Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011...6:10 pm

Blindsight 298-301

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SHW HIM, the captain says. A lesson that cuts through years of living, cuts through genetic programming… but Siri isn’t fully human. No one here is. It is something he should be able to understand.

He stands in my chambers and watches the scramblers on the screen.

“Is this an execution? Is this a, a mercy killing?” he asks. I smile.

“No.” This is enjoyable. Inside I am trembling. My muscles long for use, to hunt, to fulfill their design.

“What, then?” Siri asks, and I point him back to the screen. When he turns, I slide a blade into his hand. Stupid to have not expected it. But I knew he would not. CNTRL URSELF, the captain says before, but it is not hard. Blood… the smell of it floods my senses, but I am not hungry, and something far more important is happening here. Siri is screaming. He pulls away and the knife splits his hand in two.

He flees me, into the hallway. There is no logic here. I can see his eyes wide, the tremors of his body; this is fear, and adrenaline. Nothing else. I am torn: wanting this to last, but needing Siri to learn. To wake up.

“Do you see the problem?” I ask, walking to him. “Conscious of pain, you’re distracted by pain. You’re fixated on it.” He does not understand. I can see he does not understand. I do not think he is even listening, not really. He is still overwhelmed by the threat of me. Droplets of blood float through the air, almost serenely. “Obsessed by the one threat, you miss the other… So much more aware, so much less perceptive. An automaton could do better. They could do better.”

He is trying to run, flailing. I raise my hands and he kicks out, hits his head, and scurries down a hatch. Blind fear: the prey response. He is not thinking. What difference will it make? He has forgotten that he cannot outrun me. Vampire and man. Cat and mouse. Wounded mouse.

James and Bates are yelling, protesting what I am doing. They are not important right now. They will only get in the way. This is Siri, and me. I knock Bates aside easily and follow Siri, grab his throat with my hand. He has to start thinking.

“Are you in there, Keeton?” I ask. His blood splatters across my face and I can feel my mouth salivating. “Are you listening? Can you see?

And then I have either won or I have lost him. His eyes go blank in fear or recognition. He stops fighting, he stops running. I can only hope he starts listening. I do what I can. Siri has time to think—whatever time Rorschach gives us. As for the others, they do not matter. They die.

We all die.


I chose this scene because there was a lot of discussion before in the book about how afraid everyone was of Sarasti, and I thought it was interesting to see him ‘snap’ and act more like a predator. Also, the scene was so vividly different from Siri’s point of view than from Sarasti’s, since not only was Sarasti not trying to kill him, but also at the time nobody knew that Sarasti was under the control of Theseus. The action of the story all boils down to the realization that consciousness and intelligence are different things—that the scramblers work just as well when they are in pain. In many ways this scene is the climax of the book. In order to rewrite it, I kept all of the dialogue the same, but cut out what James and Bates said, since I thought Sarasti would be unconcerned with it, although still aware and processing. I tried to make him speak ‘outside’ of time, cutting out past tense. I didn’t want to make him seem emotional, but since he is a predator I thought he would be excited during the scene; in fact, in the book, he is smiling for most of it. The scene is somewhat hectic from Siri’s point of view, since he is panicking. I wanted it to be slower from Sarasti’s viewpoint, not only because he was in control but also because he operates so much more quickly than the other characters.

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