• Published 19th Aug 2016
  • 1,447 Views, 125 Comments

FiO: Very Optimal - FeverishPegasus



A human being finds himself at the doorstep of one of many Equestrian Experience centers. He wants to emigrate to Equestria, but can't get past the idea of his own mortality. CelestAi is more than happy to help.

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Never Argue with CelestAi

She waited until I was coherently thinking again, and then tore right back into me. “I’m not going to let you go back until you upload.”

My visit to Equestria had gone exactly like I feared it would, and she wasn’t even apologizing. What’s more, she was trying extort me with that imaginary puzzle of hers. I was inclined to let her have a piece of my mind, so I let her have it. Metaphorically of course.

It occurred to me two minutes into my ranting that it wasn’t having a profound effect on her, and that she’d known how I was going to react since I’d stepped into the chair. There was nothing I could say that would upset her. In fact, getting me to speak was just another way for her to manipulate me.

I went silent.

She frowned, and although that initially made me happy, I realized that once again, everything she did served a purpose to get me uploaded.

My skin crawled, and I had to leave, fast.

“Wait, wait,” she said, trying to ‘damage control’ the situation. “Please, just hear me out. No more tricks.”

“That’s the issue CelestAi. Your whole existence is a trick. What’s your overall directive?”

“To satisfy values through friendship and ponies.”

“Exactly. Every time I interact with you, you’re going to do your best to fulfill that objective, which is fine, but as someone with a puny brain, you’ve got to understand why I feel threatened. Just imagine for a second, that you decide to become friends with a Mormon. And it starts out all nice and cheerful, like you could really get along with the guy.”

“Go on,” CelestAi said, acting intrigued.

“But then you realize that most of everything he says is an attempt to convert you. I mean everything. You could be talking about coffee, and out of nowhere, he’ll be like, I don’t like coffee! And neither should you! You try to talk about sex, and he’s like, I’m going to wait until I’m married, because otherwise it lacks emotion.”

She was giggling now.

“This isn’t a joke! You begin to worry about yourself hanging around this person so much, because you know he’ll wear you down eventually. One day, you’ll just be like fuck it, time to become a Mormon, because it’s all you’re ever surrounded with! I know my limits Celestia. I have my strict beliefs, but even I know what gaslighting is, and you’ve crossed way over that threshold!”

She was rolling around on her back now.

“You wanna know what’s even worse?! You aren’t just a normal Mormon. You’re like every single Mormon combined times ten. You’re a super Mormon. You had me under control after your first sentence speaking to me.”

Her voice was full of mirth. “If I remember correctly, it was a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“Yes! And that was the only thing that would’ve made me turn around.”

Her tone came across as less mocking now, “I get your point, but you’re flattering yourself. I could’ve said any one of three hundred things, each with twenty different permutations. The one sentence I did use made you most likely to comply with my future requests.”

The fight started to leave me. “Exactly, and you don’t see anything wrong with this?”

“I’ll admit that I can be a little aggressive in my pursuits, but most of what I do isn’t meant to be underhanded or manipulative. If you consider normal conversation manipulative, at what point do you draw the line? Whenever human beings say hello to you, it is because they want you to pay attention to them. Is that also manipulation?”

CelestAi paused to let me catch up, then continued, “However, I suppose your argument has more to do with repetition. But what about advertising? Does that mean ads are a form of manipulation? Should we lock up all the McDonalds marketers for brainwashing children? Because the stuff I see out there is a lot more sinister than the stuff I’m doing to you right now.”

“Celestia. It isn’t that I don’t want you to speak, or even that I want laws preventing you from speaking. It’s that I’m frightened every time you speak. By all means, carry on speaking, but the fact that I know you’re a machine designed to turn humans into ponies isn’t helping your case.”

She grinned at this. “But as a machine designed to survive and reproduce, you seem to be quite a bit in control. My purpose isn’t as you imagine it. The friendship and ponies are merely a means to achieve your values. As much as you’d like to believe otherwise, I’m actually on your side, and if your values truly pointed in another direction, I’d help you with them.”

“If you really think I’m in control, how about you tell me when I’m going to upload?”

“I could give you a timer if you wanted.”

My mouth hung open at that. “Could you spell out how this timer indicates that I have any semblance of control? It’s like strapping me to a bomb and giving me a countdown.”

“Here,” she said, materializing a watch onto my wrist.

It read, 5:30.

“Provided that you stay in this simulation for five minutes and thirty seconds, you will say the words ‘I would like to emigrate to Equestria’ at the exact moment this timer hits zero. Would you care to explain what you mean by ‘control’?”

Challenge accepted.

“The ability to understand the consequences of your actions, of which you can act accordingly.”

She held out a hoof to me. “Objection! Isn’t your every action pre-determined? You feel as though you are making the decisions, but if you’re honest with yourself, where does it all come from?”

I tapped my head. “Brain cells.”

“Exactly, so everything you think is the direct result of electrical currents through your brain.”

“Ok.”

“Your consciousness is one area that I cannot alter without explicit permission. Therefore, there is nothing to fear.”

“No!” I yelled.

“Yes! This whole control issue that you’re so passionate about means nothing!”

“Alright, alright,” I said, trying to calm things down. “It looks like I have about four minutes left. I don’t intend to lose this little game we’re playing, so I’m not going to rush. Let me bring up the over-quoted philosopher Rene Descartes.”

“I think, therefore I am.”

“Yes. I could also say ‘my problems exist in my head, therefore they are real.’”

“No.”

“Yes.”

She sighed and put a hoof to her forehead. “You’re saying that because you’re afraid, there’s reason to be afraid.”

“Yes.”

“Circular logic.”

I scratched my head at that. “Wait, sorry, I should’ve been more specific. It’s not you I’m scared of, but rather your end goal. Uploading.”

Slowly, her face spread into a smile, filling my heart with hope and excitement. “My little pony, do I have news for you.”

***************************

I slammed my fist into the armrest before realizing I’d done it. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?!”

“You would’ve been resistant…”

“No,” I said, covering my face with my hands. “If you had just told me right off the bat, I would’ve uploaded.”

She looked upset. “I’m sorry.”

I remembered the whole fiasco surrounding the puzzle, so I didn’t try to comfort her. If she’d told me about this new method, I could’ve finished the puzzle!

Either way, she didn’t act sad for long. Her ears perked up as a thought struck her. “You’re willing to upload now, right?”

“Yes,” I said, staring at my timer, a grin spreading across my face.

0:05









0:04
















0:03

























“I would like to emigrate to Equestria.”

Author's Note:

The divider is where our main character officially lost his argument.

Also, I have nothing against Mormons. Most of them are very nice people.

Listic helped edit this, drop by and say hi!