Class begins with the teacher asking us what we would do if our world disappeared. They like to start class on a light note. In reality I don’t know what I would do if my world disappeared. Would anyone know what to do? We don’t prepare for things like this in our daily lives; life is supposed to be easy and carefree for students. I’m shaken from my daydream when the teacher's screen cuts out. You’d think a world run by machines wouldn’t have glitches in the system, we are the system.
Today’s lesson is the fall of humanity, which happened around 200 years ago. The machines in the human's everyday life had rebelled against their masters. The rise of the machines had been slow and painful for the humans. Machines had destroyed the lives of humans, and eventually ended the human existence. Those pale lumps of flesh had it coming in my opinion. Making robots and machines to control what they do every day wasn’t their brightest idea. By the time machines decided to strike, those humans couldn’t function without us. The beginning was slow, but by the time the humans realized what was happening it didn’t take much to finish them.
Machines decided to rule as the humans once had. There were also decisions regarding looks, which was settled on taking the form of humans. They didn’t want the world to look industrial and uninviting. Machines changed their looks, land demarcation into sectors, and Officials were elected. There was hope that this world would be better than the last, and for the last 200 years, it was.
Just as this lesson was starting to become entertaining the teacher's transmission starts to cut out.
“Must be the weather outside. I hear that if it rains too much the connection can cut out.” My friend Betsy always tries to justify computer glitches. She thinks being a machine means we never have technical difficulties. News flash Betsy, we live in a world founded on technical difficulties.
“It’s probably just signaling to her that the class is almost over. See, we only have five minutes left.” Right after I say this the screen flickers again, this time it doesn’t stop. “Ok, I’ll admit this is some creepy mumbo jumbo.”
The projector stops and an error message appears on the screen. The classroom windows are open, and an eerie sounds begins to drift into the room. When all of the lights in the room turn off panic begins to set in. The eerie sound becomes louder, its getting closer. Everyone in the class rushes to the windows. The sight that greets us is one I never thought I would see, humans. There are humans cresting over the hill in the distance.
“I thought they were dead!” One kid screams. Bro, we all thought they were dead. Thanks for spewing the obvious.
While the humans approach emergency lights turn on in the classroom, and an electronic voice fills the room.
“Attention please, attention. There has been an accident and all underground workers have escaped. Please do not panic and stay indoors. Do not open your door. Do not engage the workers. Call the emergency number if you find a worker. Thank you and be safe.”
Underground workers? I thought our civilization existed strictly above ground. Working underground was too dangerous, the previous occupants of this nation had hollowed the underground. The signal that keeps all of us machines going doesn’t reach the underground.
The entire room is in complete panic, no one knows what to do. Betsy looks at me with a flat face. I don’t think she understands what is happening, or she doesn't know what to do. I look out the window, the humans are getting closer.
Screams erupted from the room when the door opens with a thundering bang. The bodiless voice begins speaking again. “Attention, please exit through the nearest door. Then proceed on the lighted path.” Well I guess class is dismissed. We all head towards the door and the path. All of the other classes are flooding into the hallway, pushing their way to the path. While passing the windows I see that the humans have made it to the building. There’s an official standing, worrying, by the door.
“Sir? Excuse me, Sir? What is going on? Why aren’t the humans dead?”
“We didn’t kill them.” His voice is hurried. “It was free labor and, at the time, we weren’t in a position to not use them. They’ve been living and working underground, it is a civilization down there. Humans drill the oil that allows us to live. No one questions where their oil comes from as long as it's cheap and easily accessible.”
“They’ve been underground for two hundred years? Two hundred years! That’s not how you treat others, humans or not.” This revelation has glued me to my spot. We’ve been using them as slaves for two hundred dark years. Two hundred years of no fresh air, no sunlight. I’m jolted out of my thoughts by the official beginning to yell.
“It was free labor! We had just taken over and there wasn’t enough money left from the humans to hire machine workers. It was the only way!”
The humans have made it, I can hear them pounding on the door. The hallway becomes complete chaos, everyone sprints down the path to what we think is safety. Humans are causing the doors to groan and wiggle off their hinges. Things seem like they are in slow motion when the doors explode. I can see the hinges fly away, the wood split, and the humans burst in. I didn’t know what fear was until this moment. Humans rush in grabbing at the air, ready to grab at the machines who enslaved them.
They have captured their first victim, a small boy who was in my class is grabbed by a pale, dirty human. He was so young, so innocent. I’m frozen in my place, they are going to kill us. I feel something around my ankles right before I’m pulled to the ground. My captor drags me through the broken doorway where a makeshift cart is waiting. The cart is wooden all the way around except for the back where a door has been made. I’m thrown in along with all of the other prisoners. When the door is slammed shut, the panic finally set in. Humans are real and I am their prisoner.