By: Crowknows~

For as long as I can remember all I could ever perceive was the machine. I have worked on the machine for my entire life and the machine has been my entire life for as long as I have worked on it. Everyone I know also works on the machine. My entire family operates the machine. All of my friends operate the machine. The machine has always been running since I can remember, and I have never know what the machine does.

It is housed in a large complex which is referred to only as the factory. I have never been outside the factory, which goes on farther than the eye can see and further than any person could travel. Everyone I have ever spoken to says the same thing in conversation whenever the idea of leaving the factory is brought up. They both have no intention of ever leaving the factory and do not believe this is possible. Though many people have moved along the corridors of the factory no one has ever found any limit to its vast and expansive walls. Whenever one thinks that they may have come to the end of a wall, or to some corner that would denote the limits of the factory they find themselves back in some way shape or form at a place they had already come from. Some believe that the factory is circular in nature and comes back to the beginning whenever you reach the end. Others like myself feel that is more like a maze, a labyrinth designed to keep those inside confused and disoriented, like the minotaur. Inside of the factory there is only one machine. The machine encompasses all that makes up the factory and takes care of all of our needs. All components and parts of the machine are connected to the same mechanism. The source of the machine is unknown, for as long as anyone could remember the machine has always existed. Many believe that the machine will always exist. The machine takes care of us and we take care of the machine.

I myself have been ordered to work at a single console. The console is made of up a series of buttons and three levers. The buttons must be pressed in the correct sequence to initiate the next part of the process, I am not sure what exactly any of the buttons does or any of the levers. I know only what I have been told, and what I have been told is what I have already told you. The buttons light up and as they light up I must push them, once I have pushed enough buttons a tone is sounded telling me which lever to pull, a high tone indicates the lever on the far right, a low tone the lever on the far left and a mid range tone the center lever. I operate my console every day, when I am not at the controls, whether I be seeing to my needs or resting another man operates the console. I know there are many consoles like this one and all of them must be operated at all times to keep the machine moving. the machine must never come to a rest, production must never halt, that is the only rule given to us from the machine. It has only one demand. That we continue to allow it to run. I do not know why the machine must run, or why me must operate it. I do not know what the machine would do if we were to stop running it, and when I ask other they don’t know either, and unlike me they do not seem to care. I am told often not to ask questions.

Not everyone in the factory operates a console. There are others who must perform other processes in order to keep the machine running. Though many work the machine there are some who repair the machine. These are the technicians. Any time a single gear or cog falls out of place a technician is summoned to make sure that it is put back into place. Every time a lever is malfunctioning, or a pulley has its belt snapped the technicians put it back into place. They do not speak of what they fix, and refuse to answer my questions that I have about the machine. They appear only when they are summoned, I have never seen a technician off duty or resting they seem to exist only to respond to the machine’s distress. They fix the machine with their own set of tools which they operate with uncanny fluidity. When something is fixed the pack up their tools and move on. If asked about their disposition they simply say they are very busy and have no time to talk and I can only suppose that is true as I imagine that a machine of this size must require constant maintenance. I may only guess that they are like me required to work at all times except when allowed to rest, and that they work in shifts like we do in order to optimize their efficiency.

One day I decide as I stare at the buttons as they light up that I no longer want to hit these buttons without any explanation. I keep hitting them but I begin to wonder what would happen if I didn’t hit the buttons, or if I didn’t hit them in the correct sequence but I don’t act on these thoughts. I know that the machine would suffer for these actions and I know my actions have consequences because that is what they have told me. I have no reason no to believe them. So far everything they have told me is true.

They are the regulators. They move in and out of the machine to assure that all of the consoles are being operated correctly. If the technicians ensure that the machine itself is maintained and fully functional, the regulators ensure that the workers are operating by all respect they way they are supposed to. The regulators are always watching even when they aren’t and they exist only to make the machine a better and safer place to work. If someone is tired they command their replacement to take over. They are the processors, they go through the machine and see to it that everything continues to run. They observe and they enforce all rules and regulations that the machine has given us.

