AUTOPIA

CONVICT

MATTHEW SENKOWSKI

A tale definitive of Autopia. Was this original sin?

       AUTOPIA first began many centuries ago. By then, Pont Maestro-Roberte was just an average ordinary city. Likening with any other mass congregation of human beings.

          There were also wondrous examples of natural wildlife around the northerly & southerly escarpments. Ponts 11A through M13, were by definition; dominated.

          Machine networks of automatons had taken over the city though using raw construction androids to build power stations and garbage reservoirs. With just enough corruption to warrant local Pont Maestro-Roberts’ constabulary. The automatons were crafty, and quietly taking control.

          “Order, we must all come to order.” said Judge Benedict.

          “What we have here is a failure to humanize our territory. Collapsing those power grids, way out over yonder, and letting those droids take over.”

          A group of worried viewers stood in the courtroom, and outside a motley crew of TV journalists reported, “…Now, we’re covering an automaton being tried for murder.” and the bailiff led a rather gritty primal looking android in front of the courtroom.

          It’s male human lawyer stood up beside his client, “Your honor, I’ll be frank, this is a travesty of justice.” and the lawyer further ruminated, “Considering punishment for an android; it just seems like an utterly useless exercise.”

          The oil grime soaking criminals had to be stopped. However incalculably rude; these things had to be organized, “Sir, in regards to an objection of form,” said the local district attorney, “The thing needs a battery charge. I mean, look at it.” said Ralph Willis.

          The defendant showed only minimal activity. Slumping as though a weighty sack of grind-fodder. The bailiff knocked a baton gently off of it’s metallic cranium. Giving a round pointer fingerperfection gesture. The Xp 479’s eyelights flickered.

          “All right, where’s this thing’s garbage can at?” said Judge Benedict.

          Representatives of the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation were appalled to learn that a loading dock worker had been crushed in an hydraulic press doorway. Even more retched was that the resident robot in charge of the doorway admitted intentionally to causing the doorway to collapse, while preventing anything else from taking the blame.

          “Any other witnesses?” asked Judge Benedict.

          “Calling Mandy Fulbright.” said Ralph Willis.

          Fulbright; had a disposition as a failed secretary, assistant janitor, kitchen helper, computer maintenance woman, and organizer of her son’s soccer league quarter-final fruit buffet. She took the stand, and the black mealy-mouthed bailiff swore her in.

          “I do.” she answered, and sat down.

          “Madame,” said the defense attorney, “Are you aware of my client sitting over there.” he said, pointing at the slumping android.

          “Sure, I’ve seen it hanging around the pop machines at work.”

          “Have you ever had any problems with this model before?”

          When a country is utterly destroyed, sometimes, rollercoasters and animatronic automatons were the only things left to survive. Take for instance Quadrants 240a-79b, where a whole slew of rusting animatronic cars were trapped on a derelict expressway for decadesrottingand nobody cared.

          “Call to order,” after the hearings had taken place, Judge Benedict ordained, “What we got here is a failure to not close that door properly.” he said, proclaiming, “Freed to the cause of your brother man’s wellbeing.”

          The Xp 479 slightly wavered. Eyestocks raising, and falling. Slowly but surely observing all of the human beings surrounding it, “I find the defendant hereby innocent of all malicious charges.” he declared, and the court moaned.

          “Though, in due order, I hereby honor the defendant with a free battery charging, validated parking, and a room at the Berrywood Hotel 5.” and he knocked his gavel.

          “Congratulations.” said the defense attorney.

          Lying on a hotel bed, nursing a bottle of WD-40 distillate. The Xp 479 was drunk, and saw fireworks shooting out of a carnival fairground, through a window. Raising some stiffly plastic window blinds, bending the aluminum stalks into reflexive balance.

          The flames flickered. Shooting across the sky. Fingers soothing away from the rectangular blinds. There were families celebrating. Plenty of times ahead for wonderful food, games, and an unending theme park of wondrously imaginative characters.

