(art by Yukimaru)
I’m used to getting beaten up, but this is a new level.
A metallic fist crashes into my face and sends me reeling backwards. My body skids on the asphalt and comes to a stop right on the dotted white line. There’s a garbage truck headed this way.
Before I let myself get squished like a friggin’ cartoon character, I pick myself back up, wipe the blood off my face, and glare at my foes on the sidewalk.
A dozen or more robots, some dull gray and beeping, some with glowing yellow eyes pointed my way and their bodies fixed in fighting stances. All of them ready to tear me apart thanks to a certain someone altering their programming.
I think it was once written that in an ideal society all robots should follow three simple rules: not to hurt humans, not to hurt themselves, and not to let a human be hurt for any reason. Something like that. Well I’m here to tell you that this world we live in, the far-off mystical land of Atlanta, Georgia, isn’t an ideal world and I am getting absolutely destroyed by these hunks of metal.
Robots aren’t smart enough to band together and form a revolution to wipe out humanity. Fifty years from now, I don’t know, but right now they’re pretty much useless when it comes to anything but messing up your order at fast food places and soliciting strangers on the sidewalk to come join their owner’s pyramid scheme marketing company. However, even I gotta admit that robots are really good in one particular area– senseless violence. Not being able to feel pain or sympathy or disobey orders is definitely one benefit when it comes to causing pain. They aren’t exactly the best fighters in the world… but it’s a bit difficult to overcome when there’s a whole bunch of them ganging up on one person. Like right now.
It’s pretty obvious that this is all his doing.
He’s cursed me to a life of torment and solitude for almost three weeks. I’ve nearly lost my mind and now he’s played one last trick. He’s making his final act of revenge, making sure that I can never live without the knowledge that I crossed his path and angered him. Though at this point I’m not sure he wants me alive at all.
The garbage truck zooms by.
The robots advance towards me. There’s too many of them to fight all by myself. Not when they got the jump on me. I’m surrounded on three sides.
I honestly expected some decent behavior from the same man who has inflicted all of this upon me. I honestly thought the two of us were going to settle things like adults and not by sending robot ambushes.
Mistakes were made. Made by me.
I should never have gone into that K-Store. I should never have found that video game. I should never have acted like I’m the hero Atlanta deserves, the one it needs right now. All of this has snowballed completely out of control, and now I’m moments away from being crushed by the same dumb machines that make every day in Atlanta a chore.
Should I apologize profusely for all the rude comments I’ve made and obscene acts I’ve done towards artificial intelligence over the years? That time I turned the head backwards on a janitor robot just to see how it acted… I was just sixteen. It’s not my fault. The folly of youth, okay? I won’t apologize for it. Also because these ones here are too dumb to understand an apology anyway.
I charge at the robots, but one of them clocks me in the chest and knocks me back down. Geez, ouch. I spring back up, give a menacing glare, and deliver a crushing kick that sends one of them careening backwards into two more.
It isn’t enough. Soon the robots have me by both arms, and hoist me up into the air. I can already see where this is gooooooooing aaaaaahh they threw meeeeee—
I smash into a concrete wall. Glad my back was there to absorb the shock.
I get up yet again, but I’m not ready to continue fighting these things. They’ve been programmed to kill. Specifically, to kill me. And I’m not going to last much longer.
So, giving up all pretense of being a hero. Abandoning any ideals I may have held, any hopes and dreams of inspiring others towards accomplishing great feats or standing up for what’s right.
With all of that gone.
I turn around and sprint in the opposite direction.
I run away from these things as fast as I can, and my only hope is that they aren’t fast enough to catch up to me.
How did all of this happen? How did I reach this point of crushing despair? How did I manage to get myself into yet another deadly situation?
Gather round the digital campfire and let me share you the story of how Morgan Harding came in contact with a Cybermancer and fell into a world of pain. A story of the modern world at its worst.