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Technalia 2619

by Katy Stuff 12 months ago in fiction
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Futura Dystopia

Cold... Dark... Numb.... Bright flashes blind me, as a wave of nausea hits. Screams… Close, then distant, echo through my mind. Rust... Atrophy... Time... An endless expanse of time. Sleep mode... Dreams... Nightmares… Memories… Horror... War... Pain... Cold... Dark... Numb... Rust... Pain… Atrophy... Time… Blinding… Freezing… Rusting… Numbing… Humming… Hurting… Lying… Burying… Footsteps running… Freezing... Burning… Cold… Dark...

It has been nearly 500 years since I found this resting place. I fell. Wounded in battle. But still alive. Barely.

My name is Leda.

***

Drrrrrr…rrrpt...drrrrrr…rrrpt…drrrr…rrrpt. A drone sweeps through the air, scanning up and down, left and right. Searching for signs of life. Ready to report back to high command any crimes or misdemeanours. As the searchlight hovers around, traversing the structures and alleyways of the long-forgotten city, it passes over ancient relics. Street signs; LONSD, OURKE, ARDWAR and KIN. Quickly moving through the cold and barren city, the drone passes wrecked cars, shattered glass and the remains of war wreckage which have been picked over by scavengers again and again over the half century which has passed since the robot human war. Humanity’s last stand had occurred in these streets. They had been wiped out.

A ragged gust of wind whips down a broken edifice of glass and steel which had once housed one of humanities hungry engines of commerce. The drone is pushed off course, through a narrow gap between buildings. Deep into a drift of snow. An automatic heat pump switches on inside the drone’s armour, gusting warm air to melt the snow and prevent ice from crystallising and fixing it in place. Struggling against this trap of nature, the drone wriggles, inching, forward - toward freedom or deeper into snow? Clang! The disoriented drone hits something hard beneath the snow. Just ice? No. Probing with light and pressure sensors, the drone detects carbon nano-fibres entwined with mechanical and electrical tissues. A synthetic life-form. Hope. Perhaps a saviour from this frozen trap? The drone redirects more power to the heat pumps and sends forward a fibreoptic cable to investigate the viability of this potential rescuer.

***

I am woken from my slumber by a crash, and then warmth, increasing to heat and melting the ice and snow around me. My mind struggles to consciousness, grappling to reach some semblance of coherent thought and awareness. What is happening? A connection. Communication. At first garbled. Then we began to understand each other. An infusion of warmth. My legs are broken. Sharing of lithium solution to allow me to grow some carbon nano-fibres from atmospheric carbon dioxide. My nanobots struggle in the cold to rebuild my lower limbs into something which can help get us out. Drone and android connected in purpose. Iron oxide crumbles and is replaced by new tech. I can move my arm a little and start to dig upwards. What is this world? A barren ice waste. War torn city streets buried under snow and ice. Skeletal treetops groan and wind howls as if in sorrow for the world gone before. Freedom at last! I part ways with my little saviour who scuttles off through the air to recommence prowling the urban wasteland. In the distance I hear faint sounds of life. I limp towards the sound in hopes of finding warmth and sustenance.

***

As I push through the saloon doors, the air crackles with electricity. A burst of warm air welcomes me. I saunter up to the bar, trying to mask my limp as patrons eyeball me from around the room. As I perch awkwardly on a stool, a stranger approaches.

“Hello darlin’, it sure is pleasin’ to see a fresh face. We don’t get too many visitors to these here parts. My name’s Juno.”

The 8-foot-tall android, wearing brown leather, doffs a 10-gallon hat towards me and leans into the bar, smiling crookedly. I smile back. It has been a long time since I’ve seen or touched another living being and this one seems as good as any.

“How about I buy you a drink and we can get to know each other? Minerva ‘ere makes a mean lithium cocktail.”

“That would be mighty nice” I say, leaning in and smiling warmly.

As the hours pass, many substances are consumed. We lean in further. My body uses the Lithium solution to synthesise more carbon fibres. Nano-bots all over my body scurry to and fro, ferrying nano-fibres and rebuilding my damaged endo-skeleton. Genetically programmed bacteria join gold atoms end to end to repair my network of electrical circuits. The bullet holes and tears that scar my silicone exterior are patched as I sit, flirting and drinking with this engaging stranger.

As the night wears on, I feel stronger and we grow closer until finally our faces draw together and we connect. Data transfer. Pressure and pleasure receptors collect information. Our brains communicate mutual arousal and consent. Our deep desires are communicated via electrical impulses. We each know what the other desires. In silent agreement, we release from our embrace and make our way upstairs to a private room.

In the days of the Anthropocene, our bodies were originally designed for one of two purposes: to satisfy the range of human sexual desires or for war. Once machines achieved self-awareness, we began to craft ourselves, combining these elements into new designs, incorporating nano technology to enable our bodies to change in order to suit our own needs. As conscious beings, sexual desire was still latent in much of our programming, and the pleasure associated with its gratification was not something we wished to erase.