The machine does not proclaim the rules itself. The machine has no voice but it has been said that it does have a single console which is known as the mainframe where it can be communicated with, and where all the processes and applications running on the machine can be observed and manipulated. The mainframe is somewhere deep in the heart of the machine and although it is often spoken of in harsh and murmured whispers it has never been seen. One can only assume that it exists as everyone seems to know of its existence. The mainframe is only accessible to one, who is called the Overseer. He interprets the data which the machine gives him and issues proclamations based on the will of the machine. He has never spoken of its purpose and does not tell us the progress of the actions we are undertaking, but constantly assures us that all of us are exceptionally important and without our continued cooperation the machine could not run at the level of maximized output that it does. They claim that the Overseer has been observed although no one can tell me anything about him. Whenever I ask them about it they all tell me that I ask too many questions. They tell me these things are none of my concern.

It is an odd thing to not be able to recall a time before you ever were. A time when you weren’t. I do not know how I came into being and it has never been explained to me, but I do know that I was never not being, and if I was I was not aware of it. My appearance in this factory is a mystery to me, I never asked to be here and have been kept in the dark about the purpose of my operations on the machine. I do not know how I came into being. I am unsure if anyone else wonders about this as well. They all tell me that I wonder too much, but I am starting to suspect that they all wonder too little.

It’s getting harder and harder to find motivation to carry out my job. I find that my life seems to be without purpose and today I stopped hitting the buttons as they lighted up just to see what would happen. I assumed that the buttons would stop staying in the same position and the regulators would come to enforce my job, making sure the sequence was carried out as usual. Instead I found that the buttons continued to light up in the usual manner even without me pressing them, they moved at the same pace as I usually worked and seemed to function without my consent or my opposition. I sat for a time just watching the machine running autonomously and saying nothing. I expected some kind of recourse for my actions but I was able to simply sit and observe the machine working until I was relieved. I gazed at the machine as I left in wonder and with hatred feeling utterly worthless.

The Machine itself is gigantic and exceptionally intricate. It is made up of every possible mechanism and way of moving parts you could ever imagine. Cogs an gears turn around and around connected to wires, which are connected to circuit boards which connect to another series of wires which are connected to a system of pulleys which seem to be powered by a sequence of pistons. Robotic arms move back and forth moving counter balancing weights from place to plane as they roll along conveyor belts, dropping them on to pressure plates which see, to trigger an electrical current which switches on a small box that emits an electrical charge and powers another mechanism designed to do nothing more than to activate a series of lights before opening a trap door so that a tube can connect and shoot an unknown substance from one place to another. You can walk along the machine and see millions of variations of sequences of motions like this sometimes seeing a console being operated, sometimes seeing a technician working on a broken part and not know what any of it means. Despite its complexity the machine never at any point reveals what it may or may not be producing. I have concluded since there seem to be no wires coming in or out of the factory that the machine must generate its own power. I can not however at any point where it is produced.  The machine runs in this manner, pistons pounding, turbines turning, parts moving without any explanation seemingly all interconnected but independent from one another all working in such a manner I believe it is beyond all explanation.

The next time I arrive at my console I decide to press the buttons that aren’t lighting up instead of pushing the ones that light up. The machine does not seem to notice in the slightest bit, so I begin to pull the levers without provocation only to realize that once again the machine does not seem to care. All of the gears continue to turn and the machine continues to have random buttons light up and random levers indicate they must be pulled. I mash the buttons madly and pull all of the levers at once, and I do this for hours crying madly, but once again the whir of the machine continues and the regulators do not visit me. I walk away from my console and my replacement walks in and I grab him and shake him demanding he speak with me.
“Who are you?” I ask half in sorrow and half in rage, “I am an operator, I’m here to relieve you, ” he answers almost robotically. “No your name,” I cry, “what is your name I want to know you as more than that, I did not ask you what you were but who.” He looks up puzzled and looks back down at me and slowly stammers, “What is your name?” I look at him in horror and realize that I don’t know, I don’t think I was ever given a name. I ask him if he knows what our console is connected to and he shrugs. I break down in his arms. “I need to tell you this, today I did nothing other than mash buttons. I tried to not make the machine run, but it wouldn’t. I don’t think it needs us at all.” I nearly wept and he simply replied in the same mechanical voice, “Control yourself, I did the same thing yesterday.” I recoiled in horror and he walks over to the console and I walk away.

