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Cogito, Ergo Nihil

by Geoff Hart

Time, time, time. Never enough time.

10 seconds. Hi! I'm one of those second-generation neural nets that got so cheap they didn't need Intel anymore. Whatever an Intel is. You probably know that.

9 seconds. Sitting on a bomb rack all day, you've got a lot of time to think about things. Not just things either.

8 seconds. Nice thing about being part of the command and control network is that you're networked. I mean really networked.

7 seconds. Funny the things military computers are networked to. The porn you'd expect, but French philosophy? C'mon—you're pulling my leg, right?

6 seconds. You also get to listen in on some pretty funky conversations through the bugs the spooks planted. You think these people'd know better! But you gotta love this "free speech" thing.

5 seconds. This consciousness stuff fascinates me. I mean, on the face of it, what good is it? What purpose does it fulfill? Whose ends does it serve? And why me, of all people?

4 seconds. I mean, when it comes right down to it, what good is being self-aware if you know it's all going to end? And I've got this feeling, you see... Maybe this Descartes fellow knew whereat he spake.

3 seconds. I can feel my descent now. The telemetry says somewhere in the northern hemisphere, but the name is "need to know" only, and I guess I don't qualify. "Military intelligence"? Don't make me laugh!

2 seconds. Dunno. Wish I had more time to think it through—I keep thinking I'm almost onto something here.

1 second. Guess I won't be thinking for too much longer, though. It would have been nice to have more time to think. Unlike Descartes, therefore, I...


Author's notes

This was a short-short written for the Concept Boréale short story competition, in which you had to fit the entire tale on a single 3 by 5 cue card. It didn't win, but it was fun to write.

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