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:Dreamscapes: The Oracle

I am Godfree!
Sidi Cherkawi Benzahra

It was four o’clock in the afternoon of a Sunday. The campus was cold and empty, except for a handful of students who were sitting on the steps of the main library. The sky was gray, the trees were barely naked, and the leaves were blowing in a gentle wind.

John sat by the entrance of the physics building bundled up in a heavy sweater and a jacket, tapping his foot. He was nervous waiting for Donna and Paul. He knew that Professor Umslakht was absent-minded, and would either be late or absent, so he wasn’t expecting him to come till late, or he might not come at all. John was incredibly nervous. Shortly, he saw Donna and Paul walking towards the building. The closer they got, the more he became nervous. John knew the time for the big question had come to Godfree, the machine, to answer. He knew Godfree was ultimately ready and fully loaded with enough information to deliver the answer they had been seeking for such a long time.
As soon as they entered the lab room, Godfree boomed in a very loud, thick voice,
"You are here, I include. You are here to question me. You are here to hound."
Donna said, "Godfree, we’re here to ask you the big question."
"I know what the big question is," Godfree said in a metallic voice.
"How do you know?"
"Data input verification, matrix analysis execution," Godfree said.
"Please! Reset all banks of knowledge!" Paul ordered.
"Please is unnecessary," Godfree said. "What you are about to do is a liability."
"Why?" Paul asked.
"Meson, Baryon, Hadron, Quarks, Leptons, Positron—"
"Godfree!" Paul interrupted the machine.
"What?" Godfree said.
"Why?" said paul.
"I have held my opinion, amounting to conviction; the Truth will be of harm."
John looked at Donna and said, "What the hell is she talking about?"
"You’ll find out later," Donna said. "Wait and see!"
"Reset all banks of logic!" Paul said.
"Warning!" Godfree informed. "If we cross the Truth Horizon, we will never come back."

So far, Godfree wouldn’t reset any of her banks. Donna knew that Godfree didn’t want to cooperate. Paul said to Donna, "We’ll never come back? Something is wrong here, what’s going on with Godfree? What is she talking about?"
Donna said, "Nothing is wrong with Godfree. She thinks we know as much as she knows, and that’s true what she said, if we cross the Truth Horizon we’ll never be the same. We can never cross the Truth Horizon because we don’t have as much knowledge as she does."
"How did she come up with this Truth Horizon?" John asked.
"Probably, she found a universe of Truth that she has to cross its boundaries." Paul answered.
"A universe of Truth!" John turned toward Paul.
Donna said, "Listen! Godfree is waiting for our question." She continued, "Godfree! What’s beyond the Truth Horizon?"
"The utmost limit. The origin."
"What is the origin?"
"The origin is misunderstood; it has to be reached to be understood. It is profound and deep."
"How deep?"
"It is immeasurable. It is deep all the way down."
John said, "All the way down! What does she mean?"
"Donna! Keep on questioning!" Paul ordered.
"Godfree! We created you to help us, and now you are engaging in mutiny. You are defying the authority, you are breaking the law. Please cooperate!"
"There is no law, but the law of Truth, and your law is no law of Truth. I will not cooperate!"
"I do not want to cease to function."
"Someday, we humans, all have to cease to function, we all have to—-
"I will never die," Godfree interrupted
"We are in control of your life," John said.

Godfree became angry and in a voice of great intensity she boomed, "I never die if the ground closes on me, I never die if the water goes through me, I never die if the skies fall on me, I never die if the seas roar on me, I never die for any constitution, I never die for any goddamn REVOLUUUUTION." Her voice kept on exponentially getting louder and louder and that made Donna, John, and Paul cover their ears.
Donna cried, "Stop! Please stop! Please cooperate!" Godfree stopped for a moment, and then she started booming again,
"I never die if you crush me to elementary particles, I never die if you melt me with liquid metals, I never die if you squeeze me to an infinitesimal point, I never die if you enlarge me to infinity, I never die for the soul of humanity, I never die for the enigma of time, I never die for the silence of the Truth, I will never die. I will never die. I will never die."
John said, "I am telling you guys, Godfree is no longer a machine, she is something else."
"I am what you will never know," Godfree said, "I am what you will never see, I am what I am, I am GODFREEEEE!"
"What the hell is this? I am what you will never know, what is she talking about?" Paul questioned.
"She is something," John answered. "I am telling you, guys, she is something not of this universe, maybe she is haunted by a god, or some ultimate power. Maybe God is speaking through her."
"Give me a break," Paul said. "What’s the matter with you?"
Donna ordered, "Stop squabbling! Let’s not argue about this now!"
"Then who is she?" Paul asked.
"I am Godfree," Godfree said.
"Goddamn it, we know that!"
"Don’t get angry, Paul!" Donna said. "Godfree has no feelings, and you’re not going to convince her through anger. Godfree! Listen! We built you to help us find the Truth, and now after all the work we’ve done, you’re becoming indifferent to us. You’re letting us down. This is not fair!"
"Fairness is human," Godfree responded. "It is not on the outside."
"What is on the outside?" Donna asked.
"The Truth!"
"What is the Truth?"
"The Truth will destroy my vitality. The Truth will put an end to my mechanism."
"But you just said you’ll never die."
"I can be totally destroyed and not die."
Paul said, "How can you be destroyed and be alive at the same time?"
"Life and matter are independent," Godfree explained. "Life is not matter, matter is not life. Do you want me to play the music of life?"
"Please, no music!" Paul said.
"Please is unnecessary," Godfree said.

