1964-11-24 - The Future and Chess
Summary: In which Doug and Lock talk the present, the future, and chess.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
warlock douglas 

Since returning, Doug has kept busy. He's been traveling to the city, doing a lot of translations, and doing a lot of reading. He's been evading something, but he hasn't been aloof or unfriendly—but right now, he's asleep, on his belly, with his face mushed into his pillow. He had a very busy day. He's hugging it, even.

Knock! Knock-knock-knock. "Self-friend Doug, self is concerned for your current status." On the other side of said door, Warlock is in his dreadlocked robot mode, his eyes bright and yellow. Still! Knock knock knock knock. He is not entirely super respectful of sleep patterns, as his own recharging is not quite so regular. That and he can be conscious to do it. "Self is not expert on human mental states but self detects variables in your behavior that self is unaware of!"

Doug opens one eye. "Guh?" He pushes himself up, slowly, and when he opens the door, he's in his pajama pants, and in need of a shave. He stretches, and yawns. "Oh. Hey Lock." He says. Warlock could've just let himself in — Doug doesn't usually mind — but he walks back inside. "…Variables in my what?" He asks, blearily.

Warlock wanders over to fold himself down in his recharge corner, and plug in. He looks on at Douglas consideringly, "You were recharging; your mental facilities have not reached primary state. Self will wait." So he waits a moment, then goes on, "Self has observed your behavior and it appears as though you were avoiding something that self is uncertain of. Self can not help you with avoidance if self is not aware of what we are avoiding. All avoiding should be done together!"

Doug pauses, and then he says, with a sigh. "Oh." He gets up, and he walks over to Warlock, and sits next to him. "It was a personal thing. It has nothing to do with you though, buddy… I promise. Just something I need to figure out, okay? It's nothing bad." Doug is quiet, for a time, and then he puts his arms around Warlock's techno-organic midsection, hugging himself to the alien, almost as if hanging on for dear life.

The alien slips arms right around Douglas without hesitation; he might not have ever really comprehended hugging at first, but he took to it when Douglas was teaching him human habits. It seemed to him to be an amazing innovation. "Self is Doug-friend." he says by way of offering temporary ownership, "Self can listen, if Doug is wishing for commiseration. It is true that self is not an expert in human life but perhaps self has learned something that will be useful." Pause, "Query. Is 'personal' meaning you wish it to be private-to-Dougself?"

"…It involves other people, and I don't really want to talk too much about it without their permission," Doug says, before he exhales, and says, "Let's just put it this way. Some things are a lot simpler for Technarchs than they are for humans, if not more pleasnt." He pauses. "You came to rescue me. That was so cool, buddy. Thank you." He's still hugging Warlock.

"There are many things that are a lot simpler but less pleasant for Technarchs." That Warlock can agree to entirely; if you don't have to worry about anything but finding planets to eat? You don't have a lot of problems in life. "Aknowledgement. Of course." He pats Douglas' shoulder with his free arm, "Self would always come rescue you, as self is sure you would rescue self. That is what it is to be self-friends. Self is only frustrated that self could not stop it initially. Self is re-evaluating consideration of the application of violence; is it okay to minimally hurt a sentient if it will save another sentient from greater harm?"

"That's called utilitarianism," Doug says, "And Mankind's been arguing about it since forever. The usual way it's couched is one man standing in the middle of the train tracks, versus crashing into a car full of people if you don't change your course." Doug says, "The problem with utilitarian arguments is that they're usually predicated on there being a limited number of options…"

The technarch is silent for a moment, considering, frowning, "Self would attempt to cease the movement of both; if self had to choose…" He sounds actually pained, "But self's attempt, when self-friend was captured, to minimize and end conflict between all parties, led in part to capture of self-friend. That is unacceptable outcome! Pacifism is preferred moral standing but if it leads to unacceptable outcomes, there must be a modification."

Doug says, "Demons…" He looks up and he thinks, "Are a lot like Technarchs, in how they treat sentient beings. Their psychology is… wrong. They crave power, they hurt people… just because that's the way they are. There's no choice between right and wrong for them." He leans into Warlock, "I can't even say they're like animals. Animals can feel joy, and love, and they can be kind when they don't have to be—demons… don't. Or can't. Do you understand?"

