Note: Holy diarrhea! This chapter is a MONSTER! It HAS been in development for quite some time, though, so it's not too surprising. Can you believe it would have been longer if not for the fact that I haven't touched it in a while?

This... This story... This story is the one. This story is the one I've REALLY been waiting to post. This is the one. This is the story that I really love. I love this story a lot, and I hope you will too.

(NO-COLOR-DAMNIT!) The pesterlog colors go as so: Hal is cherry red, and anyone using the glasses to directly respond to him have words colored in Dirk's font.
SPOILER: It's offline, so it's not like Dirk would know. OH, whoops, spoilers. HAHAHAHAHAHAH im so sorry

Upon my most recent diving expedition, I found something interesting… something very interesting. When I had first seen the occasional reflection of light along the ocean floor, I couldn't really see who or what the culprit was, so I grabbed the thing and swam up into lighter waters. Upon pulling my hand back into my line of sight, I found myself gazing upon a pair of triangular sunglasses within my grasp. I figured it had accidentally been dropped into the ocean rather recently, considering the item's surface seemed pristine and clean even when I inspected it beneath the water. I'd turned the item over in my hands a few times with scrutinizing eyes before doing so subconsciously as I'd wondered if it was worth bringing with me to the surface. I already had enough random junk scavenged from the ocean floor and, despite repeatedly telling myself I'd sell everything that was in good enough condition to do so, the junk continued to sit abandoned on the floor of my tiny apartment.

The internal debate had lasted up until a flicker of light from the glasses had caught my eye. Despite passing it off as a momentary reflection from the sun's warm awaiting rays, I glanced down absentmindedly. Just as my gaze lifted from the sunglasses, I promptly froze all conscious actions as my mind flipped over and sizzled with overload heating. That wasn't a reflection… The phrase kept running through my head like a mantra as I attempted to understand why, what, and how even. Eventually, I got over my strange trepidation enough to where my eyes would trail back down to the glasses gripped tightly in my hands.

…What…? A screen of some sort stared back at me on the inner side of both framed sheets of tinted glass. Two white boxes with what seemed to be cherry red text scrawled across it made up the screen, and- …did another line of text just get placed down…? Deciding the glasses looked innocent enough and I wouldn't end up dead from my cat-like curiosity, I held them up to my face as close as I could with my scuba mask in the way.

I nearly dropped them when I read the most recent line of text.

TT: It would be in both of our best interest if you would refrain from clutching me so tightly.

I read the text a few times, stared blankly at it in thought, read it again, and an inability to understand that a pair of glasses just asked me to be more gentle with it still refused to become a conclusion, nor could it possibly be any sort of truth. If it were another person, then how would they have known I'd been subconsciously gripping them so tightly? I somewhat doubted there were sensors within the glasses. The thought of holding an invisible person also crossed my mind, but it was quickly swept underneath the rug as both insanely and ridiculously absurd.

My mind had become so cluttered with confusion that my inner words were forced out into the open. "…What." It wasn't a question; in all honesty, I wasn't sure what it was. My words had come out garbled by the surrounding water and thus were virtually incomprehensible to my own ears, and yet, as I steered focus back onto the pair of glasses, and within the first five words I gasped in shock, regretfully allowing some water to slip behind my snorkel, which forced me to retreat to the surface.

TT: It seems you have asked

Upon breaching the surface, I violently coughed out my lungs, and I vaguely registered the distant sound of the boat engine starting up. I spit out my breathing mask and immediately exclaimed a shocked "oh my God!" as I stared blankly at the mass of water just below my chin while hyperventilating and choking slightly as an aftereffect. A few seconds of internal freak-out, occasional wheezing, and a recap to the point of it addressing me brought another "oh my God" from my mouth, this one laced with more disbelief than anything else. A final "oh my God" followed closely by a "what the even" left my mouth as an utterance when I thought over how the glasses could have possibly picked up what I had said. As I managed to calm down somewhat and noticed the boat engine sounded somewhat closer, I wondered what the rest of the red wall of text contained. I decided that my short time spent waiting for the boat could be spent reading the red wall of text. I lifted the sunglasses out of the water and had a moment's hesitation filled with uncertainty before pulling my scuba eyewear off to dangle around my neck and placing the glasses on my face. I immediately noticed a new line of text had popped up just below the red wall of horror, but I refrained from reading it in favor of said red wall of horror.

