I’ve tried to be a good man all my life. I don’t say it to brag, it’s just who I am. Can’t say it’s served me well, considering the times I live in.
I was born in the year 2210, and by the time I was 40, a vast network of organized crime had taken over every continent on the planet.
A few people, myself included, tried to fight the status quo, but accomplished little.
In desperation, a few countries’ governments came together to create and launch a last ditch effort to combat the crime networks.
The idea, I heard, came from a study they found in the archives, discussing the introduction of cane toads to control the spread of Greyback beetles in Australia.
They set out to create an alpha predator, one they could control. In 2254, they launched the first fleet of CDAs- Criminal Disposal Automatons.
Robotic bodies with AI intelligence, designed to track down and destroy criminals.
They were incredibly effective. For all their entrenched networks and connections, the crime bosses didn't stand a chance against the CDA. They couldn't be bribed, controlled, or stopped.
They methodically swept through the high-ranking criminals until there was nothing left. When it was over, they were deactivated. That was where it was supposed to end.
Instead, only a week after being shut off, the CDAs started rebooting. No one knows how, or why. Nothing we did could deactivate them again.
It’s almost like they felt they had unfinished business.
What we know for certain is that they picked up right where they left off. Within weeks, they finished off the small fish, like local drug dealers and smugglers.
It didn’t stop there. As the crimes people committed grew less severe, the CDAs standards simply became more stringent. Shoplifters. Jaywalkers. Trespassers.
All offences -no matter the age or mental health of the offender- received out the same unyielding punishment. After all, they designed them for efficiency, not compassion.
I read up on the cane toad experiment, a while ago. I wish they had looked into how that story ended.
I don’t know how many people are still left out there- last I heard, they were calculating the new global population at 2 million.
What does it matter though, really? I can't seem to care about much anymore. They got my 14 year old son Jeremy in the first year of the reboot.
I’m pretty sure they got my wife Laura last month- she just never came home one day. Jenny, my 11 year old daughter, was killed last week. I know I should do something –anything.
Break my neighbor’s window. Drive my car into a convenience store.
Instead, all I can seem to do is sit numbly in my apartment, staring blankly at the crack in our plaster than Laura was always pestering me to fix.
Like I said…I was a good man all my life. My biggest regret, now, is not being a worse one.