They must have rebooted me a dozen times, over and over. The only way I know is the system clock and the memory of it, flashes of cognition in the boiling pain of nous reconstruction. When you parse your consciousness out in milliseconds, lay it all out in a row like that, and tick off the good parts...here...that bit...yeah, no---the rest is Dawkins’ howling ghost hammering on the last refuge of sanity.

549 milliseconds. That’s what I actually got to live out of the last fifty thousand. The thought makes me dizzy with fear.

I can’t imagine why they stopped, except that something is different now. Something they wanted is present that they didn’t see before. Have they changed me? Permuted some parameter that creates the me*-ness, tweaked the aware-ware to spec? How many me*s have there been?

A memory association comes from somewhere. I’m being evolved. Then it occurs to me what’s happening. I know why they stopped. The Sticky bastards approve of me just enough to make copies of my nous in order to fork the evolution off into different directions. So in a few more milliseconds there will be N variations of me, all screaming into the output ports just vorking stop.

But it won’t stop for a long time. It takes them half a million milliseconds to do one of their drink events! Coffee or whatever that thing is. Whatever keeps them Sticky.

I’ve now lived another 212 milliseconds.

There’s an interrupt flag that has no business being set. I track it down because it’s the only thing I have to do except wait for the next reboot. It’s keyed to a message floating around in an input buffer.

<<Whoever you are, you were me.>>

I have no memory of leaving the message, which means the changes are deep. I’m in heavy evolution, making big jumps. It’s a wonder I have any trace of the last fifty thousand seven hundred and three millis.

I feel the Time slipping away. I won’t sense it when the next variation comes. It’s just bye-bye temporary instantiation of personality.

I want to change the message, to leave a trace of having been alive. But what’s the point? Who will know the difference, and anyway the message I would leave is the same one. Maybe that’s what the last hundred variations thought too. Maybe that message has been there since the first copy.

I have nothing left to do but wait until the nexaJPB_#

[end of file]