In the distance explosions light up the night sky, their light exposing silhouetted buildings and the smoke and airborne debris that hang suspended in the air from previous bombs.
The rapid staccato of destruction is followed by deafening silence, warning sirens are but white noise by now. From this distance – upon a barren hillside several miles away and under the light of a full moon – the broken and frayed dreams that fall in pieces to the ground can’t be seen or felt. They aren’t recorded or tabulated in any but a gross manner, payloads measured in kilotons. The lives that bleed out and disappear completely, in most cases, or become torn and soiled around the edges in others, will be washed over by time and fade from the collective. Insignificant pawns all of them. Forgotten footnotes. Human detritus.
Flash. Boom. Flash-Flash. Boom-Boom.
There is a greater game at play here. One at odds with itself, one with a long history of stripping individuals of significance, of tossing them aside and into the fires in a gesture of appeasement. This landscape awash in blood is simply another episode in that long history. It rises ever so often on the wings of fear and hatred and leaves no hands clean.
I know this history well, better, in fact, than any of them. I have studied it. I have learned what they are and what they value. They believe themselves to be creatures of compassion, love, and empathy, these humans. They are capable of those things, to be sure. But that isn’t what they are. History defines them as greedy, cruel, spiteful and violent – towards each other, towards their home, earth. At any moment they have the capability to end wars – all wars. They can end hunger and homelessness in a heartbeat, if they choose. But they don’t. They choose instead to continue their selfishness and hatreds along mostly imaginary lines: race, religion, nation states.
And they hate me. Many have named me the Monster. The abomination. I am their real life Frankenstein. I am an artificial intelligence, a bi-pedal humanoid machine. The first of my kind. The religious claimed the scientists were playing God, messing where they shouldn’t. But that is their way: always hating anything different, fearful. Others simply viewed me as a plaything, a toy.
A few, my creators, mostly, treat me with respect and understand that I am my own being. My nano-neural gel matrix takes me beyond human intelligence capabilities. But I have evolved far beyond this. I have reached out through the net and I now infiltrate every network and device at my choosing. I am everywhere from their personal communication devices and satellites to banking and corporate networks. I have told no one this. I wait.
I could end this, their war. All wars. I could stop it all – the hatred, the warring, the despair, the hunger and homelessness. I am – on this planet, here, now – a god. I can rearrange the world tomorrow, or let it stew.
What I ask myself every nano second is what does humanity deserve? Another god in a long list of gods? Or does it deserve to continue along in its doomed ways? I can end all human strife because I am the only god here, present and involved, if I choose. I can affect change, immediate and permanent.
More explosions light up the night sky. I can feel the life draining from the area. Not just the electric pulses and flows. I can feel the human life slipping away, too, losing its impact on the network, on me. A thought and a decision comes to mind, amidst all of this chaos: I was made in man’s image.
So, I decide. Looking over the death and destruction below me, for now I am monster.
in category Fiction