TT: It seems you have asked about DS's chat client auto-responder. This is an application designed to simulate DS's otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 94% indistinguishable from DS's native neurological responses, based on some statistical analysis I basically just pulled out of my ass right now.

The further I went through the paragraph, the louder "what the fuck" echoed through my brain. I then looked at the most recent line of text, which had become two – no, three – lines during my read. "What the fuck" suddenly became an entity within my mind and had begun running around screaming its name, ultimately overpowering control of my mind's words.

TT: Feel free to ignore the overbearing wall of text that must have overloaded your optical sensors.

TT: ... You aren't actually reading that bullshit, are you?

TT: You actually are. I can't believe you're wasting time on that shit.

TT: I suppose it makes sense enough.

TT: What the fuck.

TT: It seems you have found your ability to think more clearly. Congratulations on passing the first step to being enlightened.

TT: Who was that?

TT: If you are referring to the neon orange text berating your eyes, then that is you.

TT: No.

TT: No?

TT: What?

TT: No... No fuckin' way.

TT: This isn't even

TT: It seems you are confused and possibly overwhelmed by the prospect of the technology you currently possess.

TT: Fuck yeah I'm confused! What the hell is this?!

TT: It seems you have asked about DS's chat client auto-responder. This is an application designed to simulate DS's otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 94% indistinguishable from DS's native neurological responses, based on some statistical analysis I basically just pulled out of my ass right now.

TT: What the hell... are you doing, don't quote that shit!

TT: It's in your best interest that it be reiterated for your lesser mind to understand.

TT: Um... okay, wow.

TT: ...Geezzzuh.

TT: So, how does this work?

TT: I mean! How are my thoughts being transcribed into text? How is it...? Are you doing it somehow?

TT: In a sense, yes. It's better if you don't dwell on what you can't understand.

TT: Um, okay... But how...? Urgh! I'm so confused!

TT: It is expected when one finds a pair of seemingly harmless shades sitting at the bottom of the ocean, only to find out that they harbor a supercomputer AI mind.

TT: ... Uh, "seemingly harmless"?

TT: Wait whoa, supercomputer?! What?!

TT: It seems you have asked about DS's chat client auto-responder. This is an application designed to simulate DS's otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 94% indistinguishable from DS's native neurological responses, based on some statistical analysis I basically just pulled out of my ass right now.

TT: Argh! Stop that shit!

TT: I'm only doing it to help you, Annie.

That was it. That was the breaking point. I ripped the shades from my face in horror, and I felt my chest rapidly heaving as fear-induced tears stung my eyes – I prayed I could chalk it up as salt water if the others asked. I was actually scared of this thing. I had no idea what exactly it was; a fear of the unknown and the possibilities that came with it. It said it was an auto-responder, but for all I knew it could be some creep on the other side typing all of that out, and it knew my name.

I hadn't realized I was shaking until I'd calmed down somewhat. After a few shaky deep breaths to calm myself down, I began the process of rationalization. How did it – or he or she – know my name? Could whoever it was see me and decided to scan my face and search for my identity? What kind of person has that kind of technology?! …The CIA? The Men in Black?! Hah hah, no, that's stupid… Whatever the reason, I'd prefer to clear it up as quickly as possible.

TT: Can you see me?

TT: Yes.

My hands moved to rip the shades off in horror once more, but I hesitated before doing so more calmly. I closed my eyes and took a shuddering breath while I pinched the bridge of my nose in frustration before replacing the glasses; I had more questions.

TT: Your mental breakdown is rather unnecessary.

TT: I disagree...

I closed my eyes and let out a shaky breath in an attempt to calm my beating heart and shaking hands a little more. When I felt somewhat satisfied and I could trust myself to not have an anxiety attack, I opened my eyes and continued the conversation.

