Bewildering Stories

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The Glorification of the System

The Invincible Spud

It all happened when Ekretioglorfi Eglaturithitur Eraklelitlela Eithelodnoglo E.E.E.E.E.E.E.E. Elefpitekladis-Ethulopithi-Ekritaraktarakliflutopathifoz EEEE-4B31 was abducted by cyberfrogs. Such things rarely happen, but Abduction-by-Cyberfrogs (this term is always hyphenated and capitalized as indicated) occurs quite frequently among members of the rapidly expanding subset of the general population among whom one, of course, absolutely must include Ekre, whose full name, considered highly and extremely unpronounceable by most people who've never heard of it, was devised artificially, with the aid of a pseudorandom number generator, one eccentric night during a thunderstorm by someone whose name, which, in full, happens to contain only four letters, will not be disclosed in any manner whatsoever in the text of this narrative, except to say that it was P Cgi. Ekre, of course, prefers E as a nickname, but this is often confused with other words, many of them interjections, having the same or similar pronunciation, hence the use of Ekre instead. Cyberfrogs, on the other hand, analog or digital, don't give a flibbertigibbety gobbledygook about names, analog or digital or otherwise. Names are just too much of a mess to deal with.

The two cyberfrogs said, "You will come with us."

Ekre, who spent too much time on the Net, didn't respond at first. Then it became clear what the situation was. It was, of course, an Abduction-by-Cyberfrogs. Ekre should have been terrified, but being terrified wasn't even close to the top of the list of things to do at that time. Besides, the cyberfrogs looked awfully adorable. They looked as if they belonged beside Goober the Flying Beaver™ in a child's collection of toys instead of patrolling the Net in the service of the all-encompassing System.

Ekre, therefore, laughed. The cyberfrogs didn't like it when people laughed, especially when they were the object of ridicule, and it was quite obvious what Ekre was laughing at.

They, therefore, responded.

"You will come with us," they said.

They didn't sound at all formidable and fear-inspiring. Instead, the fact that they were talking made them seem even more appropriate among other talking toys (batteries not included).

Ekre, therefore, laughed some more.

The cyberfrogs, however, were unmoved.

"You will come with us," they said.

"Sure, I'll do that," Ekre said. "Where are we going now? Frogland?"

The cyberfrogs did not reply.


P Cgi looked up.

The cyberfrogs had returned, escorting between them yet another citizen who could potentially serve as an agent of the all-encompassing System, which didn't really encompass much, considering the ratio of the amount of Netspace encompassed by the System to the amount of Netspace not encompassed by the System. In fact, this ratio was so close to zero it wasn't even funny.

The laughing sphere bouncing up and down in the space between the two cyberfrogs apparently thought it was.

"This isn't funny!" P Cgi said.

The sphere stopped bouncing up and down, but it was still laughing.

"I mean it!"

The sphere stopped laughing.

"Good," P Cgi said. "Now please change your avatar. I don't like dealing with spheres. It brings back certain memories I don't want to remember."

The person behind the sphere reset the avatar to the default setting. This, however, was even worse, as it brought back certain memories that P Cgi wanted even more not to remember. Unwanted recollections of an eccentric night during a thunderstorm drifted back.

"No . . ."

"I remember you. You're B. Gunky!"

"No, no, you're mispronouncing it. It's P Cgi!"

"P. Icky?"

"No, forget it," P Cgi said. "Now, where was I?"

"Do you remember me? I'm Ekretigoof . . . Egla-something . . . Erak-something . . . something . . . something. Oh, I forgot. I'm sorry."

"Yes, yes, I remember you. I created you, curse it. That was a big mistake."

"What was a big mistake?" Ekre said.

"Oh, never mind. Forget about it. It's not important."

The memories returned, stronger than ever. How could a simple experiment result in such a stupid artificial intelligence program? It wasn't possible. It just wasn't possible. But it had happened. Why?

"Oh, why do you have to be here, Ekre? Why?"

"The cyberfrogs took me here," Ekre said. "Are we going to Frogland? I want to go to Frogland! Please?"

"No, Ekre," P Cgi said. "I'm sorry. There is no such thing as Frogland. This is the all-encompassing System that really doesn't encompass much. Please leave. I don't want you here. Cyberfrogs, please take our friend away."

"Shall we apply the Treatment?" the cyberfrogs said.

"The Treatment?"

The Treatment, of course, was the main method by which the glorification of the System occurred. Each potential citizen abducted by the cyberfrogs by the method of Abduction-by-Cyberfrogs became, in turn, agents of the System. Through their continual presence on the Net, they expanded the existence of the System, thus enabling the all-encompassing System that encompassed almost nothing to encompass a bit more of Netspace. Encompassing was, after all, the object of the System.

"Yes, of course," P Cgi said. "Apply the Treatment."


After applying the Treatment, the cyberfrogs escorted Ekre out of the administrative center of the area encompassed by the System.

"But what about Frogland?"

"There is no Frogland," the cyberfrogs said.

"But I want to go to Frogland!"

"There is no Frogland."

Then they returned to their duty as agents of the all-encompassing System that encompassed very little, patrolling the Net for more potential citizens who could serve, in turn, as agents for the glorification of the System.

That was when the cybertoads appeared.

"I want to go to Toadland!" Ekre said.

"You will come with us," the cybertoads said. After all, they didn't really give a flibbertigibbety gobbledygook about Toadland, analog or digital or otherwise.

"Yahoo!" Ekre said.

Abduction-by-Cybertoad (this term, being unknown, does not have to be hyphenated and capitalized as indicated) was, and still is, unheard of. No one knows just what cybertoads really are. In fact, no one has ever heard of them. The term remains unfamiliar to the entire population. Hypothetically speaking, they may be agents of an alternate all-encompassing System that really does encompass everything. They may have come from a future in which the System has encompassed all. No one really knows because no one has heard of them.

But Ekre didn't care. They looked awfully adorable, almost as if they belonged beside Beaver the Flying Goober™ in a child's collection of toys instead of being the strange nonexistent entities they appeared to be, analog or digital or otherwise. So Ekre went with them and never returned. No one knows where they went, but it probably wasn't Toadland.

Copyright © 2002 by The Invincible Spud.