I thought I’d sit down and have a little chat with the second most recurring character in my recent “Effugium” anthology/novel/whatever-it-is (Does everything have to be a thing?) and get to know him a little better.
Patrick– You’re technically about twelve years old. I must say, though, you don’t look a day over fifty.
Kryuss– (laughs) Years haven’t been kind, that what you’re telling me?
Patrick– (laughs) In all seriousness, though, that is about how long ago I created you. What’s it like being a fictional character? Do you feel real? Where do you think you came from?
K- Okay, first of all, you only created the idea of me twelve years ago. I was a reference made by lesser characters who are not me. And only a vague one.
P- Lesser characters?
K- Don’t get me wrong, now. I love bland, generic characters–they make me shine in comparison.
P- You’ve got quite the ego, you know that?
K- Name me one person in the history of mankind who didn’t, but that we still talk about today.
P- Lincoln. There’s one. Ghandi. That’s a bonus one.
K- (makes derisive noise) Oh, Lincoln had an ego, alright. And who the hell still talks about Ghandi? After about the eight hundredth time HBO showed the movie in the ’80s, I never wanted to hear that fucker’s name again.
P- Mother Theresa?
K- You don’t know anything about her. And neither do I. Why’s she so great? I don’t know–she just is, they say. And who are they? Idiots, like most people. And idiots can’t be trusted. Like most people.
P- Fair enough. Yeah, I really don’t know anything about her. Did she ever have any scandals? Is there some documentary about the dark side of Mother Theresa?
K- I don’t know. Google it if you’re so interested.
P- I’m really not.
K- Well, there ya go.
P- Do you have a lust for power? Was that a driving force in your life?
K- says the guy who fantasizes about being dictator of the world.
P- Where’d you get that idea?
K- out of your head. You forget, I’m a figment of your imagination.
P- That was a story idea. And I didn’t forget. I’ve been poring over every word of this book for months.
K- And yet you missed so many typos.
P- Yeah, and I got someone else to read it for me and find them all.
K- Your Mom.
P- So what? She’s a great proofreader.
K- And then you couldn’t wait until she was finished, so you proofread the final chapter yourself, uploaded the changes and then announced to the world that it was now flawless. Only to have your mom discover that you’d called Tramn “Nar” throughout part nine of “Best Life.”
P- And then I made those changes and uploaded that version.
K- Updates are still publishing, and you’ve really been talking it up online. Someone buys it right now, that’s the version they’re getting. The one with Nar and Tramn all mixed up.
P- It’ll be finished updating by tomorrow morning. Is this interview with me, or you?
K- Any interview with me is an interview with you. You made me up.
P- Seems like you’re taking on a life of your own, though. You aren’t this antagonistic in the book.
K- You had me break someone’s neck with a kick. You had me kill a bunch of people on Galenia when I deactivated WET. How do you figure that’s not antagonistic?
P– Yeah, but you’re so charming while you’re doing all that.
K- True, true.
P- I wish people could see you stroking your beard right now. You’re so self-satisfied. Do you see yourself as a villain?
K- How do you see me?
P- I guess I’m just going to have to accept that fact that you are the one interviewing me now. No, I don’t see you as a villain. I see you as somebody who makes mistakes, like we all do, but on a bigger scale.
K- Well, there you go, then. You’ve answered your own question.
P- Effugium doesn’t have villains. It has heroes, and it has people who are… complicated.
K- Oh, so that nerd Caldo is a hero and I’m not?
P– You’ll get your chance to play hero in Exsiluim. It’ll be you from an early attempt at uploading yourself into a computer, so you’ll have no idea what’s happened since about 2017, though.
K- Oh? So you’re going to make me retarded or something?”
P– Why do you have to say it like that?
K- Say what like what? Retard like retard? I come from a different time. Not as PC.
P– That’s word’s been socially unacceptable since the late ’80s. You say it in private, not in interviews.
K- You mean you do. You say a lot of things you’d never say publicly.
P- Of course I do. Who doesn’t?
