• I’ve always looked at myself, asked what I could’ve done differently and wonder if that was the right choice to make instead of the other. Whether a road that’s paved with good intentions was necessary for road ahead or if a simple dirt path could’ve made things seem more peaceful for everyone to tread upon without the look of bitterness, how things could’ve been better if it were easy. Nothing is ever easy, it’s only hard problems with a lot of easy-to-miss solutions, because Time has a cruel way of giving us the right answer, sometimes it’ll always be at random too. It isn’t easy, even for someone like me and after all the trouble I’ve caused, all the bodies that have been laid, the choices I’ve made, the guilt inside will always push me into making the hard decisions in my life and those around. Shall I take the blame? The answer: Yes, because it was better a second ago.

    It may have been only 30 years since I left basic Iteration and spent nearly six dealing with the First Iteration after their whereabouts was leaked to us by an informant, the Second It wasn’t even prepared into a civil war despite how advanced our system is, we weren’t even told that the Collective had problems until a rep made themselves appeared. Still, we were given a job and we had to see it through. But killing was never something I’d like to do nor having my own co-workers do despite the training we’ve been going through, “just think of the traitors as hostile simulations they say,” yet we all know it isn’t that simple to just pull the trigger at what could’ve been our older siblings, our brothers and sisters, a member of our “family” (as the Professor would gleefully say before the order came in).

    She would’ve loved to meet an alternate version of herself, the Professor, the notes she could’ve shared with the First Iteration’s Professor, enjoying the times making me and my alternate self-feel annoyed yet tolerant for all the shenanigans brought before us, learning from their experience since they are the ones who were The First, and how we all could’ve worked like pairs. A simple man could dream of better times like that. But when we were told that those in the First Iteration are to be treated as an enemy, it was the first time for me to see how disappointed and heartbroken she was; other times were just a tease for me to spoil her, but this was different because she needed me the most, it was the same for me as I didn’t know how we should deal with this civil war. For a long time, we’ve spent sitting by the balcony in each other’s arms trying to come to terms with the difficult job we’ve been given and thinking about what we had to do. I didn’t want a lot of bloodshed and the Professor... she didn’t want any suffering for neither our side nor our former siblings. For a long time, we’ve spent thinking.

    We could only think of ourselves and the friends we’ve made within our simulation.

    I had to make the painful decision of going with what the Collective wanted, to save our friends from being harmed. For me and me alone to play lone wolf in this civil war and for all the blood I didn’t spill yet did. I’ve spent 5 years conditioning a third party to play the executioner and promising them a greater power than those in the First Iteration, they only needed to keep the pawns busy while the heads were mine to deal with. Our temporary allies played their role very well, but the power I promised was only a kill switch to cut any ties to me and the Collective.

    It goes above and beyond from where it’s not my hands that killed our elder siblings, but spilling the blood of those who consider their cause justifiable to gain more power from someone who's like the major threat they were up against, those who’re corrupted by ambitious and self-righteous for selfish gains; I have no problem shedding their blood. But the guilt will always be there, and I’d regret losing our siblings.