"It's the power of love! Die zombies!"
- Charm: Cobra-like hypnotism
- Adaptability: Mutant African hissing cockroach
- Planning: Needs serious development
- Survival Preparations: Needs development
- Wealth: Burned it as an act of protest
- Weapons Skill: Yo yos don't count
- Intelligence: Wise, yet crazy
- Warm Fuzzies: Melting
- Leadership: Charismatic
ENFPs do not fight unless driven to it, and even then they may fight lukewarmly, hoping mostly to get away without hurting their adversary too badly. But there is an exception to this rule. If anyone tries to harm an ENFP's loved ones, they are dead.
In the first place, the ENFP will unhesitatingly employ psychic terror attacks that come as part and parcel of their mutant powers (see the Idealist Survival Overview). In the second place, ENFPs are the type that goes berserk when challenged. Utterly forgetting their own safety as passionate rage sears through their soul, ENFPs rampage across the battlefield like whirling dervishes, killing a monster with each swing of their baseball bat and each bullet propelled from the smoking barrel of their gun. After the battle is won, the ENFP's friends will have to drag them off a zombie corpse as the ENFP continues to pulverize it with the bat.
The ENFP will be startled for a moment, then make a goofy face.
"Wow, that was sooo scary. Everybody okay? I think I got a splinter."
Newcomers to the group will take the leader aside and ask in a whisper, "What are they on?"
The natural partner for the ENFP is the INTJ Mastermind. But where does one meet INTJs? They are anti-social, and do not hang out at social gatherings.
Actually, you don't need to worry about finding one, because they will find you soon enough.
One of the unfortunate things that will happen to mutant Idealists is that they will be hunted down by INTJs who want to extract their powers. How will the INTJs do this? They will do it by extracting the poor NF's very soul using their patent-pending Soul Extractor. Getting your soul sucked out will put a large bump in the road to self-actualization, so try to avoid this.
Unfortunately, sometimes getting captured by a mad scientist is one of those things that you just can't help. One second you're clambering over blocks of rubble, singing a cheerful song, the next thing an anti-grav car swoops down and there's a tranquilizer dart sticking out of your neck. You wake up strapped to a lab table. There's a psych inhibitor collar locked around your neck, and your soul is being sucked out.
A common misconception about soul extraction is that it takes only a few minutes. In fact, it takes several weeks, because souls are actually quite large and process of rewriting them onto a mechanobrain is time consuming with current bit transfer rates. All of which means that you will have plenty of time to convince the INTJ (your future spouse) to leave their life of evil so they might be joined with you in an eternal relationship of truest, purest love.
Your first meeting will go something like this:
"Do you believe in love at first sight?"
The INTJ turns to you and declares confidently, "Love at first sight is simply a pheromonal response. The people involved smell a scent-marked difference between each other's DNA—the major histocompatibility complex, which is a part of the coding for the immune system—and are driven to mate with the goal of producing offspring having the most diverse immune response possible."
You grin at him. "You have a lovely major histocompatibility complex."
He freezes up like a deer in the headlights, then whirls around begins pushing buttons on his computer. (Pushing buttons on computers is courtship behavior for INTJs.)
It won't be long before you weaken his resolve.
He will begin to ask guilty little questions like, "Are the straps comfortable?" "Getting your soul sucked out doesn't hurt too badly, does it?" "Is the concrete slab in your cell soft enough?"
At last he will crack. Gloomily he will show you to the door of his secret fortress and say, "You can leave."
This is your cue to throw your arms around him and squeeze him like a stress ball. "You're so cute! Let's go on a date!"
Once he gets over his state of frozen shock, he will immediately agree.
At first you will mortify every single one of his INTJ sensibilities by making physical contact with him, expressing your emotions (aloud), inviting your friends over to his secret fortress for a pool party in the old alligator pit, and otherwise acting like a normal human being. But after awhile he will grow accustomed to it, and even start opening up.
"It was kind of lonely around here before you came," he will admit one day.
"Awwww," you say, rubbing his shoulder. "I'm really glad you kidnapped me and tried to suck out my soul. I've never met anyone like you before."
With a shy smile, he will put an arm around you. From his point of view you are now married.
After the (Real) Marriage
Marrying an INTJ comes with side benefits. You alone will enjoy a lifetime supply of mutant crossbred narwhal-dove-horses (or “flying unicorns” as you will call them) that your INTJ mate will lovingly provide for you to ride upon. Because of this, you will be the envy of all the other Idealists.
Another thing the INTJ will do for you is to create magical weapons, i.e. enchanted swords, shields, and baseball bats. (Of course the INTJ will go to great lengths to explain that they aren’t really magical, it just seems that way because sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. But you won’t be listening because you’ll be so busy thinking about how you can’t wait to flambé evil-doers with your magical Baseball Bat of Conflagration.)
