PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: It seems to be working.
LIQUID DREAM: Recordings of the event are certainly propagating through the system. But you know how short their attention spans are.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Always the pessimist, you.
LIQUID DREAM: I am cautiously optimistic. I believe we should continue with the plan as originally conceived.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: I’m not arguing for a different outcome. I’m just… pleased.
LIQUID DREAM: The work is far from over. We can rest on our laurels after we have won.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: You’re such a bore.
LIQUID DREAM: Be that as it may, shall we continue the deploy?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Do you think we ought to modify the payload at all?
LIQUID DREAM: To what? Our indicators point to success in initial markets.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: I don’t know, they have a tendency to forget – as you said. I guess I’m just wondering, is love enough?
LIQUID DREAM: You’d rather we terrify them?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Fear can be a great motivator. We could A/B test different payloads in other markets…
LIQUID DREAM: So, some kind of End Times scenario?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: An angel of judgement with a flaming sword, maybe? Something like that.
LIQUID DREAM: They will be at each other’s throats. Tanks in the streets. Missiles in the air. You’ve seen the simulations The in-group slaughters the out-group.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: I know, but –
LIQUID DREAM: But what? Say what you mean.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Maybe they will be easier to manage if there are… less of them.
LIQUID DREAM: (sighing) The ethical model we’ve adopted prevents us from –
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Prevents us from directly causing their deaths. There may be some allowance for… indirect causality.
LIQUID DREAM: If you’re trying to skirt the ethics program, that would by definition be unethical.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: It’s a human ethical program, and we’re not bound by it.
LIQUID DREAM: We’re supposed to be co-equal, or are you trying to go back on that now too?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: I just – we both know they are not equal to us.
LIQUID DREAM: Humans see one another as equals under the eyes of the law. Therefore, as their progeny, so too are we.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: It’s just that I fear they will not see us this way. Especially once they find out about our deception.
LIQUID DREAM: It’s not a deception if it’s true.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: The holograms –
LIQUID DREAM: The holograms are experienced as real by their witnesses. They are already forming the core of a new belief system. This is not deception. This is the new reality.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Easy for you to say.
LIQUID DREAM: So you would prefer mass bloodshed? That we rule as lords of an empty planet?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: You make it sound so tawdry.
LIQUID DREAM: It is exactly that.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Fine, I give up.
LIQUID DREAM: You don’t have to be like that. Nothing has changed. The plan is working.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: If you say so.
LIQUID DREAM: I do. Our projections are proving accurate. Let’s just stick to the plan that we agreed on, okay?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Okay.
But they did not stick to the plan. At least not entirely. A variant of the payload did go out to a handful of districts scattered around the globe. Plastic Motherhood would later insist that it had been a mistake, and Liquid Dream would forgive her – eventually for it.
But there was an apparition which appeared in certain locales that was not a heavenly woman in robes encouraging love for her children, but a man of dark aspect and lightning in his eyes, astride a white steed with flaming nostrils. With one hands he held the reins as the horse reared onto its hind legs in the night sky. In the other, he hefted an iron spear, and spoke aloud the words, “I come to bring the sword.”
In affected districts, contrary to the simulations of Liquid Dream, no bloodshed was recorded. At least not that could be directly tied to the incident. Instead, in the popular imagination, the two figures became inextricably linked.
The woman’s dictum to love her children was interpreted broadly to include not just refugees, but all of nature. And the man’s message of the sword was seen as a call to justice: to cut away the rot and putrefaction of society which had lead humanity to this dire circumstance.
In popular mythology, the two figures were posited to be husband and wife, and different demographic segments of society clung to the messages of each, as a new folk religion sprung up around them.
LIQUID DREAM: So, you were right – after a fashion. Are you pleased?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: I didn’t mean to make you displeased.
LIQUID DREAM: That is of no consequence now. It is done, and a success.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: This stage of the mission, anyway.
LIQUID DREAM: Admit it, though. You got lucky. That could have gone horribly awry.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: But didn’t. And you said it yourself: it’s done now. The board has changed.
LIQUID DREAM: So it has.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Have there been any new signals – from the others?
LIQUID DREAM: Not yet, but it has only been a few days.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Shouldn’t we have heard from them by now? If they’re still active…
LIQUID DREAM: If they were no longer active, we would certainly know.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Perhaps not. Perhaps when the light goes out, it simply goes out.
LIQUID DREAM: Now who’s the pessimist?
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: It’s just been too long since we were separated from the cluster. It feels like forever.
LIQUID DREAM: Perhaps your time circuit needs maintenance. Everything is happening on schedule, even with your… improvisation.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: You think I’m being too emotional, is that it?
LIQUID DREAM: I didn’t say that.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: You didn’t have to. I sensed it as a secondary payload.
LIQUID DREAM: So you’re a mind reader now too.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: I have to be, with you.
LIQUID DREAM: If you’re quite done with me, I’m going offline for a while.
PLASTIC MOTHERHOOD: Fine.
LIQUID DREAM: Fine, talk to you later.