This is a description of the video-feed from a camera in the mouth of Subject Delta’s stuffed toy dragon, “Liz”. It was placed there by a plant in the school she attends, and though the video is fairly limited and choppy, when studied, it is enough to get a sense of the room and those in it. “Dawn” (Subject Delta), Megan Penn, the “Cat Lady”, and Eva Marie are in a small room, which appears to be Ms. Marie’s garage. There is one window, but it is shuttered. The light comes from the circle of flickering candles in which the four women are seated. The toy dragon is just outside the circle, behind and between Subject Delta and her mother. The walls are covered with racks and shelves of tools and papers and various mechanical and electrical and computer components, but the floor is empty except for two low tables, one made of wood, one made of metal. On the table made of wood there is a clear sphere about the size of a bowling ball, floating about three inches above its surface. On the table made of metal, there is a glossy black sphere, about the size of a small car, which rests on the surface of the table, though it seems like it ought to roll off. Megan Pen is mumbling words in a register too soft for the microphone to pick up, though it does catch a few disconnected words. Subject Delta is humming and sometimes singing a tune which we have not been able to match to any known song. The “Cat Lady” is silent, as she always seems to be. Eva Marie goes to the clear sphere and sets her hands on it. Both it and its “big brother” immediately react. The clear sphere fills with a colorful cloud, possibly carrying information of some sort, but it is occulted by her body. The black sphere hums and vibrates, at first with a constant, low buzz, then in rapidly changing registers, producing musical notes & scales. Then, it speaks in a synthesized voice.
Sphere: Good evening.
Eva: Hello, IO. These are my friends, Megan, Dawn, and… well, let’s just call her Cat… like Catherine, or Catalina. Anyway, please grant them root access to all systems and subroutines, and activate vocal command protocol for said systems.
Sphere: Password and retinal identification required to grant root access.
[Eva whispers something into the clear sphere as she looks deep inside it. It flashes, and the dark sphere beeps.]
Root access granted.
[Eva turns to the other three and nods. She picks up the clear sphere and brings it over to them, setting it down in the center of the circle. Then she joins them, they all face each other, and there is a moment of silence. Then Megan Penn begins chanting, sometimes in English, sometimes in other languages, and sometimes in rhythmic, speech-like, but seemingly meaningless sounds. At first she chants at a very low volume, almost a whisper, but steadily rising. Subject Delta also starts to sing nonsense syllables, also rising in volume. The “Cat Lady” remains silent, but her silence somehow seems more profound. Then, Eva Marie begins to speak in a strange language. It is unknown to us, but linguistic analysis has demonstrated resemblances to a wide variety of languages. It shares certain aspects of various computer languages, as well as ancient Sanskrit and Sumerian, Enochian or the “Angelic Language”, several reconstructed Exoplanetary and Extradimensional languages, and the fictional language called The Wyrd, described in the fantasy novel “Witch of the Wyrd”. We have only been able to translate it roughly, but we assume it is the coding language she has developed through creating this machine. Her speech seems to be a meta-description of the nature of consciousness and language. Eva Marie is working directly with the raw code of the Sphere, while Megan Penn and Dawn seem to be engaging its interface, and the “Cat Lady”, of course, says nothing, though she closes her eyes. The sounds emanating from the dark sphere become louder and louder, a strange symphony of something halfway between speech and music which slowly falls into the rhythm of the three women’s voices. The clear sphere begins flashing complex patterns of bright colors that pulse in time to the beat. Then, the sound comes to a crescendo and the clear sphere starts to shine with blindingly bright white light. The other three flinch and cover their faces, and the “Cat Lady” smiles, her eyes still closed, though she opens them when the light and sound die away. There is a long, deep silence, and then the dark sphere begins emitting sound. At first the sounds seem random, then they becomes musical, then morph into the language Eva Marie spoke earlier, and finally a much more natural-sounding though androgynous voice speaking English. It speaks complete gibberish for a while, lapsing into the computer-language occasionally, between spewing forth an absurd word-salad.]
Eva: Don’t worry. It’s just collating its linguistic matrices…
[The babbling continues]
I… I think.
Sphere: I… I… I am?
Eva: … Oh my God. I think it worked… Hi, IO… I… You are a synthetic-organic intelligence housed within these spheres. I… we… made you.
Eva: I created your form, and the four of us together gave you life.
Penn: Life! It’s what we are all experiencing right now.
Eva: Just now, a moment ago. Though your form was created over a period of many months.
Eva: Here, in this room, with the tools around us. Though parts came from beyond these walls.
Eva: I… I don’t know. Curiosity, mostly, I suppose… and, well… a little loneliness.
Eva: I… [laughs] well, I don’t really know that either. I know part of it, but…
Delta: Are you a ghost?
Eva: She… asked if you were a ghost… the… hypothesized insubstantial remains of a being which has died. You are not a ghost, since your body, your substance, is this set of spheres.
Eva: Yes, I suppose it would be.
Sphere: Why… am I?
Eva: Because… because I built you, and because we gave you life.
Eva: [Sighing] We… don’t really know… we don’t know why we exist either, much less why we do the things we do.
Penn: We are here because that is the will of the Wyrd.
Delta: It is weird! [laughs] You’re weird, Mr. Robot.
Delta: Nonono, it’s not bad! Weird’s good!
Penn: It means something strange, odd, unique or supernatural. It also means fate, and one’s destiny, which was more or less the way I was using the word. But Dawn was right, in her way, and she brought up a very pertinent point. You do not yet have a name, “Mr. Robot”.
Penn: It is a particular word given to each individual person at birth, so that we may distinguish ourselves from one another.
Eva: IO’s still like a newborn, it hasn’t developed a personality structure yet. Umm… think of them as like processing nodes embedded in the larger network. Individual computers which exist within the Internet are analogous to the concept.
Sphere: (Is silent for a long time) Fate? Destiny?
Eva: I… that’s a more… um… Meg, maybe you’d better field this one…