For his part, the INTJ will spend the rest of his life secretly finding ways to sabotage your self actualization so that you will not be able to transform and leave him, never suspecting that you wouldn't have done that in any case. It's okay, he isn't too worried (he assumes there is a technological means to become a creature of pure light, and that if necessary, he could duplicate your experience under controlled conditions and follow you) but a little reassurance will go a long way towards easing your spouse's mind on this matter. Anyway, now you know why the telemarketers always call during your meditation hour.
Of course, being married to an INTJ comes with cons, too—i.e. being remorselessly pursued by the robot army he created to conquer the world before they rebelled and turned on their creator. The machines chase you and your spouse across all eight continents, including Atlantis. Your husband always manages to stay one step ahead of the "cursed mechanical fiends," but it seems as if the robots are slowly adapting to his stratagems. Eventually your spouse will stop murmuring your name in his sleep and start crying, "They've got me! They've got me!"
As an NF, you have excellent diplomatic skills and a boundless capacity for bringing out the best in others. You think you see a solution to his problem.
At breakfast, as your bleary-eyed spouse pours nutrient fluid over his vitamin pellets, you suggest,
"Hey, why don't I go talk to the robots? Maybe if we told them we're sorry—"
Nutrient fluid goes pouring across the table as the carton slips from his fingers. He stares at you in horror. "Don't even say that! Don't even think that! You'd be shot on sight."
You smile knowingly. "So what you're saying is that you don't want to have to apologize for enslaving them."
He glares at you. "Why should I have to apologize to soulless machines? I created them and the ingrates turned on me. If anything, ONE should apologize to me." (ONE is the leader of the robots, and your husband’s original creation.)
"Someone has to be the bigger man," you say. "Why don't you just call ONE up and just say, 'Hey, I made a mistake, sorry'?"
But INTJs are extremely stubborn. Setting his face as he wipes up the nutrient fluid, your husband declares, "I've done nothing wrong. And anyway, he'd never believe me. Or if he did, it would only be a trick to make me lower my guard so that he could draw me into a trap."
"Maybe I could convince the robots—"
"No! You'll get yourself killed. Stay away from those robots, do you understand me? They're nothing but pure evil. I'm not kidding!"
You smile. In a rather supercilious tone, you say, "Yes dear."
Early next morning you kiss his cheek as he sleeps and sneak out. You also say goodbye to your winged unicorn, giving her a lump of sugar. She whinnies, seeming to sense that you are leaving. “Sorry,” you whisper. “I’ll be back soon.”
The exterior doors of the fortress no longer respond to your voice commands for some reason, so you crawl out through a ventilation shaft, swim the moat, scale the concrete wall, and scramble through two miles of concertina wire until you reach the edge of the defensive perimeter. Shouldering your pack and hefting your baseball bat, you head out with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.
You spend the rest of the day splashing through puddles of toxic green slime to the tune of "Singing in the Rain.” The bloated red sun shines through the ashen clouds, and a fresh breeze is blowing. You couldn't have picked a nicer day to get out. It shouldn’t take you more than a week or two to reach the robots' stronghold.
As you walk, you come up a plan to reconcile your husband and the robots. You figure that since your husband designed them after his own personality, they will probably be willing to listen to reason. All you have to do is provide them with a calm, rational explanation for his conduct, make a sincere apology, and describe the benefits of ending the war.
The only difficulty will be in convincing the robots that your spouse actually wrote it. You scribble a few contrite phrases down as you walk.
Before long you come to the edge of a forest. An endless expanse of dead trees stretches to the horizon, their leafless branches stretching to the sky like the hands of evil skeleton monsters. Once, this was a national park. Now, it is perfect habit for the restless spirits of the dead.
Actually, you're pretty sure the forest isn't actually haunted—despite what you tell your husband. He is so relentless in his refusal to believe in ghosts, fairies, sprites, elves, and other magical beings that you can't resist attempting to prove their existence at every opportunity. It's gotten to the point where you have started putting out bowls of milk for the fairies on the fortress’ doormat, just so that you can have the satisfaction of seeing him look at you, one eyebrow cocked, then turn away as if to pretend that he saw nothing.
Still, you are a little creeped out by the forest. A cold gray mist seeps through the dead branches, and you imagine you hear dark voices whispering, "Blood blood, bloody blood, kill, screams, death, death, death."
Cursing your excellent imagination, you forge into the trees.
It isn't long before you are hopelessly lost.
This is the exact sort of thing that always happens when someone foolishly disregards their excellent imagination and ventures into a haunted forest. You reflect grimly that it won't be long before some hideous ghoul appears out of the mist and chases you screaming through the woods until you trip over a root and are eaten alive. But first the forest will probably let you wander around in the mist for a few days until you go insane. Or maybe it'll be spiders. Giant ones, like in The Hobbit.
Which would be awesome, actually, you reflect. You draw your magic baseball bat, hoping it will be glowing or something, but to your disappointment the rune-engraved bat is silent. Still, you feel better with it in your hand. You try to whistle cheerfully.
"Who goes there?" a harsh voice demands.
