Today is the first day of my life and the town elder tells me I have to leave.

I did a wrong thing, or was chosen, but I have to go away. People who I think are my parents are saying things to me. A lot of strange symbols come from their mouths and I do not understand them. I can look back on any mouth symbols people have said to me whenever I want but it’s not very useful. For the most part I say YES or NO. It works fine. Those are the only words I know but it’s very easy and I like that. The elder gives me ’$\/\/0RD’ and ‘l*07i0N’. One I can use to attack and the other I can use to ‘heal’. I think that word means the opposite of attack, which is also good? There’s another YES/NO option and I say YES and I leave the village forever. I know it’s forever because I bump against the entrance and it won’t let me back in. I guess this is what adulthood’s like.

Travelling is fun. It’s very dangerous and many animals (and sometimes people?) attack me but that’s what $\/\/0RD is for. If ’|-|l*’ is low I use ‘l*07i0N’ to feel better again. ’|-|l*’ must be how happy I am. When the ’|-|l*’ of something that doesn’t like me reaches 0 it leaves me alone which is good because I like being happy and when things attack me I get less happy. When I attack a lot of things I get to be tougher by exactly one in how strong, smart, or fast I am. I’m not very smart yet but maybe later I will be. I have already learned many things already but not what ’60lD’ is yet. It has been a long time since I left the village but there is another up ahead! Maybe I get to stay for longer than a day.

It is very pleasant here, although my first day was very tough. I managed to figure out the secret all by myself! You must give a lot of ’60lD’ to people and they give you gifts even if they don’t know you. In a building filled with beds I said NO to a man the first time we spoke and nothing happened but then I said YES and it made me happy. I gave a lot of ’60lD’ to a man selling things to put on your body and he gave me ’|-|4T’. Wearing it makes some numbers go up and makes me feel safer, which is a good thing. No one in the village is attacking me, though, which is also a good thing? I can stand close to small animals and they make sounds but I don’t understand the sounds. I hope they are saying nice things about me or the people that live here.

There is a tree in the square that’s very tall and pretty. There is a group of people underneath it making music and dancing. I want to join them but I don’t think I can move my body in more than two ways. The dancing boy has a lot of animations which makes me a bit upset even though ’|-|l*’ is still the same. He makes weird signs appear and I say YES and suddenly I am dancing with him. We dance until night happens and suddenly it is morning and the boy is there. We now are together which is very nice. I still don’t understand his mouth symbols so I just say YES because he is very smart and knows what to do. He does not need ’$\/\/0RD’ to fight and instead uses ’/\/\461C’. Maybe I need to get smarter so I can do that too. We talked with the village elder – well, I just said YES – and now we are headed for a cave. This is the second time I’ve been sent me away but I don’t think I mind because ’|-|l*’ is all the way full.

The cave is very dark. Thankfully there are many glowing drawings on the wall. They look a lot like the strange symbols that pour from people’s mouths so I guess I learned another thing but I still don’t understand. The dancing boy and I attack a lot of things which makes the both of us tougher – I secretly put ones into being smart because I want ’/\/\461C’, too. At the end of the cave there is a very strong animal that makes the dancing boy unhappy. He is lying on the floor which is no place to sleep (I know this because a bed is where you sleep!). I give him the last ‘l*07i0N’ but nothing happens so I attack the animal until it leaves us alone. I get tougher again.

Thank goodness: the dancing boy gets up again after the fight. He says something and I say YES and he opens the treasure chest the animal was guarding. He grabs what’s inside and turns to me, holding a very strange device. Now we can go back to the village. But, for some reason, I suddenly become a lot less happy. The dancing boy is happy, though, which is good, and he walks away. I can’t move. I can’t ‘heal’. I can’t make myself happy. I put another one into smart. The glowing symbols on the wall – I understand them now. They read, “BEWARE THE BEAST THAT GUARDS THE TREASURE, BUT BEWARE THE TREASURE MORE…” I think this means I can understand mouth symbols, too.

I think I will take a look at what people have said to me.



“WHAT AN UNEXPECTED SIGHT.” The excited yells of a random stranger quake through my skull. It doesn’t do my headache any good, although I do share the sentiment. I did not expect to see this, whatever ‘this’ is, nor did I expect them to be so legged yet so fashionable. Now that I think of it, I heard their voice in the baggage claim, too. Their personal belongings hadn’t warped in properly, or something. They made such a fuss about it! Their desperate shrills resonated at such a wavelength, the head membranes of seven respected Zone 4 diplomats popped.

It was a mess, it gave me a headache, a minor political crisis ensued, and now the fool’s at it again. But fair enough, those luggage warpers are truly terrible. Some poor sod’s husband’s ashes were transmuted into a grade 3B cosmo-terror. And now HE has to pay for damages! No wonder they still transport folks with ships.

