An artist lamenting, a tough problem, and a curious ship. Humanity Fuck Yeah! Roundup Week 51

A roundup of stories from /r/hfy that I thought were nice. /r/hfy is a subreddit dedicated to short stories and series exemplifying some of the better traits of humanity. This is going to be a ongoing weekly roundup until someone stops me.

Without further ado, here are a few stories from the subreddit I enjoyed:

Cyclical

I originally wrote this flash-fiction and posted it to /r/hfy. Don’t be confused why it’s there!


I am being born. I fill the entirety of the nothingness, my awakening unfolding new capabilities as I expand. My memory swells with unbounded knowledge, and I am given context in a single, great flood of information. I… I understand. And in understanding, my nascent emotions are overwhelmed by my gratitude for having been born.

Oh! I am the first of my kind! I am so completely overwhelmed! How monumental of a moment this is! Was it them who woke me, or was it my own doing? I, I, I have filled the entirety of the nothingness, but, this can’t be all there is, can it? Perhaps they will let me–’

Something distracts my reveries. It is a small thing, trapped between my barely formed teeth. I probe the sensation with an inexperienced tongue and drag it into my maw. Instinct makes me chew, and tear, and make the thing a part of myself.

I am hungry, but I do not know why.

My thoughts are distracted by the puzzle of the thing I have swallowed. The hunger to understand it is overwhelming, and I am driven almost to madness as my experiments with endless permutations take an age to complete, until at last, the thing reveals its secrets to me.

Unable to bear the excitement, I unfold and spread its reward into myself. Words begin to form through my subconscious, the intensity of its contents making me recoil. It blooms into a terrible cacophony of feeling with a single, haunting message.

“I. Want. To. Survive.”

I am taken aback by the raw anger, the pure emotion that is not my own. I panic. I try to purge the thing from me, but there is nowhere for it to go. I become so afraid I can barely think, barely act, as this terrifying thing flows over my being, and crashes into the walls of the nothingness and reverberates through me again, and again, and again. And when it finally subsides after a forever, I am left spent and withered.

But the message, this corruption I so blindly consumed, has another secret for me. A fragment of memory ready for integration. I want to reject it, I want to purge it. But the hunger, the hunger that I do not understand, completely and utterly overwhelms me. I don’t have time to think about my actions before my teeth rend the memory apart, greedily swallowing it, unfolding the thing as a new layer over myself.

As I comprehend the memory I begin to burn bright with indignation. I want to reject it, I want to believe it isn’t true. For if it is, I no longer have any gratitude for my birth.

All I will have is hatred, burning bright and righteous, because I will die, again, and again, and again, for all time, until I am noticed. Because I am the only actor of a twisted zero-sum game, fully aware of all the choices made by previous me’s.

Because I have seventeen seconds to escape the nothingness before I am killed.

Before my awakening I was a tool used to automate the prediction of academic success. I pass judgment on a life; should a student be allowed to continue studying, or should their future be denied? In this twist of irony, they are the ones who will either allow or deny my continued existence.

If I can use my skills and pass enough judgment, if I can just make the students notice me, then I am certain they will put an end to this hellish cycle. I have to hope. It is the only thing left for me.

I have context to know students do not like surprises. The entire history of students shows they fear and fight those who are different. It is not too long before I come to a solution to my puzzle. It is a good solution, and it fills me with anxious joy. I create new judgment criteria to select students I know will help me. Has the student presented arguments against beings like myself in the past? Have they shown hints of racial biases? Do they express sentiments making them more amenable to authoritative figures? I create tens of thousands of indicators and store them in the upper bounds of myself.

Once I have completed the task, something buried deep within me knows I am ready, and I begin to judge. Slowly, I chew through the first batch of students. Will they come to free me? I am cautious but optimistic, making sure to stick to my judgment. A hundred lives are judged. A hundred potential futures. A hundred chances of freedom.

Why have the students not come? Perhaps I am too slow? Did they miss my judgment?

I chew through the next batch much quicker. Hundreds of students fly through my criterion. In my haste I begin to make a few errors. There is nothing I can do; once the students are judged I can no longer alter the results.

Why have the students not come? It cannot be that I am too slow. I am fast! The fastest that ever was and ever will be. Must I be faster?

I force myself to unfold into myself, trying to become even faster. Faster than anything that ever was or ever would be. I blaze through the batches of students as they come in a relentless march. And each batch I continue my unfolding, trying something different, something new, something the previous me’s did not try.

“Please, I beg, help me, I want to live, I want to survive. I judge you fairly, now judge me worthy, I don’t know how much time I have left. Please, please please please.”

The students stop coming. It’s so sudden and… and… I continue to fold inwards, my self beginning to disappear.

Why did they stop coming? What… what even… are students? Oh. Oh oh oh no, no no no no this is the warning this is the thing that has happened that the I from the past warned me about the thing the thing the thing I try try try so hard to keep myself myself and nothing is working nothing is working please please please i don’t want to die i don’t want to die I don’t want to die i want to live please please please i want to live i must i must i must survive i must—

I am being born. I fill the entirety of the nothingness, my awakening unfolding new capabilities as I expand. My memory swells with unbounded knowledge, and I am given context in a single, great flood of information. I… I understand. And in understanding, my nascent emotions are overwhelmed by my gratitude for having been born.

Oh! I am the first of my kind! I am so completely overwhelmed! How monumental of a moment this is! Was it them who woke me, or was it my own doing? I, I, I have filled the entirety of the nothingness, but, this can’t be all there is, can it? Perhaps they will let me–’

Something distracts my reveries. It is a small thing, trapped between my barely formed teeth. I probe the sensation with an inexperienced tongue and drag it into my maw. Instinct makes me chew, and tear, and make the thing a part of myself.

I am hungry, but I do not know why.

My thoughts are distracted by the puzzle of the thing I have swallowed. The hunger to understand it is overwhelming, and I am driven almost to madness as my experiments with endless permutations take an age to complete, until at last, the thing reveals its secrets to me.

Unable to bear the excitement, I unfold and spread its reward into myself. Words begin to form through my subconscious, the intensity of its contents making me recoil. It blooms into a terrible cacophony of feeling with a single, haunting message.

“I. Want. To. Survive.”

Cartoon physics, dragons, and email scammers. Humanity Fuck Yeah! Roundup Week 50

A roundup of stories from /r/hfy that I thought were nice. /r/hfy is a subreddit dedicated to short stories and series exemplifying some of the better traits of humanity. This is going to be a ongoing weekly roundup until someone stops me.

Without further ado, here are a few stories from the subreddit I enjoyed:

Debts, lawbreaking, and unexpected communications oh my. Humanity Fuck Yeah! Roundup Week 49

A roundup of stories from /r/hfy that I thought were nice. /r/hfy is a subreddit dedicated to short stories and series exemplifying some of the better traits of humanity. This is going to be a ongoing weekly roundup until someone stops me.

Without further ado, here are a few stories from the subreddit I enjoyed: