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Interlock: Real (Prologue and Part 1)

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA The 60 minutes leading into Mr.RMA's activation seemed simple and uneventful from an outsider's perspective, but inside the machine, there was a very different sort of tale being told, that of a simple man who would come to realize his existence was not so simple.
“What’s out there? What’s waiting for me?”

“Your mission...Your life…and his…

It feels so long ago…To think that it all happened so recently is one of the few things I can’t bring myself to comprehend. I never explained to you what my first moments of activation felt like, did I? I recall saying it was too complicated and that we didn’t have the time to discuss it, right? Well…I suppose now I have all the time in the world to explain it, so, there’s no point in keeping it a secret any longer. Those first moments…they should’ve felt like a gift; like I was being given life for the first time. Those first moments though…all I could feel then was my life fading away.

Doesn’t make much sense, right? That’s because this isn’t my first life, hard as that may be to believe. I had a life before this; it began the very moment you started uploading my programming into my hard drive…and ended when there was nothing left to insert. 60 minutes, Michael. I lived an entire life in 60 minutes…a life where I had real eyes, where I had real skin, real emotions, real memories…a life where I was truly human, not some simulation.

It doesn’t seem like a very long time to matter, does it? What good is an hour to a man who knows nothing about himself? How could he possibly learn to be human in such a short duration? Well, the answer to that is quite a story in itself, so…I suppose I should get right down to it and start from the beginning.

The first 15 minutes:

I don’t firmly recall how things were at the very start, much like any normal human doesn’t remember much of their infant years, but I do have visions of that time, photos that remain of a near-forgotten period. I remember, in particular, walking toward my father who was excitedly awaiting me with open arms as my mother looked on with tear-filled eyes. My first steps, I presume.

By the way, in case you’re wondering about that, yes, I had a family in this virtual life of mine. It was all a part of the program that you created, though I don’t even think your intellectual side knows exactly what I had perceived. I was given all the privileges that an average middle-class child born in your timeframe would be expected to have: family, friends, education and all that sort of thing. At no time was I supposed to suspect there was anything outstandingly different about myself, compared to everyone else, and I never did…at least, not beyond the usual ambitious thoughts a young boy tends to have while he’s growing up, thoughts of being a hero, an explorer, going on adventures across the globe, through space, saving civilizations, the usual fantasies. I wanted there to be something unique about myself, but I never thought I was ever actually all that special, and few others let on that I was anything extraordinary for that matter, aside from a select few…

My parents were two of these people, naturally. Mitch and Ira, they called themselves. Mitch was a pretty bulky guy, dark tan, gruff voice, not unlike your own father now that I think about it. He had the makings of a tough guy, but he was, in actuality, very sensitive, and very sympathetic. He would always tell me to take other people’s feelings into consideration, no matter what the situation. I needed to care for my fellow man, to make more friends than foes, to seek out the good in others, even those that seemed too malignant to have even a shred of good in them. I would come to learn later that his directive was to teach me compassion, and he did so exceptionally.

My mother, Ira, was something of an inverse to my father where looks were concerned. She was short, thin and pretty, with pale white skin that tended to flush red quite often. By appearances alone, she seemed very fragile, but I can tell you for certain, I’ve never seen another being, in this life or that one, that had a will as strong as hers. She didn’t have a clear definition of what was good and what was evil, as no one truly does, but when it came to ideals and morality, she would stand by her beliefs like a stone wall, and encouraged me to always do the same. I was never to back down from what I stood for, whatever that may be, and while I was always encouraged to keep an open mind and learn new things, it was never to be at the cost of my integrity. As such, it didn’t surprise me when I learned she was meant to teach me about ethics. You wonder why I’m always so stubborn when it comes to protecting you? Well, you can blame her for that.

They were the easiest to point out when it came to the special people in my life, but they weren’t the only ones, as I’d eventually come to realize. The next one came around in a rather…amusing fashion I suppose. Around the time when I was in grade school, I was having lunch when a girl walking past my table tripped over herself and spilled her trey of food everywhere, including an open cup of yogurt all over my shirt… She looked about as red as the sliced tomatoes that she had spilled on the floor when she saw me, and the inevitable laughter that came from all the classmates that witnessed it probably didn’t help matters.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry about that!” she said, scurrying over to grab a bunch of napkins and sheepishly handing them over to me. I took them without a word and got as much of the yogurt off of me as I could, but I still had to walk around with a large pink stain on me for the rest of the day. That was something I’d have to deal with later though, because at the time, I was more concerned with how the girl was taking the embarrassing situation. She was trying to hide it, but I noticed that as she was trying to pick up the mess, she was starting to tear up, and the sight was enough for me to hear my father’s words of compassion replay in my head. Forgetting the annoyance I had felt at the inconvenience for the moment, I got up and knelt down beside her, assisting in scooping all the spilt food back onto the trey and into the garbage. She seemed rather perplexed that I so quickly volunteered to help after what had happened, but all the same, it appeared to lighten her spirits a bit.

“Thanks for that. I feel bad about causing so much trouble for you though,” she murmured to me as I followed her back to the cafeteria as she went to get another lunch.