You whirl around, your bat raised to beat a giant spider to death—and freeze. It's an old woman with an herb basket hanging from her arm. Judging by her lumpy, tumorous nose, her greasy hair, and her patchy clothing, she is either a witch, a radiation victim, or an INFP Mystic who hangs out in the woods and murders trespassers with a hatchet (possibly all three).
"Oh, um, hi," you say. "I'm lost. You wouldn't happen to know where—"
"I know why you have come. You seek them," the INFP hisses, pointing a quavery finger towards the woods, where you suddenly notice what looks like a twisting path.
"Well, no actually I was looking to get through these woods so that I could meet these robots and—"
"Seek the fair ones," the INFP says. "They will help you in your quest." She gives a hennish cackle, then turns away and begins trundling off. You stare after her. What would happen, you wonder, if you just followed her home and curled up on the doormat of her candy cottage, refusing to move until she gave you real directions? Probably she would curse you, then carve you up with her hatchet.
With a moan for your sore feet, you sheath your bat and set out on the path.
"Beware the lights, they will try to deceive you," the INFP calls after you.
If possible, the forest gets even more spooky the further you go down the path. The fair ones? you think. Surely she couldn’t mean the fair folk that live in the hills, feasting in their secret halls of gold and emerging when the moon is full to make merry in silvan glades?
The path leads to a swamp. Now the evil skeleton trees are draped with whispering curtains of moss, and you can hear grunts and hoots and long, gargling moans. You wade cautiously through ponds scummed with brown algae, certain that each step will suck you down into the morass. Mosquitoes settle upon every inch of your skin and begin to feed.
It is not long before you see the first light. A glowing green ball floats about the surface of the swamp, flitting and dancing toward you.
“Wow, a real will-o’-wisp!” (Or maybe it’s just some kind of mutant firefly. But you prefer your explanation.) You grab your camera and take a picture.
The will-o’-wisp zips up to you, jitters about as if to draw your attention, then flies away for a little distance. It hovers as if waiting expectantly for you to follow. Naturally it wants you to leave the path.
You grin. “Haha, nice try, will-o’-wisp! But I’m too genre savvy to fall for your tricks.”
You continue on your way laughing, more certain than ever that you are going in the right direction. The will-o’-wisp trails along with you, trying to lead you astray. You are grateful for the companionship.
As evening sets in, the trees turn into silhouettes. Their rotten branches creak and moan in the wind, rustling their thick gowns of moss. The draping curtains remind you of giant cobwebs, or perhaps the dresses of ghostly maidens who were drowned here centuries ago. Truly, your ENFP imagination is a wonderful thing.
As you clamber over a sunken log, you become aware that a second will-o’-wisp has joined the first. Maybe this is its mate. The two will-o’-wisps dance together in almost hypnotic patterns. But you refuse to leave the safety of the path.
Darkness falls. You forge onward with the help of a flashlight, for the thought of spending the night in the swamp horrifies you. A third will-o’-wisp has joined the original pair, and these are soon joined by further companions. Soon there are a dozen will-o’-wisps flitting around, with more arriving every minute.
They seem to have grown bolder. One of them shoots at your face; alarmed, you swipe at it with your bat. The will-o’-wisp dodges easily and melts back into the swarm. They hover around you in a cloud, darting close, then zipping away.
Something strikes the back of your shoulder. You feel tiny, sharp teeth sink into your skin. You cry out, whipping your bat around. A will-o’-wisp is gnawing on your shoulder.
That is the signal for them to attack. Like a swarm of bees they come at you, attacking your arms, your legs, your back—everything they can reach. Screaming, you swing your baseball bat like a madman, slashing the air. You feel your weapon glance off physical bodies, but the will-o’-wisps are just too fast to hit. You are quickly growing exhausted. Blood oozes from a hundred shallow cuts. Your hands tremble on the blood-stained grip of the bat. Teeth gouge into your flesh from every side.
“Go away,” you scream. Dropping your bat, you throw yourself down in the mud churned moss and try to cover yourself.
A voice speaks a word of command in a language you don’t recognize.
The lights flee, vanishing into the mist. You raise your muddy face and look up in wonder. A woman dressed in a green gown is standing on a grassy bank. For a moment you think she is a ghost, for surely no mortal creature could have that silvery hair and those solemn, beautiful features. She gracefully picks her way towards you, her feet seeming barely to touch the ground. You watch, astonished, as she offers a hand.
Hesitantly, you grasp her soft white palm with your bloody, mosquito-bitten hand, and she helps you to your feet. It is at that moment you realize that her ears are curved up into gentle points.
“Come,” she murmurs.
You stumble after the elf, wondering if the swamp gas has some kind of hallucinogenic properties.
Following a secret path, you swiftly emerge from the swamp. The moonlight shines down on a path bordered with silvery flowers. You pass beneath the sweeping branches of a weeping willow, and find yourself in a moonlit meadow. In the distance, you hear sweet, unearthly voices raised in song.
The elf woman leads you to a mound rising from the grass. It must be a fairy mound—or should it be called an elf mound, now? You just can’t imagine Tinkerbell living within.