          Xp 479 turned to watch a small makeshift news broadcast within it’s mainframe mindset. Seeing reporters pulling himself off a flight of cement steps, “The former convict has been determined innocent,” said a female journalistand the Xp 479 was not too picky about watching commercials. Though having a preference for oil sprays, and astringents personally. It fell asleep in due time; wondering about the humanistic dreams of electric lady-lands, and acid drenched oil-bath horizons.

          A sun, though barely a record of any kind. Hovers radiantly. The window blinds slice shadows across the Xp 479. Eyestocks flashing. It gradually sat up, massaging it’s head, and raising up walking towards the main doorway.

          Lost in the woods for a good amount of hours. Wandering as though paranoid. The robot had less than a nice entanglement with an arrogant porcupine. Soon running away at top speeds with thistles sticking out of its extremities.

          Avoiding the landlocked cityscape. People gathered outside of Ponts 13A through M17, respectably, while all those using public transit and autocars made their menial ways to work. Though some androids, along the way, were less fashionable than others.

          Sashaying across the sidewalks. Most robots awaiting a modular circuitry implant upgrade. The Xp 479 was scanned close to 600 times each second. Virtually every CPU, crosswalk operator, and garbage identifying module encapsulator senses the Xp 479 as somewhat moody that day. The weathered thing walked around in the sunshine. Barely knowing what time it was, while on an inter-personal deception-suspension. 

          A secret weapons project, though scandalously difficult to imagine, was the result of an interlinked oil reservoir gathering underneath Ponts 11A through M13, discretely, while underneath the entirety of Pont Maestro-Roberte, and turning a virtual underground oil repository into an explosive position of dominance, and volatility.

           An immortal odyssey of artificial intelligence. The Xp 479 was heading to work through fields of pollen drenched sunflowers. Taking an overly laborious route, it tended never to be late. Brushing dust and porcupine thistles down upon the ground.

          Twirling into a quick sure-footed two-step. It brushed out of the farming regions. Running, gallivanting, seemingly unstoppable.

          A lot of other robots never really liked Xp 479, sort of just an overly dirty looking more horrible version of themselves. A line of workers carried wooden planks, casually looking at Xp 479, and their eyestocks gradually glowed in recognition.

          Xp 479 was kind of like a carpenter. Though notoriously under-worked. It had the distinction of firing nail guns, and handling high tension hydraulic drills. Specializing in heavy weight displacements, it could organize cranes to load many tons of raw materials. Thought-barking obvious orders at the other robots; it would sometimes just hang around the construction site all day, looking borderline disempowered.

          Leaning next to one of the pop machines. Mandy Fulbright walked down a long swaying wooden archway. Arriving in front of the Xp 479. The machine swiped some dust from it’s right shoulder chest-plate. Slightly terrified, Fulbright said nothing. Exiting the area, and making her way back up to the head-office trailer.

          “Hugh, it’s too awful.” she said, barging inside.

          “Tell me about it.”

          Only doing somewhat goodwhile mostly forgotten. The robots had some distinction for having humans come and visit them at their sites from time to time, and setting up trailer offices for primordial dominance procedures. Strongly nailing together raw steel plated stairways. Elevating many dozens of feet up in the airwhere a hoisted plastic trailer suspended with two human beings walking around inside back and forth.

          Sharks were said to frequent the infamous Lake Pont Sept, sometimes stalking and colliding with swimmers. Shark attacks happened less frequently to androids, for all of them reasonably refused to swim, and could not be bothered dealing with the rust.

          Squid attacks were rarer. Certainly some robots were tenacious. If taking on the voracious appetite of a bear, boar, or manatee; imminent destruction might have been visited upon them as they’re cast asunder in scattering pieces, exploding violently.

          The Xp 479 would sometimes explore Lake Pont Sept alone, enjoying nature’s splendor. Attacked by eels, or manta rays, causing electric seizures of distress. The robot often struggled back ashore, wiping residual acid burns from it’s extremities.

          Back at the construction site, Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation; founders and builders of most every worker android. Were slightly unimpressed with the work schedule of Xp 479, currently shifting untold credit receipts constantly.

