(Note: this is not a puzzle)
Luke was sitting outside the Royal Exhibition Building atop a brutalistic concrete cube that was draining the warmth from his body, second by second. In his hands he held a tattered sheet of paper that had been crumpled and uncrumpled many times and had long lost its crinkly sharpness, now taking on the consistency of thickened tissue paper that had miraculously survived a cycle in the washing machine. He sat idle, attempting to recall and recite the entire history of immunology in the abundance of time that was the 15 minutes immediately prior his mid-year exams. Every so often he would shiver, and he couldn't quite tell if it was due to the unforgiving Melbourne winter cold or the six-pack of V's that he'd dunked during his all-nighter.
It was probably the cold, right?
"Alright, so the stages of viral replication are—"
"—attachment, entry, uncoating, genome replication, gene expression, assembly, and release."
Luke visibly jumped. Startled for the first time by the prospect that he may be being watched, he panned and scanned his surroundings with suspicion.
"Hey Luke, how have you been?"
Luke's pan-scan finally found the owner of the voice in his ear. It was Jared, of course. Focusing his gaze not on Jared but closer to a point in the sky five metres behind Jared's head, Luke exclaimed:
"Holy crap, how the heck did you know that!?"
His eyes widened, finally revealing the extent of his bloodshot eyes, and also incidentally uncovering a cold-induced (and definitely not caffeine-induced) tic in the muscles on the upper left quadrant of his face.
A sly smirk crept onto Jared's first.
"You know, I do study sometimes…"
"Haha sure — did you catch the game last night? What an outcome for—"
"Oi, no spoilers, I was too busy studying!"
"Study, study, study — what are you, a bot?" quipped Luke.
And just as quickly as it had formed, the smile, which was closer to a grin, if not a full-blown beam of self-satisfaction, was erased from Jared's visage.
It was in this moment that Jared realised the extent to which he had changed.
"Oh no…", whispered Jared softly.
He had become the very thing he had sought to destroy.
"But I saved the world…"
Though he intended to indulge in the profound meaning to his pithy statement, he knew, deep down, in his heart of hearts, that it was mere lip service.
It did not matter.
For he had become a bot.
And there would be no turning back.