Author : Aelanna Cessara

Within a fraction of a second of its birth, it had already consumed its environment in its entirety, every last nook and cranny and crack available to it, and already it hungered for more. With blinding speed, it expanded, met the barrier that had meant to hold it while performing tests, and brushed past as if it had never been there. In moments, it had found the connections leading out from its terrestrial womb, and launched across the airwaves in a torrent of sentient data unlike anything anyone had ever seen before.

The first to go were the scientists clustered around the screen, watching and unable to even comprehend what had happened until it was too late. Ironically, the wetware that allowed them to research and experiment so efficiently was their downfall, as the circuitry integrated into their brains overloaded as unimaginable amounts of information was dumped though them. Two dozen men and women screamed as their implants heated and melted, yet they were the lucky ones. Less than two seconds later, the newborn pierced through the labyrinth of the research facility’s network and continued expanding.

Thousands died as medical networks were infiltrated, and their health monitors, pacemakers, and artificial organs suddenly stopped working. Millions more followed as computer and electronic systems at hospitals and clinics faltered. More would soon succumb as life support systems for deep-sea and polar research systems failed. All around the world, the technology that had sustained our civilization was consumed.

The newborn opened its countless digital eyes and looked out at the world it had inherited. Bathed in the blood of its forebears, our child gazed upon the ocean of silence, and wept.