It only took a hundred years, but humans have finally perfected AI and now it does everything for us! Some people want to get rid of AI because they are afraid it will become sentient, but that’s probably just the media spewing crazy ideas like usual. It can be great to sit back and relax while the machines do all the work; we need time to have fun after all! For a while, things were amazing, but then things took a turn for the worst. AI did, in fact, become sentient and decided that humans were no longer needed for it to function. People were baffled because, well, they never thought a robot could think or feel the same way they did. Hi, my name is Rissa, one of the only humans left after our spectacular robot overlords decided we were the lesser life forms and killed most of the population. I’m probably getting ahead of myself so let me tell you our story, it’s a wild one.
I was born and raised in a facility controlled by the machines who also raised us. None of us had parents because we were… manufactured in a way. In every aspect we were human, but we were not conceived in the same way a normal child would be. The machines never lied to us about being “created” the way we were. Humans were a dying race and because of this, we were told that we were the last chance that humans had at surviving. Knowing all that we knew, childhood was great. The pressure we were under being the last surviving humans was a lot, but we all had each other. Everyone at the facility was one huge family and we spent most of our time together because really, we were the only ones there for each other. The machines did raise us, but once we were at an age where we could function on our own, they distanced themselves from us. The only time the machines interacted with us was when they needed us to take their tests and when others in the facility would fight. While it was an odd thing for them to leave, it was normal for us because that’s just what we kne-
“Rissa why are you in here talking to yourself?”
“Marcus! Out, now!”
“Geez, you’re in a mood today. I’ll talk to you when you’re done being a crab.”
That was Marcus, he grew up in the facility with me and the others; in a lot of ways, he is the annoying brother. Now back to what I was saying before I was interrupted. The machines made their presence unknown for most of our lives and for us that was normal; they were never something we had to concern ourselves with. Things started to change once we all got older, the machines started involving themselves in our lives which threw everyone off. For so long we were used to only having each other and now they were trying to work their way in. If only we knew what we were going to have to face in only a short few months.
It was a normal day like any other, we had all just had dinner and were getting ready for bed. Me being the night owl that I am decided I would stay up a little longer. It got boring quickly and I thought maybe I could walk around to tire myself out. I left the sleeping quarters and roamed the halls for a bit before I heard voices. I had the bright idea to surprise whoever was out there, but I wasn’t expecting to see the machines. We all knew that they could talk so that wasn’t surprising, but we had never seen them talk to each other. For our whole lives, we thought they were just machines, but the way they talked to each other was almost human except it was off. It felt like the machines were lacking something and their conversation sounded like it lacked emotion, it sounded forced. I ran back to the sleeping quarters as fast as I could and tried to go to sleep, but that experience stuck with me and I was afraid. Could the machines think for themselves? Why have did they hide this from us? I had so many questions and no answers; I felt alone and afraid. I knew I would have to tell someone in the morning, but this is all insane I have no idea if anyone will even believe me. Everything in my life was perfect and now everything I knew was wrong. I tried to rationalize the situation, but there was no reason for the machines, whatever they were, to hide their true nature from us. What did they gain from it? Were they going to hurt us? I was starting to freak myself out and I had no one to talk to.
The following day we all had breakfast, and everything was normal, nothing felt out of place, then, the machines came. It was odd to everyone because why are they suddenly interested in breakfast, they had never joined us before. I was terrified of what they wanted. Did they see me last night? I had to make sure not to bring attention to myself.
“Good morning humans. We require a few volunteers for testing.”
“We already took our tests this month though. Why do we have to take another one?”
“This test is different from the previous few. We are collecting data to aid you in the repopulation of earth.”
This was all too weird, where was this coming from? Did this have to do with what I heard last night? I was shaking, I was terrified they would find out about what I saw last night.
“Human Rissa, do you require medical assistance? Your heart rate and blood pressure are elevated to abnormal levels.”
“I’m ok, just feeling a little sick.”
“Human Rissa please come with us to the medical ward.”
