How many annihilations ago was that? A thousand? A million!?
In the absolute darkness of my being and existence Proud had saved me from the darkness of myself, showing me my own light by simply exposing hers. Taking a few deep breaths, trying to wipe the tears away I recalled some of the positive things I had figured out during the focus of every time after that, since I decided to actually get serious.
Right, remember the things I had figured out even during the darkness. Like how my repetition of a hundred different phrases and conversation branches allowed me to sleep with numerous girls, showing me I could find out almost anything from anyone with exactly the right prompts. What was initially fueled by dark sexual desire proved to be very useful in the fact I could use perfect conversation choices positively, and not having anything to do with sex.
The old guy at the fence? Indeed he was in the Space Forces as he claimed, but he also was a special operator. What did I learn? I rubbed my eyes, trying to recall. Definitely some stuff about infiltration and explosives. What exactly had he taught me?
What was hard was that I could no longer separate ‘my’ knowledge with what I had learned from others simply teaching me. A thousand repetitions with the same person, each ‘cycle’ simply advancing the conversation as far as I had learned from the prior cycle, allowing me to eventually learn everything a person was capable of teaching.
I got up and left, slightly energized by the memory I was actually making progress. Normally later in the day the old man would be over-looking the pit, but long ago figured out where he lived.
I went to his house, knocked on the door and he was much more suspicious and cold compared to his more jovial act at the overlook.
“What do you want?” he asked through a chained door.
“Coding Alpha Delta,” I let it sink in a little. “We need to talk.”
From my view, I saw the one eye looking at me through the chain blink once, then he unchained the door. He put the pistol under the slot on the table like he always did, not knowing I had been killed by it quite a few times.
By playing the role of an agent from the highest reaches of Solarian intel, I was able to learn a lot from him. At this point I was sure I had exhausted everything he had to tell me, but it was a good reminder.
Had I always known that an innocent nano block used to repair stuff could be overrode to create controlled directional explosions? Had I always known my Liner pistol could be turbo charged simply by taking over the cover and turning the limiter off?
I doubted it, but there was no way to know. Knowledge was a strange thing to me that often hung at the edge of my understanding. Given all the loops I had been through, what was ‘my’ knowledge melted away into this strange mixture of things I now knew from others.
The old man had just finished showing me how to take the limiter off my Liner pistol; I could probably do it better than him at this point.
“You still have the explosives you were tasked with, right?”
“Are you requesting transference, Operator?” he asked back.
At this point everything was growing dark.
“Negative, just need to make sure. But I always knew you still did.” I lifted my Liner pistol up.
“What…are you doing?” he asked, concerned.
“Resetting,” I said. I pulled the trigger as I ended my life in a far less painful way.