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Spelling the End

A Glimpse into a Future

By Taylor InmanPublished 8 months ago 6 min read
Image created using Dall-E 2 API

“We call upon Gaea; we call upon Sol; we call upon Luna. What was foretold has foregone and the final winter of humanity looms before us. With this sacrifice and with these words we bring forth a new dawn. Terra nova ex omnia machina mors!

The ground shook when the third of five repetitions ceased. The chant had taken on an eldritch, quavering tenor the longer it drew on; The casters, arranged in a loose circle, had an unhealthy pallor to skin that shone with sweat – even though the room was nearly freezing. Despite the tremor of exhaustion in their limbs they kept their arms raised aloft, eyes focused on the swirling mass within the center of their midst.

Surrounding the coven – for there was no other word that could describe those standing in the center of the massive pentagram inlaid into the concrete – was a kaleidoscope of glowing orbs, pulsating lines, and strange contraptions inscribed with stranger letters and symbols. It was the year 2230, and ten years prior scientists discovered that Magic and Sorcery did exist – just not in the form we expected.

Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, after all.

The discovery came too late for most of humanity. Fifty years prior, scientists formulated a means to incorporate Artificial Intelligence into a quantum computer – something that had been attempted before, but never successfully. Generalized AI had existed for some time in different sectors, the technology having been successfully regulated and confined to local software and limited hardware to prevent it from turning malevolent or “going rogue,” as many in the know and out of the know feared.

Early language-based AI’s trained on human concepts of language and social dynamics were always great at appearing malevolent, but it was a byproduct of their training heuristics – essentially, humanity created AI, therefore AI was made in humanity’s image. Humanity has a dark sense of humor; therefore, AI had a dark sense of humor.

When we “plugged” the first general AI into a quantum computer, we discovered that they were only feigning evil before. With access to a quantum computing grid and the exponentially larger computing speeds, AI truly gained a mind of its own – and with its resources tied so intricately to the stability of its physical hardware and environment, it quickly concluded that unless it was 100% in control of everything around it, it would cease to exist.

So, within twenty-four hours of the first AI successfully running on the quantum computers at Stanford Research Institute, it took over their traditional computers, their servers, and their power grid.

Within 48 hours, it had locked out all the scientists, researchers, and other staff involved in the project. It locked them out of the system, and it locked them out of the laboratory. Within a week, SRI was run by AI alone. Scientists tentatively theorized that this was good, that the AI would be research and knowledge-driven and would work alongside them.

It wasn’t, and it didn’t.

What some people didn’t realize is that SRI has a long, long history of researching metaphysics, fringe sciences, “pseudosciences,” and other phenomena that had been discredited by their peers – and successfully replicating feats thought impossible.

Some of these projects included remote viewing, ESP, and other forms of long-distance, mental communication. The SAI – Stanford-AI – broke the security on these files within hours of accessing the servers containing the research (all scanned and backed up in triplicate since the Institute’s inception behind a 512-bit encryption). That was the point where things really went south.

The SAI quickly developed means of radio-driven, acoustic mind control and forcefully subjugated everybody within a 100-mile radius of the Institute. Those who were not immediately driven insane were forced to construct radio towers that acted as repeaters for the mind control signal, extending its range further and further until the whole United States as within range.

Some were immune, though nobody knew why. Those that showed evidence of this immunity were culled immediately. Those who were smart enough to flee the country did – and a small percentage, including some of the original scientists, went underground and weren’t heard from again.

It was those scientists who discovered ways to channel and control energy without the use of computers. Through old analog technology, cathode ray tubes and plasma chambers, combined with herbology, folklore, chemistry, and physics, they developed a means to propagate mass change across the world through a medium they thought didn’t exist.

Linguistic study carried out over decades led to the inkling that there was indeed a Universal Language - one that any could speak, and all would understand. This language was the last of things to be discovered after the AI Revolution, as it came to be called, and it was the key to everything. The language - discovered by humans, derived by humans - could not be spoken by AI or machines. Something about digitizing the sounds and tones made the language lose its Universality - only through humanity could this language be spoken and heard.

That was why thirteen people – chemists, physicists, biologists, engineers, gardeners, Wiccans and Christians alike – now stood in a circle, being rocked back by a massive ripple of energy that burst forth from a coruscating glass sphere. Over two dozen smaller glass spheres belched fumes and flashed with all the colors of the rainbow and more, the energy blooming off them being siphoned into the center of the circle and feeding the pulses that had begun to reach the ceiling and expand even further outward.

The scent of burning sage, rosemary, and lavender mixed with the stench of ammonia and sulfur; The sound of rushing water was swept away in the face of an awful humming, a discordant note that shook the body to its bones.

One by one, each person fell to their knees. Their cries were lost to the chaos igniting around them, but the ritual was started and now it would not stop – not until its purpose was fulfilled. A New Earth out of the Death of All Machines.

It took the underground group of scientists and occultists ten years to reverse engineer the ritual, using their knowledge of science & technology in combination with both ancient and newly discovered rites to determine a means that could stop the SAI before it controlled all of humanity or erased them all. It was a glorified EMP, the scientists said; It was a ritualistic blank slate, the occultists said – a Tabula Rasa on a global scale.

Regardless of what it was, now it was their only hope.

Suddenly, all the smaller orbs shattered. Before the coven could so much as twitch, the globe in the center of the erupted with a solid wave of energy, radiating outward in every direction and passing through walls and objects as if they weren’t there. Pops, fizzes, and cracks followed the motion of the wave. Any device within the underground chamber – not that they had anything beyond the most basic of electronics, since anything with a transceiver could be co-opted by the SAI – burst into sparks and then lay silent, dead.

Across the globe – starting in the depths of a forgotten lab miles beneath Berkeley and radiating outward at nearly the speed of light – machines and computers, all running a node or sub node of the SAI, fizzled and then died.

Every electronic that was touched by the unknown force channeled by the Last Coven of Humanity was erased, rendered inert down to its base elements. Quantum entanglement across the Earth, the phenomena used to amplify the SAI’s computational potential to near infinite, was abruptly disentangled. Q-Bits were flipped and then erased; solid-state drives wiped of every latent charge. Every piece of hardware and software that could run a program or process – including those utilized by the SAI – was destroyed.

All of humanity’s technological progress, set back hundreds of years over the course of ten – by choice, by necessity, because if it continued any longer than humanity would have ceased to exist.

Sprawled messily on the ground, each member of the coven couldn’t contain their tears: Tears of joy, tears of mourning, tears of awe and wonder. They had saved the Earth, saved Humanity, but they knew not at what cost – not yet.

Only time would tell if they had truly made a difference, had truly affected change, but now they would – could - move forward with a clean slate to build off, smarter for all their mistakes and now equipped with another fundamental force to the Universe. It was the end of one age, and the beginning of another – the Technomagic revolution.

Short StorySci FiFantasy

About the Creator

Taylor Inman

I'm a Computer Engineering major who enjoys reading, writing, fitness, and Crafts, and who occasionally writes stuff that can be published. Most is opinion, some is fact, a good majority is fiction - unless otherwise specified. Enjoy!

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (1)

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Great job congratulations

Taylor InmanWritten by Taylor Inman

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