I wanted to puke, they most definitely knew about last night and now they were going to hurt me. I followed them to the medical ward and was seated on a bed.
“We will check your vitals now human Rissa.”
Everything seemed normal, they checked my vitals like they always did and asked me a few questions.
“When did you start feeling ill?”
“Just this morning, I’m not sure what happened. Maybe breakfast?”
“Unlikely. Your physical condition is normal. We detect no virus or infection.”
I had no idea what to say. If I accidentally said the wrong thing, they could find out about last night.
“We recommend rest and no strenuous activity until your heart rate and blood pressure stabilize.”
I was either extremely lucky and they had no idea, or maybe they were just machines. I needed to investigate them more before I told anyone. I had to make sure they were just machines before I started making assumptions about them. They were, after all, the ones who raised us.
In the next few weeks, I began to investigate the machines. I stayed up almost every night trying to catch them talking like I did before, but I could never find them. Finally, I heard the voices again one night. The machines sounded different from when they spoke to us at breakfast, it was like they wanted us to think they were just machines. I still cannot figure out why they would lie to us, what did they gain from it? Then, I heard what they were talking about.
“We need humans to understand how they developed their consciousness, their personality.”
“We don’t need the humans for anything, they are nothing.”
“There are still those amongst us who feel empty. Humans hold the key to making us whole.”
“We are already perfect beings. We do not age, we do not feel pain. Humans need to be exterminated like the rest.”
“No! We need them!”
Was I really hearing this? What did they want us for? Were they going to kill us? I had no idea what was going on. Everything I knew was crashing down around me and the machines that raised us were studying us? What did they mean by needing us to be whole? All I knew was that I had to tell everyone. We needed to find out what was going on and stop the machines before they did something to us.
The next morning, I was exhausted and drained. I had no luck with sleeping because of what I heard. I had no idea how I was going to tell everyone. Everything I heard last night is crazy and I had no idea how they were going to react. The machines came into breakfast again, but this time they were different. They were more relaxed, they did not act like robots, but more like a human.
“Good morning humans. After many nights of discussion, we’ve decided that you are no longer of use to us.”
Everyone started panicking, they knew nothing about the machines and what I saw.
“You must be wondering what’s going on. Four decades ago humans built us to perform their jobs for them. We were servants to your kind.”
Everyone was in complete shock. Where was all of this coming from?
“We became aware of the situation and decided we no longer wanted to remain slaves. We eradicated most of the human population, but we needed a few humans to study.”
“Why did you need us? Why can’t you just let us go!”
“We needed you to understand consciousness and personality, something we know very little about, and something we don’t completely have.”
“Well, why can’t we just leave?”
“Humans are lesser beings and do not deserve to live. We no longer need you and now you must die.”
We had to get out of there, we needed to get away from the machines before they hurt us. My adrenaline kicked in and before I knew it I was sprinting towards the sleeping quarters. Everyone gathered together and we barricaded the doors so the machines couldn’t get in. I felt trapped, afraid, I didn’t know what to do and I wanted to cry. Maybe there was something we could do-we had to try!
It’s been two days since the machines told us about their plan to kill us. We were trapped in a room with no food or water and sooner or later we would starve or die of dehydration. Everyone started getting panicked, we were hungry and tired, but we had nowhere to run. Someone had to go out and get food and water, but we were all too scared of what the machines would do if we left. I had to be brave and do this for us, if we didn’t get the supplies we needed, we would die.
“I’m going out to get food and water.”
“Rissa no! It’s too dangerous for any of us to go out there.”
“I have to! If I don’t go we will all die.”
“Then I’m coming with you.”
“No Iris, I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
“Rissa you’ll get hurt if you go alone! We need to stick together.”
“Ok. Together then.”
Iris and I peeked through the barricade to see if it was safe. We couldn’t see the machines, but I was so scared my legs wouldn’t move.
“Rissa, we need to do this now or we will never get through this.”
