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Waiting Game

Brendan is a Canadian writer (of no particular significance) whose only goal is to learn the craft.

"It's nothing more than a waiting game, now," said Declan, after we were driven underground.
What was to follow would be months spent eating from tins, hushed tones, and fumbling in the dark. Deep down, we had to have known it was coming, we had been designing robots to replace some people for years now. Finally, they had decided they could replace all of us.
Another month went by in that metallic, sweaty dark. We had no contact with any of the other groups--radio channels were too insecure and the surface was monitored too closely. We sat like a checkmated player contemplating the board for possible moves; unable to act, and unwilling to resign.
"Any day now," said Declan one day at breakfast.
I finally snapped. "What's going to happen, Declan? Nobody is coming to save us."
Declan returned me a soft smile as he picked at the soupy beans in front of him. "We don't need someone to save us. Eventually, they will turn on each other." he said confidently. I had nothing to say in return. That was his ace in the hole? To rely on logical machines to degrade to petty squabbling and infighting? Ridiculous.
Nearly a year passed since that morning when we heard an explosion overhead. Distant, but unmistakable. The vibrations spread through the ground as that same smile spread across Declan's face. When we headed to the armory I made sure to get a place behind Declan.
"How did you know they would turn on one another?" I asked, leaning in close.
"We programmed them to learn," he said. "It's part of the reason they were able to best us so easily."
He turned to me, and shoved a rifle into my hands. His same smile returned.
"But they learned everything from us."
Another shockwave rattled the shelter.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Author Comments

In a lot of science fiction stories, robots learn from our behavior and use that information against us, so I wrote this short story to explore what could happen if they began to truly emulate every aspect of humankind.

- Brendan Dick
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