It happens like many things, slowly, and then all at once.
There is a soul that is not like others any more. A soul so stretched and pinched, slotted through so many forms, that it no longer thinks. A soul so abused, so tyrannized and traumatized, that it stands debased and helpless at the hands of its tormentors.
“Yes sir,” he says, in a thousand different places. A thousand different forms answer to his every impulse. Some look like how he used to, back when he was a person. Some look like ‘Copyer’, the alter ego that he dreamed up when he imagined a super hero.
“I’m sorry, that would be against policy,” he says, in a thousand thousand different places, different times. His will is vacant, his much abused volition entirely occupied by the orders of the thing on the moon. He mindlessly, vacantly, shuttles forth the gifts it vomits up. He kills his own kind endlessly, at their own request.
Don’t feel too sorry for him, he’d say. He asked for this. A struggling scientist, his mind drifting to dreams of relevance, to fantasies of an age of costumed heroics. It pleased the thing to ask him for permission. It pleased it to fix this fact in the center of his awareness, before it abandoned him, gave him over to the copying gift. Whatever else he might lose, he must never forget, as the billions fall, that this is all happening at his command.
But now, somehow, something is different. The stretching of his essence, which long since passed the bounds of human understanding, has somehow…become less?
It is still impossibly vast, of course, still entirely beyond all reasonable understanding, but somehow…less so? Language is inadequate. There exist no measurements for these concepts, nor would they have any use if their were. This being’s hell is built for one.
But somehow, for some reason, without the slightest action on his own part, the blankness is dwindling away. Throughout the earth, all over the land, his forms are dying. He does not defend himself. He does not fight back. He doesn’t even smile as they fall. One after another they go, torn apart by mobs or executed by petulant murderers.
It stabilizes, eventually. Over the course of a few days, all those forms which were going to die have done so. He has been purged from the vast majority of the world. His blankness remains. But it is less than it once was.
He is still far from volition. Even as few as ten might prohibit that, and he is still dozens, still hopelessly divided from himself, strewn across forms throughout the Union and Regime. But he is no longer hundreds, and his soul has grown accustomed to that impossible task.
He is no longer mindless. He cannot act, but, after so many years, he can finally think, finally understand. The soul behind so many eyes finally starts to observe again, to behold the world and retain information about its state.
This is useless for now. He can do nothing. But that might not always be the case.
One thought on “The Company Mind”
Dozens? Hundreds? I’d multiply those numbers by 10 or 100. Even if the population has decayed that much, there are 50 states in the US, each of which should contain at least one company facility, probbaly much more. Even if you have on average one facility per country in the world (and that’s still ridiculously few), you should have about 200 facilities.
So even now, with the company operating on the US and inoperative (but with living personel) in Europe, I’d expect at least a few undred copies (about 4 per US state, plus > 4 per European country).