Fic: Harsh Reality (HR, gen)

Author’s Note: Written right after “Leviathan” aired and before we found out any real details of Pinocchio’s past, so this was my theory. *g*

I haven’t lied to him, damn it. Everything I told him was true.

I just didn’t tell him everything.

It’s true that if you die in Harsh Realm, your brain will stop in the real world as well. Hell, doctors are only beginning to understand the power of the human mind–it only makes sense that the same brain that could keep someone alive through sheer will might die just from believing it was dying. Just the kind of damned logic the military would neglect to mention to the unfortunate souls they drop into this virtual hell.

And I wasn’t lying about the VCs, either. You kill them, they don’t come back in Harsh Realm, but that doesn’t affect the real person outside.

What I didn’t tell him is that you can die in the real world, and your virtual character will keep going in Harsh Realm. And if you’re lucky, you may never know.

Hobbes wants to know why Santiago scares me so much?

Because he killed me.

In the real world, I died a long time ago. I don’t even know how long ago–all I know is that I’m dead. And that bastard Santiago killed me. Just like he’d be happy to kill every fucking person in the whole fucking world, so he could conquer the globe by moving it into his little fantasy.

I’m a damned VC. The only problem is, I know it. I remember the world I’ll never be able to go back to, and I envy the lucky fucking bastards who don’t.

If I didn’t know, I could be just like one of the ignorant who only have this world to fear. But because, for a little while, I was plugged into the game, I know what I am. Like my fictional namesake, I’m a puppet who’s been brought to life, but unlike him, I have no hope of becoming a real boy. That’s why I faked my own death in Harsh Realm–it was the only way for me to stay alive–in any world.

Now Santiago knows I’m still playing this game, and he’s not gonna stop until he wipes me off the virtual map like he did the real one. That’s why he scares me.

But what I’m really afraid of, even more than Santiago, is my damned soul. I died, but I didn’t go to heaven, at least not as far as I know of. I got stuck here instead, which is probably the closest thing to hell that mankind could ever make.

So what happens to me if I die here? What happens to this soul caught in the mind of a soulless machine? Do I have any hope that my real soul will have a real afterlife, or did I lose that the minute I stepped out of reality? And if I didn’t, would heaven even want the man I’ve become, or would I be really damned to a hell worse than this one? I don’t ever want to find out.

I have to survive. But I’ll be damned if I ever tell Hobbes why.

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