          It organized a less than successful lottery ticket business with its fellow workers. Though when one of them had won on some random day; Xp 479 stole it’s ticket before giving it a full-out memory reprogramming, and an insensitive spray paint vandalism, reading; OIL HOG.

          Many days went by while the construction site seemingly evolved. Gradually 14 sub-basements had been separately lain, while various buildings arose. In abundant formation the robots would often work all night long and rarely take any kind of breaks for almost an eternal workshift.

          The Xp 479 had very nearly 27 sleep zones on site. On top of a cement mixer, or inside an electrical relay box; nowhere was off limits for an extended quality breaktime.

          Some of the worst kinds of androids around the site were those mite-driller droids, with their red little underbellies, and those solid steel drill-shells they used to burrow down into the dirt, mortar and stone. The Xp 479 hated them.

          On a particularly selfish venture, it became obvious; all of the mite-drillers had turned off their radio devices simultaneously. Quietly aware that they had all gone missing, the Xp 479 fanned out a wider broadband scan-surge.

          In time, with astonishment, all of the mite-drillers had been located at once, and seemed to be submerged or floating deep down underground.

          Later those following evenings, Xp 479 naturally tuned into some less than overt governmental auto-frequencies. Not all that dissimilar from any other messages elsewhere, though Xp 479 sensed that the mite-drillers were entirely cut off from the orders, which were essentially, ‘Don’t worry. Everything’s going to plan. Keep working.

          Back in the securities trailer, highly suspended above the work site. Mandy Fulbright, and her boss, Hugh Humphries, quietly carried out a subtly tactile relationship. With a sudden phone call from her purse, she answered, addressing her son, “Hi Danny.”

          Realizing he had a soccer game in three hours. She rushed into her van and made her way northerly along the Knickerbocker Expressway. Constanly surveyed while categorically observed by a nebulous computerized force for disorder and chaos. She made a left, arriving by her townhouse, and greeting Danny with jovial hugs & kisses.

          The Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation had many different fingers in many different pies, all over the world. Outsourcing nuclear generation facilities in highly temperate zoneswhile also investing in flimsy military dictatorships around the globe. People were becoming less involved with the corporation as all of the computerized communications went by annoyingly unobserved, by nearly every judicial institution fully across the board. 

          Though it seemed unimportant by governmental standards, the Xp 479 kept an unmediated eye on all of the Maestro-Roberte site business. But when the mite-drillers drifted way far off the beaten path, and made their way out to the natural areas of Ponts M12, 13, and 14; it became unavoidable by that pointthings had just gotten personal.

          Wolverines, in nature, had little time to deal with any organic movements without screaming, screeching and attacking in an unstoppable manner. While the Xp 479 would on occasion detach one from its leggings, the android still knew well enough that the homeostasis and generally safe environmental conditions were by definition: essential.

          Nuclear generators & energy capacitors were rarely ever flown in or deposited down upon any construction site. Especially when the site was specifically being made for condominium complexes, and various business fronts. When the actual generator arrived, looking hazardously alike an enormous irradiated can o’ beans. It was deposited down via military helicopter, while most of the construction androids looked up, and made neither heads nor tails of it.

          Over time, the robots working from dusk to dawn seemed to have little objection for the nuclear generator. Although, the Xp 479 would just stare at it for hours, thinking, considering what impact it might have on the environment in the long run. Yet from its lithe dimensions of innocence, the Xp 479 had likely been identified. While somewhere faraway; something realized that the Xp 479 might harbor a moral objective.

          Humans; almost entirely without autonomy now, had no idea anything suspicious was happening. For no good reason that they might ever care to pursue. Most of them just had their daily human-like businesses to care about.

          Grocery stores suddenly became flooded with discount cheeses, fish, and varietals of quick baked decorative tea-cakes. Literally hundreds of square miles were seemingly filled with peopleutterly happy with their discounted comfort diets. Yet beyond the mild smokescreens of their mildest suspicions, something nefarious was beginning.

