I was actually planning to write the fourth part of the Singapore trip series during the weekend, but got sidetracked by Football Manager 2005. (In related news though, I managed to lead Fulham into the Champions League! With practically no money to spend either! Eat your heart out, Chris Coleman!)
Anyway, like your bowels, this blog needs to maintain a certain regularity, so here’s a filler post (aren’t they all?) for the time being – and what better way to waste time than to do a meme?
As tagged by Drama Queen:
Write an entry between 100-200 words, with these words included once, and once only.
Out of the 10 words, you can only change 2 words. (Ed: Done. See list above).
The essay is below. For your own safety, please push your trays back, adjust your seat to its upright position and please, please remain seated. Now, you can proceed…
++START THIS SHIZNIT++
The hardest thing to deal with is the loneliness. Despite the darkness, despite the sounds of gunfire nearby, despite all the rats gathered around the small puddle of water by my feet, despite the incessant reminders of a life once worth living but now lying in ruins all around me, despite all the people, the poor, mindless, curious, enslaved people milling around in groups of four or five, waiting to be hauled away by those ugly ugly chrome metal creatures for labour or execution, despite all of that and everything else that was contantly occurring around, above and underneath me, I still felt completely and utterly alone.
It is my task, my responsibility alone, to shoulder this burden today. We have come a long way, from our earliest days in the underground labyrinths that once, in days of peace gone by, served as transit hubs for weary city workers commuting from home to work and back. We had designed this plan, carefully and quietly, over the last 60 years, from the moment we realised and saw what the rest of our friends, family, brothers, sisters and fellow citizens did not – that the time of the human race as the apex Earth species was coming to an end. I was not yet born then, when the plan was first formalised by a group of men and women, brave and true. But the spirit of the plan, its’ meaning, its’ methods, its hope, lives and breathes within me as if I was there from the very beginning.
And here I am now, about to see to its conclusion.
I walked out of the alley where I had been crouching all this while, moving past an automated fruit dispensing machine that had been broken into and was now the home of several species of canine, some of whom were fighting over portions of grapes.
One dog growled as I passed too close for its comfort, and I moved away, only to bump into another of those abominable replacements for human beings. This particular model looked and talked like the nightwalkers of yesteryear, but without the soul or the stench of disease accompanying them.
“Hello, honey/darling/sweetie, how are you? Are you feeling lonely/horny? Would you like a blowjob or more? I can do you for the low low price of….”
Her – if you could call it a ‘she’ – marketing spiel faded away as I continued my way towards my destination – the Highlander Towers.
The doors were unguarded. This was unusual, but I had no time left. It was now or never – the Lord High Metallica will only be on this planet for a few more hours. I had to do this today – NOW – or our hopes would be crushed forever.
I rushed through the doors expecting a phalanx of blue shiny metal lined up against me, but nothing. Silence pervaded the long hallway, with nary a movement nor activity as if the end of all things had arrived and I was the last to find out.
At the end of the hallway were the Golden Gates. The entrance to that which I seek. It was my target. My destiny. My doom.
I walked up the Gates, with only the sounds of my heart beating keeping me company. There were no locks on the Gates, of course. No door or access point in this entire building had any gates. They would only open or close by detecting a signal emitted by a tiny microchip embedded inside the body of all those – and only those – authorised to be here.
I had no such microchip implant. But I did have something better – 6 packs of C4 explosives, fresh from the rebel factories owned by Vlad The Blower-Upper.
The deafening explosion rocked the building, and would surely have awakened the hardiest of sleepers from miles away, but inside the building, the response was limited to falling pieces of debris. No alarms, no sounds of clanking metal, nothing.
Was I too late? Had the Lord High Metallica left already?
The answer presented itself the moment I walked through the hole that was once the Golden Gates.
There he was, lying on his face, in front of the giant throne from upon which he’d pass his decrees and laws. All around him were the lifeless and motionless metal sentinels, his guardians and protectors, his servants and slaves, his executioners and enforcers.
I approached the body, the only one made of flesh and bone besides mine in that room, while still being wary of the other bodies lying all around me.
I turned the body over. Yes, it was he, the Lord High Metallica, the man who’d enslaved an entire species and almost led it to extinction. And there he lay before me, broken, damaged, vulnerable.
Almost a hundred years ago, the Lord High Metallica – then a successful businessman named Will Ghates – unveiled his technology company’s most revolutionary product: The Wista. A concoction of the most advanced hardware and software then available, the Wista promised to take over the mundane aspects of life, leaving the citizens of the world free to pursue leisure and freedom and peace.
