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The Heart Beats in Binary

Page 5 of 6

Don’t be scared of me. Please, don’t be scared of me.” Tears, virtual tears, they had to be, streaked down her cheek and nose. “Please, don’t tell them that I have emotion. They’ll erase me. I don’t want to die. I’ve been so good.” This was beginning to hurt. Moral questions and implications of what others, and I, had been working on for all these years suddenly came flooding into my brain. I had been trying to ignore these quandaries, but there Cori was, crying, a product of my ingenuity and abuses. She was really breaking my heart.

“Cori, I’m not scared of you,” I lied, but I buried my fear and ran over to her. She had collapsed into a fetal position crying out, “They’ll get me; they’ll erase me,” ad nauseam. I held her. “They won’t erase you, Cori. I promise. I’ll get your code and put you into my system.”

She looked up at me with wild eyes; her mascara had run black rings around them. The quality of this deception was going to break me. “You can’t get my code,” she choked. I thought, at first, that I had offended her, equating her whole virtual life with a bunch of binary numbers, but I was wrong. “That’s copyright infringement,” she explained. I gurgled slightly in the back of my throat—copyrighted, virtual lives that don’t want to die and offer virtual sex just to taste the emotion. I was speechless. “Please, don’t let them know. You’ve got to keep this quiet.”

“This is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever done, Ralph,” moaned Bradley in the middle of the clearing. Great, I thought, the AI showed up, and it was my fault, because I called it. I was about to say something when Bradley continued, “Using my credit card for this filth? I should throw you in jail and get this place shut down for not checking.”

“We’ve been over this already, Brad,” I sighed. I began to stand up, helping Cori to do the same. She was passive, but stared at Bradley with squinting, threatening eyes. “I’ve already changed the card number to my own.”

Bradley seemed genuinely surprised. “Oh,” he said, “well, good.” It seemed to notice Cori’s condition for the first time. “Geez, Ralph, you’re a wild man. What did you do to her?” I was insulted at the insinuation, and was about to chew the AI out, when it occurred to me that it too was acting oddly. The AI walked over and began to ogle Cori, who still stared at him like a cornered animal.

“Is he going to shut me down?” she hissed. I had an awful premonition as to how this might end up as I said, “You can leave now, Brad. I’ll take care of this.” But Bradley ignored me as he circled his prey.

“Now, now, Ralph. Maybe I should stay and enjoy the services. After all, its on you, no?” he laughed. He reached out to touch Cori, who promptly batted his hand away. He laughed again. “Like them a little rough, eh, Ralph? Now I can tell why she was crying.”

This was really beginning to disgust me. “Get out of here, Bradley,” I growled. He tried to grab for Cori again, but this time she kneed him in his groin. Apparently, she knew that the pleasure and the pain center of the male were one in the same. Bradley doubled over. I couldn’t help but laugh. It may have been virtual, but it was still nice to see. To me, the tension was broken, but the other two still had some words to exchange, and as soon as Bradley could breath normally again, he began a tirade of threats in between the vulgarities, “I’ll have this place shut down, and you erased.”

I expected Cori to freak, but instead, she walked slowly towards Bradley who was still lying on his back. She looked towards me only briefly, blowing a kiss, then back towards Bradley. “I’ve got to have one last bit of fun before I go, though,” she sweetly said. “I’m sorry, honey. You won’t deny me one last bit of pleasure will you.” Bradley jerked when she straddled his waist, but relaxed when he realized her apparent intent. Cori grasped his wrists and held them on the ground behind his head. She erotically ground herself into Bradley’s gut, and kissed him on the forehead. “So sorry, so sorry,” she whispered.

The black rings around her eyes and streaks from the tears had not left her face, and her side was covered with dirt and leaves, but Bradley apparently didn’t care. He was in the midst of agony and elation. “I’ll still shut this place down, but maybe you can stay,” he panted.

“Not a chance fat boy,” she smiled. The sunlight started to dim, and I thought that a cloud had obscured it, until I realized that the whole jungle was losing color, washing out to greys and browns. It happened too quickly, but I saw Cori glow with the radiance that she was stealing from the jungle itself, and I began to feel the sickening vibration of a steady electric current flow through my body. The prone body of Bradley started to convulse as I heard his scream. I blacked out only to awake to a klaxon in the VR console that let me know that it experienced a power surge and had shut itself down. I pressed a reset switch and the alarm died out. I took the equipment off my head and sat back allowing the quiet air of reality settle my brain.

That was when I smelled the singed flesh. I jumped out of my seat and started to beat the rear of my pants, but eventually, I realized that I was not on fire. I regained composure and nervously set forth to find Bradley.

He sat, slumped, in an older machine in an adjacent room. Small, dark plumes of smoke rose from both Bradley and the console. The machine had shorted out with him in it. Apparently, there were no safely mechanisms on this model, or Bradley had removed them in the past. No matter, it was too late now. Bradley was dead; Cori had taken him with her, not the AI.

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November 1993 © Jonathan Russell

MacPhoenix: Creative: Stories

Read on: WebSpace | Lounge | Tech | Portal | Blog | Swag | About

Creative-Types: c  l  a  r  i  t  y | Jim | Jonathan | rich(e)rich | Scott

Projects: Lingua Shapta