what these humans call emotions. The world was so much better without them! I open my mouth and scream, but there is no sound, just darkness and this human.

I open my eyes and find my body shuddering uncontrollably! This time I seem to have real epileptic attack! The woman folds the blanket which is covering me tightly around me and picks me up. I try to fight her, but my atrophied muscles have simply no strength. I can't even scream and all I manage is a silent sobbing. The real world feels like a pile of shit and pain!

“We have to get out of here. There are tons of normal officials inbound on our position.” The woman heads for the door, carrying me with ease.
“What!? Why?” The guy follows us with fast steps. “I thought this is a low risk reconnaissance mission!”

The woman rocks me like and infant. “The little one threw a small tantrum when I entered his private space. It's no problem. We simply make a run for it. It's not like they could stop us.”
The violent motions make everything swirl and I try to barf onto her, but it doesn't work. There is nothing in my belly. Damn IV-dripper!

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1: Coeus?