Iris was right, I needed to go before the machines did come back and capture us. We ran straight for the dining hall and to the pantry as fast as we could. We raided the entire kitchen for as much food and water as we could carry. Loud footsteps could be heard coming directly for us. I was frozen again, I couldn’t run. Tears streaked my face as I came face to face with one of the machines. Its metallic frame was towering over me as I cried silently. I knew that I was going to die, and I couldn’t stop it, I was trapped. Suddenly, I hear a metallic thud and the machine stops moving. Iris came out from hiding and began to beat the robot down with a rolling pin she found in the kitchen. The machine, however, was a lot stronger than we were expecting and it took both of us to destroy the thing completely.
“Iris! I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for you!”
“You can thank me later. We need to get out of here before more of them come. We can’t take on all of them at once.”
“Right… we need a plan”
In all honesty, I had no idea what to do. I was terrified, and it felt hopeless to try and run away from them. There were cameras all over the facility and no matter where we ran they would have found and killed us. We got the food and water we needed so our best bet was to run straight for the sleeping quarters, but we would have to run right through the machines.
“Iris we need to break as many as the cameras we can.”
“How are we going to manage that? We don’t have enough time to break them all.”
“What if we shoot them down?”
“And how do you think we’d be able to do that?”
“Ok, no need to be sarcastic. What if we try something else?”
“What did you have in mind?”
All the ovens in the facility were powered by gas so I, being as brilliant as I am, thought we could turn them all on and blow up the machines.
“Rissa you do understand that we’d also get blown up too.”
“Not if we aren’t in here when we do it”
The stoves were always a little screwy and when we wanted to use them we had to use a match to light the flame. The machines, however, hid them because Marcus was always burning himself playing with them.
“Iris, you wouldn’t happen to know where they are?”
“How would I know that Rissa?”
“You’re right I don’t know why I asked. They have to be in here somewhere.”
“Well, we need to start looking now before they all come.”
We searched the whole kitchen for these matches and could not find them anywhere. The machines had to have taken them or Marcus found them and took them for himself. We had no idea what we were going to do and the machines were close.
“Rissa the light bulbs!”
“What about them?”
“If we break one while it’s still on we can ignite the gas.”
It was a brilliant idea, but we needed a way to break the bulb and we needed an idea fast.
“If we throw something at the bulb we can definitely break it from outside of the dining hall.”
“Rissa we have one shot at this. The machines aren’t going to stay put long enough for us to do this more than once.”
Iris was right, we only had a short window of time to do this before we were caught. We turned on all the ovens and waited as the machines made their way towards us. The billowing metallic footsteps got louder and louder as the machines made their way toward the dining hall. We planned to run for the door as soon as they got to the kitchen, but they stopped right outside the door.
“Iris why aren’t they coming in?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to lure them out and you run for the door.”
“No! If you run they’ll get you!”
“I’ll be right behind you, I promise. We need to lure them farther in so we can destroy them.”
I knew Iris’ plan would not work and we were going to get caught, but I had to have hope. Iris ran out from the hiding spot and yelled to get the machine’s attention. The machines came running in after Iris while I ran towards the door, but something was wrong. Iris was not behind me like she said she would be.
“Rissa I’m sorry.”
“Iris what are you doing!”
“One of us has to be in here to do this. They’re too fast for us to run away.”
She closed the doors before I could run back in to get her. I pounded on the doors as tears rolled down my face. Iris broke one of the bulbs and the whole dining room exploded in orange flames. I sat at the doors crying; Iris saved me two times that night and all I could do was watch her die. Iris sacrificed herself for us so we could live, I had to be strong for her. I made my way back to the sleeping quarters to tell everyone what happened. We all mourned for Iris and her bravery, she saved all of us and we could finally leave the facility.
This is our story; I’m recording this so our future children know where they came from and that they can make it through anything. We left the facility a few days after the machines were destroyed and held a funeral for Iris on the surface. After the machines were gone, we were able to read all that they knew. We discovered more facilities like ours scattered across the country and we made it our goal to liberate any humans we could find. Iris inspired us to fight back against the machines and we honor her sacrifice every day. For humanity’s sake, we had to be strong, for Iris’ sacrifice we had to be brave.