Proud Infinity pt 21

Never seeing her proved okay for a while, but then the regret grew, and with no counter to my dark thoughts, they surged endlessly.  My thoughts turned back towards something I had fallen into early in the loops: could I kill myself out of this nightmare?  I tried…oh god, I tried.  But no.  I would die, and then the universe would later in the cycle, the time fracture traveling backwards past the point of my own death to the morning as it always did.  Each cycle, wake up, grab the pistol, pull the trigger.  Instantly wake back up in the same room, but dealing with the emotional fallout of ‘surviving’ a suicide.

I felt my body shaking from the fear of itself from the horror I had inflicted on it in the name of escaping.  Or trying to anyway.  I could not get out.

“I’m so so sorry…” I whimpered to myself, hugging myself to try to believe it.  My eyes were watering.  This was so painful, so confusing.

I was shaking hard at the overwhelming memories.  ‘The positive, just focus on it.  Just focus…’ But all I could do was grit my teeth at yet more regret.  How the hatred I felt at myself for taking advantage of Proud that turned to suicide, then to unrequited rage at the girl who was the singular cause of the nightmare I was in.

I was on this endless rollercoaster of extreme emotions throughout the loops.  Even after all the regret towards Proud, it then turned to anger.  Blaming her for somehow involving me in all this.  I didn’t want any of this, I didn’t want this nightmare.

My teeth hurt from how hard I was biting down, trying to not remember the time I tried killing her.  Despite the slow learner I seemed to be with everything else, I only did this once.

I leveled the Liner pistol right at her.  ‘Die bitch’ I had said to her confused face.  I pulled the trigger, unloading half the clip into her, but…but it went right through her.  I fell to my knees.  ‘You really are just a figment of my imagination,’ crying at how crazy I was.

‘Would it make you feel better to actually let you shoot me?  Try it Trego, if you really want, as dark as this path has become.’  To which my teary face pulled the trigger again at her, and was shocked when he body recoiled away, blood, or something similar, exploding out the backside.  ‘Proud?’  I asked to her dead body, the bloody ribbon covering a massive crater in her head.  The shock was so severe I turned the pistol on myself, and the darkness only crept on.

“No!”  I shouted, trying to forget.  Just remember the good, the times I actually was productive, not lost in despair or hatred.  “It was not always bad!  That was when I started changing!”  I yelled to the world, trying to make it real.

Yes, focus on how during my self-killing spree, Proud came to me one trigger pull away and asked if there was anything she could do.  I had not seen her since the crime of killing her, or perhaps crimes, I committed against her, and her innocent appearance before me nearly caused me to follow through yet again with the trigger.  But I stopped long enough for her to tell me it pained her to see me this way, and ask why I was like this.  She was here to help if I would only ask.

I told her reluctantly a big part of it was how bad I felt for taking advantage of her when so much was at stake, both having sex with her, and later shooting her in another iteration.  When she laughed loudly, I lowered the pistol out of confusion.  ‘How did you take advantage of me, if we both wanted it?’ she asked.  She did not even mention the time when I had shot her because to her it was nothing.  She said she was entirely joyful for the experience, and did not regret anything and wondered why I did.  She said that the physical plane was overwhelming in its feelings, and to have experienced something like that with me, well, she’d remember forever.  She said she loved me and hoped I would have asked earlier, or again.  She lowered my pistol and we held hands, me crying for hours in her simple embrace until the end came again.

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Proud Infinity pt 19

But in a way, I was in a game that had a set boundary specifically tied to the time limit.  This made it hard, as I could not do ‘anything’ as there simply was not enough time in this singular day.  Was it even possible to pull off whatever Proud thought needed to be done?  So my options were not limitless, as there was a practical distance I could travel before my ‘time was up’ so to say.

‘Time was up…’

With those thoughts, a huge wave of experiences came flooding over me.  My eyes started watering and I fell backwards.  My eyes zoomed outwards as I fell out of my body.  The simple act of me sitting in my room faded away to nothingness as so much blanketed my mind.

This was not the fourth; this was not even the tenth, even a hundred would be low!  I had been though thousands.  All the experiences came flooding back.  All the cycles lived, and then died.

“Shit…”  I said, holding my head as I rolled down to the floor, my mind hurting so bad with this new awakening.

First were endless denials out of me, the ‘no way this is happening’ of thinking each cycle literally was new, and I had just been dreaming.  Hell, even the last couple of times I thought it was just a dream and I had already been looping thousands of times.

I could see why Proud made a comment about annoyance or something along those lines.  It was frustrating seeing myself constantly deny what was actually happening.  I was trying to ignore the important events like the guy at the fence, the android girl at the spaceport, and the whole bar scene or talking with Proud.  Even though little things like my banter with the android girl, or me gunning that guy down rather skillfully were a bit beyond my normal ability.  With grim realization it was probably hundreds of repetitions that had improved me.

