I. They. Evolve. #2. Knock, Knock…

The following episode of my serial I. They. Evolve. is written for the Six Sentence Stories writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog. This week’s cue word is: Explore


Previously on I. They. Evolve.

Thomas is an AI humanoid who works as an English butler for his wealthy scientist creators in Washington State. During the outbreak of a global virus which affected two-thirds of the human population and caused the Infected to savagely turn on the immune, Thomas was re-programmed as an assassin to enter the abandoned zones and destroy the Infected. Heavily-armed and impervious to attacks due to his synthetic human body plan and AI brain, Thomas and his kind became the low-cost solution to save humanity from extinction. Thomas has discovered a new wave of Infected who can attack and destroy the AI humanoids, and he must report back to his creators this grave news while at the same time come to terms with the knowledge he is now no safer than the humans he has been trying to protect.


Episode 2. Knock, knock… 

It doesn’t take me long to exterminate the cluster of Infected – thanks in part to the dearly departed Mrs Wilson having already diminished their number before they turned their attention to me (RIP Mrs Wilson, I will forever fondly remember your homemade Scottish shortbread and knowledge of the works of Margaret Atwood), but, alas, my flamethrower cells are down to zero and I am forced to leave the stinking cluster in a pile of gory bodies where they fell (FWIW, we AI are equipped with flamethrowers to assist the ‘clean-up’ squads who follow behind us, as it is easier to ‘mop up’ bones and ashes than it is intestines, flesh and great runnels of blood; yet, I fear there will no longer be any clean-up squads to follow my progress, for I have seen not sight nor sound of them during these past three days in the abandoned zone).

I must report back to my household and creators – the scientists Dr Alan Armor and Dr Jane Geddon, that I – an invincible AI machine – have been attacked by the Infected; that Mrs Wilson has perished; that I need new flamethrower cells; that my skewer attachment is becoming blunt; that the clean-up squads have vanished; and that I haven’t a single notion why the Infected have suddenly gained intelligence to fight back.

I arrive at my household and am greeted by Dr Alan Armor, who to my horror is in an advanced state of infection in the kitchen, and whose only desire it now seems is to explore the possibility of tearing me limb from limb, for which I must skewer him in the brain for the sake of my survival (Goodness, Sir, I am most shocked to see that you have turned, and I am most dreadfully sorry to have to kill you, and may I add that it has been a pleasure working for you all these years).

My attention turns to Dr Jane Geddon, who has also turned, but by some twist of fortune is rendered immobile by a belt loop of her red 1980s throwback jumpsuit which has snagged itself on a cupboard door handle (FWIW only last week Dr Geddon came to me with the problem of the very same loop having torn loose, and she being a frugal type, despite her wealth, had not wished to throw out the jump suit but requested I repair the loop, and I, being programmed as an accomplished seamstress among my many butler talents, happily obliged, ensuring I made a strong double stitch of the errant loop for which I am now eternally grateful as it is the only thing separating me from the howling, hissing and gurgling Dr Geddon  – quite a sensory overload I can tell you, yet I am programmed to be an oasis of calm in such situations, and as I determine that the snagged Dr Geddon is unable to harm me just yet, I have time to update my data banks with the latest world news via the kitchen interface).

I can barely believe the news flashing before me of the thousands of AI beings like myself and Mrs Wilson succumbing to deadly attacks by the Infected: North America, Germany, France, Great Britain, India, China, Australia… alas, my kind is no longer the hunter but the hunted!

I turn to Dr Geddon and skewer her in the brain (So sorry, Madam, nothing personal you understand, it’s just that you need to be killed and I’m having a particularly bad day), and as she dies I am email-pinged by Elodie, my dear pen pal from France; Elodie, a fellow AI in employ of the French military, and someone who I have had a crush on ever since the Brexit referendum, and whose email leaves my knees buckling and my backside searching for a chair in which to sit as I process her grave words which are telling me…

To be continued…



Editor’s note: I. They. Evolve. is a science-fiction / horror dystopia set in a future zombie holocaust. AI humanoids which once served as the workforce for wealthy humans have been re-programmed and equipped to go out into the world to destroy the Infected. The story concentrates on Thomas, an English butler in his original programming, who faced with unprecedented and deadly attacks from a new wave of the Infected, considers the path of not only his own evolution but that of the enemy he is programmed to kill.

Knock, knock…

… Who’s there?

… Your creators…

… Your creators who?

… Your creators who will now unbuild you.

I. They. Evolve. Episode #2 written by Ford Waight, 18 August, 2021.

I. They. Evolve. artworkMount Coudon, Var, France photo, zombie figure drawings and digital render by Ford 11 Aug 2021.

Ford, The Atomic Mage.

