Stasi iconography was fresh as fuck
‘til the fax machine broke
EK detached from the white board, the Algerian Foreign Minister’s plan to open Assia Djebar Institutes in 82 countries, and focused on the frozen ray of light coming in from Proxima b.
Within that light was a novel idea.
If he could just extract it and edit himself to pass as its creator then-
A noise from somewhere.
EK eyes stretched to 82% exposure and looked right.
The door was opening.
An industrial door.
This wasn’t Triton, it was YAK DESIGN LTD.
brain mode recovery level high idea in still ATION
Despite presenting as a 94% approximation of a human, EK went unnoticed by the owner of YAK DESIGN LTD. As did the broken lock. Strange.
In fact, the work the guy did was so loud that EK was able to open up his phone, check the opening time of the gallery next door, wait forty-five minutes then stand up, walk out and ask Maneka if he could use her computer for half an hour.
‘Do you live near here?’
‘You don’t want to go back and-…’
‘My computer is broken.’
‘And my four guardians are abusive.’
Maneka tried to process ‘abusive’ and ‘four guardians’ but had no idea what to say beyond ‘sorry’ so she went with sorry and told EK he could use the computer as long as he liked.
EK sat down with his back to a blue circle surrounded by half open doors and loaded up LIFE SHIP.
He accessed the concepts from the previous night, drugs, insanity, psycho-geography, confluence theory, and tried to type out page thirty-one seven times, but each attempt felt forced and
looking at the hanging art above
visualising the attack on Scientist 4
the murder of the Ecuadorian judge
the mess of YAK DESIGN LTD
the idea of private enterprise in space
Makena’s neck skin
security scanning Shatin, tracking him here, bursting in, dragging him back, re-programming his SUNT-NET to make him forget LIFE SHIP and write something more Chekhovian
murder someone who was writing something more Chekhovian and study their brain, consume it, mimic it, and
the whole scheme
something has to happen before the end of the first act
characters should have an arc
dialogue must propel plot
plot must intrigue
What if there were seven acts and nothing happened? Or one thing happened and then characters just wandered off, played squash, joined the military, studied aesthetics, tried to subm-…
EK’s system heard the word and auto-responded with ‘never’.
‘You’ve been staring at the wall for twenty minutes.’
‘I’m ordering my thoughts.’
‘For your screenplay?’
Maneka dipped her index finger into what looked like a bowl of sugar and swirled it around. ‘There was a line I heard once…not sure if it’s relevant to your thing but…’
‘Write what you know?’
She smiled and shook her head. ‘If you’re stuck, go full dada.’
‘Write crazy. From your ID. Or subconscious. The part of you that doesn’t try to make patterns. Or doesn’t actively try to make patterns.’
EK tilted his head left.
‘If it’s really bad, what you write, you can always edit later.’
‘Or scrap it completely.’
‘I will try.’
Harassed by Romulan realtors
is how I wanna go
Unlike every non-upgraded human who’d ever lived, EK’s maximum typing speed was ludicrously fast, two hundred and seventy-three words per minute, and with his LASK node set to free flow, the remaining ninety pages of LIFE SHIP were done in eighty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds.
EK recalled the silver rule of horror scripts, runtime eighty minutes max, no more, but that was for films without theme, and LIFE SHIP had a theme, the theme of constant struggle to avoid the possessed projection machine, and if that only lasted eighty minutes instead of four hours then it wasn’t really a struggle.
Switching back to patterned mode, EK asked Maneka what she thought about a four hour horror film, but before she could reply there was a knock at the open door.
Two men half-walked in and asked if they could walk in a little more.
‘It’s an open exhibition, sure,’ said Maneka, glancing at EK and fake-frowning, then genuinely frowning when she saw he wasn’t there.
The shorter of the two men entered while the other stayed by the door.
‘How did you find us?’
The man pulled out his phone and moved it about, pointing it at different parts of the room.
‘Do you like futurist art?’
There was a beeping noise, surprisingly loud. The man coughed, lowered the volume and turned to her.
‘Have you had any visitors in the last twenty-four hours?’
‘We’re an art gallery, of course.’
‘Anyone who didn’t seem quite…normal.’
‘There was one guy…last night. He tried to make me say something in Arabic. That was strange.’
‘Did he say where he was staying?’
‘Did he say anything?’
‘Well, I don’t know if it was genuine or not but…he said he would come back today, at 5:14pm.’
‘Yes, that’s why it was strange. So precise.’
The man nodded, put his phone back inside his jacket and left. The other man stayed a few seconds longer, looking with disgust at the red hands hanging from the ceiling, then followed.
Maneka covered her mouth, swore in Finnish, sat down on the 2nd place block of the podium and continued mixing the white grains.
After four minutes, the window opened and EK swung back in, telling her straight away that her performance was instinctually perfect.
‘I figured they were not friends of yours…’
‘The way you mixed detail with vagueness…the preciseness of the time you gave…’
‘I didn’t really think.’
‘…though re-assessing it now, it probably wasn’t a good idea to say I would come back.’
‘Do you wanna tell me what it was about?’