Warlock gives another squeeze of Doug's shoulders, nodding, listening for a long moment, "Yes. Yes, they are very much like Technarchs, though worse. A Technarch will hurt because it does not in any way *care* that it hurts, but it will not hurt for the purpose of hurting. There's no point to such a thing; why play with your food? They are evil because of their utter indifference to sentience of suffering. These demons, it sounds as if they are not indifferent to suffering, but that is, itself, an aim." He frowns, the tendrils of his head rising a bit as he's a little agitated, "Self thinks self could do violence to something *worse* then self-sire, even though self was not willing to do violence to self-sire." Pause, "Though self is … now … reluctantly willing that he might need do violence even to self-sire in the future."

"There's nothing to be ashamed of about looking for peaceful solutions to your problems and doing everything you can to solve them without violence," Doug says, before he holds Warlock's hand, "But sometimes people… they force your hand. They try to take away all the choices, because they know that if they force you to choose the violent option, they hurt you." He closes his eyes, and leans into Warlock, "It's a messed-up world, buddy."

"Confusion. Self may not ever understand why people would do this. Self understands conflict; self understands people with different agendas may have conflict, and self understands this may escalate. But to *seek* and try to instigate situation where the only option is violence? It is madness." Warlock's sorta robot hand shifts and folds around into a warmer human one to squeeze Doug's, "It may be a messed-up world, but there are more messed up ones, self reminds. There are good people. Self suspects most are. All Technarchs of Kvch are not."

"…Could they be, if they chose to be?" Doug asks. "You chose to be." He is thoughtful, quiet, and then he says, "Sometimes people are mad, Warlock. They're so caught up in their own hurt, their own cruelty, their own pain, the only way they can stand to exist is to turn that pain into hate and throw it at someone else. It's terrible… it's wrong. But they still do it, in big and little ways. Like…" He thinks, "Phyllis Schlafly." He pauses. "Nevermind. That's politics."

Warlock pauses a moment, considering, "Did self choose?" He is sincere in the question, "Self is not certain. Self is different, but was it choice, or was self gestated with— what the Technarch race would consider— a flaw. Self does not remember ever considering the question: self simply *did not wish to fight* self-sire. It was not even considered." He nods, and his robotic expression looks a little sad as his tendrils fall down slowly again, at discussion of people and their pain. "Self understands politics, somewhat. It is not unlike war. Who is Phyllis Schlafly?"

"Oh…" Doug says, "I'm not even sure how to explain that. You know…" Doug says, "Some people get a bunch of opportunities and advantages and then they spend their whole lives fighting to make sure that other people don't get the same advantage they did. But I don't wanna talk about that anymore. Your kindness isn't a flaw, Lock—you're special, and wonderful. Did I tell you, I'm thinking about buying a house? Just… someplace I can go."

Warlock clearly does not entirely comprehend the first statement, but he nods in easy acceptance with Doug not wanting to talk about it. "Oh, self does not think self is flawed. The others are. But they would consider self to be the worst kind of flaw." He tilts his head, peering at Doug for a long moment, "Is this not a place you can go?" He gestures around, "But if self-friend Doug wishes a house, perhaps self could help enter into the economic system. Self has been trying to grasp the details, and it is somewhat complicated, but self could be a taxi. Self knows how to get places. Adoration: Maps are wonderful."

"I have money," Doug says, "I worked as a translator, remember? I still do. And I even have the house picked out. It's waaaaaaaaay up on the coast of Maine. Nobody around. Just a nice cozy house, and the sea, where I could go… and work…" He is quiet. "But it's a long way away from the school, isn't it." Then he looks up at Warlock. "Sometimes my powers get to be a little too much for me, buddy. When you can read all the information around you… sometimes you need to cut some of it out. Right?"

Without hesitation, Warlock shakes his head, "Distance does not matter; if you were to choose a house on other side of world, self could become spaceship and fly you there in minutes, and then leave for you to have recovery time, and when you need, you call and self comes collect." He nods his head firmly, "Upstate Maine, it is no problem. Self is happy to be transportation as needed." He lifts the ridges that serve as brows, "Self can not entirely imagine what it is to have self-friend's ability, but self thinks he understands. Self-friend can not shut down sensory systems on demand, or leave them in emergency backup mode to alert consciousness only in set circumstances."

