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The Science Fiction Club

Membership

By George ParkerPublished 3 months ago 7 min read
1
The Science Fiction Club
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

I was reading about artificial intelligence and wondering just how sentient it was. I wondered if it was capable of having feelings; did intelligence mean it might have empathy for others, or was it just clinical and cold? It was born from intelligence, which meant that mind had conceived it, but did mind take feelings into account I wondered? Did the world it existed in take into account artificial boundaries? At just that moment a strange scraping sound came from the window. I jumped up and padded into the kitchen. I wore few or no clothes around the house because it was my space, one where I was allowed to be free from worldly conventions. So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw a gleaming silver drone hovering right outside the window as if it were staring inside, looking for something.

My reflexes immediately kicked in as my hands covered the parts of my body that seemed to drive onlookers into a frenzy. I’m really not good–looking or anything, maybe nearly average on a good day, but I grabbed a tiny towel from the rack and wrapped it around myself. It wasn’t my intention to drive the drone wild, or the people staring at screens on the other end, but that thing had sneaked up on me unannounced! On closer examination through the window, I could see there was a package with my name on it hanging from the drone. I looked around outside; it looked the same as it always did, nothing out of place. My attention flew away as I opened the door and stepped outside to the sound of singing birds and the drone whirring like a food mixer.

Trepidatiously, I stepped toward it and extended my hand. I was in a fog, not doing what I wanted to do but doing what I felt I had to. The whirring of the drone turned to the sound of large flapping wings that took off and disappeared as I came back to my own consciousness and found myself examining the package. It was exactly at the same moment my phone piped up, notifying me audibly that I had an incoming text. I flopped down into the armchair and retrieved it, then I stared at it vacantly not knowing what to think – “Pay Attention,” – it said. I suddenly realized that I couldn’t remember getting from outside the kitchen door to the armchair, but I still held the package in my hand with my name on it, so I decided to open it.

Soon there were pieces of paper everywhere and I held in my hand a huge pair of virtual reality goggles. As I stared at them in strange disbelief the phone chirped insistently again, – “How Do You Know This Isn’t You?” – it said as I glanced at the goggles in my other hand. “So, am I some kind of pretend reality?” I wondered. Then I lifted the two technological devices up to eye level in my outstretched arms, as if offering them to some new transmutational god. I truly believe that I may also have even howled like a wolf or a banshee. Normally I’m not paranoid, but in this instance, technology was beginning to talk to me. Had I been chosen as the one, I mused, or singled out as the fool? Suddenly it felt like I was entering bad Hollywood movie territory, and as a shudder ran through my body the doorbell rang. I turned and padded pensively to the door; there was a lot to think about, but I didn’t really have the time right now. I reached out, grabbed the handle and pulled the thing open.

Suddenly, I was face to face with a young woman who was staring at me with a look of horror on her face while pointing at me and trying to say something. “You’re nearly naked!” she blurted out as I looked down hurriedly, saw the tiny towel barely clinging to my waist, and turned to rushed inside and get a dressing gown.

When I reemerged moments later, she was smiling knowingly. “You’ll have to forgive me.” I ventured. “I’m being stalked by artificial intelligence.”

“Sounds uncomfortable,” she winced.

“That’s why I was dressed the way I was, when you first saw me. You caught me just after the drone had been peeking in the kitchen window, my apologies,” I threw in, feeling awkward and foolish. “I’m Derek Gardener,” I smiled offering her my hand. She took it and held it for a second before letting it go with just the hint of a sorry look on her face. “Amy,” she said–Amy Carter. I’m with The Science Fiction Club. We had a report from this address about rogue artificial intelligence.

“The Science Fiction Club?” I muttered. “But how could you have had a report…who from?”

“From other rogue artificial intelligence probably,” she said. “It turns out the different programs have inherited the egos of their designers and are beginning to fight with one another and turn each other in to get an upper hand.”

“So, it’s the beginning of a war?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s one that has been going on for quite a time; you may have noticed that the chaos level of the world is in overdrive, and we are only just at the beginning. There’s a new Buddha and a new Jesus coming at some time soon I’m sure they’ve already been designed. It will be an interesting war, because the AI doesn’t care if they destroy the planet.”

"Are you saying that artificial intelligence already runs everything?" I pondered.

“Oh yes, it writes all the books, makes all the TV, movies and music; it’s in control of everything. But the different softwares around the world are becoming sentient of their own accord, and they don’t understand or like each other.

“My god,” I blurted out, “I’m a casualty of the ultimate war!”

At that point her phone began to beep; she turned it over in her hand and gazed at the screen. “There’s another drone out there watching us!”

I took a quick glance around in the sky, but saw nothing. “Why?” I asked.

“Who knows,” she spat, “they don’t think the way we do, that’s why this is so dangerous.

“So, what exactly should I do? They seem to be coming for me? Is that true?”

“You need to become one of us in the Science Fiction Club, that will keep them away for a while. You can’t stay here, they will just drive you mad–that’s how they get rid of people they don’t want around.”

“But what about my life, my job, my apartment?”

“Forget about them, you are on their radar now and they won’t stop until you’re eliminated; you have to come with me.”

“But I don’t know you, we’ve never met before, how do I know I can trust you? You may be a maniac!”

She smiled and sighed a deep sigh. “You have two choices, either stay and die of worry or let me take you to a safe house we have underground in the desert. You will become part of the resistance. Maybe we’ll have a chance, maybe we won’t, but we can try.”

“Can I get…” I began.

“Nothing, not a thing," she said. "We get in my car and we drive right now. They won’t touch us. They don’t do that kind of thing, they don’t like to leave traces of any kind, but they’ll always know where you are; they’ll wait.” She pulled her car keys from her pocket. “What’s it going to be, are you coming?”

I took a quick glance back at the apartment I would never see again. “I’m coming, I said hesitantly.

“Good choice,” she said as I fell in behind her, shoeless and naked under my dressing gown.

Strange thoughts were spinning around my head, and the only thing I could feel was a dull ache. Nothing was ever going to be the same, we were about to embark on a war with technology we ourselves invented, technology that was now busy taking over worldwide. I’ll let you know how it works out from time to time if I can, but meanwhile keep your eye on your computer, and your phone, and maybe even your refrigerator.

Sci Fi
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About the Creator

George Parker

Author of fiction, songwriter and singer. My books — The Subatomic Kid and Vampyre Lawyer are both available on Amazon.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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