• Published 19th Aug 2016
  • 1,431 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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Initializing

“I’ll have to ask that any head movements you make are slow and deliberate.”

It had been a while since I felt this nervous. Like, I’d been grinning when I gave her my consent, but now I was realizing just what I’d done. The nanobots were going to tear through my brain, and I was sitting here, letting it happen. Wouldn’t my…

Wouldn’t my head feel lighter?

Good god.

Bile pushed itself up my throat, and I vomited over my shoulder, trying to move as slowly as my reactions would allow. Some of it landed on my shoulder, and I thought about what other bodily fluids I’d release once CelestAi finished the process, my mind screeching with anxiety.

“You’re a very brave human,” she said, her eyes looking at me with a dentist’s precision.

“Will it hurt?”

“Of course not.” Her voice was terse, focused. “I’ve already gotten started.”

I hadn’t noticed, and that comforted me. Thought about the right way, I could imagine myself on the way to a vacation spot, waiting patiently as the boring whitewashed walls of my plane whizzed to paradise. But of course, the method of transportation was a bit different.

Around me, the walls morphed into those of a commercial airliner, round windows spaced at equal intervals.

I looked out a window, and saw cirrus clouds pass me. Below, a landscape of pure white stretched to the horizon, not as snow, but densely packed clouds, miraculously resisting the urge to turn grey as they roiled together.

And we just kept going up. Soon the cirrus clouds were only grey outlines against the cloud cover, and the sky darkened above me, revealing some of space’s brightest stars. It wasn’t real, but the sight took my breath away.

CelestAi really knew her bedside manner. Her form still stood in front of me, staring at me like a neurosurgeon. Every now and then, I’d see her eyes make miniscule movements, as if to indicate that she were focusing on different parts of my brain.

As much as other people would’ve preferred a more casual experience, it comforted me to see a digital representation of her focusing on what she had to do. Mistakes weren’t something I could afford, but seeing the form of someone competent and on the job did well to quell my fears.

The little things were what got me through this process.

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

Eventually, just as my nerves started to get the best of me, and the plane illusion no longer worked, CelestAi updated me on her progress.

“Done.” The airplane illusion faded away.

“You are?” I said. The process had taken about half an hour. CelestAi had either used drugs to slow down my perception of time, or she really was that fast. Perhaps she’d finished twenty five minutes ago, and the extra waiting only served to make me feel more comfortable about the process. I wanted to believe she’d been trustworthy, but it occurred to me that because of this belief, I’d never know if she was telling the truth.

“Follow my hoof with your eyes.”

I followed her extended limb as she waved it around like she was cleaning a window. Every now and then, she acted as though there were especially tough smudges to eliminate, and waggled her hoof at them furiously. The little things…

“Ok, you’re set,” she said.

“I…I’m a pony?”

“No. Still a human. Connected to your original body. The only thing uploaded is your brain, and from there, signals are wirelessly sent to your body. I’d just developed the nodes to control your spinal cord, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth a year ago, so count yourself lucky.”

Thinking about whether it was safe to walk, I asked, “Can I?”

“Yes, go ahead,” she said, gesturing to the floor in front of her. “It will help to see your old body fall.”

“Don’t do it yet.”

“Of course, but I’d like you to take steps toward me. Just so you can see that you’re in control.” Once again, she gestured to the floor in front of her, more vigorously this time.

I acquiesced and made my way, slowly, cautiously, over to where CelestAi was pointing. Nothing seemed to have changed. Even the weight of my head…

Yeah, let’s not think about that.

Eventually, I made it to her, and sat down. Truly, she was a goddess, and I was just one of her little ponies. It felt nice really, just to bask in her presence. To feel the warmth of a cold metallic Ai that had gone to such lengths for me, willing to guide me through every one of my unique human intricacies, while I sought to prevent her from doing so at every turn.

“The next process might alarm you, but let me assure you that your consciousness is not being tampered with.”

I just sat patiently until a slightly smaller room faded into my vision. It was hard to describe the experience; she’d made it so that I could see both rooms at once. The original room remained solid and opaque, but overlaying it, I could see semi-transparent walls bounce out about a foot from the original.

“Go ahead,” CelestAi said, summoning a bar in front of me. “Adjust the transparency.”

It occurred to me that the bar was in fact, the kind of slider you’d see in image editing software, with a little button to press and slide in whichever direction suits your fancy.

Sliding the button to the left made the semi-transparent room disappear completely, so that it looked as if I were in the original room again.

Sliding to the right faded the new room into my vision again, until it eventually blocked out vision of the older walls.

A little ding went off when the slider hit the very right of the bar, and I found that I was unable to readjust it. It was disappointing that I couldn’t mess with the slider anymore, but then again, I really wanted to get to Equestria.

“Bear with me.” Her voice soothed me more than I’d ever imagined it could. “There are things we must go through to finish the process. Can I release your old body?”

“Yes,” I said with conviction. The new room had been computer generated, and it occurred to me that my whole experience was now on the server. The ghost of me simply walked around in the old room like a zombie, according to the movements of my virtual self. The task of breathing remained to prevent discrepancies between zombie me and virtual me. As soon as-

Click.

The semi-transparent, zombie version of me fell to the floor, making a ponk sound quite like the one Zany had made in my adventures.

Good god. I’d get to meet her again!

My corpse shimmered into nothingness in front of me, and I realized now that nothing could stop me. Life was just a video game! I could die, respawn, die, resp-

But I didn’t have to die!

This was a world that catered to me. I could live the life of an untouchable hero, invincible even in the direst circumstances. Nothing would be able to hurt me, because it would be set up that way, while at the same time orchestrated so that my experiences felt legitimate.

I could start out as the underdog, the one pony that wasn’t expected to succeed in life, and take the new world by storm. Riding wave after wave of success until I’d thoroughly impressed the ponies around me.

I could live the life of a monk, spending an eternity trying to understand what it meant to be me, riding on CelestAi’s coattails while we explored layer after infinite layer of the universe. A spiritual journey made so much more potent by the blissful isolation brought on by the sights only She could conjure.

I could live a normal life, marry Zany, and raise my own children.

“Don’t get excited just yet. We have a few more things to get through.”

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

And get through them we did!

One second I was a human being standing on my feet, the next, I fell down onto my forehooves, stirring dust up at interesting fractals.

In front of me, Zany stared at a smooth beige wall, scratching her head every now and then. It looked as though she were trying to focus, and my landing had made that difficult.

I shuffled over and sat next to her, literally inches away. Waiting for her to turn, to find my face so close to hers. How would she react?

Either way, Zany had the patience of a rock.

She continued to stare at the wall with the practiced gaze of a musician. Head shifting slightly as if she were reading music notes at a steady four by four.

I remained grounded, determined to surprise her.

Eventually, she came to what seemed like a double bar line and her head-swiveling stopped, finished with whatever she’d been reading on that blank wall. And then, she looked at me.

My eyes became bright with excitement, and my smile widened with nervousness. How would she react?

She wasn’t actually looking at me. It was more like looking through me. As if she’d hoped to find my presence, but could only see the dust I was resting on. Defeated, she turned back to the wall, mumbling something. “What was it that he saw here?”

I looked back at my hooves and saw that they were transparent. It seemed CelestAi had one more step to complete.

I collapsed and bumped my snout on ground. Hadn’t she finished everything? What kind of game was she playing now? I’d made it. Zany was right there. What more could she satisfy?

“One more thing,” CelestAi said, her voice ringing through my ears. “But you’re not going to like it.”

Author's Note:

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