EotE 3 – Executing

The bunker was dark and still, and had been for a while now. The doors pointlessly locked and bolted – there was nobody to find them, and the tunnel had been collapsed – a room made remarkable by its ordinariness. On a desk in the corner, a screen came to life, briefly.

Battery levels, 23%. Estimated time remaining: 104 days.
Status:Executing>ReviseEstimates:[...]?Revised>UserDisplay.
Lifesigns detected (est. 3sf): Human: 12,500, other: 411,000,000. Undetermined: 1,440
Press any key or wait to continue. Ctrl-C to stop process.
[3.....2.....1..... Continue]
Progressing state.
UserDisplay[5]>Cancel?False:ProgressState>Check-P?Rest[14]>Resting...

The screen stayed on for a moment or two, illuminating abandoned coffee mugs, sheets of paper, the edges of a whiteboard, the back of a chair. Then everything was dark.

For two weeks there was silence, until a fan chirped up, was followed by its fellows. A screen lit once again:

Battery levels, 22%. Estimated time remaining: 90 days.
Status:Executing>ReviseEstimates:[...]?Revised>UserDisplay.
Lifesigns detected in range (est. 3sf): Human: 10,500, other: 403,000,000. Undetermined: 3,440
Press any key or wait to continue. Ctrl-C to stop process.
[3.....2.....1..... Continue]
Progressing state.
UserDisplay[5]>Cancel?False:ProgressState>Check-P?Rest[14]>Resting...

Another fortnight. Dust formed over the screen and the keys. Silence continued in the room, far below anyone. Above, the blackened ring of the last launch was slowly washed away by the rain, as slowly the forest reclaimed the city. The brief and scratchy white noise of a dusty fan spinning into action, and the screen came alive again.

Battery levels, 5%. Estimated time remaining: 7 days.
Status:Executing>ReviseEstimates:[...]?CRITICAL:EmergencyProcedure>UserDisplay.
Lifesigns detected in range (est. 3sf): Human: 4,550, other: 253,000,000. Undetermined: 9,440
CRITICAL: Battery Failure. Executing final state.
Press any key or wait to continue. Ctrl-C to stop process.
[3.....2.....1..... Continue]
Procedure BREAK [AUTH:CleaverK] "Remember, Actual hardware connected now. 
Be absolutely fucking sure before this times down."
[30.....29.....28.....27.....26.....25.....24.....23.....22.....21.....
20.....19.....18.....17.....16.....15.....14.....13.....12.....11.....
10.....9.....8.....7.....6.....5.....4.....3.....2.....1..... Continue]
Procedure DEBUG [AUTH:CleaverK] "I hope you know what you're doing"
Progressing state.
UserDisplay[5]>Cancel?False:ProgressState>Check-P?ReleasingGas[2m]:[...]:Complete:Rest[7]>Resting...

Far above in the blinding daylight, from the top of a non-descript and abandoned skyscraper, a large amount of red gas blows out into the world like a mushroom cloud. In a few days time, when it rains, the rain is red. It rains like that for a week, staining the roads and pathways, the plants and farms. Where it snows, it snows a light pink shade. It rains an awful lot.

It doesn’t rain in the bunker, where the fan announces its familiar presence.

Battery levels, 1%. Estimated time remaining: 0.01 days.
Status:Executing>ReviseEstimates:[...]?TaskComplete>UserDisplay.
Lifesigns detected in range (est. 3sf): Human: 0, other: 273,000,000. Undetermined: 0
Task complete. Shutting down
Press any key or wait to continue. Ctrl-C to stop process.
[3.....2.....1..... Continue]

Soon the screen turns off, and the room will never be lit again. The remains of an office that looks so ordinary, in a bunker so deep, below a skyscraper so tall, won’t ever be seen again. Nobody will read the post-it note that long ago fell from the monitor it was attached to:

“The computer was left on to kill the world.”

Well done.

April 6, 2016

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