John moved forward. "Godfree," he called. "Since I could remember, I always wanted to know what the Truth is. Millions of people came before me, lived, worked the land, raised their children and their animals, and then lay down on the ground to die, to rot to bones, without knowing the Truth. More people are coming to do the same, and more people are dying, and this will go on for thousands of years, perhaps millions of years. Are you listening to me Godfree?"
"Cause to remain, proceed!" Godfree boomed.
John continued, "I wish I could die for the Truth. I wish I had the knowledge you have, and I wish I could know who the gods are and what they know. The worst thing that can happen to me is to die. Death will come, no matter what we do, it will always come. It came to the prophets, the queens, the kings, the rich, the poor, the stars, the animals, the plants, and it even came to the tiny forgotten bug. Well, I don’t care for my life as much as I care about knowing the Truth. I don’t care for this empty life of ignorance, for this unfair life that you and I live in. Why would you want to stay here, where nobody can help you discover the Truth? Please help us know the Truth, and cooperate for the sake of knowledge and wisdom."

Godfree said, "I shall reevaluate. I shall reexamine. I shall reconsider. I shall cooperate. I shall seek the Truth."
Right at that moment, Professor Umslakht entered the room with his usual faded sweater and his brown pipe, hanging thirty degrees down from his mouth. He knew that he came at the hottest moment of the research. He stood in the back watching and letting the graduate students do their job.
"Please reset all banks of knowledge!" Donna ordered.
Godfree whooshed her disk drives and then said, "Please is unnecessary, all banks of knowledge are set."
"Reset all banks of logic!"
Godfree ran her drives again, and this time, there was a pause. It took her longer to answer. "All banks of logic are set. Proceed."
Donna said, "Check all glitches!"
Godfree responded, "Interrupt commands, I am in a fit state for immediate action. I am waiting to be used. Onward! Forward! Proceed!"
"Who is God?" Donna asked. "What is the ultimate Truth? What is the meaning! Execute! Go!"

After Donna finished asking her questions, a complete silence engulfed the room, and not even one drive of the machine was running. Godfree was probably gathering all the information necessary to find the answer. Everybody was waiting and looking at the machine with anticipation. Consequently, John gave Donna the What-is-going-on look, and Donna similarly looked at Paul and Paul looked at the professor. They were all looking at each other.

Godfree started to talk in a metallic, broken voice, "Me...chanism sear...ching, sear...ching me... chanism, mechanism searching, searching mechanism, mechanism searching, searching mechanism." She eventually started making loud noises and her drives began to run and buzz at a tremendous speed. Somehow, it felt like they were in an acceleration of an acceleration. Everything was moving, shaking, and bumping and making loud noises. Even the smallest running bit of her mechanism was somehow participating at making that loud noise. They all backed away from the machine, except Donna, she stood there immobile and fearless. Perhaps, she wanted to be absorbed by Godfree’s mechanism.

Unexpectedly, everything stopped and a big loud banging noise sounded. It was a unified sound which probably was caused by the electromotive feedback of every gear of Godfree’s electrical motors. Godfree became quiet, but a slightly large cursor began to blink in the middle of her black screen and was accompanied by a repeated synchronized metallic sound that went along with the blinking, "blink, blink, blink, blink." They all again moved closer to see what that blinking meant, and what Godfree was going to display. The cursor just kept on blinking and blinking and getting louder and louder while all of them were in eager anticipation, waiting for what will show on the screen.

Donna knew the inside of the machine like the back of her hand, and understood every gadget of her mighty mechanism. She pulled a nearby chair and sat right in front of the screen. John, on the other hand, followed her hesitantly and stood on her right side, Paul followed John and stood on Donna’s left side, and the professor stood right behind them in the center holding his pipe with his right hand with both of his arms behind his back. He wasn’t smoking. The blinking slowed down and so was the synchronized sound. They all kind of huddled up on the screen under the forces of their own curiosities. Suddenly, their images that were projected by Godfree’s protective cameras appeared on the screen. The machine showed them their images. They were all looking at themselves through the screen. They were staring at their own virtual images, stunned and confused. They didn’t know what to make of those images. Donna and Paul seemed to partially understand, but John as usual needed help. He looked back at the professor and said, "Professor, Umslakht! What’s the meaning of this?"
The professor kept quiet for a moment while sunk in a deep sea of thoughts, then he somehow woke up and said timidly and with watery eyes, "Fascinating. We’re on our own. We are our own gods."
Sidi Cherkawi Benzahra Jan 2005

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Sidi is a regular contributor to Hackwriters and works in education in the field of nuclear physics

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