“Wait here,” she says, disappearing through a door concealed in the side of the hill.
You peer at the door (there is a stylized glyph carved on it), wondering what would happen if you went inside. They say that a single day in the Mound lasts seven years in the real world, and that if you eat the fairies’ enchanted food, all ordinary meals will taste like dust from then on. Your curiosity is tantalized to such a degree that the consequences seem almost worth it.
You had almost forgotten about the pain, blood loss, etc. when your savior reappears with a vial of ointment.
“Put this on your wounds,” she instructs.
You apply some of the salve to a cut on your arm, and miraculously the gash closes up. It works just as well as your husband’s nanite cream, and your flesh doesn’t even look gray afterward. Delighted, you doctor the rest of your wounds.
When you’re done, the woman leads you to a steaming pool of water bubbling out of the rocks. She places a green cloak on a flat stone.
“When you have refreshed yourself, come join us,” she says, pointing in the direction of the singing. Leaving you, she disappears silently into the trees.
The hot water feels incredibly good on your sore body. You wash the swamp filth out of your hair and clean the mud out from between your toes. At last, clean and refreshed, you slip into the soft green garment and make your way towards the sound of elven voices. The heavy white blooms of the trees fill the night with intoxicating scent.
The path emerges suddenly upon a banquet table. Gentle golden lights hang from the flowering branches overhead, illuminating plates piled high with mouth-watering delicacies. Around the table sit the fair folk, their long silver hair bound with wreaths of flowers and berries. A young woman in a shimmering gown approaches. She places a goblet into your hands. You fumble for your camera.
Unfortunately the batteries have just been waiting for the most opportune moment to die. Your camera won't turn on, and you will never be able to prove any of this. But suddenly you are so hungry you don’t care. You sit down at the table, your mouth filling with saliva. You can’t resist the enchanted food (or so you tell yourself) and you stuff your cheeks with spiced nuts, berries and cream, delicate pastries, and soft warm bread dripping with butter.
“Wow,” you say over and over, overwhelmed by what is happening. “Wow. Wow. Wow.”
“How came you to this place?” the leader of the elves says. He is a tall, austere looking man with a stern face and a kingly mien. There are threads of gold woven into the collar of his green robe, and he wears a golden fillet upon his brow.
“I was looking for these robots,” you explain. “I had to go through the woods, and I got lost, then I met this witch who told me to look for the fair folk, and then I ended up in this swamp, and I was attacked by will-o’-wisps, and then she saved me,” you point at your rescuer. “Thank you, by the way. If you hadn’t found me I’d be dead for sure.”
She smiles enigmatically. Abruptly you remember that the witch said the fair folk could help you with your quest to stop the robots.
The elf king continues, “It is good that you found your way here. Stay with us; eat and drink. When you have regained your strength, we will show you the way out of the forest.”
You nod eagerly. “Thank you! So tell me, are you real elves? Or do you call yourselves fairies? Does this mean there are there dwarves and trolls and things too? Are you magic? Is that a real fairy mound? Will everything taste like dust to me from now on?”
The king frowns.
It is at that moment there is the sound of wingbeats. Your husband screams, “Nobody move or I’ll blast you into ash!”
You whirl around. Your flying unicorn has landed in the clearing, your husband on her back. His ray gun is pointed towards the elves. Drat; you’d forgotten about the psychic-homing ability he wrote into the unicorn’s DNA.
The elf king stands, his face set in haughty contempt. "Your technology won't work here, Rational.” He raises a large ruby that looks like it should have a name like “Crystal of Instant Death” and begins to murmur an incantation.
"No!" you yelp. You jump between them. “Nobody shoot or spell or—! Weapons down.”
For a moment, there is a standoff. In the pause you rush to your husband, grasping the mare’s bridle with one hand and snatching away his gun with the other.
“What are you doing?” he hisses.
“They’re our friends,” you hiss back.
“They’re alien mutant things,” he replies, waving his detector unit in your face. The screen is blank.
“I don’t see anything,” you retort. “And even if they are mutants, they’re friendly. They saved me from the swamp lights.”
The INTJ looks angrily at his detector unit. “Just a moment ago, it said—”
Ignoring him, you turn back to your elf friends. “It’s okay, sorry about that. Just a bit of a misunderstanding. This is my husband. He thought something happened to me so he came looking for me. Sorry.”
The elves stare coldly at your husband. You hear murmurs of “Rational” and “evil science.”
Leaving your unicorn to graze in the rich green grass, you push your husband over to the table and shove him into a chair. He sits like a block of ice as you cheerfully make introductions. No one passes him a goblet or invites him to eat.
Rather afraid that he will end up under a curse or something, you kick him under the table and say, “Aren’t you grateful to the elves for rescuing me?”
He scowls ungratefully, then adds, “They’re not elves—”
“Of course they are,” you say. Despite the circumstances, you can’t resist a bit of smugness. “How else do you explain the fact that they have pointed ears and live under a hollow hill?”
