I was watching a somewhat disastrous situation unfold, where a transformers-like yellow jet plane had turned into a giant robot and was destroying buildings. My view switched from overhead maps and screens into one where I was walking outdoors in a brightly lit area. The robot came down and landed not far from me, poised to shoot some things.
Its attention wasn't particularly fixed on me, but I saw it was going to shoot some kids....so I tried to distract it. I didn't have any weapons, so I just made a pistol out of my fingers and motioned at it making "pow" sounds. It turned to watch me and aimed in my direction, but did not shoot. I ran backwards toward the building I'd come out of, and it just kept tracking me as I moved. At some distance it stopped and a giant timer showed up on a screen with about 7 minutes of time on it...and the entire scene froze except for me, with a giant pause symbol in midair.
Noticing the whole scene was frozen, I decided to run back toward the giant robot and try smashing it with something. I noticed I could try and grab its gun, which it had held out to me. When I got close, however, it had the head of a man and he was laughing.
me: "You're supposed to be frozen!"
man: "You're supposed to grab the gun, y'know. Like pull-my-finger."
me: "What's going on here?"
man: "I'm trying to qualify for system administrator in this area."
me: "System administrator?"
man: "Yeah, I've played this one a lot of times. At first you can feel sad when you think about someone coming along after you and doing better, or doing that one thing you thought was unique or tricky...or having the same romance you did. It can be hard to leave it, and more fun to stick around and teach new people the ropes. Like that robot, I mean...I could have helped you beat that easily."
me: "Ok, life is a video game, that's all fine. I can deal with the philosophical implications of that. But can you tell me anything about ME? Why do I keep popping up in random horrific places? Why do I have amnesia about the details?"
By this point the man's head was just kind of floating over a table, disembodied. He looked at me gravely.
man: "You were one of the first, and got in too far... too fast."
me: "Well is anyone trying to help me out??"
man: "Yes. You should talk to the Oracle."
The Oracle from the Matrix (or a black woman who looked like her) was suddenly at a table with some other people. She had a thick black book.
oracle: "You talk about your problems, but do you know what I had to go through to get here?"
me: "So you're going to help me stop flipping out all over the place?"
She opened a black book which had several pages with little notecards arranged in it. Many had been crossed off, and about 3 down in the list of non-crossed off notes was one she pointed at.
oracle: "We're almost to you. Just a couple more first."
I looked closely at the note, and in one of the slots it said "R4".
me: (puzzled) "My name is R4? Oh, no, wait. I see."
My name was written in a slot to the right of that, with a slight distortion. I couldn't tell if they had one letter wrong or if I just was having trouble reading it.
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