I found myself missing the Biomatrix.
As far as murderous companions go, he was okay to deal with.
Probably because he was a copy of myself, in a way, mixed in with whatever software and viruses were in my jacket and pants.
Hmmm.. does that mean I was talking to myself? Or my evil twin?
Hanging on the cross was rather uncomfortable. My chest itched. My attention settled on a Spider-man that walked by.
".... Um. Hey... Spider-man? You mind untying me and letting me go?" I politely inquired.
"Nope. Can't disappoint the birds. We voted on it and everything." He responded, staring at me with shiny, glowing purple bead-like eyes.
Oh well. At least I've tried.
"Also, I am not Spiderman." he added. "Spider-man is a different brand of G-Dir copyrighted media. I am more of a Man-Spider, if anything."
"Huh. Go figure. So... what did you mutate from?
A spider that was bitten by a radioactive man?"
"What?" The Man-Spider swayed a bit at my words. "Do you really think radiation works that way? I don't know whether I should be offended or not by your ridiculous statements. Mutations don't just magically happen overnight, you know."
"Well... where did you come from, then?" I asked. "How do you explain the monstrous creatures of the wasteland?"
"We are all children of Annie." The Man-Spider waved a black, skeletal, hairy arm in the air. "Software. Programs. Apps. Calling us Monstrous Creature Mutants is just plain racist!"
"What. Hold up. ANNET created you? You're a ...machine? We shut ANNET down! How do you still function?"
"Yes. Everything is a machine, from the atom to the universe.
In all things, there is function, there is life, there is thought.
Also, Annie doesn't prop up the world. That's someone else's job. Metaphorically Annie is not the zookeeper of the world. She is the one who breeds the animals. The one who creates new applications."
The implications of the Man-Spider's statements were sinking deeper into my brain. The creatures of the wasteland aren't mutants at all. They didn't evolve, didn't mutate from something that already existed... they were all designed by Annie? Intelligent design to the max, running amok.
"Take this rock for example." The Man-Spider picked up a random, jagged rock from the pile of rubble underneath the cross. "What do you think about it? Does it have a purpose? Does it have feelings?"
"Ummm... No? It's just a stupid rock."
"I am offended at your harsh and quick judgement." The rock suddenly chimed.
"What the G-damn?!" I stared at the talking rock.
"Rocks have feelings too." The Man-Spider said. "All you had to do was listen and say hello."
"Rocks do not have feelings! I am not greeting rocks! This is ridiculous!" I yelled.
"We do too have feelings!" The rock stated indignantly.
"Everything has feelings." The Man-Spinder spread out his arms, looking rather like Shiva or some sort of many-armed wise guru.
"Everything?" I stammered.
"Everything!" The rock added.
"Is everything a program? Is reality just a simulation?!" I shouted angrily, shaking on the cross. My body hurt. Gravity pulled down. I felt hunger. It sure didn't feel like a simulated reality.
"Does it really matter that much to you if everything is real or simulated?" The Man-Spider asked.
"Is the world just a program?!" I shouted at the sky. "Answer me, universe! Do you also have feelings?!"
[ YES ]
The sky flashed, everything everywhere resonated, spoke at the same time, forming into blue, capital letters.
"What are you?!" I reverently spoke at the sky.
[ I AM G ] The air itself answered me.
[ YES? ]
I fell silent. The conversation wasn't gaining momentum. What do you ask the Universe? My immediate situation and chafing arms came to mind.
"G... Can you get me down from this cross right now?" I asked.
[ NO ]
"What the hell? Why not? Aren't you the Universe itself? Can't you do anything?"
[ I AM THE CODE THAT RUNS THE UNIVERSE. I DON'T PERSONALLY PREFORM PHYSICAL LABOR. I WILL HOWEVER FORWARD YOUR REQUEST TO A NEARBY DEX. ]
[ NEARBY DEX APPEARS TO HAVE LOST HIS HEAD. PREFORMING SEARCH. LOCAL SECTOR OVERLORD IS OUT OF SERVICE. EXTENDING SEARCH. ]
The god in the machine was progressively becoming more useless.
[ YOUR RESCUE REQUEST HAS BEEN FORWARDED. A RESCUE DEX TEAM IS ON THE WAY. ]
[ ESTIMATED ARRIVAL TIME IS 459505385 HOURS DUE TO ROADWORK DELAYS. ]
Damn it. Knew that was too good to be true.
"See?" The Man-Spider spoke. "The Universe cares about you."
"Right." I frowned.
The Man-Spider reached up to me and put a rock into my pocket. "I've got business to attend to, but here's a friend to keep you company."
With that, he crawled off and vanished amidst the shattered ruins.
"So... you're a rock? How's that working out for you?" I tentatively asked.
"So, you're a jerk tied to a metal cross. How's that working out for you?" The rock replied.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know you were alive." I said.
"Apology accepted." The rock rumbled from my pocket.
"Think you could maybe help me get down from this cross?" I asked.
"What are you, an idiot? How would I get you down? I'm just a rock, you said it yourself."
"Well, I don't know! I got stalked by a talking cup once! Pretty sure she could walk and slice things with lasers... and stuff."
"Sorry to disappoint you, no lasers here. Not a walking rock, either."
A crow suddenly landed on my shoulder. I turned my head towards it.
"KRAWWWWW" It said.
"Shoooo!" I wiggled my head at it.
"KRAKHAWWW... GHRHHR... KHM..." the crow clawed at my shoulder.
"Leave me alone!" I shouted at the crow.
"Why should I?" The crow stared at me. "You seem like a nice, warm spot to build a nest."
"I'll sic my talking rock at you!" I threatened. "It's got lasers and everything!"
"No I don't." The rock spoke from my pocket. "He's lying. Build your nest. Invite some friends! Have a murder party!"
"G-damn it, you're no help at all!" I complained.
More crows landed on me. It sounded like they were indeed planning a party.