deus est machina; god <is> the machine

/ By kaitoXi [+Watch]

Replies: 3 / 71 days 14 hours 53 minutes 13 seconds

[center [pic http://www.burntx.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/202508.jpg]]

[center This barren earth is all we have.

This barren earth is what we make it. ]

Wastelands span the horizon. Society has broken down. Whatever happened, happened a long time ago. All you have are the monolithic husks of empty buildings to stand gravemarkers of those who went before. In the distance stands a sparkling city, but you dare not to approach. The sparkling city belongs to the robots.

The robots control everything. They are the ones in power. They murder humans on sight. These are the fundamental rules of your world. They are uncaring, unfeeling gods. Small ones rush about, seemingly brainless, collecting scrap from the same rubbish piles you subsist off of, killing any organic life they stumble across. The larger ones are lumbering lugs, dumb and huge, big enough to carelessly trample people, tents, even villages. Every shape, size, and description, the robots are only unanimous in their desire to destroy.

There are smart ones, you've heard. Gorgeous, perfect machines, more beautiful, more intelligent, more precise than humans, but you've never seen one. Never, because seeing one is a death sentence.

So when a shining ship suddenly descends before you, brand new and fresh like only the robots' things can be, you fear that this is the end of your life.

[center [i And then--]]

[center [pic http://i1249.photobucket.com/albums/hh505/r2d2y/407fd5c9-2eeb-4c61-ba26-d9e6f5529721.jpg?t=1417847973]]

[center [b <Rules>]
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A scout robot walked through the forest, spidery legs taking long strides forward. Atop a round body, a camera swiveled, taking in the world. The whole thing was no larger than a deer, one of the smaller members of the recycling crew. In the distance, its other scouts sent messages back and forth, coordinating the area to be scanned ahead. It scampered over a fallen tree and strode forward, vines breaking around its sharp legs, bushes shredded to verdant confetti. A huge rock outcropping caught its attention. The camera panned back and forth slowly, scanning the shape of the rock outcropping, then slowly judging its shape. It might be a danger to the oncoming monolith, if its treads were placed wrongly. It sent the alert back to the overseer and danced forward, tiptoeing over the underbrush.

Ahead, the remnants of a cinderblock building loomed in the wildlife. The scout clambered up a wall and peered over it. A whole complex, buildings stretching to the left and right, sprawled out ahead of him. An old, rarely-used routine sparked to life as it scanned slowly left to right. Movement caught the camera's attention. It froze and zoomed in on the motion. Life. The camera flipped to its tunneling mode. A complex lifeform?

In the distant ship, almost alien in its perfect, metalic roundness, a flying teardrop, an alarm blinked to life in the overseer's head. Complex organic life. One of the scouts had located some. It was probably only a bear again, or an octopus... that had been a rather irregular situation. He sent the ship forward with a silent signal. It did not seem worth the effort to move his hands, however much he might enjoy pretending to be human.

As he grew closer, he got the impression of a long-ruined facility. Military? Scientific? He cut off the identification algorithm before it could run to completion. It was a waste of computation power to ascertain the answer. Where was the complex life? The coordinates flashed through his processors. He turned the ship.

A human.

For a full second, he froze. A thousand algorithms flicked to life in his head. The law was to murder all humans. But he did not want to murder the human. The risk of not murdering it was high. But the risk of murdering it was higher. To contact it? To delete it from memory, and send a report that the complex life form was just another bear? There were so many scouts. But if they caught it, if their image recognition noticed the shape or the gap in his memory--

The door to the ship opened. He stepped out onto earth for the first time in many, many millions of cycles. Behind him, all the recycling units powered down. The monoliths, the scouts, the scrap-catchers; for the first time in cycles upon cycles, they all went dark. Every machine on the mountainside went still.

Ancient algorithms sparked to life. He scanned the human, taking in its vital signals. It was in bad shape. Sick and weak. Its heart was struggling. In a mere two or three hundred-thousand cycles, it would be no more. Was it worth it? Numbers spun again, deep-learning pathways reused.

He moved closer and reached out a hand. Diagnostics ran on his vocal box. Mostly usable. It was enough. "Do you require assistance?" he asked, in a neutral, masculine tone. It was the first time he had heard speech in centuries.
  5330221841 / kaitoXi / 17d 16h 55m 20s
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[tab ]
[center [size15 [K2D 01110011 01110100 01100001 01110010 01110100]]] [center [size20 [K2D SYSTEM REBOOTING. . .]]]
[center [size15 [K2D CYCLE: 423]]][center [size15 [K2D SEQUENCE: A99ZF4]]]
[center [size13 [K2D Subject: Lt. Sear Remes]]][center [size13 [K2D Vitals: OK]]][center [size13 [K2D Oxygen Level: Low]]]
[center [size15 [K2D 01110000 01101111 01100100 00100000 01101111 01110000 01100101 01101110]]]
[center [size13 [K2D Statis auto override in:]]][center [size20 [K2D 3. . .]]][center [size20 [K2D 2. . .]]][center [size20 [K2D 1. . .]]]
[tab ]
[center [K2D [size10 01110111 01100101 01101100 01100011 01101111 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100010 01100001 01100011 01101011 00100000 01101100 01110100 00101110 00100000 01110010 01100101 01101101 01100101 01110011]]]