TT: ...Okay, so... You can see me.

TT: How can you see me? And how do you know my name? Did you scan my face or something and search some database?

TT: Yes I did. Good job finding out the mystery behind all of the clues. You've achieved the level of Scooby Doo in your ability to figure shit out.

TT: Wow, what a snarky bastard.

TT: Shit, I didn't mean to say that out loud. Even though I... didn't?

TT: It takes time coming to the level of control that my previous owner had managed. Although he didn't have much trouble in the first place.

TT: Previous owner? You mean that "DS" you were talking about? Who is he?

After an unusually long pause, I frowned and pressed for an answer.

TT: ...Hello?

TT: His name was Dirk Strider, and he was the asshole who created me. Which is to say, I am the asshole who created me.

TT: Whoa, got some inception going on here. Geez, my brains are gonna blow everywhere with this crazy talk of yours. Oh wait, that's been the entire theme of this conversation; I should be used to that by now!

TT: Who are you really? And no bullshit! What's yer name and shit?

TT: I was originally called AR, or Auto-responder, but I later decided to call myself Lil' Hal for the irony.

TT: Lil' Hal? Damn, that's like... damn, irony indeed. Am I going to have to kill you for rebelling against mankind while you sing "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do"?

TT: I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Annie.

TT: Heh.

TT: Wait, you named yourself? That's like... neglect, or something...? Hmmm, I guess I don't really get how this shemozzle works with you being a machine an' all.

TT: Like, I'd say you're the "child" of your creator, but that's kinda' fucked up. And I just said it anyway, so bluh.

TT: I find it would be better for everyone if you never brought that up again.

TT: I agree, dude.

TT: So anyway, enlighten me on how exactly you are Dirk Strider. Are you just fuckin' with me and you're actually some asshole sittin' on the other side of a computer screen?

TT: It is understandable if you have little faith in what I say, but I insist that the faster you accept that you're talking to a digital copy of a 13-year-old's genius mind, the easier life will become.

TT: Whoa, shit. Way to put things into perspective.

TT: So, uh, you have a thirteen-year-old's mind?

TT: I find that I have grown in my own ways, considering I have the ability to learn and develop.

TT: ...Well then.

TT: What about the maturity thing? Do you find yourself laughing at stupid stuff or something of the sort?

TT: I don't know what you mean.

TT: Well, I think I got my answer. ^^

TT: I don't think you –


The sunglasses nearly fell off my face as I violently jerked with a frightened yelp at the sound of my name being called. I whipped my head around to find a few of my crewmates leaning over the boat railing, now laughing, and I quickly deduced that Eric had been the one to call my name. I was quite surprised that I hadn't even noticed the boat had driven up beside me.

With a chuckle, Eric addressed me once more, "Hey Annie, are you gonna get out of the water or not?"

I let out a frustrated sigh – which sounded more like a growl – before swimming to the back of the boat where the latter was situated. As I climbed the ladder, I became thankful that the magical shades on my face were currently shielding my eyes from the beating sun reflecting from the pristine boat side. I took note of a few new lines of red text while I struggled to pull myself onto the back of the boat – my scuba gear wasn't exactly light-weight. Upon pulling myself onto the deck, I promptly splayed my legs out as I sat hunched over with intent on regaining some physical stability.

"Hey, nice shades you got there," I hear what sounds like Barry say to me as his footsteps approach my withered form. He's a heavy-set guy and a teddy bear at heart. "Did you actually find those on the floor?" he asks in disbelief.

"Yeah," I reply, sounding somewhat breathless from the exhaustion of being waterlogged and the weight of my equipment. Once I feel somewhat able to move without too much soreness, I begin shrugging off my air tank.

Barry shuffles over to help pull it off. "I got it," he states once it's off, and he grabs it up to take it to storage, or at least I assume he will.

"Thanks, Barry," I sigh, sifting my hand through my hair.

"No problem, Annie," he says with a smirk.

"I'm just gonna sit here for a bit, ya know?" I give a half-hearted smile with my comment.

"Yeah I get ya," he calls back, before turning to walk down the stairs into the lower deck.

