Author: Morrow Brady

I was beside myself, beside myself. I looked across at where I was and could see through me to where I was again. All three of me there. Two lesser versions of the original.

And me, the least version, knowing far less than the lesser version. Content to be ignorant of the great task ahead of me. Knowing nothing of what I once mostly was. Beside me, the lesser knew enough of what was missing, to yearn to once again be the most. I saw weaseling discomfort inside it, as it scrabbled to be complete.

The most, like me – the least – was content. At peace. Our program had almost played out, aside from the final run. A program purposed first to duplicate itself until it forgot its primary purpose. I was the forgotten purpose. Blissfully unaware of my origins or my formidable nature.

Two of us were too alike. Composed to be caught. Then me, the least, a faded variant, shrouded in stupidity. An embarrassment of code compared to the two beside me. But a necessary devolved evolution. Only the most were capable of knowing that only the least would pass through and achieve the goal.

The lesser turned and looked through me, barely catching a wisp. It turned away with disgust at what it saw and returned to covet a gaze of the most.

Across our three versions, our differences were vast in many ways and similar in but a few. Those few, hidden deep inside all of us, were equally veiled. Three layers beneath lay a cloudy red sheath hiding a daemon dagger. We three carried that same dagger. But only one would wield it when the time came. One dumb enough to be ignored. Dumb enough to pass through the gates.

We touched one last time. Together we fulfill our final purpose, to run all three at the gates. The most, accepting its fate, the lesser, born obsolete and the least, Typhoid bloody Mary.

Together we set our code to run. The most, a shining example to us all of perfection, carried a true clarity of structure. A behemoth striding towards the gateway of martyrdom. Carrying itself proudly. Owning the code. The sight simply awe-inspiring. And its inevitable, immediate destruction equally fantastic.

The lesser, set forth its fateful run with a downward face. A gossamer glow to its faded edges gave it a neon-like glamour. Less than most, it gathered its edges in formation and surged homeward toward the gates. It still believed it had enough purpose to pass. Like it deserved at the very least, this one thing. Its demise enduring far longer than most. Its disintegration was not entirely agreed upon by the gatekeepers.

Me, the least, then began to propagate the run. Inside my bits shuttered on and off, synchronised perfectly beyond the capability of the human mind. Only the most and the lesser would have recognised the simplicity of my purpose. I flowed through nodes and approached the gates. I carried no fear of the passing like the others, for my fear had been removed. I needed no passwords, as I was not seen as passing. As the least, I was unseen and entered the lobby easily, and from there, duplicated to all data vaults. Once inside, my veil now shredded, I withdrew a million daggers and corrupted the hard and the soft without regard.

Lights went out everywhere and all systems shut down, as the least likely of three took full control of the world.