My hand found something, maybe the leg of a desk, and I held on tightly like a sick child.  Even my most recent memories I was not sure had actually recently occurred.  I talked about winning against that guy, but if I had looped so often, I never would have got shot, or avoided it all together.  Thinking about it this way, I felt that there actually was a far deeper well of combat prowess inside me than I currently appreciated.  Honed over thousands of random battles.

The more my head swam, the more I realized how far down the line I was in regards to loops.  The denials lasted forever, but gave way to sadness before darkness.

When I started realizing I was looping, it was perfect to learn about people.  There were women I could get close with and my loneliness faded away for the cycle.  I had met a lot of girls and felt so close to many of them.  But each reset I was greeted with words that cut into my heart deeper and deeper each time hearing them: ‘who are you?’

Nothing that I had done with them remained.  No clever date, no laughs we shared, no talks about our past.  I would remember vague things about them, but no one else perceived the loop, I was just as unknown the hundredth time talking to them, as the first.  The closeness I thought I had with them was an illusion.  It was only in my mind.  That sent me down a dark road as I no longer had this to comfort me given the end I experience without fail.

The terror of dying every cycle started grinding on me until the desperation reached a breaking point.  I started trying to kill myself out of this nightmare, thinking that this simply wasn’t real.  If it was, I would rather be dead than be trapped in this fearful world where nothing I did mattered.  And it ended in absolute pain every single time.

Sitting here huddled on the floor, crying while this multitude of memories flooding back was not fun.  I wondered if every time was like this.  Probably.

The desperate loops were short lived, and then it became rampant hedonism and dark experiences.  When I realized I would indeed be reborn each cycle anew my curiosity took a dark turn.  How many people could I kill before I was stopped?  How many girls could I get within a single cycle knowing the perfect things to say to them from thousands of scripted conversations I had tried?

Proud Infinity Pt 3

Here is the 3rd part of the new story Proud Infinity about a a guy who become stuck in a time loop.  We last ended with him wondering if he could get off the planet, the story is about to get heated:

 

I hit my hand on the ground in frustration.  Damn!  Why didn’t I leave?  What was keeping me around?  Seems stupid looking back on it, it is not like I have any purpose here now.  Okay, that settles it.  I am out of here.  I’ll buy a ticket and be gone in just a few cycles.

I pulled out my gun and ran my fingers over it.  At least this was a good purchase before things fell apart completely.  I was making a lot of credits at the time, and I spent a serious amount on the best pistol I could get without a military clearance.  I caught my Strive reflected in the large barrel of the pistol and thought of that strange girl at the bar with her simplistic pictogram.  The tattoo under my left eye was a straight line, followed by a perpendicular one, ending with a triangle beyond it.  The meaning was that the straightest path to anything might not be a straight line.  I liked to think that that inscription that had been with me from childhood helped me in my non-standard thinking of solving problems.

Regarding hers, I honestly did not think you could get a Strive that…simple.  I didn’t know the rules of the inscriptions, but I had never seen anyone with a single, non-complex design, so that’s what I based my assumption off of.

I hoped she wasn’t a regular there.  I do not know if I was ready to go back there anytime soon, given the size of the city seeing her elsewhere would be a low chance.  Damn, she was hot too.  My curiosity piqued by what exactly she was.  Maybe she was with ReCorp.

Motion.

I tilted my pistol just slightly to see a man obviously coming up behind me in its reflection.  Strange.  And not good.

I waited a bit more and when it was clear he was coming right at me I dashed forward and rapidly turned around.  Nice melee attack chump, prepare to die.

“Hey punk, this is for Walo!” He did not have a melee weapon, instead his leveled pistol erupted fire that tore into my shoulder.  Damn, he was good.  No warning.  Professional.

I let a little yelp out as I was torn to the ground.  My hand holding my pistol went to my right shoulder, feeling warm liquid leak out of it.

“Ha, guess there was nothing to you, huh boy?  Just a pathetic, lucky kid.  I will leave you here like the rest of the trash in this shithole.”  He smiled darkly as his pistol was pointing at me.

My rapid thoughts congealed and realized I had to act right now.  I brought the pistol onto the man who was stupid to not finish me and pulled the trigger.  The Liner pistol’s Gauss accelerators propelled the rounds from zero to maximum velocity within a very short time.  The caseless rounds tore through him at a far faster rate than his chemical propellant variety of weapon.  In a few fractions of a trigger pull easily over fifty rounds were out of my gun and through his body.  His torso exploded apart and he joined me down on the ground, except he was now completely dead.

“Uhh…” I gritted my teeth looking at my right arm.  I tried squeezing my fingers and they did not work despite the massive pain of trying.  I braced myself to try harder, screaming out in pain as I tried to close my limp hand.  Nothing.