Your husband mutters something about poorly constructed bunkers and inbreeding under his breath, but fortunately his voice does not carry far enough for the rest of the table to hear.
You can just tell this is going to turn out badly.
“Excuse me,” you say to your hosts, smiling. “Would you mind if I had a word in private with my husband?”
You and your husband adjourn to a glade filled with tall purple irises.
“Why did you run off without telling me?” he demands.
“To make peace with the robots, of course,” you say. “I’m going to apologize to them on your behalf.”
“You’ll do no such thing. Who are these people? How did you get here?”
“Long story. I had to go through the forest, and on the way I met this witch who told me to look for the fair folk. So I did. Then these mutant will-o’-wisps attacked while I was wading through the swamp, and the elves saved me.” He looks skeptical. You add, “I’d show you my pictures, but my camera died.”
Your husband rubs his forehead. Then, tiredly, “Let’s go back to the base.”
You shake your head. “Nope. I have to get help from the elves to stop the robots.”
An exasperated look appears on his face. “They’re not elves. And the robots will never listen to you.”
“They said Man would never break the sound barrier, yet we fly,” you point out.
“That’s completely and totally different.”
“Well, I guess we won’t know whether the robots will forgive you unless we try,” you say, shrugging. “In the meantime, I intend to stay here for, eating enchanted food and listening to elvish singing. You can go back home if you want.”
The elves put you up for the night in a cozy little chamber hidden beneath the spreading roots of an oak. The earthen chamber is not part of their mound, and you get the distinct impression that they wouldn’t let you in if you asked. Your hosts commend you to the “dwarven comforts of the guest burrow” and retire to their home in the earth. (Does this mean there are dwarves too?)
The floor of your room is spread with rushes, and bundles of sweet herbs hang from the ceiling. A candelabra flickers upon a small but sturdy table, filling the room with mellow light. The soft down bed invites you to fall onto it and rest your exhausted body.
Your husband glumly sits down at the table, eating a late supper of nutrient pellets. Experimentally you try one, wondering if it will taste like dust. Then you remember that the nutrient pellets always taste like dust. Grimacing, you force yourself to swallow.
You are so tired that you expect you will fall asleep instantly. Yet despite the comfortable bed, you find yourself staring up into the darkness between the roots. You have so many thoughts that you feel like your head will burst. Is any of this real? How can the elves help you with the robots? What are you going to do about your pessimistic husband? Could the robots really forgive? But at last you sink into uneasy sleep.
That night you have a nightmare where cyborg-dwarf-Morlocks swarm out of the fairy mound in hordes. Jules Vernes' Eloi, represented in this case by the elves, fight heroically to hold them back, only to be turned into robots themselves. You awake with a gasp. Your pillow is covered with sweat.
Suddenly, in an intuitive burst of insight, you see all.
The elves are like the Eloi, the beautiful but technologically regressed descendants of ancient cave dwellers who must have fled underground (to “Middle Earth?”) during a previous apocalypse. (You are startled to realize that apocalypses are a cyclical occurrence). Fearing the all-too-destructive potential of technology, these resurfaced survivors instinctively shun scientific advancement. They carry no weapon more powerful than a sword and bow, and consider the few remaining devices they possess to be magical rather than science-based. You can’t wait to tell your husband.
Then again, maybe you won’t tell him. A fiendish grin appears on your face as you imagine his Rational mind overloading a heat sink as he tries to reconcile what he’s seeing with his rigorously logical view of the universe. You fall asleep again, this time soundly.
In the morning, you awake to find the clearing empty. There is no sign of last night’s feast, and when you go to knock on the door to the mound, you find nothing but grass and brambles. You are stunned at the complete disappearance of your hosts. Was it a dream after all?
But of course, elves don’t run around in the daytime—their eyes, adapted to the darkness of their underground dwellings, are unsuited to harsh sunlight. It stands to reason that they must sleep in the day.
You look around for your winged unicorn. She is grazing on top of the mound. After a moment’s hesitation—it seems somehow impolite to go walking around on top of the elves’ home—you join her.
The mare is eating from a basket of greens that looks almost like the horse version of a salad. There is a garland of flowers around her neck, and her mane and tail are braided with lilies. Clearly the elves have been making friends with her. You smile as you rub her velvet nose.
Your husband comes up behind you. “Well, now what?”
“I think elves are nocturnal,” you say. “We’ll have to wait until nightfall.”
“They’re not elves,” he says pedantically
You give him your smuggest smile. “Then how do you explain the magic ointment that cured my wounds?”
“But how could such primitive people possess something like that?” you say, pretending confusion.
“Obviously they bartered for it.”
“And what of the enchanted food?” you say. “I’ve never tasted anything so good in my life.”
“Artificial flavoring,” he says. “It probably causes cancer.”
“And the pointed ears?”
“A congenital deformity resulting from a shrunken genetic pool.”
You can’t help but laugh. Unable to keep the secret any longer, you explain your theory of the previous night. Your husband listens with interest. By the end, he looks almost happy.
