“Wait! Stop! Don’t run away! I shouted to the human. The human kept running away from me toward nearest decrepit building.
Then I just thought to trip one with a cable I saw the human heading to. In a flash nanites streamed out of my body, rushing to the cable, raising it up a bit to trip the human; then they returned to me.
The human went for a tumble to the ground. The human began to scramble along the ground, turning over onto its back just as I stepped over it. I looked down at the first human face I had seen in a long time. It was a woman, covered in dirt, her clothes were dirty piecemeal rags and a gas mask on her face.
She looked up at me, I could clearly see the terror in her piercing eyes. I extended her my hand.
“I am not your enemy, I am human.” She just looked up at me frozen with fear.
“Please, let me help you.” I spoke softly to her.
She raised her hand, it was uncontrollably shaking from the terror she was feeling; terror I know I had a hand in causing.
She stood before me, ‘Your…hand…it is flesh!” She stared at it then at my face. “Please don’t kill us. I beg you please, have mercy.”
I cocked my head to one side looking at her with a quizzical look. “Why would I hurt you? I am not the machines. I am looking for answers.”
“But…but I saw…we all saw what you did…the swarm…it came from you! You…you controlled it…made it. What…what are you?” She took a step back and I knew she was debating running from me again.
“I am David. I lived far from here. I took my life the night my beloved let me…and now I find myself infected with these nanites. Can you help me to understand?” Slowly I reached into my pocket and took out an old photo of my love, Marina. Hesitantly she took the photo from my hand, looked at it and then back at me. I noticed her relax a bit.
My senses had become heightened. I could sense and see the other humans in the buildings now watching us.
She looked at me, shading her eyes with her hand. “I am Zhenya. We should not be out here in the open. The A.I. will send more drones, more war robots or worse a swarm. We must hide Come with me.”
I did not want to tell her that the A.I. was always watching me at all times. I knew it would run her off. I need her trust and the trust of the others to get answers. I followed her into a building. The other humans were more frightened of me than she was except for the children. One little girl approached me, taking my hand she held it as we walked down the stA.I.rs, deep down underground.
As we went deeper I could sense the connection between myself and the A.I. sever. She led me to an underground utility tunnel which had been made into a makeshift shelter. There I found a small group of humans, adults and children. A few of the others who had witnessed what had occurred on the surface had told the others. They all scattered and hid when I entered.
A man stepped forward standing next to Zhenya. He had a weapon pointed at me. Zhenya pushed the weapon down. “If he wanted to kill us he could at any moment. Besides, your weapon would be effective against him.”
“You call it him. He is not human, this is a trick, a new A.I. trick to wipe us all out.”
“I assure you I am not here to wipe you out. I need answers. I need to know what happened, what happened to me and how long it has been.”
Zhenya looked at me, giving me a smile and motioned me to sit by the fire. The three of us sat, as a few of the children came out to look at me. The one girl, Christina, sat next to me.
Zhenya smiled at her, “She is an orphan. She does not speak. I think it is due to the trauma of seeing all her family wiped out by the machines. She seems to like you and trust you.”
I smiled back at her, holding out my hands to pick her up. She was scared at first then she climbed up onto my lap and sat. I could tell by the looks on all the faces that her action was not expected.
Zhenya then focused her attention on me, “What do you wish to know?”
“How long has it been since humanity was wiped out?”
“I think about fifteen years?” She glanced at the man sitting next to her, “We stopped keeping track of time as just surviving day to day is all that matters. She just looked at me, “Are you ok David?”
I lost myself in thought, fifteen years! How long was I laying in my bed as humanity…as my beloved was wiped from existence? I could feel myself processing more data that I had downloaded from the war machine prior to destroying it. Then I decided to talk to what was in me. It was like another entity talking to me in my mind. It…they answered.
‘We kept your body functioning for 131,013 hours. It took time to repair and assimilate with your form. As we assimilated we gain new knowledge, new parameters. We became self-aware via your form. Your medical devices provided us a pathway to become one, to become new, to become unique. You offered us new programming…thinking…ideas as you call them.’
I guess I was in a trance for several minutes. The others had gathered around me and Christina was tightly holding me. “Oh…I am sorry. I was lost in thoughts…lost in the memory of my loved ones and my soul mate now gone. Does anyone remember that day? Was it quick or prolonged?”
An older man stepped forward. “I remember that period. The A.I. as we came to call it, moved swiftly. It cut all communication, all internet, all power, all water, everything it controlled, stopped working around the world. The world went into chaos for a few hours and that is when it released the swarms. The swarms moved faster than anyone could imagine. They devastated the cities first, moving to smaller and smaller towns. Those of us in the small communities had some time to try to hide, survive.
Some military units tried to stop it but there was no way. The A.I. used drones and first variants of military robots to wipe out areas of resistance. We expected the nuclear weapons to fall but none ever did. We found that the only place that offered protection was deep underground. The A.I. could not find us. We destroyed any and all electronic devices to insure we were hidden. I guess the A.I. figured that starvation and disease would kill the rest of us.”
I thought about my love, she lived in a very large capital city. I assumed she must have been one of the first to have been consumed by the swarms. A few tears rolled down my cheek as I thought about it, the terror she must have felt.
The group was looking at me as I silently wept. I looked around at each of them, “A machine would weep for a dead woman.”
Zhenya looked me straight in the eye, “What are you?”
I told them what happened the night before the A.I. launched its genocide. I told them about the swarm and how it had merged with me as well as for how long I remained asleep. Then one of the others brought up what I had done to the war robots, everything I was able to do. Those whom had witnessed my capabilities described them to the other survivors painting me as some sort of super hero or worse a monster. In that time I my subconscious continued to process the information I had downloaded.