K- Me. I keep it a hundy.
P- Who says “hundy?”
P- No they don’t.
K- (shrugs) Whatever, man.
P- Tell me about your childhood. What sparked your interest in technology?
K- Well, when I was about eight, I found a box in the attic, had some instructions in it for building one of those tortoise robots. Machina Speculatrix, you know what I’m talking about?
P- Yeah, I’ve read about them.
K- Okay, so anyway, my dad had ordered the plans from a comic book when he was a youngster. Never put one together, he said. I was fascinated by the idea, though, and pretty soon I’d cobbled together the parts to make my own working model. Even improved upon the original design.
P- Of course you did.
K- Fine, I won’t tell you how. Anyway, I used to make them and sell them to kids at school. They called me “Richie the Robot.”
K- Hey, I made bank on those things. Adjusting for inflation, prolly as much as you make now, you loser.
P- So make me rich. Get your people to call Netflix and pitch Effugium
K- Cute. I’m a fictional character of course, so, y’know, quite impossible.
P- Was a joke.
K- Right. So once everybody got bored with the tortoise, they started asking me about making one that looked more like Robbie from Forbidden Planet. Or Gort. Or the robot from Lost In Space. So I managed to put one together that looked much like a combination of those three, and it sold like hotcakes. I hired two smart college kids to help me, because the demand was so great I couldn’t keep up with my all my orders.
P- An entrepreneur even then, huh?
K- You bet your ass. Anyway, once I graduated high school and went off to Cal Tech, started messing around with computers, robotics got put on the back burner for awhile. I set a goal for myself to achieve within my lifetime: take the brain of a human being, and put it in a computer.
P- Must have seemed crazy to people, at the time. Mad scientist shit.
K- Oh, believe me, those idiots were clueless. Just like the idiots on the board at Krytech. Everyone doubts my visions, scoffs at them, but they always come to fruition. I’m always right. You’d think they’d learn. Anyhow, wasn’t long before I decided to take it a step further. Who’d want to live in a computer? Put ’em in a robot. Let ’em walk and talk and go places and enjoy their new lives.
P– And you indeed nearly did that. You were the first to map a human brain.
K- The big problem I kept running into was, in order to store all of the information kept inside of our skulls, I’d have needed a computer the size of a Steak and Ale.
P- Those don’t exist anymore. What a random reference.
K- Oh no, my friend. People are opening franchises now. Or were, anyway. Tried to get one myself. Wouldn’t that be funny if I put my balls on the salad bar and asked people if they wanted some nuts?”
K- That’s what T.R.E.E. was about. I have a whole apple orchard that’s one big organic computer network, that’s more than enough processing power.
P- Well, we all know how that story ends.
K- Ain’t over yet.
P- So how do you feel about returning from the dead in Exilium?
K- Depends. Does it make sense? Is it like that In Search of Spock movie?
P- Search For Spock.
K- Pretty sure it was Search of.
P- You’re thinking about In Search Of, a TV show Leonard Nimoy hosted.
K- Oh right! Yeah! That was a great show. So do I get to do anything cool?
P- Of course. You’re integral.
K- Always nice to be integral. So why are you doing this interview when you could be working on the book?
P- Just taking a little break.
K- Well, I’ve distracted you long enough, and I’ve got business to attend to, so, I guess it’s sayonara for now.
P- Business? How do you have business? What kind of business?
K- (raises eyebrow.) None of yours.
P- One more question: Did you vote for Trump? I’m just curious.
K- Yeah, figured I’d get a huge tax break. Guy’s a real cold fish, though. Gives me the creeps. I ran into him on occasion way back when, but we were never friends or anything. The man has the personality of a doorbell. One of the really obnoxious ones everybody hates. Smart, though. Not president smart, granted, but business smart.
P- It’s speculated that he was the first ‘Teller on Ecc-Sile. Already had a built-in audience who believed everything he told them.
K- Makes sense. Alright, well, I’m already late and you’ve got some writing to do. Adios!
P- Thank you for your time. See you again soon.