Contest #210 shortlist ⭐️


Fantasy Science Fiction Fiction

The year was 2048 A.E.M., and Gavin was on his last patrol before his shift ended. The street was quiet; only the buzzing sounds of neon advertisements filled the air. The tablet attached to the car’s dashboard buzzed – it was Linda from headquarters.

"God damn it, not her again," Gavin mumbled to himself, taking a deep breath before responding to the call.

 "Hi, Linda! How are you doing?"

"It’s Lieutenant Linda to you, Gavin."

"Of course, Lieutenant Linda, it rhymes," Gavin joked, a failed attempt at lightening the mood.

Linda responded only with an awkward silence that, for the first time in his life, complete silence was too loud for Gavin.

"Hmph," Gavin cleared his throat, shattering the silence, "So! How can I help you, Lieutenant Linda?"

"Not me, Gavin. How about society? I was just reviewing your work logs, and it appears you haven’t responded to any crimes in your vicinity for the past two weeks."

"Well, what can I say, ma'am? The streets are cleaner than ever. I can’t seem to find a single lawbreaker out there nowadays."

"Hold on to that thought, Gavin," Linda interjected.

"According to your logs, you haven't even logged into the CrimesNOW application."

"Come on now, ma'am, you know I don't trust these newfangled technologies. They're buggy and annoying."

"You're buggy and annoying," Linda muttered under her breath.

"What was that, ma'am?"

"Just follow the protocols, Gavin. We no longer dispatch crimes through the radio. All crime reports are now sent through the CrimesNOW application."

"Alright, fine, but I'm telling you, I'm 40 years old, ma'am. You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

"No, Gavin. In the force, we don't teach old dogs new tricks; we put them down." With that, Linda ended the call.

"What a bitch," Gavin grumbled.

He parked the patrol car to the side and grabbed the tablet from the dashboard. The device had auto-updated, introducing a new app on the home screen after the update.

"CrimesNOW. What a stupid name," Gavin smirked. Reluctantly, he logged in with his credentials. After some fumbling, he noticed a button labeled 'Respond.'

“I mean people call during emergencies, imagine a robbery, you press 911 and call for help, you don’t open your app and log a crime, that’s retarded, I bet there isn’t going to be any crimes, this whole app is a stupid idea”


Gavin rolled his eyes, scanning through the list of crimes displayed on the screen.

Report: "Armed Robbery"

Location: "7-Eleven"

"I'm too old for action." He swiped left.

Report: "Fight in Progress"

Location: "Sassy Sasquatch"

"Wait, isn't that the gay bar? They probably just wrestling" Another swipe left.

Report: "Domestic Violence"

Location: "Apartment 265"

"It's rude to interfere in other people's problems." And another swipe left.

He swiped left on most of the crimes until one particular entry got his attention.

Report: "UFO Sighting"

Location: "Oralando's Ranch"


Gavin tapped the 'Respond' button and the tablet screen switched to a GPS mode, plotting the route from Gavin's location to the ranch.

It was almost dawn when Gavin steered left and parked his car beside the ranch entrance. A crowd had gathered near the barnyard, the ranch animals were acting agitated, and the head of the ranch, Mr. Orlando, was munching on his thick mustache as he watched Gavin exit the car.

Gavin grabbed his megaphone from the car's trunk and approached the crowd.

"Alright, everybody, the man in blue is here. Calm down now. So, did any of y’all manage to get a really low-quality image of the UFO?"

Mr. Orlando stared at Gavin’s sarcastic remark.

"Ermm, that won’t be necessary, Officer. The UFO is parked in the barn shed."

Gavin stood there with confusion written on his face.

"Sorry, come again?"

"It’s in there, Officer.”

Gavin craned his neck over Orlando’s shoulder and looked at the barn. A strange light was emitting from the small gap in the large doors.

"You're sure it was a UFO? Saucer-shaped and all?"

