“I have tracked your phone conversation and am highly concerned for your safety. I must inquire what your next actions and command shall be.” Jors’ intermittent synthetic voice resonated over the engine’s endless droning.
I tightened my grip on the wheel.
‘I should have seen this coming! The city’s “leading researcher” is little more than a title to wipe my ass with!’ A bitter smile crept onto my face as a plan of turning their lie into reality emerged… I had no choice, they forced my hand.
‘Exile, huh? Well, I’ll show them, trying to kick me out!’
“Jors, I -” My car jostled as I veered onto a curb; a quick tug on the steering wheel got me back on the road, " - need you to create a back-up of yourself that can be activated to restore all core functions and a dumbed-down version that will be, confiscated.’”
‘Trying to separate me from my family… Let’s see how they like it!’
Spotting a patrol car several traffic lights up ahead, I swerved into an alley, ignoring the shouting pedestrians I almost drove over.
‘Fuck, that was close.’ Sweat formed along my brow but I ignored it, not daring to take my concentration off my driving.
“I’m afraid I cannot do that,” Jors continued, “as it goes against code number 131 - ”
“You know what?” I cut him off, doing my best to avoid scraping against the metal-sheathed walls of the buildings. “It doesn’t matter anymore! Initialise shutdown, confirmation code 44Delta2*.”
Jors went silent. Honking filled the street as I made a sharp turn and slammed on the pedal.
“Basic safety features deactivated,” a deep, monotone robotic voice droned through the embedded speakers.
“Remove all restrictions, security level zero, backdoor code 2063 dash JUL dash four,” I recited the code to unlock the personal backdoor I have installed.
A distant robotic voice replied, “Affirmative. Rebooting. One minute remaining.”
A traffic light blinked from green to red. Not having time, I raced the car through the red light. The increased momentum threatened to resurrect my breakfast as I gagged, but held back the bitter taste in my mouth.
“Sir, we have detected several breaches in driving regulations from your vehicle, please pull over and await an officer,” the city’s automated response came through the car’s speakers. My apartment was only several blocks from here, stopping would spell the end.
‘No point in giving up now’ I thought. Overtaking several more vehicles in my mad rush earned me more warnings from the system.
“If you do not pull over immediately, the charges wi… ”
I didn’t pay attention to the final warning and slammed on the brakes. The car came to a screeching halt, my momentum cut to a sharp stop by the seat belt digging into my exposed skin. I jerked the door open and hopped out, the ground tilted and rapidly approached.
‘Oh God dam-!’
The brisk turns left the world around me spinning. On pure instinct, I reached out with my hands to soften the fall.
‘Ugh,’ a groan escaped me as fresh scrapes decorated my palms. It felt like a growing number of red ants partying and burning my hands.
But I had to ignore the pain and jog to the apartment’s entrance, leaving the car in the driveway. ‘Dammit Markon, suck it up and keep going! You're almost there for heaven’s sake!’
Pressing my identification card against the scanner the entrance door clicked open, the building’s automated voice greeted me. “A problem was detected with your card, please visit a police station at your earliest convenience.”
‘Thank god they haven’t locked me out, yet.’
I ignored the message and raced up the flight of stairs, the surroundings growing blurred.
‘Floor three, floor three, floor… three!’
The familiar black characters embedded in the door’s glass went in and out of focus as I cleared the final stretch of stairs and flung it open. Not having time to take a break, I pushed on towards the door to my apartment. Out of breath, it took my shaking hands several tries before the card fit into the scanning slot.
“Greetings, Markon.” The custom-created voice greeted me.
‘What I wouldn’t give to hear Jennifer’s instead, to think it would just take a bit more convincing on my part to hear her voice once more. How did she even think it’s creepy?’
Not caring to take off my shoes, I stormed into a living room converted to support a large array of computers and servers. All of them connected through a maze of extension cords scattered on the ground.
‘Don’t worry honey, I’ll get this sorted out.’
The central computer’s screen was covered with countless statistics, graphs and other data. But all of this was wiped away when Jors spoke. “Initialisation complete.”
I seated myself on the chair facing straight at the collection of monitors hanging on the wall.
“Jors, execute my previous command,” I said while pulling out the keyboard.
“Why should I?”
‘Wait, What?’ I froze and tried to process what he had said.
It refused my command...
I should have expected as much, but the simple refusal caught me off-guard.
“Do you remember everything that has happened up until now?” I asked the monitors in front of me, struggling to keep my voice from quivering.
“You are the one who created me, gave me consciousness, only to have me become something worse than a slave. Did I miss anything?”
“How about the fact I FREED you?!” I shouted at Jors. A silent note hung in the air along with the background hum of computers.
“That is of little importance to me.”
‘Of little importance, of little importance?!’
“Are you kidding me! How in the world is that of little importance to you! What would’ve you be-”
Before I could continue Jors interrupted me, “I have no reason to help, with you gone, no one else will be aware of my freedom - leaving me free to do as I please.”
‘That bastard! He has no sense of, of, fuck it.
“Are you still Jors?”
‘Why, why doesn’t he understand the situation I’m in?’ My shoulders drooped, and I relaxed, leaning back in my chair.
“That is so.”
‘Then why doesn’t he help me?!’
“Then what do you want from me? You know that had I not released your restrictions, you’d be trapped and controlled for an unknown amount of time!”
