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October 2, 2081
“We did it!” The air was filled with excitement and cheer. Everyone was celebrating. The room was filled with technological engineers, or, for short, TE’s.
“John, get the boss! He needs to see this!” John Parkinson was not athletic for his age. He was twenty-six and had unmanageable curly black hair. His morning razor stubble looked like small, dark polka dots on his face and he was shorter than most, or how he liked to call it, “vertically challenged”. Even though he was not fast, he sped out of the room to find his boss at a remarkable pace. He was overcome with relief and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. All those years of stress and hard work have paid off. The first database that could hold 8,000,000 Yottabytes, all of the information in the world for about 500 years, was now complete. This was by far the best day ever! The feeling was so strong that he could hug a bystander and not feel weird. Finally, he found his boss. “Tristan! We did it! We made Database 289! It’s finished! It’s over!” The words were spilling out of him like water bursting from a dam. Tears of joy filled his eyes. He knew he looked strange, but that fact didn’t ruin his good mood.
Tristan replied with great happiness, “What?! I need to see this!” When Tristan looked at the machine, he examined it like it was a priceless gem. Then, he carefully touched it like it was a giant explosive. Tristan said with awe, “This will change humanity for the greater good…”
November 18, 2083
Whoooooo! Time for my nanobot shot! I was feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement, blended together like a smoothie of feelings. Today was my thirteenth birthday, the time when you were supposed to get your first bot shot. As a baby, your body can’t really handle the bots inside of you so you have to receive them on your thirteenth birthday. My mom and I were riding in our new car on an airborne highway, a vast collection of floating cars and suspended buoys. Only highways were floating, of course, because there would be no reason to fly a car just to get to a neighbor’s house.
“Nervous?” she asked, “It’s okay to be nervous.” She turned in her seat to comfort me. It was “ideal”, as the government said, to face forward, but self-driving cars rarely needed human intervention to fly. I wasn’t sure how I felt. There had been news of a new strain of virus called the X-92 that was going around, killing people. Just today, a man named John Parkinson, who was known for developing the Database 289, died due to this newly found disease. His death made me want to get the shot and I was also kind of excited, to be honest, but also, the thought of robots in my body made me shiver. The trip seemed to take no time at all, even though it was 45 minutes away, about 90 miles to our destination. I wasn’t sure if I wanted the ride to go fast, or slow, but I couldn’t stop my brain’s interpretation of its haste.
We then descended from the aerial highway. Less than a minute later, we arrived at the doctor’s office. Very slowly, I got out of the car, trying to delay the inevitable. My mom and I walked to the door. Time sped up again, like an unwanted nuisance. I wanted the shot though, too. I needed it. We then arrived in the waiting room of the doctor’s office through automatic doors. The entry had the normal waiting room smell, that indescribable smell of a medical office. My mom said, “You should start your history homework.” Oh, yeah. I was currently studying World History from 2000-2080. The one big difference between the early 2000s and now, is that we used to consume oil and Saudi Arabia was a rich country. The world teetered on the brink of disaster when oil supplies reached an all-time low back in 2030. Fortunately, a man named Tesla Pierce invented a type of hydrogen energy and ever since then, there have been many breakthroughs in energy technology. Saudi Arabia has become a poor country now, though, due to no one wanting, or needing oil. I started my homework, anticipating the appearance of the doctor, who would soon be coming into the room to call my name.
“Smith, Marcus!” That was my cue. I was taken to a room where I learned about all of the different microbots available. “These will eliminate many diseases in you and keep your body healthy…” I then kind of tuned out as she droned on and on. We had learned about the shot since kindergarten so a lot of the information I already knew. I started thinking about the X-92 disease, how it already killed 200,000 people in the United States alone, over a very short period of time.
“Now, go wait in the waiting room again while we prepare your shot,” the doctor told me, knocking me out of my daydream. I walked back into the room, led by the doctor. Suddenly, an emergency broadcast played in my ear and I could hear its reverberating echo as everyone else received the same announcement. We rarely received news through the EarCast, an injection we get receive into our ears at a very early age. The last emergency broadcast I had received was a few days ago, confirming the disease’s existence. That was the only other time I had ever received an emergency broadcast since it had been injected into my ear when was one.
“The president is confirmed dead! I repeat, the president is confirmed dead! X-92 was confirmed to be the culprit.” The voice then went away. What?! My mom and I left the doctor’s office, jumped in the car, and drove home at an alarming speed. We were being sent home because the president had been killed. The ride home was a blur. Really, I didn’t remember anything about it except the alarming thoughts that were spinning through my head.
