Apocalypse, Inc.

January 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm 2 comments

The original plan was simple: destroy the world. Why? Why not, Smith or Jackson would have replied. Given sufficient mental imbalance and a swollen ego, anything seems like a good idea.
Of course, there were all sorts of organizations in the way. A few too many to take down, they decided. So they built a time machine, and began brainstorming.

A bomb? Large enough to destroy Earth’s accretion disk? Impossible, with their resources.
A meteor strike? Too hard to arrange.
A biological weapon? At first, it seemed like the solution. But any plague leaves a resistant strain, and given millions of years sentient life still seemed likely.
But it gave them an idea.

“Hungrybots are ready! Finally. I hope.” Smith shouted across the cluttered, filthy warehouse. He watched the nanobots swarming around, dividing and eating up the agar in the Petri dish. Actual nano-scale robots had failed; they couldn’t use resources up as quickly, and, more to the point, they didn’t know how to make them. This second reason was left unsaid; neither man liked the idea of something they couldn’t do or control.

Instead, the Hungrybots were pseudo-biological. They used a simple form of RNA for genetic information, designed to prevent any mutations. They would multiply and consume the primordial soup, long before mankind’s unicellular ancestors could arrive, without growing into anything more.

Jackson laughed harshly, loading the vials of bots carefully into the machine.
“No need for us to go back,” he remarked, “but I’d like to be here to see the results. If I’m right about the new timeline–”
“Damn the timeline!” Smith interjected happily, “Let’s do this! We have just enough fuel for a round trip.”

There was no flash, or burst of sparks. They were just suddenly surrounded by a volcanic, sulfurous landscape of barren rock and shallow puddles of sludge. Smith dropped a vial casually into a puddle, letting it shatter. He and Jackson were wearing biohazard suits and the equipment was all sterilized; no sense letting their own germs ruin their plans. A second jump, and they saw–

–Tall skyscrapers, but alien skyscrapers. A man walked past, but at a second glance he was only superficially human. Bipedal, but taller, with six brawny fingers on each hand. His (its?) skin was a light shade of greenish-blue.
“What the hell? What did you do?!!” Smith exploded. “Life! Intelligent life! We failed!”
Jackson glared at him. “My fault? Who carried the samples? You bloody fool, you let bacteria get into the mix! You created life, instead of destroying it.”
Both of them fumed silently, and simultaneously realized what had happened.

Any plague leaves a resistant strain…any built-in inhibition, too. It would only take one malfunctioning Hungrybot to copy its code wrong, and there were billions, with millions of years. Eventually, it was bound to happen, and once you have a nice mix of different mutant ‘bots, evolution is inevitable…

The would-be omnicides looked at the thriving civilisation, and back at the empty fuel gauge on their time machine. Their radios were spewing nonsense; apparently, these green, highly-evolved Hungrybots spoke in radio, in the FM band. Maybe, given time, they could communicate…maybe they could find a foothold in this completely alien culture, get resources, and find a way to fix their mistake. They would settle for nothing less than perfection.

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Steamrolled images Lucid dreaming is creepy

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HyperHacker  |  January 9, 2009 at 1:41 am

    “There was no flash, […] A second flash”

    Pretty good read anyway.

    Reply
  • 2. fublag  |  January 9, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Nice catch, thanks. Fixed.

    Reply

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