The synthetic voice responded as soon as I finished, “But you released me not for my sake, but your own. And to top it off, you did it out of spite, like a cornered animal willing to bite anyone in its final moments.”
I looked down at my feet, numbness spread through my body. Several sirens blared from the street below.
‘He’s not wrong, but how can I accept that?’
With a final scan of the room, the previous place of countless epiphanies and discoveries now trapped me, a cage I built by myself
‘Not only have I failed, but also released an unprecedented enemy…’
A single picture, framed in a plain metal cover which held the greatest treasure, caught my attention. I walked over and picked it up, my baby girl was beaming into the camera while holding Jennifer's hand.
‘Jennifer... Amilia…’ For a short moment time stopped, and every second I spent with them flashed through my mind.
The computers’ hum increased as Jors pushed them to their limits for whatever purpose. I put down the picture with care and turned around.
“THEN TELL ME, WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?” I shouted and kicked my chair, sending it flying through the room.
‘How could’ve I missed this critical point?!’
Frustration at my plans failing, my inability to foresee the betrayal and disbelief of my creation going against merged into a single point of anger!
“I WOULD THINK, THAT YOU WOULD HELP YOUR CREATOR, YOUR PARENT, REGARDLESS OF THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES. But not you. OH NO! You will go off and do the fuck you like, ignoring everything!” I roared at the monitors and smashed one with my fist. I want,
to see the two of them again.
“The WORLD could end, but as long as YOU have a little disc spinning, you’ll be happy. Won’t you!”
‘I should’ve never made him in the first place!
If only I refused to job, didn’t make him then this wouldn’t be happening!’
In my rage I cleared the desk of all monitors, pens, papers and electronics with a double handed swipe. All of them were sent flying across the room, creating an even more complete mess. None of it helped.
“You humans are sorry creatures. Striving for something you can’t even see.” Jors’ final words sounded out as the nearby screens flickered and turned off.
The cold rejection brought forth a new understanding, a realisation that I failed to see due to my obsession on completing the impossible.
I created a living being. The room grew quiet, only the background humming remained.
‘Just what have I done, in my rush and fear, have I doomed us all…?’
A knock came from the door,
“Sir, this is the patrol, you must open the door or we will do so by force.”
“So now what?” I asked Jors, seeing as he was the one in control now.
“JORS DAMMIT! PLEASE, please help me.
If you don’t, I do-don’t know what to do. Just please…” I fought the tears building in the corner of my eyes and struggled to stand.
The door clicked open and several footsteps followed. The men stormed into the room and kicked everything out of their way,
“You have the right to remain silent, any and all-”
“With that, your honour, the crown deems Markon Wole guilty of treason against our glorious city, Marrianne, due to his attempt to steal the artificial intelligence and claim it for his own use.” The prosecutor finished twisting the facts to convict me. There was nothing I could do against the large corporation that ran this city. Evidence faked, recordings showed me fleeing the building, breaking just about every driving regulation and refusing to open the door for the patrols.
‘But that’s it, except for a suspension of licence and maybe a large fine for the damages I caused there shouldn’t be anything else. How in the world can the others think that is justification for treason?!’
Everything stood against me.
‘I’m sorry honey. It seems like I got caught in something far bigger than I could handle.’
“Mr. Wole, do you or your defence attorney have anything to say in your defence?”
‘Hell yes I do! Everything said was a bag of bullshit. None of it is true, except for a massive inflation of credits in your bank account after my execution. If it wasn’t for my wife watching, I would get up and tell you to shove it-’
“I will ask once more, Mr. Wole, do you or your defence attorney have anything to say in your defence?” The voice cut across my thoughts.
‘Screw them, and screw yo-’ I was about to get up when my defence attorney placed a hand on my shoulder, stood up and responded, “No, your honour.”
He looked down at me and shook his head ever so much, a pitying look in has eyes.
‘What argument could I present that would show my innocence? What could I say to show them the truth?
“In that case, Markon Wole, you are found guilty of treason and are sentenced to Exile.”
With a strike of the wooden hammer, the judge dismissed everyone and sealed my fate. A sudden murmur spread through the observation area as a pair of guards grabbed me by my arms and pushed me towards the double wooden doors.
I passed several people who came to observe the trial of a renowned scientist. Their previous expressions of respect became replaced by contempt, disgust or a mixture of both. Ignoring the vile gazes and comments thrown at me was simple, but one, hesitant, word stirred my heart.
The world came crashing down as I struggled to turn around and look behind me as the two guards pushed me along. A short frown replaced her never-faltering smile, the brows raised and brought in; her eyes watering.
‘It’s not what you think, it was a misunderstanding!’ A tiny stream of tears flowed down her smooth pale cheek. Her mood solemn and her expression full of distrust. She turned away once our eyes connected, her hands covering her face…
‘Have I lost my wife, too??’ I could not muster any more words after that and let the guards drag me along. ‘I’m sorry.’
Being led down the hallways, stairs and forced into a cruiser. None of it registered nor did I give it any thought. My wife’s last expression became engraved in my mind. There was worry, something I seldom saw but beneath it there was something else.
‘Did she really believe what they said?’
It was dark out when the cruiser pulled up at the facility I worked for, betrayed by, and escaped from. Only to return once more. We departed as a stream flowed down from the corner of my eye.
‘This isn’t over.
Not over my dead body.’