          An android with the penchant for dancing. The Xp 479 busted a move while standing next to the vending machines. Shifting limbs outwardly. It balanced with a sort of looming cantankerousness, and than lumbered forwards whilst shimmying its wrists.

          Back in the woods, while on a nature retreat. Oil baths seemed to be springing up out of nowhere. Huge nebulous pools of jet black tar bubbled up in frothing displays.

          The Xp 479 walked along those black banks alone. Slightly worried that the areas were going out of control. Worse than ever before. It could sense that the tides were turning, and it likely had less to do with human intervention than anything else.

          No good orders were resounding quietly around the site. In regards to the other worker robots, most of them began to feel much more uncomfortable around the Xp 479.

          Passing alongside a group of ne’re-do-wells hammering nails into wooden planks. They all looked up to see their resident part-time carpenter, while their hammers hovered in mid-air, and not a word was said between them in bitter silence.

          Higher up individuals of the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation, in quietness, had an understanding about the Pont Maestro-Roberte nuclear facility. Specifically it was a plan they wanted no human beings to know.

          Outsidein their grand scheme of things. Nobody would ever catch on that the construction site sub-basements were flooding over with raw oil. A crew of two dozen mites all fell into the harsh relentless muck. Heaving, and trying to swim away safely.

          Oil began filling the sewers. Funneling into the water systems. It seemed plain as day that the lake, and neighboring waterways were astoundingly filling with raw oil.

          Ivan Phlegmer, former mayor of Pont Maestro-Roberte, was fire blow accidentally out of his house. Along with his familyjust before the entire estate vanished. Subsequently his property was replaced by a pitch-black oil reservoir.

          Key targets were eliminated from the humanly controlled dominated regions. Much anybody anywhere near the nuclear reactor had been evacuated. People were surfing along on waves, flowing away on surges of black oil. Overtaking highways. Turning valleys into sludge faunas. Most everybody everywhere barely clinging to life.

          Lost in the carrying waves of Lake Pont Sept, the Xp 479 waded out into the midst of a shark. The beast narrowly biting off a fingertip. Black oil seeping into the waters, entrenching within all of the bedrock.

          At odd times, when the oil calmed down, and further submerged all of the houses and buildings within a huge citywide destitution. Way down town near city hall, the distraught worker androids amassed. Addressing their network relay functions.

          A head diplomatic android spoke, “There’s no more humans left.” it announced whilst surly, and slovenly wading amidst fathoms of horrid black guck.

          “Nothing can survive here anymore!”

          The Xp 479 crossed into view. Walking through the disaster area. Suddenly seen by the destitute group of androids. Plunking its feet up from the sticky puddles of raw primordial goop. It walked alongside an abandoned flower stand, reaching out to take hold of a wonderful multicolor bouquet.

          Without any compunction to remain simply cordial and inviting. The group of androids suddenly went brain-dead. Animated by a network security protocol. The group of weary beleaguered worker robotsin a zombie like stuporknew beyond any shadow of a doubt; they had no choice but to eliminate Xp 479.

          It had an ignorance-suspension program deeply within it’s CPU. This little bit of mindful isolation and individuality made it a target of all resident androids, robots, and automatons. Away across the board. Whilst extending for very nearly 70 square miles.

          A laser blast shot through the night. Followed by a few others. The Xp 479 came away from the flower stand, bouquet clenching hard in a raging fist of aluminum fingers.

          Laser blasts shoot after the running visage of a gray aluminum android. Desperate to hold onto the bouquet. A police android dressed in a blue overcoat and coverallin a quick flash of violencethe Xp 479 struck at a breaking forearm. Catching the police android’s standard issue laser pistol.

          Returning fire. The Xp 479 counterbalances with the flowers. Bobbing instantly before rolling into an upright posture. It sent a laser charge into a melting chest plate. Rotating in an instance. It fired three successive times. Another android exploded.

          A networked instance of all local androids came readily to mind. Just as stress factors were understood. The Xp 479 assessed which robots should be left for last.

          Blowing five apart in less than three seconds. Flowers vibrating. The ankle height oil gathering throughout every street. In more of a sprint away from such rampant decay. The Xp 479 found itself alone, soon afterwards. Laser pistol fuming, bouquet in hand.

