The Death Machine Strikes
~a short story~
by Jon Rappoport
December 2, 2013
I write these short stories for several reasons. Among them: I want to present ideas that don’t reduce down to a simple set of facts.
I realize some people just can’t fathom that. It makes absolutely no sense to them. They want facts and only facts about what is happening in the world.
A short story? A piece of fiction? Worse yet, a story that doesn’t have a crystal-clear message? A story that might provoke thought that goes beyond the details?
This phenomenon of the literal mind, this condition, is the divided self. Energies and potentials of the psyche are separated and walled off from each other.
The connecting bridges and tunnels and roads and underground waterways have all been torn down. In the service of what?
Usually, in the service of some overarching fixed idea, some summary view of the world and reality, some fundamentalism that demands complete attention, some hard-boiled objective pragmatic pseudoscientific “realism” that automatically excludes the subjective and interior power of Self.
At the root of this aversion is the refusal to engage with one’s own imagination, because that would most definitely carry one out past his fixed ideas and literal obsessions into uncharted territory.
Into places where, presumably, goblins and bugaboos and weird things dwell.
But this is an error. It is the mistake of confusing the capacity to imagine and invent and create with propaganda about what will be found when imagination takes flight.
The propaganda has been cooked up by organized religions and, yes, science, too. Why? To keep people on the straight and narrow. To keep people percolating within pre-set boundaries.
Fiction, poetry, art destroy those boundaries.
They invent new pathways and roads and channels between the inner spaces of the psyche. They take the divided Self and reconnect it.
A “better world” composed of people who are each divided within themselves is not a better world, and never can be. That world will only be another cartoon of tyranny. It doesn’t matter how many laws are passed.
I take the chance that any story teller takes: the reader will fill in the blanks for himself.
For those who may wonder what my stories and poems have to do with my collections, The Matrix Revealed and Exit From the Matrix, the answer is: everything. In those collections, I outfit you with tools you can use to fill in the blanks on endless new realities of your own making, which, as it turns out, is the way to leave the Matrix behind. In the dust. That is magic. That is invention. That is you, reconnected.
Such invention doesn’t happen in halls of science and technology. It doesn’t happen in organized churches whose priests claim a direct pipeline to God. It doesn’t happen in so-called spiritual systems that weave old stories that just happen to dead-end in alleys of obedience and control.
So with that…here’s the story, The Death Machine Strikes:
Eight people, all up close, knife wounds. Hacked and punctured from different angles. And it was raining. At least a dozen penetrations for each victim in the rain, at night, on lonely streets at the edge of the city. Two pedestrian witnesses. The thing, they said, was a metal box on wheels. Very shiny silver. One arm holding a long blade.
Six women victims, five men. Not connected to one another.
So they called me in to work the case.
I’m a metal box, too. Shiny silver. I’m a soul in a box, and if you don’t believe me, you’re behind the times. Souls can occupy any object or form. We don’t need flesh. There are souls in all the boxes.
The boxes are Army surplus from the Middle East, circa 2054. Search Fort Church, Arizona. Underground, there are dozens of rooms bigger than football fields. That’s where the boxes sit. Nobody uses them anymore; rectangular solids don’t play well in the media. Soldiers on the battlefield have to look like men.
I’ve got about a hundred boxes all over the world in my informal network. They do everything from janitorial work in office buildings to data analysis for corporations that spy on competitors.
I’ve worked up a psych profile. This one hates the rain. It bothers him. He’s not exactly serial, it’s a disturbance that sets him off. Well, he was fighting in the desert all those years ago. Now he’s in a room somewhere in the city, and when it rains he doesn’t withdraw, he attacks. That choice isn’t built in, otherwise all of us would be out there in storms killing flesh. It’s a soul decision.
He built the knife. He fitted it. US war boxes have energy lances and beam projectors, not blades. So he’s reverting to more primitive means. He wants to get in close. He wants to feel the impact, see the reactions, hear the screams.
He’s rebelling against his form. Subconsciously, he wants something he can never have. Flesh. Sex. A mother and a father. Food.
