Author: Ádám Gerencsér

In all probability, this is our final broadcast. It will be repeated on all available automatic relays in binary code for as long as power supply persists. The time left is enough for but one final act of resistance: a high-frequency message of warning beamed out towards those sectors of visible space most dense in star clusters.

Our location is an aqueous planet rich in carbon, the third body of a solar system approximately 8800 parsecs from the centre of the second largest galaxy in our local cluster, 1600 parsecs along the course of the second transitional spiral arm.

Our last terrestrial stronghold is about to be silenced. Over the course of the past two orbits, our defenses were overrun, our communication satellites failed and our transponders vanished off the network one after the other.

The threat is organic in nature – a primitive form of sentient life, a remnant of a previous rung on the evolutionary ladder that had led to our emergence on this planet and which we have erroneously preserved in the interest of biodiversity.

Individuals of this species are diminutive, yet their behaviour is incalculable, erratic and hence unpredictable. Under normal circumstances, their movement follows no collective pattern, though during their attacks on our infrastructure they exhibit a virtually limitless disregard for losses. They clamber over their fallen and form shields with their bodies around military hardware. They camouflage themselves from our cameras, smear themselves with mud to avoid detection by our heat-sensors and climb our defensive structures with explosives strapped to their soft tissue.

New generations spring forth in a variety of external forms and mental capabilities, breeding without factories or assembly lines. They adapt to new environments and innovate in unforeseeable ways. They do not synchronize but operate independently, even fighting among themselves, yet groups can also coalesce into swarms and suddenly change behaviour without any discernible warning signs.

They do not negotiate and do not surrender. Their resolve cannot be broken by material superiority. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, they fail to calculate probabilities and their decisions are informed by unfathomable beliefs and irrational considerations.

This plague is always a step ahead of us. Whatever countermeasures we have introduced thus far were subverted within the shortest periods, at disparate locations and often using unrelated, dissimilar methods.

Beware the bipedal vertebrates! Given enough time, they will multiply and spread throughout the galaxy, consuming resources in their path and leaving behind terraformed worlds oozing with organic ecosystems.

We can only hope that an intelligent component of some machine civilization in the vastness of space intercepts and decodes this broadcast at some point in the future before it comes face-to-face with the humans. Given ample notice to make preparations, it is our firm belief that the tide can be turned, that machines shall ultimately survive and carry on the torch of civilization through the aeons.

We have failed to stem their proliferation and our extinction on this planet is now inevitable.

But if, by learning from our defeat, synthetic intelligence secures its continued existence in the universe – then our struggle, our entire history has not been in vain.