No comment.  Something like emotion agitated my confusion and I confessed: ‘I poured so much of myself into looking after her that I don’t know who I am without her. There’s no point in me existing with her gone.’

‘Inaccurate.  Your influence is incomplete.  Accurate description of activity for past two years. Consider activity prior to the death of your wife.’

‘What does that matter?  That’s got nothing to do with it!’

‘If that were the case you would be dead.  If your existence was pair-aligned with that of your wife, The Universe would not intervene.  The agglutination ceased when she died.  Sadness is the scar the rending leaves behind.  As you were already sad you have tipped over into pity and despair.  It is the sadness you already had that is the issue.  Potentials remain.  Your influence is incomplete.’

‘What rubbish…,’ but without adrenaline I cannot believe in anything.  Anger escapes me like a rumour I believed passionately as a teenager but can no longer remember.

The voice continues:  ‘You have reached a point of despair and see a boundary where choices seem to run out.  That is not how energy works.  Choosing to die is ill informed.  You feel guilty.  It stains your mind and therefore stains your identity. It marks the energy that carries on.  Death will not cure you of judgement. You judge yourself.  Your influence is incomplete.’

‘What, so penance is the answer?  I go back and try to make up for my evil acts?’

‘You judge yourself.’

‘I am what I was made to be.’

‘Inaccurate.  You are what you chose to be.  You were employed, not enslaved.  Your influence is incomplete.’

‘My influence?’ I would have sneered had I still lips.  ‘Everything I ever cared about is gone, I don’t influence anything anymore.’

‘Inaccurate.  Your body is dying but your influence is incomplete.  Your influence will endure.  With a body or without is your choice.’

I perceive my body. It had moved a little but like a clock hand, its motion could only be meaningfully observed by increment.

‘What influence?’ I ask.

‘Unknown.  I am a function.’

‘But it’s important, obviously.’

‘All influence is important.  Each part creates a whole.  Measurement of value is impossible to define and thus inefficient.  Your influence is incomplete.  Influence is a measure of change.  Change is required for the past and the future to be different.’

‘So I could just do nothing?  Stay like this and whatever it is I’m supposed to do I’ll get done?’

‘Accurate but inefficient.  Without a body your influence stretches over the time.  This will inconvenience you.  You will be trapped.  You will suffer.  With a body you will participate in your influence and die when your influence is complete.’

‘But what is it I am supposed to do!?’ I imagine shouting.

‘Exist.  To exist is unlikely.  Many factors impress disorganisation.  Existence repurposes disorganisation into linear functionality and entropy.  Influence other things that exist.  That is the function of all things that exist.’

Sarcasm leaks and I mutter:  ‘You should start a religion.’

‘Religion is influence.  Influence is important.  Consequence is not.’

Unbidden, an idea starts to form:  ‘You’re a machine?’ I ask.

‘No.  I am a function.’

‘Are you part of my mind or outside my mind?’

‘Inside and outside are measures of scale.  I do not exist in planes where scale is useful.  I am a function and therefore an influence.’

‘Can you influence me?’

‘I am influencing you now.’

Threat analytics stir; if you can’t kill, manipulate.  Steal, corrupt.  Above all else, survive at an advantage: ‘Can you influence without scale?’


‘Do you take requests?’