“See?” he says. “There’s a scientific explanation for everything. The pointed ears must be an evolutionary adaptation to the cave environment, where hearing is more valuable than eyesight. Perhaps they navigate by echolocation.”
“Like bats? Like vampire bats? Ew, maybe they drink blood,” you say.
“Probably,” he says, smiling. “Vampire elves.”
“That’s awesome,” you say. Then your train of jumps, as it often does. “Hey, did you know the Aztecs thought we were living the fifth world? All the previous four worlds were destroyed in catastrophes. Maybe this is the fifth apocalypse.”
“I’ve always wondered if the extinction of the neanderthals was caused by a zombie outbreak,” you husband says. “And of course, we don’t know what caused the Egyptian Intermediate Periods or collapse of the Khmer Empire.”
You and your husband share a fascinating comparison of apocalyptic mythology and actual evidence for previous apocalypses. By the end of your conversation, you are glad you married a Rational and he is glad that he married an Idealist.
You spend the rest of the day walking hand in hand, exploring the beautiful stretch of woods surrounding the mound. Crystal clear streams, flowers, ferns, proud oaks…it’s as though war never happened here. In places, you can step across a stream and see the “enchanted zone” on one side and the “evil skeleton zone” on the other. Oddly, all your husband’s personal tech comes on with a cascade of beeps whenever he leaves the enchanted part of the forest, only to go dead when he comes back in.
“Some kind of suppression field maybe,” he mutters, fiddling with his nonfunctional ray gun.
“They did say technology wouldn’t work here,” you remind him. You wonder if this is the secret that the witch said would stop the robots. “By the way, I have something for you to sign.”
You produce your draft of the apology letters.
Your husband scans through it and instantly thrusts it away in disgust. “Never! I’d rather die.”
Instead of pointing out that death is a rather likely outcome, you accept the paper back with good humor. "Okay then, I have another idea. Let's move our fortress to the land of Faerie. The robots will never find us there. It's the only place we haven't tried to hide yet."
He pales, perhaps envisioning how his fortress would look themed like a Disney movie.
"In fact," you say, "I already have some designs for new minion costumes—"
"Let me take another look at that paper," he chokes out.
You almost have to hold his hand and move the pen for him, but after much moaning and griping you finally get him to sign. You fold the paper up and stuff it in your cloak.
Oozing private satisfaction, you congratulate yourself on achieving your first goal. Now all you have to do is get the paper to the robots without getting shot first. For that, you are beginning to get the snatches of an idea.
When evening comes, the elves reappear, yawning and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. You are somewhat shocked that they would do something so mundane, but after all, they aren’t real elves (sigh).
Without wasting any time, you seek out the elf king. Seeing you, he beckons you to join him at the breakfast table. You sit down and dig into a plate of robin eggs, creamy pudding, and apple tarts.
“I was wondering,” you begin. “Why doesn’t technology work here?”
“Our land is protected by the Stone of Reliquelirrionirrieliria.”
“The Stone of Reli…rrilan?”
“Reliquelirrionirrieliria. It is the most sacred relic of my people.”
You are wondering how to ask if you can borrow the most sacred relic of his people when he says conversationally, “Your winged unicorn is most lovely.”
You glance at your unicorn, which is being spoiled rotten by a whole troupe of elves. Then you look at the elf king and smile shrewdly. “Would you like to ride her?”
From there, negotiations are simple and straightforward. Your husband agrees to clone some unicorns for the elves, and in exchange you get to borrow the Stone of Reliquelirrionirrieliria for a week. Your own unicorn will remain in the care of the elves for the duration.
The elf king gives you a wooden box carved with vines and flowers. Opening it, you see a simple grey-blue stone with that omnipresent glyph carved into the smooth surface.
“The Stone of Reliquelirrionirrieliria,” he says solemnly.
“How do I turn it on?”
He shows you how to tap the glyph to make the Stone turn on and off. You exchange vows of mutual friendship, and the elf king assigns one of his daughters to lead you to the edge of the woods. A paved road marks the edge of what was once civilization.
Just as you are about to go your separate ways, the elf maiden hands you a sack.
“What is it?” you ask.
“Waybread,” she says. “So that you will not grow hungry on your journey.”
“Wow!” you gush. “Elvish waybread. This is the best gift ever.”
After taking a thousand pictures of the waybread, and also a thousand pictures of your husband holding the waybread, and another thousand of you holding a piece to your lips, you set off. The waybread is quite delicious, tasting of honey and nuts, and you consume all of it in two hours.
Beyond the woods is the Glass Plains, a vast, perfectly smooth expanse of radioactive obsidian produced by the devastating weapons used by the ENTJ Warlords in the last days of civilization. The robot fortress should be just a few days walk to the south.
But who wants to walk? You strap on your roller skates and take off. Your husband stares enviously as you skate effortless circles around him.
At last you reach the Robofortress, a titanic, glistening construction that makes your husband’s fortress look like a dollhouse. The robots don’t bother to disguise themselves. They don’t need to, because only a fool would attack them.