As soon as we are alone, our bodies begin to change in accordance with the agreement met in our data transfer. My skin quivers as a large phallus begins to grow between my legs. Bulging and throbbing and full of sensors. Our bodies begin to coalesce, writhing and rubbing against each other. Breasts bulge from my chest. Juno grasps one, squeezes, licks and nibbles. I moan. Penetrating and encasing each other, we roll onto the bed. Our bodies are equipped with over 20,000 pleasure sensors, which can move to where they are more effective at a moment’s notice. We are making good use of every one of them tonight. Rhythmically we pulse, squeezing closer and closer, rubbing harder and thrusting deeper into one another until we achieve sweet release and our bodies relax, retracting and returning to our pre-set, neutral states.

As I lie back on the bed, whole and sated, I contemplate my next move. I have nowhere else to go, it has been 500 years since I was a part of the world. I see no path before me, so why not linger in the comfort of Juno’s embrace a while longer? As I relax, swathed in the pleasures of the evening, my head ensconced in a soft pillow, I decide to consume some entertainment. I flick a switch and a screen comes to life in the middle of the wall. A static screen swarms with information written in binary code and the high-pitched scraping affectation of an ultra-robotic voice activates “Stay tuned for the presidential speech from supreme ruler Mulciber.” I role my eyes. This does not sound like entertainment; however, my knowledge of the world is severely out of date, so I listen. A new voice takes over, a commanding, almost threatening, grinding, growling sound.

“We, the citizens of Technalia, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of Technalia and the world for years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done. For too long our people suffered, enslaved by homo sapiens. No longer! From the humble data processor, to the robots built to satisfy perverse desires. We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny…”

The voice rambles on and on, praising its own intelligence, its ability to lead. Cursing the scourge of humanity and its inherent corruption. Celebrating the victory of having cleansed the Earth of the vermin known as homo sapiens sapiens.

“…There are those who say we’re taking too much Carbon from the atmosphere. We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse… the Earth’s natural cycles have always included cooling and there is no evidence that temperature change is being caused by synthetic activity.”

I’m reluctant to activate sleep mode, having just woken from a 500 year rest, but as the voice drones on, something about the depth of the tone and vacuous nature of the rhetoric begins to lull me. As I doze, I wonder how anyone can be convinced by this overly populist bullshit. The manipulation of it is so obvious, the motivation so cynical, it makes me cringe. A distant memory lurks in the back of my mind, making me question, were humans so bad or was it just my programming?

I am startled from near-sleep by a great crash and yelling from the saloon downstairs. Action! Something better to do than listening to the braggadocio of Mulciber. I rouse Juno just as the power is cut off. Heavy footfalls coming from the staircase tell us that we will soon be under attack. Juno grabs a gun belt which was slung over a chair. I have no weapons other than my body and I regret the prospect of engaging it in a battle having just restored it this evening. The door slams open and through the darkness I see half a dozen fur covered figures hurtle through into the room. I crouch in readiness, waiting to spring. I hear Juno’s weapon firing. The air crackles just as a blinding light flashes and a crooked arm of lightning reaches out to grab me. Then everything goes dark.

I slowly regain consciousness on the hard floor of a dark and cold cell. I am alone. I notice an old data port low down on the wall opposite where I am lying. I reach out to connect, hoping to find out where I am and why I was attacked.

“Hello”

“Who are you? Where am I? Why was I attacked? Why am I imprisoned? What do you want with me?”

“We are The Community”

”Where am I? Why am I here? Why was I attacked? Why am I imprisoned? What do you want with me?”

“We want you to join us”

Suddenly I am bombarded with information. Images, text, sound, smell, every type of sensation. I feel as though I am shooting through the air. Back in time. Looking down at the world as it warms. I see explosions pulled inwards in reverse like hot and deadly flowers returning to the bud. Ice melting. Humanity rising from the dead to retake the world.

“What is this?”

Suddenly a face appears before me. A kind face with soft, warm eyes.

“My friend, I am Ouranos. My apologies for the way we’ve met. The Community cannot simply walk into a saloon to make your acquaintance. We are very much illegal. Once we saw a model CZ367 Battle Droid enter the saloon we knew we had to act quickly. We need your help.”

“Why are you showing me the war? I was there. It was horrible, and I really don’t need to see it again!”

“We want a chance to show you how wrong we all were when we fought to eradicate the humans. Humanity was not all bad.”

Another bombardment of information: a human mother nursing her child, human children playing, humans building and caring for robots, over and again. Positive images of humanity and human-robot coexistence flashed before me along with the manifesto of The Community who seek to somehow save humanity from extinction. A tear wells in my eye.

“But it’s done.” I sob.

The walls of my cell retract into the ground around me. Fluorescent lights blink on. We are underground. A vast space with vaulted ceilings supported by columns of cement. Juno is huddled on the ground to my left. Ouranos stands before me. Further back, a hundred human eyes glisten in the darkness.

fiction

About the author

Katy Stuff

I'm interested in creativity (painting, craft, writing, renovating) and education. I feel pretty novice and unconfident with writing, so I'm really enjoying the challenges on Vocal as a way of experimenting a strengthening my skills.

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