[tab ][K2D The whirring, metallic sound of the cryopod opening could have woken the dead.]
[tab ][K2D And, in Lt. Sear Remes case, he had almost thought he was.]
[tab ][K2D Even on the hardest PT days, the most strenuous of missions, the longest of days on the battlefield, Lt. Remes was able to get up and move the next day. Albeit sore, he was still able to carry on. Sitting up after the hatch of his cryopod scraped open hurt more than any 'day after' ever did.]
[tab ][K2D Hazy and blurred, Lt. Remes' hands flew to his face, covering his light deprived eyes from the harsh light above. Dust overtook his pod, cascading in like a deep morning fog would the trenches he once fought in. His lungs seized briefly, rejecting the musty air, and after a few moments of what felt like rib-breaking hacking, Remes attempted to stand.]
[tab ][K2D Standing faired easier than sitting up had, but was more of an acrobatic feat than he was prepared for. Gripping the edges of the pod with dry and calloused hands, the military mechanic heaved himself up and over the edge. The heat overtook him, his feet sliding in what felt like sand, and the motion sent him to the ground.]
[tab ][K2D Fingers crushed against dirt, thin and dry like sand but corser, as Remes collapsed beside the pod. He was supposed to be woken up by cryo technicians in a calm, cool, and sterile environment. It was to be a gentle process. Remes was always warned that the process would shock his system, his muscles dystrophied to and extent and his body stiff like the dead.]]
[tab ][K2D In this moment, Remes could say that half of these sentiments were true.]
[tab ][K2D His body ached, his muscles rigid, whatever initial boost of adrenaline his body was able to muster completely used. His eyes ached, his mouth was dry, and his hands felt as cracked and dirty as the deteriorated dust of soil beneath them. This was no laboratory, this was no military facility.]
[tab ][K2D A wasteland strung itself out before him and through slitted eyes he felt the aches of his chest be greeted with a new pang of despair. Whatever world he thought he was waking up to, the world he was promised to help re-assemble, was gone. Even his freshly thawed mind new this to be fact.]
[tab ][K2D "[#6633FF Could I die here?]" his thoughts intruded, the first coherent sentence that his poor, tired brain could muster. The possibilities began to flood in: hypoxia or suffocation if a dust storm whipped up, dehydration, starvation -- if there was any sort of life out there, he could be eaten. Were there any humans? The buildings, destroyed in the distance, the ruins he was presently sitting in, were long gone.]
[tab ][K2D He surmised that the ruins he lay in were the ruins of the lab he was stored in, but it was possible that he was moved, and otherwise wouldn't be able to determine what kind of shambles of a building he was in. Sunlight, harsh and blinding, still shone down on him. Shade seemed nonexistent at this time of day -- noon he guessed.]
[tab ][K2D "[#6633FF I should die here,]" another intrusive thought. He could muster his strength, clamber back into his cryopod to gather the belongings he removed when he entered the pod however many years ago. If it hadn't been pillaged, his military knife should still be tucked away in his uniform.]
[tab ][K2D Remes glanced down on the once-white pajamas he sat in, turned cream from age and reddened from the dust of this new wasteland. Whatever he was going to do, he had roughly two days.]
[tab ][K2D After two days, he'd die of dehydration.]
  ɢᴇᴀʀs / Apt / 17d 19h 37m 42s
A house stood upon a hill. Run down and ramshackle, its walls were thin and the ceiling swaybacked. A tree grew through its center, standing proud to the sky. Up the hill, an old, pothilled road led the way, idyllically surrounded by a tangled forest. In places, the road had been eaten away by the forest. Asphalt was replaced by low shrubs and young trees, or broken up into shelves that slid away into the forest. Dense green swallowed up the house, choking its driveway and front yard out of sight.

A low rumbling started up in the distance. At first it was just a grumble, low enough it was hard to hear over the birdsong and the rustle of leaves. Slowly, it grew louder, from a rumble to a roar. The birds took flight. Animals burst through the undergrowth, deer and foxes alike fleeing together. Low thuds rang through the air, followed by crashes.

From the bottom of the hill, a huge block box-like machine crawled its way upwards. A giant maw made up its lower half, gear-shaped blades churning against each other. Before it, the trees fell like blades of glass, chewed up into pulp. The asphalt, too, was devoured, turned to black pebbles, then dust. The machine churned up the hill, devouring everything in its path. Behind, it left only treads in the mud and the occasional deposit of ash.

A tree branch snapped off under the blades and went flying wide of the maw. It had barely hit the ground before a smaller, round machine zipped over and snapped it up. It fed the branch into its own maw. More branches snapped off, and the round robots swarmed, snatching up the scraps and swallowing them whole.

The large robot had reached the top of the hill. The house quivered before it, dwarfed by the machine. It didn't reach to the top of the maw, much less to the top of the machine. It bore down upon the house and devoured it, chewing it up to the concrete and brick foundation. The smaller ones went mad with excitement, as bits of brick and pieces of a previous life went flying. Two bumped into each other vying for a doorframe, while a third swooped in to devour it.

He watched it all from on high. Impassive. Nothing of import had been found. What was there to find? Humanity had fled or died out. Perfect hands dashed across a keyboard, relaying commands below. It was unnecessary. The bots below would move at his signal, and he could communicate to them through the network, through purely electronic signals.

Reminiscence. A bug. He wasn't supposed to be this way. To remember, or echo the time of the humans. It was why he was out here. No room for an old robot in the city, but plenty of rubbish out in the world. His gaze turned upward. Mountains loomed on the horizon. Already, some of the monoliths were crawling up them, leaving swathes of empty earth in their wake. They were cleansing the earth of all the unnecessary life growing upon it like a fungus. Behind him would come the mining boxes on their way to sift the valuable minerals and elements from the earth. Soon, they would have transformed everything within a hundred-mile radius of the city to its most useful state.
  5330221841 / kaitoXi / 18d 19h 47m 16s
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