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April 30th, 2009


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10:04 am
ellison and john henry, for halfshellvenus


"Mr Ellison, you are an enigma," John Henry says. He looks down at the troll-figure in his hand, looks back up at Ellison. Murch's Dungeons and Dragons debris is spread out across the table and Ellison misses when it was just chess. That, at least, he understood.

"What do you mean?" he asks.

"You knew that Ms Weaver would be angry when she found out that you asked me to lie. You believe in the Ten Commandments, which say that it is a sin to lie. Yet you don't appear to regret lying, or asking me to lie. I don't understand why. You are an enigma."

"People . . . are confusing," Ellison says. It's hardly an answer, but he wants to get home before midnight tonight. He does not want to engage in another three hour debate on morality, shades of grey, degrees of truth and variance of sin.

He gets the feeling, sometimes, that John Henry already knows what he's going to say, but that the machine wants him to say it anyway. To make sure that he prophesied Ellison's actions correctly. Which is ridiculous, because machines don't prophesy. John Henry certainly doesn't.

Ellison rubs a hand across his eyes. He's been here for too long already, and he'll be here again at seven, bright and early in the morning.

"Yes," John Henry says. "People are enigmas."

"People are enigmas," Ellison agrees, and John Henry smiles.

"Trolls are not enigmas," he says. "They are chaotic evil. They must be killed with fire."

"Fire kills a lot of things, John Henry," Ellison says. He will remember this conversation as he watches his world fall apart again, but Catherine Weaver is not a person and perhaps she has never been an enigma. Perhaps her motives have been obvious all along and James just refused to see them.

He will remember Sarah Connor pulling him from the flames and will think that perhaps fire does not burn away lies, after all, does not make everything clear.

We are all sons of bitches, he will think, turning his back on the future as once more the building begins to burn around him.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:halfshellvenus
Date:April 30th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
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He gets the feeling, sometimes, that John Henry already knows what he's going to say, but that the machine wants him to say it anyway. To make sure that he prophesied Ellison's actions correctly. Which is ridiculous, because machines don't prophesy. John Henry certainly doesn't.
I love this passage-- it displays some of Ellison's frustration with his task, and him wondering about the purpose of it all. And he's close-- John Henry doesn't prophesy, but he does predict. Prediction is a refinement of algorithms based on learning, and John Henry becomes smarter all the time. Sometimes, it's a little unnerving.

"Trolls are not enigmas," he says. "They are chaotic evil. They must be killed with fire."
This is perfect- exactly the kind of unintentionally funny thing both John Henry and Cameron are prone to saying. It's the juxtaposition of the factoids that makes it funny-- most humans would omit that last part. ;)

He will remember Sarah Connor pulling him from the flames and will think that perhaps fire does not burn away lies, after all, does not make everything clear.
And he and she will once again begin rebuilding on the ashes of the past, both knowing a little too much about the truth of all that went before.

Lovely job! Thank you so much! ♥
[User Picture]
From:whereupon
Date:April 30th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, honestly -- I had an excellent time writing this, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the result! ♥
[User Picture]
From:halfshellvenus
Date:June 7th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
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Thought you might be interested in these two other ficlets I wound up writing this week:

The Ghost In The Machine (Derek/Allison, via Cameron, written for the person who requested the other drabble)

The World Is Burning (Sarah, Ellison), which came out of our conversations here and on the other posts!

It all just makes me wish we'd gotten a third season, to see where all of those partial stories might have led.
[User Picture]
From:whereupon
Date:June 7th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
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I am, indeed -- thank you for the links!

Oh, for a third season! Though at least the series went out well (I thought), with one of the strongest episodes of the series and all of that potential, stories left to tell and that sort of thing, instead of faltering and being run into the ground. Cold comfort, that, but it's something.
[User Picture]
From:halfshellvenus
Date:June 7th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
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Though at least the series went out well (I thought), with one of the strongest episodes of the series and all of that potential, stories left to tell and that sort of thing, instead of faltering and being run into the ground.

Yes! We weren't cliffhangered to speak of, but there was a feeling of the story continuing on and SO many more hints of interesting things we hadn't known before (Derek and Allison, John Henry's purpose-- where appointing a man who might successfully teach him something of morals was NOT in fact a mistake). A few questions were resolved and new questions hinted at, yet we were never left dangling.

I'd love a third season, but the second one ended really well-- both for the season and for the show as a whole.

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