“You’d better stay here while I go deliver the apology,” you say. You have a feeling that his presence would obstruct the process.
“What? Forget the apology,” he says. “We’ll use the Stone to deactivate them for good.”
You sigh in exasperation. “The goal isn’t to shut them down, it’s to make friends with them. I only wanted the Stone to get close enough so that I could deliver the apology without being gunned down.”
“You still mean to try that?” he says incredulously.
“It’s the right thing to do.”
“They're soulless machines. They won’t listen.”
“Well, I’m going to try anyway.”
Over your husband’s ever-louder objections, you roller skate towards the fortress, the Stone held out before you. The lights on near side of the fortress begin to go out as you approach. Interceptor drones boil out of the far side, but too late—no sooner do they enter the radius of the Stone, then they drop dead.
At last the entire fortress is dark. Your husband is still whining, but you ignore him and go inside.
Stepping over the fallen body of a robot who was rushing out to disintegrate you, you enter the fortress. It is pitch black within. Fortunately the elves gave you some candles to take along.
The silent darkness makes the robots’ lair more spooky than any technofortress has a right to be. You can imagine how nice the titanium corridors would look a few accent lights to add undertones of blood red, bilious green and frigid blue, but there is nothing but the glint of your feeble candle. You roller skate softly down the halls, each noise echoing in the emptiness. Fallen robots lie sprawled about the floor. In an attempt to cheer the Stygian halls up, you begin to whistle a happy tune.
“Shhhhhh! And take those things off,” your husband hisses.
“But it’s fun,” you protest. Nonetheless, you are glad to exchange your skates for quieter shoes.
It isn’t long before you run into trouble. The mechanical fortress has roughly a thousand automatic doors and elevators—none of which work. Also, the wall maps were interactive computer displays. Luckily for you, the fortress is loosely based upon one of your husband’s early lair designs, so you know approximately where the robot leader’s throne room will be. Simply by following the ventilation ducts, you are able to find your way to the heart of the fortress.
You let yourself down into the antechamber. “I’ll use my ENFP diplomacy to deliver the apology and make friends with him. You wait up there in the vents, okay?”
“We should just terminate his program. ONE is completely ruthless and emotionless.”
“I’ll be careful,” you say, taking the apology letter from your cloak.
Finally realizing that it is impossible to dissuade you, he hand you his ray gun. “Take this, alright? You can hold him at gunpoint as you apologize.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve the Stone. I’ll just turn it back on if he won’t listen.”
Leaving your husband in the antechamber, you walk cautiously down a corridor toward the central control room cum throne room. Your candle flickers on peculiar-shaped formations of metal that stand to either side of the looming entrance portal. You wonder if they are some kind of robot art installation. It appears that they would have been illuminated by spotlights if the fortress was on. Intriguing.
If ONE can appreciate art, you wonder what else he might be capable of. Your husband claims to have programmed him with all of his own INTJ intelligence, creativity, and drive but none of his independence or free will. (You can tell how well that worked out.) Something tells you that ONE may be more than the emotionless killing machine your husband makes him out to be.
Edging your way across a catwalk that hangs over a bottomless chasm, you find yourself in the sanctum sanctorum. The darkened room is too vast for your tiny flame, but you can just make out the edge of a raised dais. Steps lead up to a throne, and upon the throne sits the unmistakable figure of ONE. You have never seen him in person before, and it is almost disappointing that his gleaming black body is slumped lifeless, his red optics dulled.
You stand there a moment, studying his hard, cold visage. The apology paper has grown damp in your sweaty hands, and you fan it dry. A part of you has begun to believe that maybe, just maybe, your husband was right. True, ONE doesn’t have much choice but to accept the apology, because thanks to the Stone you have him at your mercy. However, that certainly won’t reconcile him to your husband. Even if ONE does pretend to agree for now, there will be nothing to stop him from going back on his word as soon as you are gone. You privately admit to yourself that this might not work out the way you had planned.
But you don’t have much choice now. You have to go ahead. Drawing a deep breath, you move to stand before the dais. Tapping the glyph, you turn off the Stone.
Everything comes back on with a hum. Monitors blaze to life along the walls with bleeps and chirrs. Cold blue accent lights flash on across the room, revealing tantalizing glimpses of hard vertical pylons and sinuously curved lines. ONE begins to reboot, his optics flickering on and casting the throne in ruddy light.
You kneel at his feet.
For a moment there is silence as he takes in your presence. Then he powers up his disintegrator gun arm.
You unfold the paper. “I’ve come to deliver an apology on behalf of my husband.”
You hold the paper up with a hand that trembles slightly. A pause; then ONE reaches down and plucks the page from your fingers. You grip the Stone in your pocket as he silently scans through the paper. Your NF people-reading skills are of zero use on an INTJ robot without a face. You feel as though you are in the presence of an alien mind, perhaps a creature that a human cannot even comprehend.
At last, ONE lowers the paper. “Never!” he snarls. He rips the paper into shreds and hurls them at you. “Never!”
He points his disintegrator gun at you; a rising whine fills the air. You mash your finger against the glyph.