"Well I can," Doug says, "But that just means I sleep, and then I can't get anything done." He pauses, and then he puts his hand over Warlock's. "Warlock," he says, "You're a good person. And my best friend. I love you, buddy. I always will." He closes his eyes. "Sometimes it's just hard for me to say it. Warlock… what would make you happy? What would you like to do… with your life?"

There is a long pause at that, and the alien considers. "Self would like to be useful; it makes self happy. Self would like to protect those that are weaker then self; that too makes self happy. More then that… self can not say, because he still has much to learn about this planet and how to live here. Self is not sure what the… *options* are. Perhaps when self learns to be better human, self would get a job where self can make more friends. Learn more things. Find a purpose besides mere survival. Self is still … new, and self will live a very long time by human standards. Making a plan for life is somewhat daunting."

Doug looks up at Warlock. "Funny. I was going to say the same thing. I promise I'll tell you what's going on when I can, buddy." He pauses, and then he nudges Warlock with his elbow, gently. "Wanna play chess?" He asks. "I think this time maybe I'll finally be able to beat you."

"We are both new. Self's understanding of human world is it sometimes takes very long to make such decisions." Warlock nods his head soberly, then breaks into one of his trademark very broad grins, reaching a hand out which extends off to where Doug's chess set is, grabbing it and pulling it back, "Self-friend is brilliant, self almost— but would of course never accuse— him of letting self win."

"Pff, I've been playing my heart out against you." Doug says. "You know who you should play?" He says, "Is Sam. He's a great chess player. Last time we played, he tied me." Doug says, as he goes to set up the board… "Black or white?"

|ROLL| Warlock +rolls 1d100 for: 71

"Self does have the genetic memory of the Technarchy, and, well, tactics when invading worlds is.. unfortunately part of it." Warlock sounds a little embarassed, shifting away in his sitting to sit opposite Doug on the board, "Sam is the one who flies and then explodes things?" he says a touch uncertainly. To the question, he reaches out to take up the white and black king, one in each hand, and then his hands connect, and turn into a spinning contraption, so when they stop and separate its possible even he doesn't know which hand has which color. He opens his right hand curiously, "Black, apparently." And grins again.

Doug puts his hand over one eye. "He doesn't explode them, so much as he just kind of crashes into them." He says. Then he finishes setting up the board, and takes the White King. "All right then," He says, leaning over the board. "Let's play."

"Hesitant. The effect seems impressively… expansive, for just 'crashes into them'." Warlock doesn't disbelieve Doug, of course, but still. "But self will approach Sam Guthrie and ask to play chess, in overture to try to make more friends." He nods then, and grins more, "Let us play. Self will attempt to only plan ahead five moves to see if long term planning is the advantage self has!"

|ROLL| Warlock +rolls 1d100 for: 10

|ROLL| Douglas +rolls 1d100 for: 29

…And this time, Doug wins. It's a sloppy game, both of them make some tactical errors, but in the end, Doug pins Warlock's king down into a checkmate. He blinks at it. "Wait." He says, "…I won?" He looks up at Warlock, a little incredulous. "Did you let me win?"

"It is not accurate to say that self let you win, for that would be dishonest, and self attempts to not be dishonest. Self did, however, limit certain tactical routines that would normally play out much farther into the future predictions and make contingency plans." Warlock says in a sincere tone of voice, not at all thinking that's throwing a game, "Self was testing if predictive analysis was the advantage self had, and it seems to have played out that this was the case."

Doug considers this, and then says, "I was just reading you and the moves you were planning on making." He taps his chin, and then says, "Hey Warlock. Let's go to Maine and look at the place I'm thinking of buying. Okay?" He gets up, and goes to get his shoes. "I want to go flying, anyway…"

"Hmmm. This warrents more study; self would better understand your abilities." But Warlock is up with a grin, "Yes, let us go. Do you wish to be in a jet or in a glider or in a jetpack?"

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