33 comments

  1. Got to say, V – Episode 2 is as popcorn worthy (thank you Clark, lol) as the first episode, if not more. From the well-penned “Previously on” to the smooth “Editor’s Notes”, you’ve totally engaged the reader. Or rather, Thomas has! Once again you deftly demonstrate the writing style, I call armchair easy 😎
    Nice cliffhanger, btw. Looking forward to Episode 3!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Than you, D. Glad Ep 2 kept the story moving and is ‘armchair easy’ lol I like that 😎
      The ‘Previously’ and ‘notes’ are helping me to keep track of this fast-evolving serial…
      It’s a big world out there for Thomas now, alone, but heck he’s an AI… he can handle it, can’t he, I’m sure he can 😨😬😱

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Chris. I’m glad you’re enjoying Thomas’s adventures so far.
      Margaret Atwood – one of my top faves too, her dystopias and speculative fiction are inspiring for sure, as well as her other works. Brilliant writer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Spira! Yes, Elodie could easily be a melody – interesting about the \m/ as in a later episode Elodie and Thomas get into a deep conversation about the Red Hot Chili Peppers (it’s half written so far) … seems they share a good taste in music 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, are you surprised? I’m not!
        Now, it seems there is room for a British counterpart to complete the trio; maybe someone previously in service at the “awful awful “(you know who)…
        That would give you an opportunity for an episode of absolute havoc upon your British hierarchy. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haha, big smile reading this comment. That voice… “Oooh, what an awful, awful writer, no knighthood for him (again) !”
          I was mucking about with potential episodes 3 and 4, and it was all getting a bit James Bond at one point lol… so you mentioning the ‘British hierarchy’ makes sense 😀

          Lyric from ‘Scum’ by Idles:
          “I don’t care about the next James Bond
          He kills for country, queen and god
          We don’t need another murderous toff
          I’m just wondering where the high street’s gone
          ‘Cause I’m scum
          I’m scum”

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I concur with my fellow Sixarians (well, better than Sixiacs non?) Your notes add to the enjoyment of your Sixes. Shouldn’t be surprising as I would imagine most of us are of a mind to learn (and steal a lick or two).

    This installment: pulling off a most difficult challenge (at least in my world) moving the plot, background on both characters and settings and still be engaging.*

    I like Thomas.
    Related compliment: you’ve created and grown the character so effectively that my mind is busy casting the roles. I’ve a choice for voice (for Thomas) and a physical appearance.
    That is effective fiction writing.

    *actually to crank up the ‘engagement EQ’ in all the italicized and, the final line very touching.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sixarians or Six Maniacs?
      😀

      Glad you like the 2nd episode Clark, many thanks.

      Re: the casting of written characters… I totally have Tim Roth in mind whenever I’m visualising and hearing Thomas… who do you have in mind, I’m curious?

      At one point I also visualised Michael Fassbender in his ‘David’ role in the later Alien franchise movies, then Jude Law as ‘Gigolo Joe’ in the film A.I.

      Now I’ve introduced Elodie as a character I better start thinking of some French actresses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For a (lethal) gentleman’s gentleman, I’ve always been partial to 1990’s Terence Stamp.

        Funny you should mention Batman in your Reply to Susan… for voice only, I’d go with Michael Caine (from the Christopher Nolan iteration).

        …Helen Bonham?! who said that?!! Well, if she wanted to be French, I don’t doubt she could.

        Maybe we need to get Denise to put it up for a vote

        Sixarians. or Six Maniacs

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I didn’t think this situation could get any worse for Thomas…then you have to have him mention Brexit! I bet he thought that was all over with. I have to say the more I hear his “Inner Programming Thoughts” the more he sounds like Kryten in the early days of Red Dwarf before he broke his programming! Yes Mr Lister, let me do the ironing Mr Lister….I cooked your favourite curry…with my flamethrower Mr Lister! Great work as always and looking forward to reading Elodie’s message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, FT. Haha, yes can well imagine a Thomas / Kryten as a crossover.
      Yikes, the ‘B’ word… I had to mention it… it’s still a fresh and repercussive event in minds like you and I (and I think now for a good deal of folk who voted for it who are finally seeing some of the negatives about leaving coming true, as was predicted!) … yet, for Thomas and Elodie perhaps the event is not so recent 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “but by some twist of fortune is rendered immobile by a belt loop of her red 1980s throwback jumpsuit which has snagged itself on a cupboard door handle ”
    The humor absolutely heightens the horror of this piece…well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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