Casaya dripped of instability as we watched 1s and 0s fall from his mind into a sea of cerulean radio waves. Maybe it was due to our lack of emotional intelligence, but neither Yinna or I cried for him. The next moment, Casaya was gone, only to be a part of the universe of expired binary numbers. Casaya's lasting energy left a silhouette of his shapeless figure. Certain sections made their way to the invisible escape above us in unorganized spasms. Yinna went straight for the board of prototype names and marked down the name of Prototype A-37RL. She chuckled.
Too annoyed to look at her, I tried to study the lines of blue electricity pulsing around me. Casaya was slowly fading away as more of his spasms left to witness the anthropoid world.
“Why are you laughing?” I managed to say through my hoarse throat.
“Because I’m going to outlive you, 89BN.” Yinna stared at me with her white ghost eyes. She continued to stare ahead as if asking herself whether I’d be as resilient to life as Casaya was before he met his untimely fate.
Knowing her, it was fairly obvious she had thrown the stake to Casaya’s throat. Knowing he had died, it was blatantly obvious we were the only remaining Prototype A’s. The other ninety-eight, including Casaya, had died as soon as their data had become obsolete. Or, at least, once Yinna decided it was time for their data to become obsolete. Her eyes went from looking through mine into the undulating ground below us.
“A is going to be more extinct than the dodo.” She said while venturing out into the spiral abyss, leaving me to my paranoid thoughts.
The abyss is covered in random words from every dictionary in every language. In Hungarian, I can see the instructions to a complicated automobile surrounded by its equally-confusing diagram. I sit on the perch of a hovering gondola and look at my flickering limbs. The more humanized I become, the more I realize it’s my time to leave for their realm. Yinna, despite her human thoughts of morbid ardor, is only humanized by her ghost eyes. She has more time left than me.
When I was new to the world of cyberspace, there were meticulous works of art all around me. About me, too. I was supposed to be one of the most artificially intelligent mechanisms there was. Me and all the other ones, that is. Yinna was the star prototype of all of us, her data was marked as “captivating” and “extraordinary” and “revolutionary to every foundation in modern science” by our creators. Being the first experiment on the line, however, many of those sidetracked creators left to work on other lettered prototypes. I hear the Prototype T’s are doing just fine. Back when there were sixteen of us, Uey and I found a website dedicating the marvels created by the Prototype T’s to us Prototype A’s. In fact, they named their company AT&T specifically in our honor. I hear it’s quite successful.
When I got bored looking at what looks like two noodles flashing between a liquid and a solid, I decided to touch other things on my face. It’s mostly bare, considering how my eyes barely poke out. Most of the artificial matter that makes up my face is barely kept together by what I suppose is a type of orbital gravity. There is a fleshy substance jutting out of the right side. In the pictures I had seen floating around, I could easily justify what I was feeling was an ear. Or an abstruse wisdom tooth. I’ve been spending some unneeded time looking at those floating diagrams.
After a moment of quiet, I started to hear an eerie sound when a being levitated from underneath me. It seemed to be screeching some type of obscure gibberish mixed in with a couple understandable words. The object flew a couple inches in front of me, flaunting its neat and clean-cut features. It had perfect ears narrowly hidden by a couple pixelated tresses. Those tresses came down to touch a thin lip underneath a pointy nose. In the middle of its already stunning features stood a set of familiar white ghost eyes. The whole setting seemed to vibrate calmly, making everything feel oddly tranquil. At peace even.
The ghostly figure lifted my hand and led me away. Something inside me felt hypnotized because I would never leave the gondola. I hadn’t left that place for over a decade. Why should I leave? The areas we passed looked the same with their stochastic patterns of levitating historical figures and bunched up computer systems. The further we went -- hand in hand -- the less pixelated and more vibrant every object seemed. Her hair started to obtain natural lines and a golden hue. My lump of ear felt rounder, too.