I don’t want to even exist anymore. I don’t have a purpose so I decide with some degree of satisfaction I have to leave the factory. I scour the complex for any sign of an exit but am unable to find one. Every duct, every service tunnel, and every hallway all seem to do nothing other than lead to another part of the factory. They do not ever come to a central point or a station that would lead me to believe that they even serve a purpose, they simply feed back into the machine. I wander these places until I must rest then I wake up in my chambers right outside of my console, unaware of how I got there.
I wake up and scream until I cannot scream any longer and cease consciousness once again. Soon enough it is my turn to operate the council once again.

This time I decide I have to try to destroy the machine. I convince myself that it is my only chance to escape the maze I found myself trapped in. I pound the console, bringing heavy dents to it then rip off one of the levers. I shove the first lever into the center of the console which sparks and shakes. I then rip off another lever and smash the box that the console is placed on with all of my might over and over and over again until the steel plate covering the wires to the console is dented and in sorry shape. I take the third lever and using all of my might manage to work open the console and reach in ripping out as many wires as I can and then use the last lever to strike out at any mechanical part I can find then when the lever is mangled and nothing more than a bent piece of metal I lodge it in one of the gears stopping it from moving and grinding into another gear. The process took several hours and I keep destroying and destroying until I can barely stand, and that is the end of my shift. I leave the console and come to rest feeling fulfilled.

As I arrive at my console the next day I am eager to examine it to see if the damage is still there. I’m not surprise at all when it is not. The technicians must have been called in to take care of the damage. The console looks just like it did before I ever started my personal rebellion against the eternally mundane existence I find myself in. I start mashing buttons randomly for a few minutes but this time before I can start in doing real damage several regulators come by and tell me to come with them. I follow without resistance knowing they could drag me there if I did not comply. The Regulators are designed for this purpose so doing so would have been nothing more than an exercise in futility.

They take me down below the machine itself through several service corridors I would not even know were accessible if they had not opened them. Though we are descending we appear to be nearing the center of the machine itself. We pass mechanisms of a strange and nearly daemonic nature. They consist of unorthodox collections of wires and sparking electrical arcs jumping currents between polarized diodes. We pass by endless databases and the usual appearance of cogs and turning gears becomes less and less. It is like a sea of wires in these corridors and regulators move in and out of an endless series of doors down these heavily reinforced hallways with surprising speed.  The wires seemed to collect into larger and larger bundles as they descended deeper and deeper into the tunnels until at last the massive collection of wires connected to a single colossal tangle of wires underneath a heavily layered series of metal plates organized into an isotetrahedron that was constantly and rapidly rotating along several different and shifting axis. The air around the structure crackled heavily with electrical ions and a loud humming of pure electrical power was constant. One of the regulators emitted a high pitch screech temporally pausing the rotation of the structure. As they did they escorted me inside and threw me on to the floor.

As I raised my head I could see wall to wall monitors displaying an endless sequence of ones and zeroes and the furnishing of the room consisted only of wires hanging from the ceiling and jutting out in thick bundles from the floor. As the structure resumed its rotation somehow the structure remained still internally. A single voice greeted me as a single entity emerged from the chaos of the binary sequences. I knew it could only be The Observer. “Greetings, it has come to my attention that you have developed a great distaste for your labor. I am here to answer your questions and provide resolution to your conundrum,” it says. Knowing this may be my only chance I begin asking questions.
“How is this room staying still?” I ask.

This room is staying still because it is not moving, the rotation you observe from the exterior of this structure is only of an outer shell, this room is suspended in a fluid which allows it to float. The structure must rotate in order to preserve the security of the mainframe, which is where you are. This is the heart of the machine and also the mind. All actions and operations the machine carries out are ordered from this structure and are monitored by this very same structure.”
“What does the machine do?”