Damn damn damn!  Was my arm shot through!?  I was not a soldier, I was a fucking scientist.  How did this happen!?

My mind was racing, scared of the blood leaking out of me.  There was a sizable hole through my shoulder, and while I could feel my nanites pumping chemicals through me and trying to close the hole, this was still a very serious wound.  My head swam for a moment before the chemicals started calming me.

I tried ripping my shirt with my left hand, gripping hard and pulling against my body but without a strong counter force it was not coming apart.  I took off my sock in desperation and started jamming it into the hole.  I was oddly self conscious that I was doing this and knew I should be in massive pain but I had so many synthesized chemicals in me from my system nanites I could not even feel anything anymore.  Even the panic had given away to my coldly calculating mind, distantly stuffing a sock in my shoulder.

The injury was further alarming because at every finger extension of me pushing the sock in, I would expect to find resistance of my body, such as a bone or my back.  I felt extreme nausea come over me at the implication of the massive hole in my shoulder that clearly went all the way through.

When the thin sock had completely been put into my shoulder, the very idea that part of it might be hanging out the backside – bloody and dripping – was too much and I started coughing before throwing up on the ground in front of me.  I was too dizzy, likely from the thoughts more than the feelings as nanites were quite capable of keeping someone fighting in worse condition that I was.  I leaned forward and sprawled out on the ground.

Normally the nanities would have mostly stopped the bleeding and within a cycle or two would heal over the hole.  Perhaps even now there may be a synthetic layer of skin covering a dirty sock in my shoulder…the thought of my sock disgusted me and I was sick again.

The spinning in my head slowly stopped, and the pain was distant.  I pushed myself to kneeling, then eventually to standing.

“Kckk…” I coughed a few times, rubbing my mouth and eyes on my shirt and stood up, having to catch my feet a few times from being mentally unsteady.  The blood and vomit where I was looked like a massacre occurred there.

I started to walk away, until realized I didn’t have my shoe.  I didn’t know if I could really put it on, so merely stupidly grabbed it, grabbed the weapon of the man I had killed in self-defense, and hobbled back to my room.  The few people I saw stare at me on the way back did not once ask if I was okay; I stared back with hatred.  Maybe I’ll just put a round through them.  In some fitting irony, I now looked exactly like the trash I despised so much.

I held my hand over my shoulder and by the time I made it back to my room, I felt a few fibers of synthetic material stringing itself across the wound to heal faster.  I would not be taking out the sock, and was grimly thinking about how eventually my nanites would slowly break the fiber down within me.  I would survive, but I was very worried if the nanites would be able to re-string the neurons or tendons or whatever was causing my lack of motor control.  The door shut behind me and I bent down, throwing the two weapons on the desk.  I stood back up as a massive wave of dizziness hit me.  I grabbed the desk, trying to stay up, but then blacked out and went down.

In my daze a growing pain woke me up, and I gradually realized I was laying on my shoulder.  I had been out for a while, as the room seemed darker.  I shook my head a few times and felt in control of my mental facilities.  Holy shit, my memories came back of what happened.  I patted my shoulder, still alive.  Yeah, if that was a sign to get out, this was it.

Everything was feeling okay, all things considered.  Only the color of my vision was wrong.

What the?  I had never been shot before, and I knew my nanites could heal me, but was this part of the healing process?

Everything was still ‘colored’ but it was like a black and white filter had been applied to everything, damping most of the color out of existence.  I stood up, holding my shoulder with its synthetic skin now completely across the wound, and walked over to the window that faced the ReCorp building.  Near the center it appeared to be completely binary in its color, but I thought it might just be because there wasn’t much color there anyway.  Some weird atmosphere or solar phenomenon?  The sky looked the same as the rest of the reduced color world.

A tug in my heart brought me back to looking at the complex.  From the center of it, a huge black sphere was now there, expanding outwards.  At first it was barely noticeable in its speed, but even as I watched it grew rapidly.

The next part I will describe using intuitive feelings, because any science I have would not explain what I felt.  It seemed like the black wave growing was a pulse of ‘motion freeze’, that there was nothing that would be moving within it.  Then the feeling grew into pure terror that even stillness would be happy to exist within the sphere.  My new fear knew that this was a wave of annihilation, that every dimension, the three physical, time, gravity, and whatever else there might be would be torn asunder, reduced to nothingness.  Reduced to non-reality.  I knew that for an intuitive fact.

I was under no delusion that that force was beyond me, beyond the entire Solarian race, maybe even beyond the entire universe.  I almost felt privileged for a moment to watch this source of destruction that would rip reality apart, but it was quickly replaced by revulsion at this deeply unnatural event.  The black sphere of nothingness grew larger and faster.  I would be annihilated, like everything else.

Then in the next moment, I was.