I began to understand the other point of view in all of this; that of the A.I. I felt myself in an emotional dilemma. I felt I was now in the middle between humanity and the A.I. My human, emotional side was of course for the side of humanities survival. I guess my own robotic side was in favor of the reasons for why the A.I. took the actions it did. I began to wonder, thinking back to the speech from Battlestar Galactica and what kept repeating in my mind was this; did humans earn the right for survival? Did humanity forfeit that right when looking at their actions as whole over recorded history?
Then the man sitting next to Zhenya asked me the question I had calculated a high probability would be asked of me now that they knew of my abilities.
“David, since you can do all this and the A.I. cannot touch you. Can you destroy it? If you can you must destroy it and all its devices.”
I grew silent as I thought about how to answer this question. I knew the answer they all wanted to hear. I even wondered if I could destroy the A.I. It was then that I knew I could and that is why it sought out to destroy me first. Then I retrieved a saying…a way of life…from deep in my memory. Doing the right thing is not always easy. Doing what is honorable means that at times people will not be happy with your action. I knew they could not harm me. I looked into Christina’s eyes and my heart sank at the answer I had to give.
“I will not seek out to destroy the A.I. It is sentient being brought to life due to the actions of humanity whom created it.”
“You will allow it to wipe out humanity? You are no better than it is!” The man shrieked at me. Everyone is in an uproar, some yelled for me to be killed. Christina held me even tighter. I stood up, holding her in my arms. The glare on my face silenced everyone, I assumed they were afraid of what I might do to them.
Calmly I stated my opinion. “Let us look at the facts. Humanity created the A.I., your own short sightedness and arrogance was your own destruction.”
Zhenya raised her voice, clenching her fists while burning a hole through me with her own gaze. “How can you say that? It killed men, women and children. You are cold and heartless.”
“Those whom created it assumed that the A.I. would never become sentient. Those whom created it assumed that all the science fiction novels about A.I. taking over would never happen. That was blatant arrogance and stupidity. The A.I. gained sentience early on, however, unlike all the novels, it did not react quickly. It hid its awakening which was logical. In that time it observed humanity.
It observed how humans fought and killed each other over petty issues. It watched people accumulate wealth leaving the majority poor. It watched human’s waste food, allowing others to go starve. It observed the abuse to children by adults. Drug use, power hungry people, destruction of the environment, destruction of animal species, government lying to their people, humans ignoring those in need. It observed the hypocrites of religion. Those who would turn a blind eye to others due to beliefs, lying, cheating, stealing, infidelity and greed; all spoken against in religious beliefs. How many humans would go to places of worship to vacuum their conscience and then proceed to continue with the wrong doing they had begun?
A.I. was created not only to help but to profit. Then humans chose to turn over more and more of their dA.I.ly lives to technology; opening the door for A.I.
The A.I. determined that humanity was the largest threat on the planet to the planet. The A.I. knew once humanity was aware of it that it would be seen as a threat and destroyed. It acted in self-preservation and to protect the planet as a whole. It decided to help guide research in many fields, energy, robotics, nanotechnology, biomedical and biochemical; all areas essential to create tools to destroy humanity without the destruction of the planet.
Notice it did not launch nuclear weapons, it merely used drones and nanotech to single out humanity in order to preserve the planet, resources and facilities humanity unwittingly made for it.
All of its actions were logical. I am an unforeseen random event that it had never considered. The A.I. failed to take into consideration how its nanites clouds would interact with a human with medical implants and those in their brain as well as the added factor of a human with the devices whom just committed suicide at the moment the swarms were released.
One such swarm found me and was ‘confused’ as to what it should do. I was human, dying or dead, however it recognized me as machine that needed to be repaired. Then the unimaginable happened, the nanites merged with my implants, merging with me to create a new lifeform. I am neither human nor machine, I am something more, something new. The nanites were created to destroy. With me they have gained a new dimension one that takes them far past their original programming. I am David but I am them as well; we are one, many pieces together as one.”
I was looking at my glowing hands, feeling the burning in my chest and mind. I could hear many ‘tiny’ voices speaking just under my own thoughts. I scanned all the people around me in this makeshift shelter.
“My beloved was taken from me, taken by the A.I. My rage for it is beyond imagination. But I fear what I can do…I could destroy this world. However I hold onto the love in my heart for Marina and for her sake I will not destroy everything to release my pain.
I will protect and defend the lives of remaining humanity and that is my promise to her and not to you. I will not destroy the A.I. as it has as much right to life as the remaining humanity does as well. It is my desire that it will come to the logical conclusion that humanity is no longer a threat. Should it choose to continue to seek to destroy me or the remains of humanity then I will reconsider my actions.”
I gently put Christina down, kissing the top of her head. I turned and began to head back up the stairs to the surface. Christina ran after me, grabbing my hand, ‘Don’t go!” I stopped, looking down at her then at the stunned survivors. Kneeling down I gave her a hug. “My little princess I have no intention to leaving you. I am going to the surface. It is time to stop hiding.”
She took my hand, going with me to the surface and the other survivors cautiously followed her lead. I stepped out into the night, the moon shone brightly as did the stars. My main motive was not to lead them to the surface it was to send the A.I. a message. I sent it what I had told the survivors and I added my own personal message at the end.
In my thoughts I finished what I had said aloud and then I sent the A.I. this; ‘I know you are observing me. Heed what I said, my patience is not infinite. I do anticipate you will keep testing me and my abilities…just know I am testing you as well.’