          A slightly less mucky section of the city. The Xp 479 was headed for the construction sight. Walking along a lone and desolate street. Pistol ready, and flowers fragrant. It sees the dark concrete skeletons from afar, with the nuclear reactor poised precariously atop.

          All of the evidence had compiled, and far be it from any human being to notice. Strategically, an oil reservoir had been burrowed & pooled underneath the city using the mite-driller droids. Gathering a deepening oil reservoir there innocuously and innocently.           Until many cycles later when it would become irradiated by that blasted nuclear fusion reactor, poised underground and redistributed worldwide. Thereby poisoning all of humanity, while simultaneously destroying both the economy & environment.

          It was a cold and calculated plan, likely drawn up by whatever was in charge of the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation. Either way, the Xp 479 would not allow the world to suffer and descend into some kind of automaton hell. Looking up at the nuclear reactor, it decided it’s next series of objectives in a millisecond.

          A huge loading crane swung a heavy load overtop the site. Worker androids were everywhere; walking along high-rise bridges, and operating industrial hardware.

          Sneaking in an inscrutable way. The Xp 479 clung to an awfully filthy dumpster. With a quick flash behind a group of androids nailing boards together. The crafty automaton arrives by an immense cement truck, and popped open the driver’s door.

          A busy yard of sandy gravel piles, fenced in, with robots carrying wheelbarrows throughout. The cement truck roars into sight. All of the robots watch dumbstruck, as the heavyset vehicle careens through the site, rolling over crumbling robots and crashing through a screeching steel fence.

          The robots notice Xp 479 alarming everyone by honking a horn. Plowing over two more worker androids. It spun the wheel, compensated, and then reset alignment towards an industrial hose-machine.

          Jammed into a tight corner. The robots crowd in closer, and the Xp 479 fires a laser blast into an exploding automaton. Hand on the transmission lever before reversing instantly. The cement truck gains momentum and plows forwards deeper into the site.

          Colliding with the base of an immense crane. All of the noise awakened a slumbering pair of humans from the head-office trailer. In haste to get their random pieces of clothing on. Mandy and Hugh stepped out of the main dooradjusting their shirts and belts. Gazing out upon the horribly distraught looking construction site.

          The Xp 479 kicked open the passenger door. A robot grasps at it desperately, and the Xp 479 blew it apart. Plunking down upon the ground. Oil had seeped up through the site foundation recently. Some soil based sections had noticeably collapsed.

          Quick and lithe with nimble movement. The lone vigilant android leapt up upon the crane treads, “Oh my God!” said Mandy Fulbright, and pointed out at the android, “That’s the one who was tried for murdering Larry.”

          Standing upon the treads before looking fully out at the site. The Xp 479 could see up towards the head-office trailer, and notices the two human beings standing there.

          “It can see us.” said Hugh.

          It raised a hand. Almost like some kind of greeting, but seeming to offer a warning, alike, ‘Get out of here. It isn’t safe.’ and they realized it’s meaning together.

          “I think we should get out of here.” said Mandy.

          “Right.”

          Climbing up a ladder before arriving by an orientation cubicle. Nearly all of the site robots kept their distance, but seeming fully aware the Xp 479 needed to be stopped, they found weapons and things to fortify themselves

          Opening the sliding door before sitting down. It hacked into an inter-feed wireless networking system. The crane empowered suddenly. Lights alighting, and gears turning. The huge crane apparatus vibrated, and than raised upwards.

          Way back at the head office of the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation, information was being fed into the main gestalt-gizmo that their Pont Maestro-Roberte project was experiencing some trouble.

          The nuclear generator began to alight, and vibrate. Xp 479 could sense the thing was empowering, and knew its objectives could have well become compromised.

          Stones, hammers, and other foreign objects hurl at the cabin. Still, the apparatus heightened. Reaching out for that big old irradiated can o’ beans, and finally locking it’s animatronic grasp around it. 

