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Night and Rain were the Local Optimum
Her online life, which means her life, was a Noir tragedy: so it had been decreed by the impersonal Fates of statistical clustering. The game world and its inhabitants were of the same neural cloth, optimized on the fly to set and keep her in a path cathartic to her deepest flaws. Loved by the wrong people and loving a worse choice. Love secondary to doomed ambition and clockwork betrayal. Yet she befriended a stray dog and the dog didn’t die. Somebody shot her in the dark. The game started anew. Different and the same. She began already too late as always. The bad choices that chased her despite her calmly desperate evasive maneuvers and blood-red herrings and sucker baits were foundational and indelible on her character sheet. She would always kill in self-defense somebody trying to protect her; such was the lesson the game was to engrave in her brain. But she took French and rock climbing and did not sacrifice anybody’s life. The game killed her and tried again. She was alluring beyond voxel and waveform. She was more goal than the McGuffin. She was afforded by the straightforwardly labyrinthine plot less agency than the NPCs that were everybody else in the game. The game was the most realistic in the most important point – to be desired was to be fated to be destroyed and destroyed. Nonetheless in an elderpunk 1930’s Los Angeles where mobsters killed and died and worse for many-angled R’Lyeh Falcons she quit her femme fatale post to be a nurse in a street clinic. She was killed by a patient driven by unrequited love, of course, and the game tried again. For ten gametime years this went on. Noir, like a war below Trojan walls, can never stop until the meaningless lesson has been learned by the silent chorus. Hers did not. Ten more gametime years went on and ten more. In the quotidian calendar of outtime she turned twenty-one. The game was capable of running the play forever (for the game had purpose, not thought or life, and was therefore relentless like the things that give gods nightmares). But her parents could no longer legally force her into the therapy they had hoped would fix her. Yet she remained in the game. Both were equally relentless and opaque. A man who owned the city with gold carrot and stick of lead attempted the same with her. She pretended not to notice and truthfully didn’t care and set up to translate Gibbons into Latin. He told someone to tell someone to kill her quickly and cruelly but not too much. The game restarted.