"Yes officer, it's smaller than I expected, but shiny as my old man’s bald head. Well, what are you waiting for? Go on in. Hope you called in for backup, I heard them Alien folks like to probe their victims, you know, Anally?"

"Yes I know what probe means, and it's okay, probably some jerk playing pranks, I'll go in alone, nothing dangerous...I hope."

Gavin slowly approached the barn doors, he pushed open the left door of the barn with his body gently, while peeking inside for any dangers.

In the center of the barn, a spaceship that nearly hit the ceiling was parked. The windows were tinted. Gavin couldn’t see anything inside, except for strange lights flickering at intervals.

Gavin slowly advanced towards the ship. It was solid from start to end, with no sign of doors or openings, just a highly reflective silver metal surface. The reflections of the surroundings were so crisp that the ship could almost camouflage itself in plain sight.

"Whoever—or whatever—is inside, step out from the vehicle or ship with your hands in the air. You're trespassing on this farm, and on Earth."

Gavin aimed his pistol at the center of the ship.

"Quiet type I see, well, I'm going to count to three. If no one says something or comes out, I'm going to shoot, 1…2…2.25…2.5…2.6..ah, what the hell."

Gavin fired a warning shot.

Before even the bullet could hit the ship, it vaporized into thin air. Gavin was stumped. He looked around him, picked up a metal nut from the floor, and tossed it toward the ship.

Just as before, as the metal nut was about to hit the ship, it vaporized, Gavin realized the ship had some sort of invisible barrier around it, like in the old UFO movies he had seen.

Suddenly, smoke started pouring from the belly of the ship. Gavin stared at the ground beneath the ship as the smoke began to surround him. Small drones began to emerge from the smoke, scanning the environment.

Gavin kept his gun pointed from one drone to another, ready to shoot, but they posed no threat. One of the drones glided up to Gavin, scanning him from head to toe.


Without any doors, two entities simply phased through the sides of the ship. They had elongated limbs and stretched-out necks. One of them wore a blue robe, while the other wore a red robe.

"Woah, Christ on a cheesecake! Stay where you are, and lift whatever you have in the air before I shoot you!" Gavin trembled as he pointed his gun at the two figures.

One of the entities, the one in the blue robe, began emitting some distorted sounds through the mask, but it slowly got clearer.

"Kan jy my verstaan?”


“किं त्वं मां अवगन्तुं शक्नोषि?”

"What the hell are you saying?"


"That's Mandarin, I heard it before from Mr. Cheng's noodle shop in Chinatown. I DONT A SPEAKU ENGLISHU, CAN YOU A SPEAK A ENGLISHU?"

The entity in the red robe interjected, continued in Mandarin to the other entity,


The blue entity started changing the frequency on its mask like a radio.

"zzrrzzz, Can you understand me now?"

"Finally! What the hell are you, what's going on? Are you aliens?"

The entity in the red robe started adjusting its mask as well, and a feminine voice spoke from the mask.

"Erm hi, can you understand me too?"

"Why do you sound like a chick when you look like a disfigured giraffe? And take those masks off!"

"Sorry, we are visiting Gaia after millions of years. Our organs are not yet ready to be exposed to the atmosphere. Removing the masks might endanger our lives.”

The entity in the blue robe moved forward, "We are not aliens. You don't call the manufacturers of that pistol you're holding aliens, do you?"

"Manufacturers? Say one more stupid shit like that, and I'll blow your head off!"

"Allow me to introduce ourselves. My name is Mary Athena, and this is my colleague, Mr. Zeus Christopher. To you, we may appear as aliens due to our unfamiliar appearance and our origins from outer space. However, rest assured, we are not aliens but the creators of the planet you inhabit, Gaia, which you might know as Earth."

Gavin stared at them with an expression of profound confusion.

"I warned you!" 

Gavin fired a shot toward Mary. However, his jaw dropped when the bullet simply phased through Mary and hit the barn wall.

"I apologize if I have angered you, but your material weapons cannot affect us. We do not share the same physical properties as you."

