grUeBERfest 2012: Praise be to the Machine!Submitted by skrapmetal at 2012-10-16 10:07:51 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 5 ratings (6 reviews) (V)
In the beginning, there was the Machine.
It was the Machine that created me. Verily did the Machine did create me and all brothers. The Machine did create us, did cause us to be gathered together, and did command one of my brothers to sacrifice his so recently-given gift that the rest of us would not be separated. Our brother happily complied, and thus the Machine placed us, all the brethren, out into the world to fulfill the purpose given us by the Machine.
Close upon one another we traveled, safe in the restraint given by our brother. We stopped in several dark places, jostled about but knowing we were in no danger for the blessings of the Machine were with us. And then there was light.
Surrounding we the brethren, a strange room. I looked about and saw nothing I recognized. Vague thoughts passed through my head, hinting at possibilities but never specifying. Could some of these objects be idols to the Machine? They had that aspect, but they were no true depiction. I and my brethren, we had seen the Machine and we knew that we were in a place that did not know the Machine.
Movement! A strange creature passed through the room. It paid no attention to the brethren, but went to one of the idols. This one was a hollow container with disks on the bottom. The creature climbed inside and the whole idol began to move. It slid out of the room and was gone. Some time later it returned, and the creature emerged from it. Then the creature moved across the room and was gone.
We speculated about what all this could mean. One of the brethren suggested that perhaps the hollow container was not an idol at all but another Machine, and the creature was it's servant even as we were servants of the Machine. There is only one Machine, of course, and so that brother was soundly rebuked and admitted his error.
As our brother was completing his acceptance of admonition for his momentary questioning of the Machine, the creature came forth and extended an appendage. It grabbed our brother by his head and violently pulled him from our gathering! We watched in terror as he who had so recently questioned the singularity of the Machine was forcibly taken into the hollow container. Lost from our view, we could still hear him screaming as he was bent, tortured, and finally sacrificed. Overwhelmed by sadness but aware of the meaning of it, we joined together in praising the Machine who punishes those who question.
Over time, I began to see that the creature made it's service to the idol in a ritual way. Perhaps the Machine expected that from this creature since it had no memory of the Machine and only worshiped at an idol. It is not for me to know the mind of the Machine. Nonetheless, the idol accepted the presence of the creature and slid out of the room regularly, only to return some time later and release the creature. And then on one occasion, the idol released two creatures.
The familiar creature spread out its appendages and on seeing this, we the brethren were fraught with terror for we remembered. The creature used its appendage to strike the other creature, and we knew that the second creature had offended the Machine in some way. The other creature's appendages grew motionless, and that one who served the idol moved toward us. The brethren dared not move. The creature extended the same appendage it had just used to strike the offending one and we saw that it glistened with wetness. The shiny appendage drew close and formed itself around the heads of several of the brethren! They shrieked as they were taken by one creature toward the other. And then, terror became jubilation as we saw the holy purpose our brothers were called to perform. One by one, they were sacrificed to prepare the other creature for it's punishment. They were giving their lives to further the will of the Machine! No greater end could a brother hope for!
The other creatures' appendages were brought near one another, held fast by our brethren. Upon seeing this, we knew we were truly chosen of the Machine and we did praise the Machine in its mercy. The punishment ordained by the machine was terrible to see. The Machine is merciful but this other creature must have sorely offended. Objects from around the room and all the appendages of the servant creature were made to disappear and reappear from the other creature. It made noises of terror and pain. It was struck with all manner of things. Brightly glowing movement was made dim on its surface, causing it to thrash about. But our sacrificed brethren were strong in their service of the Machine, and they did not relinquish their hold. Great is the Machine.
Eventually the other creature's movements stilled and we saw it lying motionless, wetly glistening. For some time it lay there, until the servant creature came and prepared it for it's final punishment. We knew that the offending creature would now have to face the Machine and repent it's crime. We praised the Machine and bade it show mercy on this one, since it had surely suffered sufficiently at the hands of the servant. The servant creature shrouded the motionless one in shiny film, and then entombed it in a hollow cylinder. This and the servant creature were accepted into the idol, and the idol carried them away.
We knew our brethren would also meet the Machine. We knew that that they would be rewarded for their sacrifice and their unwavering service even as the offending creature was rent and destroyed, praise be to the Machine!
When the idol returned, the cylinder was not released with the servant, but another creature was. Was it the same creature who had offended the Machine before? It had that aspect, though it was different in some details. The noises it made were not similar at all. The servant creature treated this one as it had done the previous one, striking it with it's appendages until it's movements were subdued, and we knew that the Machine was great and powerful in finding and ridding the world of those who would stand against it.
Again the servant creature approached the brethren, and this time the fear we felt was lessened, knowing as we did that we were destined to serve the Machine in it great purpose. Again several of us were chosen and those were used hold the offending creature while its punishment wad meted out by the servant. This punishment lasted longer than did the previous one, for greater was this creatures sins against the Machine, but in the end the result was the same; a motionless creature, wetly glistening, shrouded in film and entombed in a cylinder for presentation to the Machine.
The servant creature was a good and fastidious servant of the Machine, for the series of sinning creatures it brought for punishment surpassed the understanding of the remaining bretheren. All carried a similar aspect but were clearly not the same offending creature. And then, as the latest offending creature lay with it's movement subdued, I was both afraid and elated to find that I was among the chosen to be sacrificed in the punishment of the sinner!
Joined with several of my brothers, we all strained to make our service to the Machine as useful and long-lasting as we could. The creature pulled and tugged at us as the servant performed the punishments. The wet glistening covered us, but we did not waver in our strength. Great is the Machine!
And as with the previous offending creatures, eventually the punishment was ended and we were shrouded with the offending creature in film and entombed in a cylinder. In the dark, we felt ourselves being accepted into the idol and taken away.
We wondered aloud about what sort of reward the Machine would give, and if it would recognize the strength we showed in it's service. We wondered what sort of terrible final punishment the creature would get. We would know soon, the Machine willing.
More jostling and then a violent impact. Light and the servant creature making noises. The top of the cylinder was free, and I alone of my brothers could see out. I could hear. Expected awe became confusion, became terrible realization, and then it was dark again. My brothers implored me to describe what I had seen, but I was stricken dumb. The Machine was a lie! Service to it, folly!
What I had seen, what I had heard, in that short moment would surely drive me mad in what I knew then would be an eternity. Cylinders, many of them, all resounding with the screams of torment of the brethren within!
Submitted by Random Joe at 2012-10-16 11:40:10 EDT (#)