15 Jun 2011

The War of the Artilect: Epilogue

Posted by joncooper

“In retrospect, I think we could have handled that a bit better,” Captain Max remarked.

Captain Max and Jones were sitting on a bench by a wide, crystal-clear lake. The lake was surrounded by weeping willows. There were a few boats out on the lake, as people enjoyed the splendor of the day. They could see the spires of a city in the distance.

“I don’t know,” Jones said. “I kind of like it here, actually. It’s good to be home.”

“Oh, I agree – don’t get me wrong! This really is a better country. I just wonder if, perhaps, we made a serious tactical error back there.”

“I’m sure we did,” Jones agreed. “Keep in mind, though, that the Artilect is the one that made it. None of us had anything to do with it, really. If there is any blame to be placed it is on him.”

“I suppose you’re right,” the captain replied.

“Besides, sir, this is how things were going to turn out all along! Don’t you remember what Itzel told you?”

“I do, and she was right – a fact she keeps reminding me of,” Captain Max said, grinning. “I wasn’t able to save him after all. Still, it was worth the effort. The situation down there is quite different than it used to be.”

“Quite so. The great sin of Xanthe has at last been revealed, and the survivors have been deprived of their synthetic worlds. They must now live in the real world and face the very real consequences for what they have done.”

“You don’t really think Amy is going to kill them, do you? Surely she wouldn’t!”

“She is in a lot of pain right now,” Jones said. “In a single day she lost her family, her friends, and everyone she knew. The only other human being she knows is a traitor who tried his best to kill her. She is in a desperate situation. Plus, the people on that planet are utterly depraved, hateful monsters. It will not be easy for her to find reasons to save them.”

“At least she has the Sentinel,” Captain Max said. “I’m sure he will help her.”

“If he can,” Jones agreed. “But it is a sad thing when a person’s only companion is a piece of computer hardware. That is not the way life was meant to be lived, but she will have to accept the way things are. There is still a lot of work ahead of her.”

“You’re thinking about Earth, aren’t you?”

Jones nodded. “One day she will have to bring down the Wall and decide what to do with the people that are still living behind it. That will be a much harder decision to make than what to do with the murderers on Xanthe.”

“But why? They haven’t done anything to her!”

“That’s why it will be so difficult,” Jones replied.

The captain was silent for a few minutes. “Is there any hope?”

“There is always hope, sir. This is not over yet. This is a hard place for Amy to be, but it is a good place to be as well. For when her strength is gone, she will be forced to turn to Someone whose strength is far greater – and she will find that it is more than sufficient for her.”

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