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We were a team of programmers working on psyche to machine interfaces for a top secret government contractor .I was their best. I was working late into the night at my console when I felt something invade the interface. I felt it take my mind between its cold hands and twist and squeeze and crush me until I was a mangled pulp.

They found me the next morning, bleeding where I had broken my nose from banging my head against the plexiglass screen. I was mumbling incoherently, trying the same command over and over.

They carried me to sick bay.

I slept.

I slowly got better.

I tried again, meeting the machine. But the pathways in my brain had become twisted, darkened, ruined. I could not meet it, there, on the empty plain. Again, I became incoherent and confused. They were there this time, watching over me, and cut the connection before I could hurt myself.

I woke up in my bed, knowing I had failed. Knowing I was ruined. I could never touch the machine again.