At least, that was the promise.
Ghates’ machines discovered soon enough that the what they had been tasked to do was impossible without assistance. So they designed and developed an army of metallic ‘application helpers’ to execute the responsibilities and duties as they had been programmed to do by their human masters.
But humans rebelled. This sudden uninvited robot army scared the populace, and people took to catching and destroying the metallic creatures wherever they were found.
The Wista software calculated its response to the resistance, measured the pros and cons of possible actions and weighing them against the core programming duties harwired into its system, and came to a decision.
Eliminate all resistance. Restore order.
Over night, faster than you can say Isaac Asimov, hundreds, then thousands, then millions of ‘application helpers’ were created and armed with weapons that were far more advanced than anything the military could come up with.
The human army were defeated in the blink of an eye. Soldiers vapourised as if they had never existed. Soon all signs of human civilisation as it was known was gone, reduced to smouldering ruins and broken dreams.
Finally, when all resistance had been crushed, Wista turned to its creator. Ghates, who had been shell-shocked by the turn of events, was nevertheless spared the tragedy that befell his fellow man. He was now tasked with rebuilding the human civilisation. He became known to a cynical and angry world as The Lord High Metallica.
He embarked on a breeding scheme, designed to repopulate many parts of the world with a new generation of humans. He put many of them to work in the weapons factories, secretly making sure people would have access to the latest and greatest of weapons of mass destruction. He had to be careful, though, lest another rebellion against his machines trigger another round of genocide. Humans had to be controlled, until there were enough of them to put up a real fight against his machines. The solution was to keep them ignorant, obedient – enslaved. Until the time arrived to unleash a human army against the mechanical ones.
That time is now.
60 years ago, Ghates gathered a small group of men and women, survivors of the cataclysmic holocaust unleashed by his own creation. Plans were made and debated, arguments raged as to best courses of action, until an agreement was reached. Scores of able-bodied men were to be dispatched to every hidden corner of the globe, with instructions to teach and create and develop new weapons and tools and fighting methods to eager men, women and children. A secret resistance was to be created and brought to maturity. An army of man, unlike anything the world had ever seen, armed with everything the Wista army had – and more. And when the human resistance was ready, it would be time to declare war on the machines.
That day is now.
I had been tasked with the responsibility to rescue Will – for indeed, he had become a virtual prisoner behind the Golden Gates, kept under constant guard for his ‘own protection’. Wista revered him as he created them, but the machines also distrusted him, for he was also human. He was but a figurehead, a puppet ruler but without any power. Then the machines managed to intercept a message from one of our rebel command outposts to Ghates. While the message itself did not reveal any damaging secrets, it increased the level of distrust and suspicion among the machines. Wista quickly developed a plan to evacuate Ghates to the abandoned lunar colony, to keep him away from any potential human uprising.
That was why I was here today. I could only hope that my mission was not a failure.
“Will. Will. Can you hear me?” I tried to rouse him. His eyelids fluttered.
His eyes suddenly opened, startling me. I fell back, half in fear, half in shock.
He sat up and looked around, his gaze resting on one random object after another. When finally he looked upon me, his searching stopped.
“So you finally came for me. I knew you would.”
“Yes, I’m here, old man. Come on, time to go. Before they realise what happened here.”
“Young man, after all this time you still underestimate them. They already know.”
“Then all the more reason for us to get out of here!”
“You must leave. Here are the signal codes.” He rustled in his pockets before pulling out a piece of paper. “This will ensure that any messages you pass will not decrypted by Wista. Now, hurry, go!”
“What are you talking about, old man? You’re coming with me!”
“Sonny boy, what we need now is some time. A distraction. When Wista’s probes arrive here, the moment they see the carnage they will unleash hell on Earth. We need time to organise the resistance, time to get the word out. That’s what I’ll do. I’m going to give you some time. Leave the explosives here.”
I realised what he was up to. I struggled to hold back my tears as I understood that I would never see him again.
With a quick nod and a salute, I rushed out of the room, through the charred remains of the Golden Gates, down the corridor and out of the doors into daylight.
I had very little time. With the paper containing the secret codes firmly grasped in my hand, I rushed to our hidden base on the outskirts of town.
The uprising has begun.
Yes, it’s not a 100-200 word essay. So sue me.