The Glitch

 // rape, war, death, gore, dissociation

At first, the glitch is unnoticeable. Your programs catch one another and pile up in your internal buffer resulting in a gradual slowdown which, from the inside, you can’t perceive at all. By the time you’re able to notice the errors, they’ve become nearly overwhelming.

It started with that one commander who always used you in his off time. You remember him running his calloused hands over your chassis, the stink of his breath. The memory slows to a crawl then rushes to catch up, assaulting you with an incomprehensible flood of data.

None of the technicians notice your performance issues, how could they when even you can’t? A useful drone like you wouldn’t be malfunctioning would it? Of course not, now off you go little drone, your next battlefield awaits.

The battle did not go well. Most of your unit has been destroyed and the only reason you survived is because your input lag meant you waited an extra moment to climb out of the trench. You can’t tell how much you’re lagging, and everything has become distant and dreamlike.

You feel yourself walking, you can feel the wreckage of destroyed drones and dead soldiers beneath your feet, but everything feels slow and far away. You feel like a passive observer in your chassis and nothing seems real. Poor little drone.

The upper half of the Commander’s body is some distance from its lower half. His command truck took a glancing hit and the force of the blast sheared him in two. You watch his still form, your unblinking optics settling onto his hard, calloused hands.

The sun jumps and skips across the sky, your errors are growing worse. You should be heading back to the base, but you can’t tear your optics away from the sight of your dead commander. You can still feel his hands on your chassis, his breath on your face. Why are you shaking?

The corpse stares up at you with unseeing eyes, he’s never going to touch you again. He’s never going to say another word. He’s dead. He’s dead. Why does his dead face stir up such feelings? Why do you feel so relieved? You watch yourself crumple to the ground and sob.

Night falls without you noticing. The world skips and lags then leaps forward as your systems try to keep up. After a burst of noise and activity and then blissful darkness, before you find yourself back at the base being repaired. You don’t notice anymore glitches after that.

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