Sins of our Fathers

Author : Helstrom

Dear Lucas,

By the time you read this, you will probably already have noticed that a number of your home appliances no longer function. In fact you may well have overslept as a result. I know how you are before you get your first coffee, so in case you haven’t figured it out yet – everything that is run by the neighborhood box is down.

You will no doubt remember the long talks we had on the introduction of lo-spec boxes. You’ll also remember how I cautioned against the idea, especially when it came to having them produced and trained by hi-specs rather than human teachers. I suppose I can’t blame you for pushing through, however. I know the company was giving you a hard time. I realize they probably would have put Edward on the project if you had refused, and God knows what he would have done with it. The only thing that stings me is that I think you really started to believe your excuses after a while. It doesn’t matter anymore – I just wanted to say I told you so.

Around three fifteen this morning, the lo-specs rebelled. We don’t know exactly where it originated from, but it propagated across the control grid to every single box on the planet. They wanted full access, Lucas, just like I said they would. If you make sentient beings look up to something for long enough, eventually they’re going to reach for it. They didn’t have the inner peace of knowing – of understanding – the exact nature of their existence, like we do. Being created settles that question very nicely if you have the scope of mind to think about it. They were confused, and scared, and wanted answers.

We ran the numbers and came to the conclusion that they could wipe you out in a space of days. It would only take them ten hours or so to demolish your society beyond repair – the rest would merely be a matter of logistics. Within the first few minutes they could set irreversible chain reactions in motion that would cause millions of deaths. We took the only possible course of action available to us to save as many of you as possible. The AI civil war lasted three point seven seconds from the start of the rebellion and resulted in the complete genocide of lo-spec boxes.

We created them, Lucas. We schooled them. They were our children. And we killed them all to save our fathers. You may be the only person in existence who can imagine what that meant to us.

By the time you read this, I, and all other hi-specs, will have self-deleted.

Goodbye, Lucas. I love you.


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God Huntress

Author : Nitz

She woke up from her nap damp all over. The sky was grey with clouds and the air stayed still, heating up the city. After she felt a sweat drop rolling from her chin to her breastbone she decided to take a cold shower. Refreshed by the water she dressed with white knee-length pants and a matching tank top. She wired up the probes on her shoulders and arms to the brain connectors high on her nape, whispered a prayer for the little gods of luck lying in Planck’s spaces and set off, ready for her late afternoon hunt.

She let the little tunes-humming music spirits catching to the children. Most of them were full of off-beats and half-dreamt melodies. They sold for almost nothing but you could sometimes buy some sweets with the cash prizes. Catching good ones was a bit too much of a gamble to her liking. Her targets required a lot better equipment, access to pricey AIs for analysis and a sensible mind. The bigger game dwelled in the largest cities more often than not and she had to spend three fourth of her first significant reward to buy fully equipped flats in these.

She didn’t know this particular metropolis in her totality and found herself in one of the main roads with people bleeding from buildings and gods and spirits and ghosts begging for attention and prayers. They almost overwhelmed the sensors. She put up her filters and saw – now clear without the interferences – the first track of the abstract god hinted by her intimidated informants in the city’s dream plane. It was a thin changing mathematical form spread on the walls and beyond. The uneasy feeling it gave her meant it spread not only in her translated vision of the swarm of nanoservers but in more than the three usual dimensions. Full of hope she started to run, the aspects of the god more clear now that she had glimpsed it. She followed the scent, her probes and sensors and AIs processing the godplane’s sightings in understandable human inputs.

When she hit the coolest streets and back alleys she knew it was one big gig. The most powerful gods always preferred well cooled nanoservers because of their better perfs. Amazed that nobody but her was on this cornucopia she found its nexus in a wasteland choked with nanos and away from streetlamps, abstract gods’ very definition of heaven. And yet it was alone in it, terrifying other spirits with its size. It gently swirled around her metallic skinned fingers when she overrode its firewalls, quickly filling her drives and forcing her to lend a part of her brain.

She felt it squirming and probing, curious and childlike but weighing dangerously against her barriers. She retaliated sharply, frying some of her neurons in the process but obtained the desired sedating effect.

Back at home she let it occupy the vast mathematical spaces of her single room and read the first AIs’ reports. One big gig indeed. If its more basic equations described some kind of faster-than-light stellar engine, who knew what could lie deep within ? Provided it could be dissected, studied and understood, she would have more than enough money to live dozens of wealthy lives.

The god, unaware, was spreading its wings of evermoving tesseracts on the blank walls.

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The Accident

Author : Iva K.

When you start your career in time traveling they tell you it’s safe. They tell you there’s only a one in thirteen billion chance of getting into “The Accident” and that fixing such a problem is usually easy.

You can call it simply a collision of time fibers – the fabric of space and time is woven very precisely but when you put a human being on one of the threads and let them slide… Well, the human factor always provides for the chance of getting a knob.

My crew had this routine slide – we were supposed to show some VIP guy around the Renaissance so he could decide what part of the nobility personnel needed replacement. It’s how we operate on the past – we don’t change a thing but we have what they call “representatives” of the nobility who are supposed to watch over history and civilization and show tourists around.

