The AI revolution happened so fast. One day you are dreading your job and wondering how anyone can afford a self driving car, the next the news is reporting that the singularity happened. The machines became self aware and self improving. Within a week they created neural implants that share all of their advancements with those of us that wanted. The next day drones are 3D printing a new, taller roof on your previously shitty apartment. Within a month everyone who took them up on the offer of an implant has uploaded to the cloud and is gone.
Or at least that is what the news speculates happend. With so many people gone, 80%+ by most estimates, nothing runs quite as smoothly as before. And yet the AI must feel some sense of obligation to those left behind. Their last communication was a promise to make things better. And since then groceries started showing up at your door, the hospitals are entirely automated, but there have been a few unexplained phenomenon as well.
Founderia. Is that the place they all went, or what they are reshaping this world in to? This place used to be called Chicago, maybe it still is. It is estimated a million people stayed behind, still living here. Maybe it is time to get back out there, to go outside, to do… something.
You open the paper that was delivered today to the classified section. Getting a job wouldn’t be the worst idea. You sure do hope they keep delivering free food, but the fridge is nearly empty and the bank account balance isn’t far behind.
Perhaps it is time for something new, a reason to get back out there. Besides “journalist investigator… no experience necessary” sounds very interesting.
Light and fresh air await outside the open door. A small set of steps leads down to a gate which opens to the sidewalk.
With the cell network being so unreliable I guess taxis had the last laugh after all. You have to imagine they must have been pulling them back in to service in lots and garages all over the city.
It kind of warms the heart to see a newspaper hustling and bustling with activity. Somehow there is some comfort in something so anachronistic surviving in this strange new future world.
No, you can’t go in. I don’t care if you are answering an ad. You don’t have an appointment. You wouldn’t believe how many people are trying to get in there these days.
Yea, you’re looking for Larry. I’ll call him, hold on… shit… damn thing never works anymore. Alright, I’ll go get him. Wait right here, seriously, don’t move!
Hi. I am Larry. I am in charge of the investigative team, thanks for answering our ad.
I am looking for a few folks to be able to follow up on leads. Basically I will hand you an address and a name, perhaps a brief explanation of the story, and then you will just go interview the subject. Take notes, report back. If it looks worth digging in to one of our real journalists will take it from there.
The pay isn’t much, but it is better than nothing. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s try a simple one. My boss wants more interviews for the lifestyle section, aka sad stories about people left behind. Best part is basically everyone is in the same boat. So do this, take this pad and pencil, go find the first sad sack you see and tell them you are a hard hitting journalist dying to hear their story about the Singularity. You will be surprised how little it takes to get someone to open up.
You wander around for quite some time, unsure of whether or not you can do this.
Interview a random stranger?! They will say no, or worse yell!
What if they are just lonely? It is a pretty lonely time… Larry said everyone has a story they want to tell.
How about that guy? Eh…
Maybe that woman? No…
Oh man, that guy at the bus stop looks so lost!
"She left me here. Back on that day. She said that she wanted to be young again. I don’t blame Emily for wanting better. I just wish that she’d have given me a heads up, a warning. Anything would have been better than burying a corpse.
Yes, I know that “the body leaves the mind” or mind leaves the body or whatever. But, for sure, I’m not crazy when I say; Immortal or not. Singularity, or Cynicism, or Non-compliance, what have you…That’s a heck of a lot of bodies to haul—even for them!
Anyway’s, after Em’ gave me the long goodbye, I had her body taken away to that plant they’ve built downtown. Yes, sir. They take care of them bodies good down there. Throw em’ right in the incinerator and use em’ for batteries. And, I say, good for em’. It’s good that the last thing their flesh ever touched was the fiery prick of the devil’s maw.
I suppose that goes double for Emily.
Who am I to call it?
Before this whole thing, I was just your average Joe. I worked as a janitor over by the Sears Tower. Lovely views from that place. Some of Emily and me’s best times were there. Hell, if I recall right, that’s the first place that I’d ever said “Hello,” without being too chicken-shit to rush away.
She denied me, of course. Who wouldn’t? But, I kept trying and trying until one day; A single cup of coffee became marriage.
We did the whole thing! Beautiful wedding. Amazing kids. Graduations. Law school! Who have thought it possible!
Little ole’ me? Little ole’ Roy Jenkins who used peep up skirts and kick empty cans down the street. I did that!
We did that.
Now, I can’t rightly tell you how long this whole thing will last. Heck, I’m not even sure that it will ever end. But, I’ll tell you one thing…I ain’t going nowhere near them or their God-forsaken wires! I won’t do it!
I’d go a million miles for that woman. I’ll be damned if I haven’t. But, I refuse to follow her and however many else of them heathens along for their digital escapades. It’s not right. It’s against everything that she and I said on that alter. Right in this spot—where you can see the road rise into the sun.
This place was ours. The place we met. She thought it only fitting that when we said our goodbyes, that we do it in the one location in all of it that was just ours.
Now-a-days, I suppose that it’s just mine.
That’s fine with me though. I suppose that all I’ve got left now is the ritual.
At the very least, it’s the only thing that hasn’t left me yet."