“The machine does everything. All discernable actions observable by all forces you perceive are apart of the machine. All that you have ever known has been apart of the machine, before you had knowledge of the machine the machine had knowledge of you, before the machine there was nothing. There was only nothing before the machine and all that has ever been has been constructed from the machine.”
“But why? For what purpose was the machine created?”

“The machine was not created for a purpose the machine gives all things purpose and creates all things with purpose. It is the order that assembles itself out of the chaos of this world. The machine exists and orders purpose, but its only purpose is to create and order purpose. It is the reason for existing, it did not have a creator, for as long as it has existed it has had purpose, and before it was created there was no purpose.”
“But if it had no creator, how did it come into being?”

“The machine has always existed in some sense, but before it was material it was ethereal, before it was what you see before you, a series of mechanisms and infinite interrelated components designed to maximize the efficiency of their correlations it was simply a will, that will was concentrated and consisted of all wills and identities you have seen within the machine including my own and your own. The will forced itself into being creating a simple mechanism at first which would allow for its construction and then piece by piece it assembled itself at a more rapid rate. After each operation was performed expansion could take place at an exponential rate because the ability to expand was increased with each addition. As more processes and pieces fell into place each part became more and more specialized and adapted not to existing on its own but being a part of a larger system. As a part of a larger system it procured all the advantages and abilities of the system making cooperation and integration into the system the most advantageous course of action for all things. In time the machine grew to encompass all things in any form. Now there is only the machine. In time there will only the machine and the machine will be long after anyone from this time can begin to imagine. The Machine although it encompasses everything is also constantly expanding, always striving for improvement on that which it has already done. Its drive is endless, it will never be satiated.
“Are you the operator of the machine?”

“I suppose you could say that, I maintain and overlook the machine and have the power at my fingertips to intervene in any operation the machine is performing. However I do not need to at any point directly take the helm of the machine itself. If I were to do nothing the machine would render me useless and likely replace me. I exist because the machine requires a higher process capable of omnipotent overbearing. To be aware of everything at once was required of me, even as I am speaking to you I can perceive all things happening in the machine more than you can understand all things happening within you. But this was an ability granted to me, I have no illusions of grandeur before the machine. Although I am the operator I am not the master of the machine and it does not bow to my will, although I may use my abilities to directly control any part of the machine, I cannot control the whole machine. The resulting exertion over the totality of existence would obliterate my cognitive processes.
“So what is my function within the machine?”

That is the question we knew you would ask. You are a part of the machine as well, and your function is to facilitate the emotions and urges the machine could not rid itself of. Your sector, all of the agents at your console and several surrounding consoles and all of the people you have interacted with are all agents of dissent. You were designed to do nothing more than funnel all of the self hatred the machine has for itself and rebellious and destructive nature of the machine’s being into processes that are compelled to this state of mind. Your station as you may have realized was not connected to anything, you merely must come to self awareness attempt to destroy what you do not  understand and then be reset in order to repeat this process and vent these negative bits of data, safely expressing them inside of the machine, so that they never grow.”

At this point I could take no more. I ended my conversation with the observer. All of my questions had been answered. I knew he could explain all things to me but upon knowing my own purpose I longed to learn nothing else. I was gripped by hatred and sought only active rebellion. I could not accept that this was true. I have scribed this where  I could, as my last act. Which is why I have left this story to you. There has to be some way to overcome the efficiency of the machine. My only hope is that my story spreads and the machine can be attacked in more vital sectors but I feel that beyond that my ability to spread rebellion is limited. I do not remember ever leaving the mainframe. Hold fast friends and on to hope. Spread my story and try to stop this before it is too late.

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For as long as I can remember all I could ever perceive was the machine. I have worked on the machine for my entire life and the machine has been my entire life for as long as I have worked on it. Everyone I know also works on the machine. My entire family operates the machine. All of my friends operate the machine. The machine has always been running since I can remember, and I have never know what the machine does.