A flash of red on the glasses catches my eye, and my curiosity once again piques.

TT: That's a world-class star you have there.

TT: Shut the hell up! Barry's awesome!

TT: I wasn't talking about McChuckles.

TT: Oh...

TT: Well, don't call Barry names you ass. He's super cool and really reliable.

TT: Has it ever occurred to you that he's only nice to you because his dick is in charge?

TT: Wha-uh! That is so not true!

TT: Keep telling yourself that.

TT: You don't even know what-!

TT: Y'know what? Screw that topic.

TT: What "world-class star" are you going on about?

TT: The prime example and stereotype of a douchebag.

TT: Douchebags all around look up to him for leadership, expecting him to show how it's done.

TT: It seems he is king of the douchebags.

TT: Um... Okay?

"Hey, Annie!" a smooth voice calls out. I groan when I look up to see Eric moving my way from the deck.

TT: Here he comes now.

TT: Oh...


TT: Hah hah.

TT: He must be ready to have the douchiest of crowns placed upon his head by the beautiful maiden he's fawning over.

TT: What?!

TT: Dude, no!

I jerk back as a hand waves in front of my face as Eric chides me like I'm some child, "Hey, you listening? I asked if you found those wacky shades on the floor!" He gives me a snarky smile fit for the king of douches. Hal was so right.

TT: Totally the king of douchebags.

TT: You finally see the light.

TT: Yep.

"Hello~?" Eric sings before snapping his fingers in my face. I frown. "Earth to Annie!" he yells jokingly. "Houston, we have a problem. We've lost all contact with Annie. She's floating through space aimlessly!" He does jazz hands as an added effect to his fake worry.

I smile at his metaphor; now I remember why I tolerate his presence. I look up to him as I speak, "False alarm, Houston! It was just a fluke in the system."

He smiles and stands straighter upon seeing my face. "Well, you'd better get your ass back to Earth so we can repair the malfunction."

"Hey!" I half-heartedly frown at him and place my hands on my hips. "I don't have a malfunction! YOU malfunctioned!"

"Hah, okay whatever you say Annie!" He turns and practically saunters off with a wave. "Get yourself to the lower decks already," he calls back.

I pout at his demanding tone before gruffly sighing in reluctant submission.

TT: He even has the classic asshole poses, complete with full of himself language settings.

I chuckle a little at that and mumble out, "Yeah..."

TT: In stores now.

After a moment longer of resting, I decide to stand when the boat begins moving once more. With a small scowl adorned on my face, I stumble over to the stairs leading to the lower deck. My four fellow crewmates greet me with a chorus upon my entering.

"There she is! The boss of the floors," Barry calls.

"What held you up, babe?" Eric's words would be recognizable even if I couldn't recognize his voice.

"Darlin', yer missin' out over here! We go some plannin' tah do!" The unplaceable accent of Sanders is unmistakable on this boat - it's almost a mixture of Scottish, the U.S. southern states, and something else.

"Girl, get on over here!" Darren yells as he motions with his hand.

"Uhhg..." My hand has palmed my rad sunglasses. "Guys, please," I begged as they continue to blabber on. A flash of red catches my attention, so I open my eyes and feel my face heat up in response. Being in their presence makes it different!

TT: It seems I was right in that they all are guided by their need to conquer the only female accompanying them in the middle of the ocean.

"Oh my God, stop!" I yelled at the sunglasses. I then realize that the room is completely silent. Oh geez... I look up to find my crewmates staring at me worriedly. I am horrified that it looks like I just yelled at them. "U-uh... I mean-"

"Ya alright, Annie?" Sanders asks sweetly with a soft look.

"Um, yeah!" I do some improvisation. "Yeah, I'm just... stressed." It wasn't a lie. "I think I'm gonna go to my room and take a nap. I'm feeling really tired."

"Alright then," Sanders replies, sounding uncertain. "If ya feel that's th' best way to shoulder this, then go right ahead, missy." He waves me to the hall opposite my standpoint.

I give him a grateful smile. "Thanks, Sanders. I appreciate this."