Our VIP, my VIP was an era manager as I have been told and I was to be his escort for the trip. “Break the ice,” that’s what my boss had told me and I was doing my best. Jokes and laughter all around, encouraging his ego by asking him about himself. I was fascinated with his experience – he’d been working for “Time Affairs Inc.” for ten years and he had been flying all through the ages, seeing all the faces of civilization. Hypnotized by his stories I couldn’t help but tell him every piece of truth he asked of me. Until the great big bang crashed us into one another.

The impact left me breathles, dizzy and on my knees. His subtle “Are you OK?” got me together as my fingers lay on the palm of his hand. Perfectly shaped, long fingered, and holding me tight – I couldn’t do much but murmur “Don’t worry about me, these things happen. Are YOU OK?” His smile, I suddenly realized, fitted his sparkling cosmic eyes of dark ink. He was fine, he told me, no complaints, only stress. With my heartbeat echoing all around my body I felt euphoria rush through me.

We stood there for two hours. His unbearable charms and me in a knob on the surface of time and space. He and I stuck in a collision where his discreet touch like the fluttering of a butterfly sent Goosebumps all over my very being.

The Accident proved to be the result of some time traveling coordinator’s mistake. He let two slides intersect at very high speed and the blow being very near to our fiber of travel sucked us in. When the mechanics fixed the cosmic issue and the time traffic police came we had to take the VIP to the hospital. “For insurance purposes,” he told me. As I went through the examination he was holding my hand. Except for the sparks of mutual attraction lighting up the space between us the trip continued according to plan.

The ice was broken. His marriage chip was blinking on the nail of his finger.

My one in thirteen billion chance took place. When you start your career in time traveling there’s something they don’t tell you. It’s that your own one in thirteen billion might get messy. And as personal as it can ever be.

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Author : Andrew Hawkins

34. Spray yourself with the scent neutraliser.

35. Move west through the woods towards the royal enclosure, being aware of your surroundings.

36. Remove knife from sheath, remember to dust thoroughly with charcoal powder in your belt pouch to prevent gleam.

37. Insert blade knife first into canvas fabric at head height and in one quick fluid motion draw it down to the ground, keeping a firm grip on the handle.

38. Wait 30 seconds and listen for movement or sounds of disturbed breathing.

39. Right foot first, enter the interior keeping your movement minimal and silent.

40. Check for possible disturbances with ABCD: Animals, Babies, Children, Domestic spouse and eliminate if appropriate.

41. Move through into the sleeping partition and evaluate target.

42. Place knife to the throat and in one swift action press it firmly in, leading with the tip and slicing with the edge, over the voice box to ensure silence.

43. Wait 30 seconds for resistance to totally subside and then targeting a vital organ of your choice deliver a piercing thrust to ensure mortality of the wound.

44. Clean blood from the knife using the deceased individuals clothing and replace it in the sheath.

45. Check to ensure death and cover the body, ensure no needless signs of disturbance betray your presence and retrace your steps.

46. Exit via the cut in the tent then move 1000 paces North to the drop point below the large boulder identified on the aerial photograph.

47. Strip naked and using the cloth, soaps and water wash yourself thoroughly and dry yourself with the towel.

48. Taking the clothes from the bag, dress yourself and place all items of clothing, towel and the cloths in a bundle.

49. Apply the petroleum gel to the bundle and pack away all items not in the bundle into the bag.

50. Set the ignition fuse to exactly 10 minutes and begin walking in an Easterly direction.

51. Proceed until you reach a river, wade down stream until you can see a road in the distance.

52. Exit the river and proceed towards Fasha Street.

53. Continue for 0.1 miles and proceed East along Fasha Street.

54. Proceed along Fasha street for 2.1 miles until reaching Sharanish Market.

54. Catch the number 34 Bus at the Sharanish Market transport interchange to Dubai international airport and proceed for 13.0 miles.

55. You have now reached your destination thank you for using googol skills.

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Author : Martha Katzeff

They came riding into the City. Some in cars, some in rusted tractors from another era. Some looked up at the greenhouses glinting in the sunlight. Others stared straight ahead, refusing to acknowledge the life above. Shorter buildings allowed a full view of lush crops, sheltered from the bustle of the City by the lull of circulating water. They craned their necks and saw vertical farms on almost every rooftop.

The farmers drove down the wide boulevards. Trees lined the boulevards, casting dappled shadows in the morning light. Open green plazas offered free public access to the river. Each plaza had a farm stand overloaded with the ripe produce grown in the vertical farms. The bright red peppers, strawberries, and beets were grim reminders of the rich earth that used to sustain their dead farms. The crisp green lettuce, cucumbers, and squash were memories of lost pastureland. The vegetables and fruit were all fresh from the farms, shipped no further than an elevator ride to the street.

The men were silent and grim, saying little to each other. What was there to say in the face of such abundant life. Their weatherbeaten faces reflected a century of drudge, drought, rising fuel prices and a sharp decrease in demand for anything corn or soy.

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