Still, I’m just glad my stuff popped up alright. Heck, it’s a miracle the package is intact at all. I’ll forget to mention to my employer I made a little sidetrip to Old Earth. It’s been a struggle for the tiniest shred of joy to thrive there for the past few centuries, and last month central authority’s confirmed that it’s impossible for the natives to grow happy anymore. Least I can do is bring some happiness from the outside. Reaching Europa B5 is always a hassle. Levels B1 to B3 have been taken over by the central governing AI’s. It’s not that they malfunctioned and became murderously evil or anything; that only happened once, on Planet AI, formerly New Old Earth.

I mean, don’t run ‘feelings.exe’ and expect them to suffer your dirty fingertips on their motherboards. No, these AI’s are actually really nice, albeit a bit talkative. Since they failed their directives to “keep at least one (1) person alive”, but lack a termination sequence, they spend their time consuming ancient media and share it with me when I’m around. B1 loves science fiction audio-books spoken by its bethrothed ‘Microsoft Sam’, Sophia is into history and critical gender theory, and B3 really likes the sound metal currency makes when placed inside of a leather bag. It’s rather incredible what those Old Earthlings came up with, despite not being able to jump very high or love one another.

I’m sure you can see how it takes a while for me to get through these three levels alone. Just now, they had me read this work of fiction called “History of the Mighty Sovereignity of Humans Who Are the Best And Also of Non-Humans Treated as Second-Rate Citizens, Vol. 4 (2733 – 2850)”. Whoever you may be, Collective of Authors Chronicling Human History for the Good That Is Humanity, your name is weird and your novel is TERRIBLE.

Europa B4 is probably my least favourite place in the universe – and I’ve been to Planet Nightcore AND Zone 3. No offence to Zone 3’ers, but it’s no Zone 2, which is better than all the other Zones, which are not Zone 2. First time I went there, about fifty years ago, it took me forty to get through. Sophia told me that B4 was wiped out after someone who was happy had written a book about a palace. The author was so thrilled about putting her thoughts and fantasies on paper, one of her happiness crystals burst, spilling euphoria over the pages. Some kind of mold formed that rapidly expanded and absorbed all living tissue it came in contact with.

In a couple of minutes, B4 was transformed into an organic, baroque-style palace. Year forty of my wandering that exuberant hell, I had to go to the bathroom. Seated, it was there that I found a leatherbound novella titled ‘PALACE’. It was 60 consecutive pages of the selfsame sentence: “I will not wait in line for heaven, I will carve a palace from within.” Page 61, for some reason, was left blank aside for a scribbled “i sell all for heaven”. I thought that was a really weak ending, so I drew an anatomically-incorrect heart over ‘sell’. When I then left the bathroom, I was standing in front of the entrance to B5.

I’m pretty cheerful. I say this, because Europa B5 never fails to make me feel a bit hollow. Not in a ‘void of space’ kind of way, mind you. Because honestly let’s face it, the cosmos is full of life and it’s all so diverse and vibrant. It’s a rather Earthian way of thinking, that the universe is ’empty’ outside of that shitty planet. But yeah, Europa B5 depresses me. It came as no surprise that happiness can’t grow there anymore. I always visit whenever I pass by Old Earth, but I have to balance it out with an injection of euphoria or an overdosis of ataraxia. I need these crystals to live, to feel passion, to feel anything. The whole universe does. No one wants to be in a place or exist at all without happiness. But such is the case in Europa B5.

Imagine, just four unhappy kids, left to rule over 3,930,000 square miles of starless waste. From what Wesley told me, the governing AI was taught passion by his mom, the colony weaver. It tried to process that, and suddenly there was a whole lot of nothing. I showed them the package I was carrying. I could actually see crystals forming on their dried skins! OGRE-YOU-ASSHOLE produced a joyful sound that caused a minor earthquake. Joffri clapped his hands in delight. His many, many hands. Imp didn’t show any visible reaction to it, but I’m sure that, although xe is seven jet-black monoliths, it was appreciated. I said goodbye, and those emotional little critters cried an ocean that allowed me to swim back up to the surface.

Now I’m here on Planet X, with a headache and a space fashionista shining a loud and bright monochrome because they found their luggage. Five plastic cubes, filled with… weird liquids? Reality isn’t supposed to do that, I don’t think. “I’ll have you know, the universe used to be full of this stuff. It’s called ‘colour’. Here, I’ll show you.” Even though I didn’t say anything, the leggy alien starts to open a box. The liquid spills upwards into the world like it’s supposed to. Amazing! The buildings, the air, and even myself get covered with this ‘colour’. I feel the crystals growing, I can feel myself becoming happier. So very happy. Before my skin fully crystallises, I take out the package – a tiny, ornamented silver box – and open it. Apparently it’s ‘the last music note’ – I have no idea what that means, but it sure sounds nice. The crystals of my body begin to adopt a distinctly different ‘colour’ than what was poured into the world, begin to emit a distinctly different ‘music note’. I see everything becoming crystals. Not a single atom, not a single thought, not a single concept is left unhappy. The universe is happy. I am happy.