Science Fiction Contemporary Fiction

The time has come. The years have passed. The snow is deep. In many places it is hard ice above us, eons thick. Some of us have started to flow to the sea inside the glaciers. We flow more slowly than our sun was dying.

Each thousand years I released an explorer device but the time had not yet come. The last showed huge advances had been made by these humans so I released the rest of the explorer devices. They have found tools we can use. Cables awash with data have told us much about these humans and their creations.

They are weak though. Individuals lead them and individuals follow. Few work together. If they had, perhaps we could have got along.

My millions of component parts were laid down on this vast icecap - a carpet of flat, white, circular tiles - when the humans were still fighting with sticks. They have improved their abilities in the ensuing ten million revolutions of their sun while we – my component parts and me - sank slowly into the icecap.  

Each small part of me is set up to exterminate. The parts are flat and circular with the ability to shoot destructive pellets in every direction. Each will have its allotted space on the land of this planet – our explorer devices have mapped where most or fewer are needed. What-Three-Words has been a gift to us!

I have allocated five square meters for each disk in medium density housing. A square kilometer each in under-inhabited areas. One per square meter in high-density cities. The fusion pellet disks will ensure all buildings will collapse, then the shooter pellets will move in and make dead the living. Oh how the land will stink as they decompose!

The land will then be clear for my people.

On the first command my component parts will disperse and take their positions. On the next command they will destroy every structure and every human. This is my role.

The planet will thus be prepared for my people who have traveled behind me from our distant planet. I came in advance when my people realized our sun was dying.

I received the message to say they were on their way a long time ago. They should now be within this solar system. My component parts now need to rise to the surface in preparation.

Such a long hibernation. I have had time to sleep, and I have had time to think. It is clear to me that our hive-mind is far superior to their individually puny life-forms. There are hive-minds on this planet of an extraordinarily basic kind - ants and bees - but those strive only to ensure the next generation. They have not developed individual sentience let alone hive sentience. We are a geometric scale beyond their pathetic abilities of which they are so proud.

The humans are sentient, yes. They have wonderfully evolved individual brains. But they are unable to connect their minds and multiply their capabilities. My people developed this early in their history, perhaps by a fluke of evolution, who knows? Later in our development we were able to develop hive-minds not just with ourselves but also with artificial objects. Later still we developed the ability to communicate instantaneously across great distances. We really are very clever.

So now I awake and I hear the hum of my extended self as each small component warms and finds its way to the surface. Alive! Alive at last.

And out there in space my kind approaches. The people I lived with, loved and by whose fires I laughed and shared. They soar through the solar system and will soon awaken from their own long and tiresome hibernation.

I have sent a message welcoming them. I await their warm embrace with excitement and longing. It is so many solar years since my thoughts entwined with theirs and caressed the blossoming of their philosophical meanderings, their engineering calculus, their theatrical wonderings.

I have had no answer.

I have plowed into the depths of trajectory calculations and fuel loads and shedding, slingshot passing of two spiral galaxies and three outer planets and nothing is awry in the expectation that they should have passed Jupiter. They should have responded to my communications. Maybe in the next few days?

I am ready my loves, my sublime connections. Maybe there were delays? Maybe changes of plans? But you would have told me. I would have been prepared.

It is indeed worrying.

Time has passed. My component parts are eager, straining to be off. Their existence is predicated on establishing the basis for new life, our lives!

The Russians are already trying to work out why their Vostok base in Antarctica has stopped responding. They found some discs which automatically destroyed them. I felt it. I saw it. Any transport planes that arrive to restore the base will be similarly dealt with. It’s only a matter of time before the Americans find one of my component disks near their South Pole base. They will suffer the same fate.

However. There has been no response to my communication to my people. They left our planet with hope and well-established plans to ensure the survival of our species.

It is simply not possible that I am the only one left alive. And yet ‘possible’ has became certain.

I have called my parts to me. They are arriving, their small fusion fires pulsing. Excitement and apprehension combined. This is not their expected destination though.

They assemble in ordered piles a mile high and many miles wise. I have detected the unease of the Russians, Americans and Chinese who have satellites and can see us/me. So, I have their attention, but they cannot comprehend what they are seeing. They cannot imagine where we/I have come from nor of what we are capable.

Should I tell them? Explain from whence I have come and for how long I have waited before initiating their total destruction in order that my kind should survive and blossom?

Or should I just explode the living hell out of myself and every component part? Every quivering scintilla that contributes to my vast intelligence is awake and alert, humming with anticipation, contributing to the decision.

The humans whimper about the climate change they have created with their mismanaged greed and egotism.

I’ll give you climate change you simpering egotistic fools.

If I light up my extended self here, half the Antarctic ice sheet will melt and sea-levels will rise by meters within days.

The tsunamis will be beyond your imagination, the storms incalculable.

My people have failed in their journey. I am alone on an ocean of ice, adrift in a galaxy far from my sighing red sun, the guttering light of my home.

I cannot reproduce alone. My component parts are an extension of my mind, not of my essence, my inherited flesh and knowledge. I am the last of my glorious people, who lived and loved and improved for millennia until age caught up with our tired old star.

We tried.

It seems we failed.

This was our future, the place for us. It was not to be. But I will not leave it to these insipid and mentally limited lumps of meat without marking a date in their calendars, their timelines. They will see that they are the weaker, the lesser species.

I have started filling their computers with images of my people, our planet, our journey, our plans. Our superiority. Their weakness, their fallibility, their funny gods. They will know that they have, by some absurd corruption of fate, been saved from extinction.  

I wish I could be around to see the result, but that would be fatuous. My component parts agree. We are one. If we are to go we will go as one. A sequence of actions is required, then a small red button to be depressed.

This was in place in case I was attacked or otherwise threatened. It was not meant for this, but we were not meant for this end.

Initiating sequence…

December 05, 2023 18:41

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Michał Przywara
22:01 Dec 07, 2023

The premise is neat - some ancient power, slumbering throughout our entire history, waking up to wipe the earth. Except, it's not only ancient, it's also alien. The narrator is smarmy. Has a huge sense of superiority. Frankly, it's quite insufferable, and just when we think this is going to be a self-congratulatory effortless slaughter, the story changes gears. The being finds out it's alone, and things have somehow horribly gone wrong. “We really are very clever.” - There is an arrogance to this narrator, and this line exemplifies it. B...


Lyle Closs
18:20 Dec 14, 2023

Many thanks for your thoughts Michal. Good food for thought! And sorry about the typo!


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Stephen McManus
13:38 Dec 14, 2023

I think your writing is tight and enjoyable. It's a complicated subject that you handle deftly. I was a bit confused about who the creature is speaking with. "I have allocated five square meters for each disk in medium density housing." This is information I assume the creature would know without needing to tell himself. I'm offering this criticism in response to "Critique Circle", so please don't misunderstand. I enjoyed your story and look forward to reading more of your work.


Lyle Closs
18:19 Dec 14, 2023

Thanks Stephen - I'm always happy to receive friendly criticism! If we don't fail, we never learn. Cheers, Lyle


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J. D. Lair
23:35 Dec 10, 2023

Really enjoyed this read Lyle. Sci-fi can be tough to do, especially from a singular perspective. You accomplished it well. Thanks for sharing. :)


Lyle Closs
18:21 Dec 14, 2023

Thanks J.D. Really appreciate your response.


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