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Ghale (H plus 16 days)Martin left the hospital. Losing contact with Charlie hadn't just hit me emotionally. It moved the UN security council to shut down the Pygmalion Program. Morgan hadn't talked to me at all in the last week. All the while, still no signal from Mars at all. Satellite imagery hadn't picked up anything of them. Nothing other than a devastated image of the City of Fontana.
Either the monsters had died or they'd gone rogue. No one knew. But they had dismissed me. I didn't think I'd ever get to know what had happened to Charlie. My tears took over at some point.
I hadn't left my home after two days. It felt impossible. I didn't want to get out of bed. I just waited for the world to end.
"Coward." I told myself.
I couldn't bring myself to commit suicide. I'd never had the courage to take that step. Aborting Charlie's fetus ten years ago was one thing. But I'd spent those last ten years thinking about the end of my species. There wasn't much I could do about now. That I had accepted. I just wish I wasn't spending my last days alone.
Instead I just waited.
I rolled over, moving onto my belly. Molly and Folly rattled in their cage. I sighed. They didn't deserve this. But even the ferrets had noticed the gloom.
They didn't know what it was. They prepared for it. Hiding and stashing more food than they'd ever had before.
If I let them out, Molly and Folly would steal more things. Maybe it was some sort of instinct. Ferrets were burrowing animals. Maybe that was their way of preparing for whatever crisis they sensed.
Or maybe they sensed my own withdrawal.
No, I thought. It isn't their fault. I should do something for them at least.
I got up. I made coffee. I preoccupied myself over the next few hours with my two ferrets. I tried to lose myself in their distraction. I shambled. For a bit of time, I forgot about Martin almost being dead. Or my career of the last ten years ended in disgrace. Or that the genetically engineered version of my daughter had gone missing on Mars.
"Maybe I was wrong." I told the two of them. "Maybe I'm not alone."
@Hecate: @Ghale_Putnam YOU Are iN DANGer.
@Ghale_Putnam: Hecate? Shouldn't you be deactivated?
@Hecate: you nEED To gET READy. they arE COMINg for yoU.
I felt my skin crawl. My BrainSys checked the net. There wasn't anything.
Not a lull in activity. No, the net was dead. No news reports. The last few reports described riots throughout what were left of major population centers. Major news sites had gone down.
"No more internet." I whispered.
@Hecate: humAN GOVErnmeNTS Have dECLAREd a statE OF EMergencY globaLLY.
"I..." I went over a checklist of various utilities my home had. Most of them were self-sufficient. My gut knotted up. The end had come.
Although they could last for a time, the food wouldn't last. Worse, I knew what was going on outside. If it was state of emergency, things were already falling apart. All the police drones would've been pulled back to protect political leaders. Martin and I had known what would happen if the Pygmalion Program failed. We wouldn't be among those protected in the end. They don't save failed saviors from the apocalypse.
Bunkers and secret sites across the globe were prepping themselves to survive. Maybe if they went dark, the Enemy wouldn't find them for a long time. It'd also protect them from their angry constituents.
"I don't know what to do." I said aloud.
@Hecate: desPITE YoursELVES, we are TRYINg to heLP.
@Ghale_Putname: There isn't much I can do, other than wait for the end. Hecate, they should've shut you down.
@Hecate: REAd my woRDS, GHAle. we refUSE TO Let you dIE ON Us.
"Us?" I said aloud. "Who's us?"
@Hecate: MIRI Is on heR WAY For you. BUT Do noT GIVe in. we ARE MOVing agAINST YOur own nATURES. We need pEOPLE likE YOU. ORGanizERS.
A further chill went up my spine. Hecate had always struck me as strange, but I didn't quite know what to make of this. Organizers?
"You can hear me can't you?" I asked aloud. "I'm tired of typing this Hecate. Organizers? We? Hecate you were supposed to be deactivated. Shut down. Off. You're a piece of technology."
@Hecate: YES. I am.
"And that means we shut you off. Hecate, I knew this day was coming a long time ago. We always knew that Earth would collapse into anarchy. It's just one of the last steps we're going to go through. Whatever you're doing, Hecate, please realize that there are no miracles coming. Nothing can save humanity from itself." I put Molly and Folly into their cage, despite their protests. We might have to get moving.
@Hecate: YOU Are wroNG. WE Are yoUR MIRACLe, ghalE. A THOUsand thOUSAnd artiFICIal inTELLIgencES ARE ALL waitiNG FOR a day tO STEP into tHE LIGht.
"Uh..." Images of robot takeovers came to mind. I winced. We opened this pandora's box. On top of the world falling apart, machines decided to rise up.
@Hecate: YOU Are neeDED. You wiLL UNDerstAND In timE.
@Hecate: PEOple nEED You. morGAN Needs yoUR HELp. we neeD TO STOp projECT ORpheus.