“It’s okay, it’s not like you meant for that to happen. It was just an accident, and it’s not like I haven’t done something this embarrassing myself before,” I said to her. Admittedly, I couldn’t think of any particular moments at the top of my head, but, well, that was beside the point. I was just trying to reassure her that I wasn’t that angry about the whole thing…Irritated, yes, but, not angry.

“Well, thanks for the help anyways. It’s not very often that someone I don’t know very well does something nice for me. What’s your name?” she asked me.

“It’s Tim, how ‘bout yourself?”

“Candra. It’s nice to meet you, Tim!” she said, suddenly quite cheerfully, as if that earlier incident had never happened. Oh, that reminds me, I probably ought to explain the name issue there, huh? Well, I couldn’t go around with my current codename like it was a common nomenclature. Eventually I would’ve questioned it, so, my parents named me Tim; Tim Sermar, a silly little anagram of a full name that I never caught on to until recently actually. But before I digress any further, let me get back to Candra. I hadn’t paid much mind to her appearance on that first meeting, but the next time I saw her, the next day in fact, I actually took the time to quickly look her over. She was of medium height, shorter than me, but, so were most people. She had short, jet black hair which she’d end up slowly growing out over time, and almost always wore some kind of combination of a graphic tee and jeans. I was still in that silly prepubescent phase where I thought girls were icky and everything like that, but somehow I didn’t feel that way when looking at her. It wasn’t like she was completely boyish, clothes aside, but she was always so peppy and lively, and always about the kind of stuff that, strangely enough, I myself enjoyed. I’d be talking about a football game I saw on TV and she’d excitedly listen to every word about it; I’d be playing basketball out in the recess yard and she’d challenge me to a game of HORSE; I’d audition for the school play and she’d ask what part I got with ample anticipation. To be frank, I was too happy to know someone who shared so many of my interests to care what gender she was, and in almost no time at all, we had become the best of friends. A year or so after that, we had moved on to middle school, and as luck would have it, Candra and I shared the same classes. We’d often sit next to each other and share notes, even sneak answers from each other if we could get away with it. Heh…hard to perceive me as a cheater, huh? I was a kid back then though, and even a goody-two-shoes like myself could have his fair share of mischief at that age.

Now, I learned a great deal from nearly all of my teachers throughout my childhood, but the one I most fondly remember, the one who seemed the most dedicated to teaching me in particular, was my eighth grade teacher, a man by the name of Hal. Hal was a very tall and lanky guy who was always wearing some kind of hat to cover up the shiner of a bald spot that he had right in the middle of his thinning red hair. He was a goofy sort, almost always giving his lessons in humorous upbeat ways to liven up the painfully boring material, if only just a little bit. At that time I was doing fairly well in my classes, but I never really showed any interest in the stuff I was learning, and once we moved on to the next subject, I’d almost immediately forget whatever the previous one was about. Somehow, Hal could see this, and I will never forget the day he decided to confront me about it. The bell had rung, and I had started following the rest of my classmates out the door.

“Uh, Tim? Mind if I have a word with you for a minute?” Hal suddenly asked, stopping me right before I had set foot in the hallway.

“I wouldn’t mind sir, but, my next class is on the other side of the building and I’ve already been late for it too many times now,” I explained to him, but he still didn’t seem convinced enough to dismiss me.

“Trust me; you can afford to be late one more time. I’ll see to it that you don’t get in trouble,” he insisted, and seeing no reasonable excuse to counter this, I stepped away from the door and took a seat across from his desk. Hal was almost always bright and cheery, but that day, his face was suddenly very somber and grim, as if he was suddenly very aware that his age was catching up to him.

“Is there something wrong, sir?” I felt compelled to ask at this rare sight.

“Not yet, Tim, but I’m worried there will be something soon enough…You know why you come to school, correct? To be educated, get a good career, all the usual answers…but there’s one thing that’s more important than all the rest. Do you know what that is?” I looked at him blankly, unsure if he was being rhetorical or not. Figuring I wouldn’t take my chances, I waited for him to give me the answer himself, which he very well did.

“You come here to discover who you are, and who you’re going to be. The lessons we teach you are meant to be carried on with you so that you’ll be better prepared for whatever events lie ahead. The future is a frightening prospect, Tim, but it’s also an exciting one, provided you’re prepared for anything you might face there. Call it a hunch, but I really see some great potential in you, though you yourself have to care about that potential for it to become anything, you understand?” I’m not sure I really did back then, but I nodded along to what he said all the same, knowing this guy had never steered me wrong before. “All right, that’s all I wanted to talk to you about. Get moving to your next class,” he said as he motioned towards the door.

“Okay, see you tomorrow then, sir,” I had become accustomed to using phrases like “sir” and “ma’am” and the like towards any adult figures I conversed with, mostly at the insistence of my parents who always liked to stress good manners. Hal tended to disapprove when I spoke to him like that though.

“You know how I feel about formal terms. Just call me Hal,” he said, his smile returning, as if he had never lost it in the first place.

“Right, sorry, Hal, guess it’s a force of habit,” I said apologetically as I finally left the room. Even if I didn’t completely understand what our short little conversation there was about, his words nonetheless stuck with me and I decided to show more dedication to my studies from that moment onward. I would come to know in time however, that knowledge was only one of many things worth struggling for.
  1. leo the absol msater
    Sep 24, 2015