The Footstep I Can’t Follow

By: Coralyhr

“It’s worse when it hurts you,” I said. “When the robot is not hitting the wall. It’s hitting you.”

The three of them were quiet.

Then Lily got up, almost as if someone told her to. She came right up to Rane and slapped her across the face. “Like that?” she asked.

Rane, stunned speechless for a moment, just nodded.

Sunflower frowned. “Then what? You see, it’s all good for you to notice that you’re banging the wall pointlessly. But don’t you realise that if the computer is programmed to end there, than the only other choice you have is to give up.” He gestured at the controls on the table. “Like that.”

Rose bounced to the edge of his seat. “If you don’t want to give up, then you have to take the path that is given to you. And endure the pain.”

“What for?” she asked. “Why would I want to endure instead of giving up?”

Lily shrugged. Then she smiled. It reminded her of Bai. “The person who endures holds on to hope that there is a chink in the armour, that the ‘programme’ will weaken and let them through. The person who gives up throws away hope and dies. You are not a robot, so you will not make a rational decision.”

“Humans can be rational.”

“What then,” asked Rose, “is rational?”

“Dying. Saving energy.”

“If you live, encounter difficulties and then die,” said Sunflower, “you have not achieved anything.”

“I wouldn’t know that.”