Of Machine and Men
Of Machine and Men short story stories
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aakashtiwari
aakashtiwari A Storyteller
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In a post-apocalyptic world where the ones in power uses androids to control the world as per their needs, one machine went rogue and decided to follow its heart instead.

Of Machine and Men

There was a small, dark room on the centre of which was a table. Only two people were there in the room, sitting on the opposite ends of the table.

Dr. Wallace, a renowned expert on this subject matter, was brought here on an urgent need, on a Sunday, when usually today, he would be seen sitting by his pool side,

sipping his wine and enjoying a nice conversation with his wife but instead now he was in company with someone he least cared about.

After going over all the paperwork in front of him, Dr. Wallace finally looked up at the man sitting on his opposite side and tried to make sense of him from his overall appearance,

A strong build man, the bruises on his face showing the horrors of his past, his mind occupied with thoughts out of this world, his arms tied at the back of the chair but still there was a sense of calmness about him, as if all this is just a routine for him.

"Do you know why you are brought here?" Dr. Wallace finally asked.

"Yes" The man replied.

"So, you are familiar with this test then?" Dr. Wallace enquired.

"Yes" The man answered instantly.

Hmm, Not much of a talker! Dr. Wallace pondered in his mind. But, he was actually glad because this means that he could now get over this business quicker than he expected.

But still he had a duty to explain how this works, so he continued, "I am now going to ask you a series of questions which you need to only answer in Yes or No without taking a pause."

"Do you understand? Shall we begin?"

The man, all this while was staring at the floor where an ant was desperately trying to push a grain twice its size but, unfortunately, till now, its efforts were all in vain because the grain hasn't moved an inch yet.

So, it took a moment for him to come out of his trance and to find the man on the opposite chair, waiting for an answer. So, he nodded without even hearing the question.

Dr. Wallace: Is your name JD32? Man: Yes. Dr. Wallace: Did you understand the order given to you today? Man: Yes.

Dr. Wallace: Have you ever felt pain? Man: No. Dr. Wallace: Have you ever felt love? Man: No.

Dr. Wallace: Are you a Machine? (pause)

****

I was in my room, staring out the window where snow was pouring down like cotton flakes on the street.

Few kids were also on the street, trying to gather the fallen snow, to throw it at each other, to make a snowman out of it.

Looking at their smiling faces, I wondered what it was like to be a child once, to be free from all the care of the world, to feel satisfaction in little moments of life, to forget for once that all this may not be real after all.

At that instant, my tricorder started vibrating. A new target possibly. I reach out for the device and tried to zoom-in onto the location of the target.

The signal seemed to be coming from an old abandoned part of the slave colony. So, I picked my gun and my vehicle keys as It was time to get down to work.

***

I landed few miles away from a house in the middle of nowhere from where the signal seemed to be the strongest. I got down from the vehicle and scanned the surroundings hoping to find an assault at any moment which usually happens around this part of town.

But, to my surprise, there seemed to be no sign of any movement in the proximity of the house. It was all unusually quiet around here. So, I waited for a while and then entered the house silently.

Immediately, as I entered, I could feel that this house was still inhibited by someone.

There was no sign of any dirt inside the house, the household things were neatly placed on the shelves and as I followed the sound of whistle coming from the kitchen,

I found a kettle on the stove and by its side a young girl, trembling with fear from head to toe and staring at me with eyes filled with terror.

At first, I suspected her to be the source of the signal on my tricorder but the device was still not red which meant that there is someone else beside her in this house.

"Where is it?" I pulled out my gun and pointed at the girl who shrieked at the sight of the gun in my hand.

I could feel that she was trying her best to hide her instincts but unfortunately, her eyes drifted towards the other room and I knew that the one she was trying to protect was in that room.

"Please!" was the only words which could come out of her mouth as she saw me walking towards the other room.

As I entered the room, I saw a child sitting on the floor, playing with a wooden horse, unaware of what was happening in the world around it. Its face lit up as soon as I entered the room and a wide smile appeared on its face as it started crawling towards me and immediately my tricorder turned from green to red.

***

(ANAMOLY DETECTED)

Dr. Wallace was staring at the screen where this message was repeatedly flashing in red. He powered off the system once he couldn't bare to look at it anymore.

After the system shuts down and silence restored, he glanced at the man sitting on his opposite side again.

"You know I was the one who designed you. You were meant to be full-proof, without any flaws and now here we are, with a flaw which could potentially damage this entire operation."

"But before I do what I have to do, I just have one question for you and if you answer it honestly, then we could close this case without this information ever escaping out of this room" Dr. Wallace spoke with optimism in his eyes.

"Where is the Child?"

The man finally glanced up to face the one who has been interrogating him all this while, the one who was his creator and a smile appeared on his face,

Because, in all the years of his existence in this world, for once, he saw helplessness in the eyes of the ones who think themselves as gods of this world,

And now, he could happily die in peace knowing that the girl and the child are safe at a place,

where they would never even bother to look after he was gone.

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