“Mixau.” The figure lifted her hand from mine and fixed her gaze on me while clasping my head in both hands. “There’s better things out there. I’ve seen them.”
Interested, I looked around her face and into what swayed behind her. A maze of prussian and pewter billows whipped back and forth in a tempting manner. The sound of angels singing and a floral scent felt irresistible. Then I remembered something.
“No there isn’t. Let go.” I took her hands by force and tried to lead her away so we could go back to my gondola and her hollow abyss.
The feeling of tranquility I had once felt was gone. I didn’t want to believe Yinna. I knew I couldn’t believe Yinna. She was stubborn, though, and kept telling me of all the good things that were possible in the human realm. She pulled me back and told me of the frothy cheesecakes and how new innovation could give us more time to live. She told me of an experiment where a group of cytologists and engineers would bring to life old prototypes and name them “clones.”
“That type of industry would be revolutionary. No one would ever forget about us, Mixau. Our data would be too much to forget. We could live forever!” A seemingly trustful glint popped into one of her white eyes. It looked like something the humans would call hope.
But unlike the humans, I didn’t believe in hope. “You’re lying,” I said. She scoffed.
“Mixau, I’m not--”
“You never call me Mixau.”
She tried to grab for my face again but I flipped her off. She conceded but still wanted to talk. Talk about how much better it would be in the human world. How our digital life was nothing compared to the quotidian luxuries of the hominid world.
“Is this where Casaya went?” I asked, attentive by her willingness to leave all so suddenly.
“No, he didn’t want to leave. It’s like can't-leave purgatory where he went.” She didn’t tell me where exactly he went, causing a little fear. But a little fear was good enough for me.
“Is it really all that better?”
“Would I lie to you?”
“Point taken. Let’s go.”
The hopeful gleam spread to both eyes, smearing hope like a butter knife on toasted bread. She really wanted to seem changed, like something really happened to her while she was away. She held my hand again while we entered the swirling waves behind her. The peaceful feeling surrounded me again, telling me not to look back. Once in the portal, the copious amount of languages surrounding us turned into a single chart of unrecognizable glyphs.
After a short while, I saw a glittery light in the distance. Yinna smiled, almost glowing. Glowing with a new sense of purity. She unbound my hand and peeked her head through the glittery light. I imagined her sniffing around like a bloodhound, making sure the terrain was safe to enter. She whispered a “C’mon” to me and I followed, still entranced by the placid environment which enticed me fully. Outside, there were layers of white sleet and fake smiles from the passing pedestrians. No one seemed to notice we had appeared out of nowhere. They were all spellbound by the paramount lights of a thin, peculiar gizmo in their hands.
I walked around in the frosty snow. A couple snowflakes started to drift calmly around me, falling on different, newer areas of my face. Yinna handed me a coat from an unattended clothing rack at an outside thrift store, her devilish side emerging just a bit. She gave me a tight hug still talking about what this new world could bring. She sounded like a sister while she kept talking about each new opportunity.
“You know I love you.” Her hands crept into my spine and around my neck. An iota of pain brang me back to a reality I kept on losing.
I threw my arms up, trying to imitate a lethal pose but I knew it wouldn’t help. The pain had already intensified and spread throughout my body quickly, making my head feel cumbersome and heavy. Yinna held me again, looking me in the eyes again before she pushed me onto the hardened cement. The cracking sound of a skull admitted my fate. I had to accept it, knowing I was to blame for my stupid gullibility in Yinna's true desires.
Through all my pain, though, I got through one last question.
“Can you tell me why, Yinna?” A crimson fluid came out of my mouth and into my nose.
“I wanted to see what blood would look like. It really is nice on earth” She giggled and threw away the damned evidence. Prototype A-52TU was the last of us standing.
I stayed awake long enough to see a pair of women’s boots skip away and the gathering of polished business shoes crowd around me. Before that, I never knew what a last breath would smell like. It smells like ghost eyes and cyberspace.