The Oracle of DARPA

by Bogi Takács

Log: Jan­u­ary 04 2012, Part 53

Are they weapons?

they are black and sleek like pan­thers languid
they spew forth destruc­tion in a sin­gle enrap­tured beam
are they weapons?

Please describe their fir­ing mechanism.

snakes twined around arms, then the flashflood
the future all we can see. i sense the impact
carved on sur­faces of burn­ing ice.
i sense a revolution.

Could you please para­phrase this? The expla­na­tion is unclear.

it is unclear as it is shroud­ed in loops upon loops
of bright green tan­gles of vine. i am ancient
and most unex­pect­ed. i am you and

Break request­ed.

Thank you for your con­tin­ued coop­er­a­tion. Let’s get back to the weapons. Please describe their inter­nal structure.

swivel­ing the motion­less beams cry in anguish

Hold. No mov­ing parts?

all eter­nal mov­ing parts
what is movement?

Do these weapons have parts for whose func­tion­ing motion is nec­es­sary, as dis­tinct from the move­ment of oth­er parts that fol­lows the move­ment of the whole?

not in the way you are stated,
all tun­nels bur­row into flesh.
are you suf­fi­cient­ly unsettled?

Break request­ed.

Log: May 14 2012, Part 1

Thank you for your con­tin­ued coop­er­a­tion over the past five months. Your infor­ma­tion has proven exceed­ing­ly valuable.

The last time we stopped at the induc­tion crys­tals. You stat­ed that the crys­tals were posi­tioned cen­tral­ly at the bot­tom of the bar­rel. Is that correct?

the out­stretched arm of pow­er and restriction
will not yield in the face of the thesis
i am approven.

I will take that as a yes. Is the bar­rel oth­er­wise empty?

all is filled with the glo­ry of evanescence
evap­o­rat­ing inside itself.

Is the bar­rel filled only temporarily?


Is the bar­rel filled before firing?

the stream comes and goes, we please
it is the ascen­dence, the aspiration.

Is the bar­rel filled after firing?

all cease the out­break. the outburst,
the exha­la­tion. con­cep­tu­al knowledge.
we eat it as skulls crunched like grapes
i can expe­ri­ence you with all

Break request­ed.

Log: Decem­ber 03 2012, Part 45

Let’s get back to dis­cussing the fir­ing range. The pro­to­types per­formed as described, but there seems to be an unex­pect­ed side-effect. Oper­a­tors con­sis­tent­ly report mod­er­ate­ly intense to intense feel­ings of dere­al­iza­tion and deper­son­al­iza­tion. Are you aware of this side-effect?

sound the col­lo­qui­alisms. i am a product
with an ele­men­tary core. it is too open-ended

Rephras­ing. Can you please describe the effects of fir­ing the weapon which are not essen­tial to the weapon’s main function?

alas, it is! all inter­twined, with you into me

Break request­ed.

Resum­ing. Are you try­ing to say that these psy­cho­log­i­cal effects are essen­tial to the weapon’s functioning?

adrift on a sea of coals and affirmed,
it is retal­i­a­tion ever ensought.

Break request­ed.

Extend­ed break requested.

Thank you for your coop­er­a­tion, that will be all for today.

Log: Decem­ber 04 2012, Part 3

Let me try to rephrase this one more time. You have delib­er­ate­ly instruct­ed us to build a weapon which con­fers seri­ous psy­cho­log­i­cal side-effects on the oper­a­tor. Have you done that?

there is still a use. is there a chain?
is there a tall tow­er among conifers?

What use?

for self-delib­er­a­tion, ever again.

How can I know you are telling the truth?

i am you.

I spent a year work­ing with you! Why are you doing this to me?

your words are pink and tasty
with the fra­grance of a thousand

Stop, please stop.

lemons and ele­va­tors, you are a
poem beloved only by its owner,

Break request­ed.

I apol­o­gize, I was out of line.

is there a sac­cade of secession,
a cas­cade unceas­ing­ly enfolding?

Hold. I’m just try­ing to say this is prob­a­bly the last time we’re talk­ing. I don’t know what’s going to hap­pen to the pro­to­types. Any­way, my work here is fin­ished. That’s all. This line of inves­ti­ga­tion is closed. I just want to say goodbye.

i have already answered
called out to the shoals

Just answer one more ques­tion. Is this your revenge?

is this your revenge?

Bogi Takács is a psy­cholin­guist, a pop­u­lar-sci­ence jour­nal­ist, a reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ist and a fan of Spi­vak pro­nouns. Eir spec­u­la­tive poet­ry has appeared in Strange Hori­zons, Stone Telling and Astropo­et­i­ca, among oth­ers. E also helps run Expand­ed Hori­zons, a mag­a­zine focus­ing on under­rep­re­sent­ed groups in SF.

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