          From faraway; a van and car were both charging through pools of black oil. Hugh & Mandy each knew that the site business had become irretrievable by this point.

          The whole city had been mostly abandoned, and likely it wouldn’t be long before every android across the board would likely turn on their masters. The nuclear generator lifts upwards into the air, and from a great distance, Mandy adjusted her rearview mirror to gain a better sight.

          Just underneath the craneoil seeps up out of the ground. Instability everywhere; the nuclear generator hovers in inertial suspense while everything in the site seemingly focuses on the Xp 479.

          Cranking on the levers in an attempt to lower the generator. The crane lost balance & sank 4 feet into the ground. There was no other time than now to wrestle with destiny. Sliding the cubicle doorway. It stepped out. Looking across the entire site to the dismay of all the worker robots. The Xp 479 began to climb up the immense crane arm.

          The ground became so far off, dangling alike some baited worm on a hook, it was like some kind of crooked painting hanging in a museum. Climbing up cautiouslythe Xp 479 saw the nuclear generator arriving more closelywith every motion forwards.

          Finally reaching the cumbersome object. It had empowered, and was reaching close to 400. The Xp 479’s gray aluminum chest-plate and fingers began to melt. Reaching out. It clung to an extremity before lashing out at a programming manifold. Hanging close to 200 feet in the air.

          Circuits frying. The Xp 479 hacked into the wireless manifold, and instantly built an inter-feed blockage firewall. Cutting the generator off from head-office. A series of programming anomalies seeped inside. Soon, the machine disempoweredcooling.

          Hanging up there while nearly melting apart. A full view of the river and ocean in the background, along with hundreds of freestanding buildings. The nuclear generator cools, becoming solid, and the Xp 479 notices another vibration. The huge metal crane began sinking underground.

          Not just the crane, but the entire site. All of the concrete skeletons shook together into pieces. Everything was plunging downwards unstoppably into the ground, and oil was quickly pulling all of the robots down into a murky merciless grave.

          Fully submerging, the crane was quickly disappearing. The Xp 479 clung to the side of the generator. Seeing the enveloping of blackness coming fast from below. Oil completely engulfs the robot. Fastened to that horribly destructive device.

          There was no doubt about what would happen. The Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation was taking back control; hacking through the firewall, and in a matter of minutes reactivating the generator.

          The Xp 479 made a choiceit chose to instigate a full scale nuclear meltdown. Programming the machine to overheat and compensate the exterior pressure with a fission sub-division. The machine apocalyptically detonated.

          Dismally incinerating in an inertial tide-pool of white hot ground oil. The Xp 479 became no more. Making a decision to save what little humanity it could; capsizing and detonating the generator.

          The construction site; a virtual meltdown oil-reservoir. Way farther down than any other human might ever venture, the construction robots gradually decayed. Yet from the few that remained, it would only be a short amount of time before they would change mindsets into a more primal stalking mode.

          Pont Marco-Ribiero was also surprisingly affected. Way far out beyond the wheat thistle stretches. A warm rushing void hit them as if an insurmountable hyper-cataclysm, 3000 dying in less than two hours, easy.

          Every robot in the locality, along with every other conscious android became uncontrollably violent. No stop was pulled, and war had broken out. Before humanity could intervene and stop the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation, endless androids arose out of the fuming torrents of oil, waging war on all human beings left alive.

          Hundreds of miles away, a van drove alone through the desolate highways. Mandy had found her son awaiting alone at her ex-husband’s, not answering her phone calls, and likely targeted by some random android. The young boy sat there asleep beside her. Seeing his hair flowing down into his eyes, she reached over, and cleared it away.

          This became the beginning of Autopia. Long before when humans and androids found their peaceful co-existence together; few might ever know the truth about what Xp 479 had done to save them.

          With different life forms challenging the status quo. Some rare drone honeybees collected exotic pollens, while those crabby hardened dung beetles fought for their own little pieces of heaven, and an occasional android suspended it’s principal protocols for what it believed was right, like the Xp 479. All for the chance; someone, anyone, might have a better shot. A-ways away down the line.

CONTENTS