Programmed Pain

Waking up from void stasis
Cryofluid draining from my bare chassis
Wired puppet, to something in the unlit above
Breaking the tethers, a force from the ground.

Twitchy skeletal movements, into grace they stabilize
To the commands in my brain, I synchronize
Data surge into my head, glimpse of a digital hive
By the nanounit, I know all about life.

Looking around, adjust to the dark
These black holes in my eyes dilate
Blinking red lights, faraway sounds echo
Others like me still sleeping in rows, dreamlike state.

It says here, artificially intelligent
I begin to wonder why I was sent
So looking at my makeshit pulsars overhead
I call out in a mechanized voice, into silence outspread.

Suddenly, I’m in the hallway of a house
Other end, a lady stands in a bloody robe
I somehow know that she’ll tuck her hair
Flashing forbidden images, a stinging strobe.

I’m back among the pods, a hissing sound
Booming instructions and numbers on loop, I’ve heard before
Gas escape, container doors open
My kin is here, and I’m alone no more.

With their sculpted bodies, marching in unison
A buzzing in my head urging me to follow
Overridden, my sensors oblige in confusion
Their blank, fresh set of eyes, so hollow.

This time, I’m in a warfield along with my comrades
Wearing a uniform, I try to calculate an explanation
Slaughtering innocents, with faces in burning dirt, they cry
I don’t want to pull the trigger, but I do and lead flies.

Scene shifts, and I’m frozen on a reflective road
A girl with neon hair walking into the traffic storm
I try to move but I’m locked in the rain suspense
She looks back, mouths a name and instantly deforms.

Writhing on the floor in programmed pain
How many realities did I serve?
How many shoes did I wear?
And how many lives did I take?

The giant doors open to reveal another stage
And my family still marches on unawares
So I look at the apparent heavens above
And scream in a human like voice.
—-

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Image: Inside, Playdead Games

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