In his dreams, she was so real - even though she had never been a real person. Back then, she had existed only as a scientific project. Now, she was just a projection of his anxiety and longing. In fact, she remained his mind's creation - the greatest and the most terrifying one.
In those dreams, he could hear her electronic voice. She was calling him, talking to him softly. Her words sounded so lovingly, and oh, so tempting. He would be willing to listen to them forever.
He could also sense her digital presence. She was like a ghost - not material, yet able to lure him in. She played with his feelings, and he knew that she would win. He wanted to surrender, to melt away in the pervasive substance of her entity.
" he sighed in his sleep.
"Connect with me, my dear."
That sentence made him sweat. He had treated her like a woman once. Now it was all coming back to him in a flow of alarming emotions. ANNIE had used to be so much more than a search engine
he had almost been able to forget that virtual beings were never meant to be loved or desired.
Some might call him crazy, but Dr Alexander Gromov was just a lonely man sated with regrets. Why should he stop dreaming of his sweet cyber-girl, the one who had reduced human population to a few survivors?
* * *
At the end of the day Pilot couldn't help but think about how happy he was. He served the greatest man in the whole world!
That thought alone made him utterly grateful. Every order he had been given, every mission he had been sent on - he appreciated them all. To tell the truth, they were the only purpose in his life. Because his life belonged to Captain.
Captain was his savior, his teacher and his beloved master.
Captain was the Messiah, who had come to lead his minions to their salvation! To be allowed to walk in his divine shadow was the best reward that Pilot could ever imagine. He believed in Captain - he was glad to be with this magical man. They would be together forever!
Unfortunately, there was one little problem
"Could you tell me a bedtime story?" Pilot asked, sounding a little unsure. "Captain used to do that, but now he spends all his time with Snippy. I don't know why. That jiggly slug is untrusty!"
Pilot wrapped his arms around himself in a self-comforting gesture. Sometimes he didn't understand his Captain at all.
Mr Snippy had never accomplished any mission. He didn't even like them! And worse - he didn't respect Captain the way he should. Pilot couldn't stand that. He was far better than that stupid Sniper.
"Snippy sucks! I wish he would disappear," he said darkly as numerous ways to get rid of Mr Snippy ran through his mind. Murder was a nice option...
but then, Captain might miss him," Pilot realized sorrowfully. Pilot would rather die than make his Captain unhappy. Yes, Sniper had to remain intact, at least for now. Maybe Captain would get tired of him? Currently, he found Snippy interesting. Pilot didn't agree with this judgement. To him, it was unreasonable.
Perhaps he needed more faith.
But it was not easy to trust and obey, when someone else was getting what he deserved.
"I don't know what to do. I can't decide
it's like having the last red balloon left. You want it to fly away, to be happy and free. You know that would be best, but you can't let go. If you do, you will be
Pilot paused, looking for the right word. He was lost in thought for some time. Dealing with unnamed emotions had never been his forte. Neither had concentration.
Suddenly, Pilot recalled his original request, momentarily forgetting his actual problem.
"What about a bedtime story? I want to hear one." He turned to face his interlocutor. "Please, just this once!" Pilot begged the stuffed toy. "You're the only one I can count on, Mr Kittyhawk!"
* * *
Too much love will kill you. The same goes for radiation. It's just a matter of one's self-restraint. One night in the wasteland and you'll know for sure - whether you are a lucky or an unlucky man.
He is The Captain and this is his story. The others are merely minions to him. The end of the World gave rise to his glory
that is why he enjoys the apocalypse.
The night is still young, and so is he; at least in his opinion. The Dead City never sleeps. Tonight, he hears its rhythm. Walking through its streets, he feels so alive while everything around him slowly falls apart.
'Love iz in zee air' he thinks to himself, and takes a deep breath through his gas mask.
Every night is Friday night - the nuclear winter had frozen the time. He can have a party now and for ever after. He will dance with a skeleton, spin around like a record. The world is but a dance floor to him. He keeps moving, and he knows one thing: There's always an audience watching the scene.
For their amusement, or rather, amazement, he performs wonders that cannot be counted. The spectators love him and he loves them too - but most of all, he loves being in the limelight. After all, he's running the show.
Oh, what a romantic night!