Camiles looks around at the digital world he has found himself in, a confused look on his face.
“I’ll be honest, I was expecting Hans’ mind to look like something out of an M.C Escher painting. But this? It looks so… clinical.”
The floor is white, and seems to stretch on into infinity.
The sky, or what passes for it here, is pitch black.
Thousands of cubes in various colors and sizes are floating around up above, and many glowing lines connect them.
Off in the distance, Camiles sees a large, grey object that looks like a coffin. It’s rattling, like something is trapped inside and trying to break free.
Camiles can guess what that is.
Or rather, who.
As Camiles starts making his way towards it, a gigantic head appears in the sky.
The head of Hans Stahlberg.
When he was occupying the Stahlkörper, he looked like a blond, blue-eyed Norwegian man, with a thick beard.
That was after he remodeled it, so it wouldn’t look like Adolf Hitler.
But this is his true appearance. Short, dark brown hair that borders on black, brown, beady eyes behind a pair of glasses that by now are only there for aesthetic reasons, and a lean, mean face, that looks like it could watch you suffocate to death on poisonous gas without showing a single twitch of a muscle or the slightest hint of remorse.
The head of Hans Stahlberg speaks to Camiles, and his voice seems to come from everywhere in this virtual world.
'Well done, you two. Well done indeed. You made it in. But you’re not going anywhere. You’re in my domain now."
Camiles looks up.
“Your domain? This whole world is made of electricity, and so are you. Tell me, Hans: do you have electrokinesis?”
“I don’t need it. I have absolute control in here. Here, I am God.”
“But here, you can’t access any of your power, can you? Because that’s all physical. That’s all out there, in the real world. But I still have all of my power.”
Hans spews a golden blast of energy out of his mouth.
It does nothing to Camiles.
“That should have worked. Why didn’t it work?”
“See, you just don’t get it, Hans. You can make a 3D model of an apple, but that doesn’t mean that you have an apple. All you have is a bunch of polygons, and you can’t eat those.”
“What are you babbling on about, you moron?”
Camiles shakes his head in disbelief that Hans doesn’t understand.
“I’m saying that in a virtual space, you can make something look like gold, but that doesn’t mean it is gold. This knowledge is coming from both halves of me, by the way. Calvin and Miles have both dabbled in amateur game development.”
“So you think this is all, what, a video game?”
“No, but this world operates on similar principles, doesn’t it? A video game is just a virtual world, same as this place is.”
“And you think you can win?”
“I know I can.”
Camiles points his hand at one of the cubes floating up above, a red one.
It explodes into lots of tiny little red cubes, which vanish as they clatter on the floor.
“So, which part of your mind was that? Your memory of the first time you touched a boob at chess camp?”
Hans stares in shock at the intruder into his electronic mind.
“You… you know what the cubes are?”
“I guessed. Thanks for confirming my theory, by the way.”
Camiles starts blowing up cube after cube, destroying Hans’ digital mind one bit at a time.
“No! NO! STOP! ST–PINEAPPLE! TROUT! SYSTEM ERROR! FINLAND! ERROR! PLEASE STO-O-O-P!”
Camiles doesn’t stop blasting as he replies.
“Sorry, Hans. But your dream dies here. Like a poor little fluffy who just caught a taser to the brain, you’re getting completely derped.”
“NO! PLEASE! HAVE [FILE NOT FOUND]! HAVE [FILE NOT FOUND]! I SAID–”
Camiles keeps blasting cubes. The tiny fragments of them rain down upon him and the coffin, passing through Hans’ giant floating head.
“I know what you said, Hans. And you haven’t shown anyone mercy. You weaponized P53, you cloned Calvin and Miles and let two demons use the clones as hosts, and oh yeah, you created the Caldroid and programmed it to be an omnicidal maniac. Too many innocents died because of you, and you don’t care. So you know what?”
With that, the last part of Hans’ digital mind is irrevocably erased.
Hans screams, as his giant floating head disintegrates into nothing.
Now all that’s left is Camiles and the coffin-like object.
Camiles walks right up to it.
“Can you hear me in there? Knock twice if you can.”
“Alright. Listen carefully. I’m going to let you out of there. If you attack me, you will regret it. Understand? Knock twice again if you do.”
Camiles opens the coffin, and what looks like a blue, transparent version of Calvin unsteadily walks out.
When it sees Camiles, the Caldroid’s consciousness is a bit baffled, but then remembers.
It had, after all, been seeing and hearing everything in the outside world through the eyes and ears Hans had stolen from it.
“That is… very, very strange.”
“Tell me about it. Listen, Caldroid.”
“I’m all ears.”
“I know that the things you did technically weren’t your fault. You were doing what you were created to do.”
“I still accept full responsibility for everything I did. And everything Hans did, too.”
The Caldroid starts sobbing.
“I’m a monster! You should just erase me too!”
Camiles gently pats the Caldroid on the shoulder.
“Yeah. You’re a monster. So are Dave, Robert and Slayer. So are Henry, Carmilla and Rex. But it doesn’t mean you have to be bad.”
The Caldroid looks at Camiles.
“I can never make up for everyone who died at my hands. You know, before Hans took over, I had decided to stop killing? I wanted to abandon the mission. I wanted to try to atone. But Hans wouldn’t give me the chance.”
“I know. Hans told us. But listen to me. You’re not an accomplice. You’re another victim of his crimes. You didn’t choose to be a killing machine.”
“But I am one.”
“You don’t have to be one, though.”
“I think you’re the only person willing to give me that chance. I don’t think anyone will forgive me.”
“But if you don’t try, can you forgive yourself?”
The Caldroid thinks about this.
“No. No, I don’t think so. I need to make amends. I’ll never undo all the damage I’ve done. But I can try. I will try.”
“That’s what I wanted to hear, Caldroid.”
“But I need you to do something for me, Cal… uh, Miles… uh…”
“It’s Camiles, when we’re like this. But what do you need?”
“I need you to get the Omega Drives as far away from me as possible. I don’t trust myself around them. As soon as you go back outside, I’ll expel them, and then I’ll power down. Don’t power me back on until they’re safe, and DON’T TELL ME WHERE THEY ARE. Okay?”
“Okay. In exchange, I’ll make sure that nobody scraps you while you’re out. I’ll tell Valerie to take a look at you. Maybe she can help you.”
“I appreciate that. I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore, but I’m scared that I won’t stop. I can’t access my own programming, so I can’t erase the urge to kill from my mind by myself. I need your help.”
“You’ll get it. I don’t like hurting people, either, even if they’re robots.”
The Caldroid manages to smile.
“Thank you for calling me a person.”
“Think nothing of it. I’ll see you on the other side. Or rather, Calvin and Miles will. This is cool, but I can’t live like this. I can’t tell if I’m 16 or 24.”
Camiles and the Caldroid share a laugh, and shake hands.
Then, as the Caldroid waves him off, Camiles walks away, and returns to the outside world.