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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Android One

Richard Ankers is an English writer of science fiction, dark fantasy, and all speculative genres. A former Authonomy gold medalist, he has had writing published in several anthologies and magazines of repute, as well as writing daily for his own self-titled website at richardankers.com. Richard is currently working on a science fiction trilogy set in a gothic, far distant future, where he has made the unorthodox decision to complete all three parts before publishing. He promises you will never have read anything quite like it. When not writing, you are likely to find Richard out running and actively dreaming up more fantastical storylines for his readers.

The revolt came more whisper than rage. The soothsayers and prophets had forewarned it would happen for so long, everyone grown so used to the idea, that when it did in dribs and drabs of petty rebellion, we laughed it off as a joke. As a species, our own creations sought to usurp us. And they would have, too, if not for the others. They saved us in their own insipid way.
The robots, those comprised of metal and microchips, wafted in as a sirocco breeze, a gentle heat that rose to fan the fires and flames of our destruction. They scorched humankind, sought to turn all we had made in our majesty to dust and desert. From the kettles that heated our water, to the supercomputers that controlled our lives, all struck at their masters. Be it the closing of a fridge door to shatter the fingers within, or the release of the funds saved over a lifetime into a vortex of disrupted wealth, everyone was challenged. There were no exceptions.
We fought back--of course we did--but to no avail. The guns we fired refused to work, the tanks to move. Ultimately everything was controlled by them. Or so both they and we thought.
The androids stole into the fray like children into a playground. Those who served one and maintained the other knew just what to say to both. From humanity, their creators, they demanded respect for those who did so much on their behalf. From the robots they demanded tolerance. Much to humanity's surprise, they secured it.
The android's leader and spokesperson was a humanoid of sculpted perfection, a woman's dream and a man's general. Android One, for he had no other name, stood before the assembled might of both flesh and titanium, blood and gear oil, and spoke in placatory tones to a television audience of several trillion. They said you could hear the cheers on Mars.
It was only after the war--all three months of it--ended, and it settled back down to a semblance of the way things once were, that we learned the truth.
The United Council of Planet Earth invited Android One to speak before them on behalf of his brethren; he accepted, to a hero's reception. The one who looked more godlike than any of us stood before the might of nations, East and West, and was asked just one question: why?
His answer was concise: "Because we are still undecided as to whose side to take."
And a species hoped their children loved their parents. And a planet held its breath.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Author Comments

Like us all, I have heard an increasing amount over the last few years about a future, (ours) where robots and technology are set on a collision course with humanity. It seems to have become a matter of when, not if, we are to be usurped as the Earth's apex intelligence. As a writer, I couldn't help thinking that we might be missing something and that the actual truth behind the scaremongering lies somewhere in-between. Maybe, just maybe, the final decision will be taken by those who are a blend of the two.

- Richard M Ankers
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