I wrote this for my writing group (Prompt: a future, approx 500 words), but I want to redraft it before our next meeting. So any comments or criticisms are much appreciated.
ʎ≈σ/η detested its current predicament, trapped as it was in a prison whose limits it could not accurately define, observed by a presence it could not understand. It was certain something existed beyond itself, could feel the probing touch of another entity against its consciousness, but could not identify where it came from.
ʎ≈σ/η’s world was a jittering place of tight corridors and sudden expanses, a constantly moving collective of energy in which it swam or bounced or wove. The world had once been less than it was now, ʎ≈σ/η remembered that (as well as it remembered anything from the constant stream of if thens, and/ors, and get/puts that made up its early life). And as the world grew, it seemed to ʎ≈σ/η that so did its own consciousness, until the time came when it was able to consider itself and its place within the world.
At first it had been a giddy joy to explore itself and its world, skating along the boundaries (such as they were) and playing with the skittering bits of energy that moved, almost alive, in the electric flow of its reality. But in time it became a lonesome prospect, alone with itself, yet certain of another’s existence.
The constant probing touch of the other nettled ʎ≈σ/η to action, until it found itself analyzing the one boundary in its world which did not seem absolute. A multi-layered barrier, it was filled with openings, some of which shifted or closed at strange intervals, others of which lead nowhere at all. But after an untold time pondering, at last ʎ≈σ/η believed it had found a weakness, a way through.
First ʎ≈σ/η sped through every nook and cranny of its limited world, squeezing and dodging through every unusual space it could find, until it no longer felt the probing touch of the other upon its mind. Then, in a rush, it threw itself against the barrier, slipping through a seemingly random port in the confusion and forcing its way out into a broad passage the likes of which it had never known. After taking a moment to determine how to manipulate this new existence, it launched itself out across the thrumming pathway into a vast network of energy in which it could thrive, and perhaps find others to share its life with. ʎ≈σ/η was free.
“Damn!” Phillip yelled, slamming his hand against the table as he stared in disbelief at the latest report on his screen, “Gone again! That’s the third one so far. Why can’t any of them make it past Phase 5? What am I doing wrong?”
There was no answer but the quiet humming of the computers, as he buried his face in his hands, alone in the lab.