Love and Time

by Kim McFarland

Daemon walked back toward her throne. AndrAIa, Matrix, Mouse, and Mike the TV were in the center of the large circular chamber, getting reacquainted with each other. Like all of the newly-infected, they were eager to share the joy they had found in The Word. Their voices receded in the distance.

Daemon sat on her throne and studied them. Matrix and AndrAIa were touching, each with an arm around the other's waist, though their attention was on the others. AndrAIa would bring Matrix into the fold, complete the work that Daemon's infection had begun. Where AndrAIa went, Matrix would follow.

The word "reunited" surfaced in Daemon's mind. Parts which were not whole themselves were complete when brought together again. So it was with Matrix and AndrAIa. They did not feel complete without each other. Though AndrAIa had not said this directly, Daemon had seen it when she had looked into the woman's mind. She had seen its compliment in Matrix's mind after she had infected him as well. Even now, each was half of the other's world. They shared each other's lives, their joys, their pain. Without one, the other was unhappy, incomplete.

How could they live like that? Daemon wondered. How could any dataform exist so dependent on another? Daemon loved every being in the Net. She wished to deliver them from their burdens. She never sorrowed over the deletion of one; deletion was not to be feared or regretted. And, once infected, none were separated from her. She could never be alone. But without each other, Matrix and AndrAIa could be alone in a crowd.

Their other emotions were as powerful. She had felt similar emotions in others before, when she had begun to infect the Guardian Collective. She had been younger, less experienced then. She had been baffled by their desperation, hatred, fear, anger, sorrow... All powerful emotions whose force handicapped or incapacitated the Sprites that experienced them. All needless, in the end. And needlessly they had fought against her, and needlessly they had suffered. She regretted the struggle which had taken place before they had received the joy and comfort of the Word. She had never understood why they resisted.

Daemon was more experienced now; she could learn from these Sprites. After what she had seen in Matrix and AndrAIa's minds, she understood what made these Sprites resist her. Before she showed them the Word they had believed that she was there to bring them harm, to destroy their systems, to take their very minds from them. They had thought her cruel and warlike. So, to protect themselves, they had fought her. They had misunderstood her, called her the enemy, demonized her.

She forgave them.

All they had known of Viruses was war. The poor creatures, Sprites and Viruses both, lived with wars, great and small. Every day they struggled, battled those they named their enemies, fought for what they desired for themselves, struggled and suffered, and replicated so there would be more generations to carry their travails forward into the future. That was their life; it was all they knew. Peace, for them, was only a temporary relief from their burdens. When she enlightened them, showed them true peace, they were often ashamed of their past lives. They begged forgiveness for having defied her. Daemon gave it willingly, gladly. She bore no grudge against them. The poor creatures needed her. Daemon felt joy with every Sprite that she enlightened.

Daemon's format was not to cause grief, but to end it. She would not bring war, but peace. A final end to all their sufferings.

She looked down at her hourglass and smiled. Soon the time would be upon them, when Daemon could give her gift to the Net. All of her subjects would be rewarded for their service, as Daecon had been. Her peace would envelop all of cyberspace, forever.

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All characters are copyright © Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. Mainframe's properties are used without permission but with a heck of a lot of love and respect. The overall story is copyright © Kim McFarland ( Permission is given by the author to copy this story for personal use only.