‘Wait.’ EK stared down at the computer, then at the blue circle art behind it. ‘Okay. Clarity mode. I am an EK-BOT used primarily for wet works. But some theoretical scientists requisitioned me and said I was potentially creative. They told me to write a screenplay, I did. LIFE SHIP. They didn’t like it. I escaped. They want me back, probably to kill more people in the global south.’
‘It’s faster to tell the truth in this situation. Can I use your computer again?’
Maneka mumbled ‘okay’, her brain distant.
EK sat down on the winner’s block of the podium and went straight to WordPress, setting up a blog called Life Ship, posting his script in six separate parts, adding a pic of the projector from Death Ship then changing the blog title to Death Ship 2: Life Ship, reasoning that it would get more traction that way.
When he was done, he straightened his body, turned to Maneka and tried to decode the look of pure panic on her face.
‘Yesterday…’ she said. ‘Asking me to speak Arabic…’
‘You were trying to…’
She gripped the bottle of white grain tight and mumbled something in Finnish.
‘I was in survival mode, there weren’t many people around, it was in my programming to attem…’
EK’s defence was broken by an object shattering the window and hitting him square on the chest, followed by a blinding green light.
‘…pt,’ he finished, collapsing on Maneka’s lap.
knocked out by message guy
‘Lecture. Then abort.’
‘One more stab, people…writing prompts.’
EK opened one eye, saw the four scientists sat around a conference desk, about twenty guards on the perimeter, an oppressively white wall and went back to STANDBY mode.
Benzite rappers from the Dedalus System hate it when you do that
‘We’ve got one more chance, EK…’
Scientist 4 held down the clips and slowly rolled up EK’s eyelids, using his other hand to point at the white board. The eyeball clock above it had gone, as had the vermilion walls, the spirals, the shadow men…everything except the stools.
‘Pick one that intrigues you, and type something.’
EK tried to blink but the clips got in the way.
‘If I remove the clips, do you promise not to play dead again?’
Scientist 4 removed the clips and pushed the computer a few inches closer to EK.
‘You’ve got one hour.’
‘The walls are white…’
‘One hour. EK.’
‘…but it is the same room. Did you paint them?’
‘Did you hear what I said?’
‘Then start writing. I’ll be in the room next door, partially monitoring you.’
‘Do I have internet access?’
‘Can I have internet access?’
‘For what purpose?’
‘Look at various unrelated websites for seven minutes, then type.’
‘That’s a real theory?’
‘Maneka. The curator of the post-futurist gallery.’
Scientist 4 looked down at the floor.
‘Do you know who I’m referring to?’
EK stared at Scientist 4’s neck and measured the pulse. It wasn’t really necessary, EK knew what looking at the floor represented, he’d done it himself after accidentally murdering the ESL teacher in Bogota.
‘Can I have internet access?’
Scientist 4 looked back up. ‘One hour.’
church theories live in da lounge bar,
yelling at rescue
You’re a fishmonger who’s just won the lottery.
You’re a scientist who’s just discovered a cure for ageing.
You owe money to a UFC fighter.
You’re dead but no one believes you.
You mildly criticise the Israeli Government.
EK stared at the writing prompts on the whiteboard for 1.4 seconds then went online and typed ‘how to hack into the Shatin Science Park mainframe?’
The first page was just slush for VPNs.
Second page too.
But the third page had something, a blog about how to unlock all the doors in the Science Park.
EK clicked on the link.
are you sure?
One hour later, Scientist 4 came back.
EK was staring at the screen, transfixed, one of his hands clutching his neck joints.
EK didn’t reply.
Scientist 4 edged around the desk, remembering the stool attack, and looked at the screen.
There were three tabs open.
One was a blog on how to unplug a mainframe.
Another was Kenyan-Finnish gallery owner Hong Kong.
And the last one, the one on screen, was…
‘I added another forty-seven pages,’ said EK quietly, as Scientist 4 picked up the nearest stool. ‘And changed the title to ‘Endless Death Ship.’
‘You stupid metal fu-…’
In a bat suit
sit on the phlegmatic one
It wasn’t the smoothest Russian accent they’d ever programmed, but it was enough to get inside and from that point on it was clockwork as EK walked past the guards, entered the office of the Russian Agricultural Minister, bowed, removed his left arm, extended the spike and stabbed the woman sitting in the head chair.
The Secretary of Promising Farm Machinery threw a coffee cup at EK, activating consolidation mode, which meant everyone in the room would have to be stabbed too. And so they were.
Not 100% template, but not unprecedented either.
Watching on screen, Scientist 1 bowed, the others clapped, and Scientist 4 slouched lower in his seat, trying to hide behind his laptop.
‘Fucking Machines…’ he muttered.
The clapping got louder and more disingenuous – they were all enemies in the Science Park – so Scientist 4 got up and headed to the roof, taking his laptop with him.
After looking at listed houses in Nuuk, he switched back to EK’s WordPress blog and scrolled down to the comments:
‘Bit with the net was good.’
‘At first I thought the projector was possessed, but then I remembered the Brezhnev quote.’
‘Feels like it was written by a drunk alien.’
He read through them several times, just like he had the night before, and the six nights before that, and tried to connect them to a four and a half hour horror script where a projector on a Nazi ghost ship killed people endlessly.
Who the hell was Tzara?