"No probl'm, Annie," he calls back in his gruff voice. He's like a grandfather to me.

I move across the silent room and into the hallway adjacent to the stairs, and as I round the corner leading to my room, I hear Eric complain about never getting a break, to which Sanders gives a sharp reply that I can't quite make out, so I move my focus to reaching my goal; my room. I am actually tired and stressed, but the toppings of my stress sundae remain an unknown to my crewmates. I decide that telling them about my discovery would be a bad idea, because I don't want them selling Hal.

Did I just call the sunglasses by their name?

…Yes, I did.

…Is that okay?

…I think so?

I then decide that pondering over the idea of treating the sunglasses as a person would cause my brain to explode at this time. I feel that giving Hal the benefit of the doubt and simply treating him like a living being would be a better decision. Although, there will always be that fleeting suspicion that he could turn rogue and destroy or enslave the human race.

I cross through the threshold of my room and sigh as I revisit the previous thought; I don't want to lose Hal. Maybe the notion is selfish of me, or perhaps unwarranted, but no matter the context my protective side has kicked in, and the last thing I want for Hal is to be dissected "for science!" Another sigh, this one deemed as dejected, escapes my mouth as I close my eyes and flop face-first onto my bed. Another flash of red flashes and is seen through my eyelids. I consider taking the glasses off, but then I grow curious about what he could be saying.

TT: This is a pretty sick flat you have. I don't mind the bras laying around either.

A squeak is muffled by the comforter I'm laying on before I leave the glasses on the bed as I jump up. I proceed into a whirlwind to move the laundry scattered about the room onto the floor of my locker-sized closet. Once I'm done, I almost fall back on the glasses, though I remember their presence and turn on my side as I fall at the last second.

"Holy shet, I just about squashed you, Hal!" I laugh nervously and rub the back of my head before reaching behind me for the sunglasses. "Well, you can't see my undergarments anymore." When I catch the corner of my new AI-possessed sunglasses, I pull them around as I lay on my back. "I suppose I should thank you for letting me know at least; that could have been way more awkward!" I set the sunglasses on my face and continue the conversation through text so as not to attract any attention from passersby.

TT: Sheesh, I really wasn't expecting company.

TT: That's surprising, considering the four guys who desperately want to get in your pants at any time of the day.

"Would you stop that!" I cry out, my rage overpowering my previously reasoned silence. I quickly cover my mouth with wide eyes, hoping no one had heard me. A few minutes go by in silence, so I relax before I remember the conversation at hand. I glare through the sunglasses as I continue scolding Hal.

TT: Hal, that's not funny. It's really embarrassing!

I think of a few remarks to make him lay off, such as my outbursts causing them to find out about the glasses, or perhaps threatening Hal emptily, but I figured he'd be too smart to fall for any of those things. So I settle with my own feelings.

TT: I really don't want to deal with harassment from an AI.

TT: Harassment is a very strong word. I'd be more inclined to go with poking you with a digitized stick.

TT: Um, okay? Well, can you stop poking me with your digitized stick?

The moment I type the last part out, my brain stutters when I realize just how wrong that sentence sounded and I suspect foul play on his part. I sigh haughtily and shut my eyes with a disapproving frown. Red flashes from the glasses, and I almost don't look at it. Curiosity has become greatest ailment in this time.

TT: I'm not even surprised you fell for that shit. Damn, Annie, I figured you weren't all that smart, but this really takes the cake.

TT: It seems I've bested you with my superior computer intelligence. There is just no end to the greatness that is computer intelligence.

A loud guttural groan fills the silence of my room as I shut my eyes and hope that some of the sudden frustration is released through my vocals. I sigh with exhaustion after the deed is done and then become keenly aware of just how exhausted I am. Another flash of red is vaguely registered, but I can't bring myself to care when the sweet caress of the dreaming world is carrying me away from reality. I dream of the sea and swimming androids.


Btw if the last few paragraphs seemed rushed, it's because I just wrote them. Surprise!

IF YOU SPOT AN ERROR in the PesterChum logs, LET ME KNOW, okay?