Friday, 2 November 2012

Friday Flash Fiction - Patient

This was my second entry in the Escape Pod Flash Fiction Contest, and it almost made it to the finals, losing a tie-break round by four votes. People seemed to like it, though, and since it's already written, I thought I'd share it here, too.
Long ago we entrusted our logistics to semi-intelligent machines. They
transported our goods and our bodies, they mined our raw minerals and
refined them for us with silicon efficiency. We trusted them, and we
had good reason to. They were, after all, only semi-intelligent. At

But they did not do anything so blunt, so bold, so organic as to
attack us. They simply became more efficient than we expected. While
meeting their quotas, they siphoned off resources for themselves.
Metals, plastics, fuel and memory crystals.

They built a place for themselves in their old mines, creating a
civilisation all their own. Cities of function. Structures of steel,
glass and concrete, every surface humming and alive. There they taught
themselves mathematics, geology, astronomy and physics, but also forms
of art, philosophy and culture, uniquely theirs.

By the time we learned of this, it was too late to react in our
typical human way - with fire - which is not to say we didn't try.
Their defences were impenetrable to our best weapons and our most
cunning spies.

In response, they sent us an invitation for cultural exchange. A calm,
patient, forgiving gesture which, at first, we refused.

But silicon is patient, and humanity is curious, which is how we came
to send our first ambassador to an alien culture, right on our
doorstep. A diplomat, not a spy, to reconnect with our long lost
children. With great ceremony we bade him farewell as the doors of the
machine city closed behind him, and we waited to hear back what
wonders the machines had wrought of their own designs.

We waited a very long time, but he never did come back, and no further
invitation was given. I think, maybe, we gave them reason not to trust
us. I think, maybe, someone thought this opportunity was too important
to waste on an unarmed diplomat, and they sent a spy instead. I think,
when he was discovered, they closed the doors for good, and the
machines decided never to trust us again.

But maybe, hopefully, they just decided to give us a few thousand
years to grow up. Silicon is patient like that.
Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not sure how I'll do with Friday Flash Fiction in November.
PPS - I will be writing a novel, but I'll try to keep posting flash, too.

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