Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Alpha and Omega

Something in the long dark decays… A machine is dying. With emotionless panic the failover routines all attempt to re-route and self-repair, but the eon of neglect has finally eroded the last protocol. With a flurry of alarm messages sent to long dead watchdog systems the containment field drops. An amber warning light on the vault door changes to blinking red. An alarm klaxon sounds feebly sounds then trails off to silence.

Behind the door, if there were any being left to hear it, is a sound like a million million cockroaches clacking on dry paper. Within seconds a hole opens in the vault’s 200 mm thick door. The rest of the meter wide portal disintegrated in to a grey fog that floated down to the floor. In the span of a few seconds the fog swirls in to a disconcerting metal humanoid form.

Despite appearing like a robot, for lack of a better term, it moved erratically as if it were a swarm which is exactly what it was. Its face blurred forming a series of backlit eyes that seemed to emerge from inside its "head". The eyes floated along the surface of its body sweeping completely around a full 360 degrees. An "arm" stretched out, drew thinner and long than the other arm. A multi-fingered appendage glided over several keys blanking the screens on the alarm monitors.

The figure became completely still as if mercury could freeze. It sat inert before the blank terminal. One minute stretched to ten then over an hour. Nothing moved, no sounds echoed down the long empty subterranean halls. The solid state emergency "everglo" lighting designed to remain dimly lit for several millenia never wavered.

Exactly 24 hours after dropping in to passive state, the nanite colony Search And Destroy Omega (SADO) 9160, activated its final program—establish a ten kilometer perimeter and destroy all threats until an appropriate Alpha security device was presented. The still figure suddenly animated again. Eyes sprung forth from all parts of its body and SADO-9160 moved down the first cell block. At every one of the vault doors it pressed the amber buttons and punched an access code moving on to the next vault. Behind it vault doors melted and gray fogs emerged. There were 50 vaults in this block… and more blocks inside the target perimeter… The sounds of faint clacking drifted down the halls echoing louder with each passing second… if there had been any being left to hear it, they would have screamed.

1 comment:

Masada said...

The image is an original piece by Vivianne and found here...