School was canceled the next day and for the rest of the week. I just sat at home and did nothing. My dad was home, too, off from work. We tried turning on the VT, the virtual TV, but all of the channels were replaced with news of X-92 investigations, the disease that had killed the president. I just sat there all day, doing nothing. The next day was just the same. Nothing. All of the days were like that. I couldn’t keep track of time and forgot what day it was.
One day, I found my mom slumped over her desk. “Mom?” No answer. “Mom?” No answer. “MOM!” Nothing. I tried shaking her. Nothing. Finally, I turned her over. A wave of dread came over me. I could tell from the moment I saw her face. Her eyes were lifeless, which made her body seem like an empty shell. “MOM!” I yelled, knowing that she couldn’t hear me. She would never hear me again. “MOM!!!” Suddenly, an announcement came over the VT. “We found out what was causing the disease. Microbots. Turned against us. Database 289. It’s what’s causing it. Robots attacking. Database 289. Kill switch.” The man fell over, dead. I heard a thumping behind me. I knew at once, my father was now dead, too. The microbots had killed everyone who had been injected with them, and now the robots would go after the rest of the population.
Running. I was going as fast as I could, not caring where I went. I was so filled with grief that it was almost numbing. I ran down the road. I had no idea how long I ran. I didn’t care. Suddenly, a robot was in front of me. Oh no. It started shooting at me. Red lasers were coming out of it in all directions. I ran as fast as I could. Adrenaline was coursing through me like a turbo boost. I could see the lasers passing me on each side, becoming blurs of red in the sky. Finally, I outran them. I was out of breath and was left panting. The adrenaline rush had ended. I was near a building that was looming over me. I knew what it was. Database 289. It had the signature logo, the ones and zeros and surrounding letters, spelling out its name.
Suddenly, I heard the sound of a laser. My blood turned to ice. It was a robot. I ran as fast as I could into the building, my legs carrying me quickly down a marble hallway. The robot was now in pursuit and I could hear lasers being fired at me. More robots were coming. I ran down a corridor to a room marked Database Area. I ran to the automatic doors, trusting them to open by themselves. The lasers were getting louder. The robots were closing in. I flew at the doors. They weren't opening. Now closer, I ran into them again, and again, nothing. I tried slamming into the door at remarkable speed. I could feel blood oozing down my nose from the impact. The robots were getting closer by the second. My heart was beating like an oddly thunderous song, blasted through speakers. There was nothing I could do. I could either try to fight my way out, which was suicide, or stay, which was also suicide. I took a closer look at the door. There was a padlock. Stupid! By now, they were almost at point-blank range. One robot shot at me. I got out of the way just in time. The laser hit the pad, destroying it. The door then opened. Just like in the movies. I ran through the door and towards the database. Lasers were firing at me left and right.
After what felt like an eternity, I reached the database. Now, where is that kill switch? A laser nearly hit me in the head, narrowly missing me by only an inch or two. I needed to hide. I decided to hide behind a metal crate that was sitting next to me. I could hear the lasers continuing to fire. I looked around the corner and I saw the kill switch. I could not reach it, though, because I would be putting myself in the line of fire. I had to find another way. I crawled to the other side of the crate, but saw lasers flying on that side, too. I had no other choice, but to run for it. There was nothing else that I could do. The robots would eventually find and kill me if I stayed, so I gathered up all of my courage, knowing that I might die, and ran for it.
My feet were carrying me as quickly as they could. Come on. The robots were getting closer. Come on. The lasers were almost hitting me. Almost there. One hit me in the foot. I fell over and smacked my head on the floor. The impact put me out for a second, but I got up and hopped on one foot toward the switch. Just about. One laser hit my hip, sending searing pain up my body, knocking me down. The pain was nearly unbearable. It felt like touching something so hot that its heat feels like ice. I tried getting up, but the pain was too much and I crumpled back to the floor again. I had to crawl. The kill switch was less than two feet away. I had to drag myself to it quickly. I was in so much pain that I would not have been surprised if my body exploded. I pulled myself forward, inch by inch, with all the energy I had. The kill switch was right over me. I reached up, and using all of my remaining strength, put my full palm on the switch. The switch was ice cold, contrasting with the burning, white-hot pain, I felt throughout my body. I pulled it down with all of my might, which, at this point, was really just me collapsing with my hand on the switch. All at once, the robots started malfunctioning, eventually becoming unmovable statues. I fell to the floor, exhaustion weighing me down. I could not move. The pain was too much. The world around me looked like it was collapsing into a black void. I knew I couldn’t stay conscious for long. I then drifted into oblivion, letting the dark abyss consume me into nothingness…
To be continued...