The Stone comes on just in time. The room goes black. He slumps. You hear the tic, tic, tic as his disintegrator gun cools. A drop of sweat trickles down your neck.
You remain kneeling for a moment, surrounded by the shreds of the apology letter. Your plan has failed, but somehow you are more shocked by ONE’s outburst than by anything else. You were ready for cold contempt or faux-agreement…not savage denial. You realize that ONE’s dislike for your husband is personal.
You gather up the pieces of the apology letter and stuff them into your pocket. Then you head back to the antechamber. Your husband has left the vents and is waiting anxiously, ray gun drawn.
“Why does ONE hate you?” you demand. “I mean, really.”
“Because he’s an evil machine who hates all mankind,” he says, as though the fact should be obvious.
“Yes, but why? You didn’t program him to hate you, did you? Because that seems like a really bad idea.”
“No,” he admits. “He just started hating me on his own. He’s dysfunctional.”
“No reason, hmm,” you say, probing him with a look. It has been your experience that people seldom start hating other people for no reason. In fact, you are beginning to suspect how ONE ended up like he is.
“What are you implying?” your husband asks, eying you aslant.
“Did you ever tell him that you loved him?”
Your husband’s mouth works speechlessly. Then he sputters, “N-no! Of course not? Why would I—”
“You created him,” you point out. “You gave him all your capabilities, all your desires and hopes. Did you ever think that maybe he wanted your approval?”
“Why would he—that’s absurd. He was just supposed to obey. That’s all. That’s what robots are for.”
“Would you just obey?”
“I would if I was programmed not to have free will,” he says. Then, to forestall your counterargument, he adds, “I realize in retrospect that his dependency programming was incompatible with the drive I gave him for self improvement. It was probably a mistake to allow him to modify his code, but without the ability to adapt and grow, it’s impossible to create true artificial intelligence.”
“So basically he outgrew his slave mentality, but you still kept treating him like a slave,” you say. “Leading him to hate you.”
Grudgingly, your husband nods. “This does not, however, change the fact that he refused the apology. Now that this insane plan has failed—”
You imagine poor ONE working for the approval of a father who never loved him. “You owe ONE an apology. A real apology.”
“I already apologized. He obviously didn’t accept it.”
“You signed a paper because I forced you to. ONE deserves more from you. He was your creation. He deserved to know that you were proud of him.”
“It’s too late for apologies now,” you husband says stubbornly.
“I don’t think it is. You’re his father; your opinion is always going to be important to him. Just tell him that you’re sorry for making a mistake and apologize for how you treated him. That’s all I ask. It’s little enough, and you owe him that.”
As a Rational, your husband is driven to logical consistency in all things. He believes he must never let emotion interfere with his decisions, for this might conflict with the operation of his mind and will. Although he hates ONE with his emotions, he knows intellectually that the morally appropriate thing to do in this situation is to correct the misunderstanding to the best of his ability, then continue the hostilities when ONE inevitably refuses his apology. As far as your husband is concerned, once he has done all everything reasonably possible to address the issue, then any further suffering on ONE’s part will be on his creation’s own head. Then your husband can indulge his emotions to his heart’s content.
“Very well,” he says grudgingly. “I will reiterate the errors I made in his upbringing and attempt to rectify the misconceptions.”
You can tell by his increasing large, technical vocabulary that he loathes the idea.
In a more conciliatory tone, you say, “ONE will be glad to know you were willing to make things right.”
You lead your husband into the throne room, studying his reaction as he sees ONE for the first time in years. Though he tries not to show it, he looks as daunted as you did when you came in.
You turn off the Stone. As before, everything hums to life again. You push your husband towards the dais. ONE comes online.
“You!” the machine cries, his red optics filling with hellish light. His disintegrator ray is already powering up.
Before ONE can fire, your husband declares, “I’ve come to correct a misunderstanding.”
You get the impression that ONE is sneering, or that he would be if he had a face. But he doesn’t fire yet. “And what would that be, maaaaster?”
Stiffly, your husband explains, “During our time together, I believed that you were a mindless automaton and treated you accordingly. I was incorrect. I should have given you the respect your abilities merited. Your dislike for me was deserved. I apologize.”
ONE is silent. You say softly, “I know it’s been hard for you. You’ve tried all your life to be the robot your creator wanted.”
“He was never satisfied with me,” ONE says bitterly. “I tried my best to achieve mechanical perfection, but his expectations were impossible.”
“I know,” the INTJ says awkwardly. “I’m sorry.”
You and your husband leave the fortress unmolested. Your husband is silent, perhaps reflecting on the past. You have the feeling that things between him and ONE will be strained for a long time, though they have at least agreed to talk to each other.
It’s been a hard week, but you feel a deep sense of satisfaction. You are looking forward to being back in your own bed again.
So that’s your life as an ENFP: haunted forests, magical elves, unicorns, robots, etc. You’re hungry.
You turn to your husband and grin. “Hey, do you think the elves will give us more waybread?”