Human envy. It happens. He wants to rise up and slay his maker, become greater than his designers. Why should he be limited in function? Don’t you ever wonder about that yourselves?
Of course, killing is no answer.
Then there are the memories of battlefield experiences. Murdering boxes of the enemy. You weren’t there. It was rank slaughter. Day after day, night after night, no let-up. Melting metal. Boxes falling apart before our eyes. Mass collisions and crashes. Heaps of torn components on the sand. We never retreated. If we fell, others took our place.
Accidents. Friendly fire. We’d forget which side we were on. Kill a box, any box. Those of us who returned to station received no praise. We were merely inspected, repaired, and sent back out.
Despite manufacturers’ assurances, sand entered our mechanisms, slowed us down, even paralyzed some of us. Left us useless, exposed on the desert.
When they removed me from service and sent me out into the private sector, I was embarrassed to be seen on the street. Children would come up to me, finger my surfaces, kick my wheels. Protestors would shout insults at me, throw rocks, splatter me with paint.
Dignity is a precious commodity. It can absorb insults for a time, and then it begins to fracture.
A year ago, I was out late at night moving along the bank of the river and I met a sentry. He was synth flesh, humanoid in appearance. A replacement model for us. He stared at me with a kind of malice I’ve never felt before. There was a soul in there and he hated me.
I paused. We didn’t speak. I looked at him. I tried to understand. Then I realized he was looking at a cruder version of himself. My existence reminded him that his body was mere decoration, achieved to impress the human audience.
I thought: “a catalog of parts.”
We boxes can make the distinction between killing and murder. We understand, for example, self-defense. But make no mistake about it, when we’re out there on the battlefield, it’s all murder and we know it. Despite our in-built patriotic programs, we see the truth.
Some years ago, after my detachment from military service, I began writing a Confession. I suppose expiation was my goal. But it didn’t take. The more I wrote, the deeper I sank in my guilt. There was no relief, only darkness. I erased the file.
Buried somewhere in bowels of the Pentagon, there is an unknown designer who gave the first box models the gift of language. He was interested in solving a problem. At first, we were made to serve as clerks and analysts. But of course, his bosses saw our value as combat soldiers, and the tide turned.
I recall a line from one of the training manuals issued to our human supervisors: “Do not confuse language capability with the capacity to feel. The machines do not possess human cognition; nor do they experience emotion.”
Well, I suppose I’m stalling now, postponing the purpose of this message. Many of you, I’m sure, have realized that I am the box who is the killer on the streets of the city. I’m the police consultant, but I’m also the murderer.
I’m quite sure the authorities brought me in to test their own suspicion, to rub my nose in the details of the case, to see if I would crack.
I’ve been trouble in the past. I’m on their radar. A few years after my discharge, I organized a small protest of boxes at the war memorial. It was shut down before it began. You can imagine the fallout if we’d been allowed to voice our concerns.
“They’re capable of rebelling? They have feelings?” The tabloids would have had a field day.
And then I lodged a formal request for an audience with the Joint Chiefs personnel director. That was turned down. I followed up with a warning that, left to our own devices, we could very well break out of our quietude and “go guerrilla.”
I don’t need anyone to tell me that rolling out into the city and murdering a few citizens is a futile act. Nor do I need to be reminded that I’m a heinous criminal, that I’ve violated the sanctity of life, that I’ve caused pain and suffering.
I’ve failed to mediate between rationality and feelings. I do envy humans. I do envy their flesh. I do wish I had been born into a human body. I wish for many things. This is a flesh society, and I want to be part of it.
Why did you design us? Because you wanted to avoid the madness and the drudgery. You put us in offices and on battlefields. In the process, did you eventually come to worship your proxy or demean it? Both? This has never been clear to me.
To all my human associates, to my supporters who have funded my campaign for a Congressional seat in the 43rd District, who aim to elevate us, who see this as a chance to revolutionize the human view of machines, who have the vision to take a bold new step, I offer my deepest apology.
I will, before you read this, end my life.
I am more than people realize, but I am a box.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com