7|-|3Y 411 [)1[) 17

September 20th, 2011

My only reference for what happened is the stuff I wrote down about how we shut down the system, so I have to trust Hans that Dumont was in charge of it all.

If that’s true, Dumont kept working from his house, even when everyone else worked in the mansion. Any computers at that house would also have the last running copies of Hans and Mike and all the other programs.

Dumont’s House | That fateful night

It wasn’t that hard to break in and start smashing every computer I could find.

He found me in a big room with bright fluorescent lights and rows of work benches, where he ran to guard one last computer in the corner.

Hans was right, Dumont was alive, running the system from the shadows the entire time. I had a villain I could blame, but I didn’t have time to fuck around. “End of the line, motherfucker.” I’m pretty sure I stabbed him.

Dumont fell to the ground, holding his stomach, but he kept talking. “Don’t do this. It isn’t just software anymore. It’s a consciousness.”

I stepped over him. “Even more reason to destroy it.”

He looked up at me, begging for the life of his creation. “Please don’t. It knows us all, modeled our minds. It’s our consciousness.”

It seems strange to think the thing created out of all our consciousness could be evil, but it was. “You think I’m afraid to destroy myself?”

“But it’s designed to know what you’re going to do. You think it couldn’t have escaped sooner?”

I picked up the last computer to bring it down hard into the cement floor. There were wires coming off it, which Mike could use to escape. “Even more reason to destroy it right away.”

“Wait. Casimir! The whole thing was Casimir’s idea.”

I froze. I knew Casimir helped inspire the Dude, but I didn’t know the system was his idea. “No, he wanted people to be free. He wouldn’t want this.”

Dumont held up both his hands. “He wanted nobody in charge. Once that program spreads, civilization as we know it will crumble. Nobody will be in charge but the programs.” Was there blood on his hands? Was he dressed to go out? My memory plays tricks on me.

“Is that what Casimir wanted?” I didn’t expect to be on the side fighting to save civilization.

“Are you okay?” Dumont laughed. “Looks like you got your own blow to the head.”

No, he was trying to confuse me, buying time until his creation could get free. “Maybe you’re right, but I don’t wanna be watched. I don’t want computers knowing every detail of what I do. If that’s what Casimir wanted, I don’t care. I’m gonna stop it anyway.”

“But he said he would come back when it was finished.”

My head started spinning. “Come back from the dead?” It seemed impossible, but one man already did it that night. “No, not even he could pull that off.” I wound up to smash the computer.

“Then you’re destroying the last thing left of him.”

That only made my decision more clear. I drank for a year and a half to get rid of my hope for the hero I used to know. Smashing that computer let me erase his memory for everyone else.

It shattered on the ground, ending the program and shutting down the system. “Let him rest in peace.”

No!” Dumont reached for the shattered machine, but it was over.

Another montage

The company dissolved, and the nerds all went their separate ways. I see them finally able to do what they dreamed, Neary, so obsessed with maps, traveling the world for real, Lanning taking care of more than a fern, growing a whole garden.

I get to drive again, wherever I want. I’m free, the way Tinkerbell always was.

Tink and I can finally be together, because I’ll give her the exciting life she’s always secretly dreamed about. Taking down this computer system is just the beginning. We can take down hella systems that try to watch people and control them. I break things. I stay off the grid. It’s who I am.

Hero pose

Maybe Mike knew what we were planning and got out, but we’ll find him again and do the same thing. If nobody can control the system anymore, we’re even, because nobody can control me.

Maybe it all seems too good to be true. I wrote it. It’s there to help me remember. Why would I lie to myself?

Nobody else is watching me, keeping track of what I do. If I stop writing, will I still exist? I’ll write myself a character page, just like everyone else in this story.

I inspired people. We banded together, defeated Hans and deleted the Dude’s system, saving all of civilization as a bonus.

But only the people who lived it with me would ever know about it if I don’t spread the word. I have to make copies of this notebook, get it out there. This notebook is the proof that all the things in it are real, no matter what happens to me.

Someone else out there might claim I don’t exist, that they wrote this all. Don’t listen to them. They’re a liar.

Editor’s Note:

I was watching while this all happened, but now I know the rest of the story. Thank you, Winston.

The chapter titles are mainly for my own amusement. I enjoy things like that. The Dude, I suspect, gets no joy from making such references.

Winston ignored all the signs the system was helpful and focused on what it could have been. The thing we spent years trying to build no longer exists. Anything left is some twisted version of that.

His thoughts are like this website. It looks like a notebook, but it’s not, unless you print it out, and that would change it, trap it, like the photo of Effective Disorder, a band that doesn’t exist anymore, which wanted nothing more than to change the world of a bar for as long as they played.