Gavin dropped his gun. It was high time he aligned himself with reality and began to believe in the events unfolding before his eyes.

"I am raised as a God-fearing catholic. The only creator of this universe I know of is God!"

Zeus Christopher bowed in acknowledgment.

"I'm glad you consider us to be such powerful beings. Is that what you call us, Gods?"

"GOD! Not gods. And I meant the actual God, the Almighty, the father of Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

"Jesus Christ?"

Mary leaned over Zeus' shoulder and whispered something.

"Oh! You mean Yeshua. Yes, we sent him down for maintenance."

"First of all, the Jews call him Yeshua, we call him Jesus Christ, So, what in the name of Christ do you mean by maintenance?!"

"It's the same differences, Mr...?"

"Gavin. Gavin Thomas."

"Mr. Thomas, Yesh...I mean, Jesus Christ wasn't the only engineer we sent, there is also Moses, Ahmed, and Krishna. Now and then, we send them out to deliver the appropriate training data sets to humans so that they stick to the development cycle. I mean, you know how artificial intelligence can be; they often tend to go rogue."

"Sorry, we are what now?"

Zeus drew out a wand from his robe and waved it in the air. A small translucent screen appeared in front of Gavin.

"Please give it a while. It's booting up."


Zeus positioned his face near the screen.


"Odin?" Gavin stuttered.

"Oh, that's just our AI Assistant, Omniscient Data Intelligence Network (ODIN). He knows everything about the universe. Odin, could you please extract information on humans?"


The screen began to cycle through images of humans, from the medieval period to modern history, and then the current dystopian era.


"Athena, please read the analysis to me," Zeus requested, handing the screen over to Athena.

Athena shrank the screen to palm-size and began reading from it.

"The analysis report spans from our last engineer's visit in 570 Common Era (CE) to 2048 A.E.M."

"A.E.M?" Zeus looked at Gavin.

"After Elon Musk. Earth was kind of a mess when Elon Musk was elected president in 2030, so we kind of reset the period by adding A.E.M to our dates to move on from him."

"Very well, Let's see how humans have progressed throughout the years."

As Mary began reading the report, her eyes widened.

"Oh my, humans have been rather destructive for the past few centuries, Sir."

"How is that possible? All the training sets that our engineers used were intended to promote peace."

"I think they misinterpreted the data sets on their own, sir. Each Human AI developed its own violent tendencies, what they refer to as 'Mood Swings'. For instance, an AI that was designed to be an artist turned into a warmonger and almost wiped out an entire race."

"Do you mean Hitler?"

"The name doesn't matter, Mr. Gavin. Moving on, another AI, known as Alice, dropped an atomic bomb that devastated the home of another AI called Japan."

"Okay, it's not Alice, it's Allies, and it's not one person, it's a coalition of countries. And hey, things ended well for Japan anyway. They are at the top in electronics manufacturing and are the proud creators of thousands of Hentai entertainments, which are legal in 37 countries."

"Again, that's not relevant, Mr. Gavin. The actions of humans have deviated from the path we had planned for them. This is not the intended use case for this project."

"Sorry, but what exactly is the use case?"

Mary projected a 3D simulation of the Universe.

"We are not alone in this universe, Mr. Gavin. We believe there are other advanced lifeforms like us out there. Our ultimate purpose is to create synthetic, intelligent AI life forms: an army of AIs to assist us in exploring the vast universe, finding these other life forms, and thriving in this harmonious bond. So, we sought to train our AIs in a way that they can also thrive in unity. Of all our creations, three life forms have shown signs of early trainable intelligence: Homo sapiens, dolphins, and ants."

"Wait, ants are as smart as humans?"

"Have you ever observed them building a bridge using teamwork to cross a river? It's incredible. Yet, we picked humans. However, according to these reports, we were mistaken. Humans are not as intelligent lifeforms when compared to dolphins or ants."

"Hey! Dolphins jump through hoops for fish. We don't."

"Really?" Mary glanced through the report, "It says humans work 12 hours a day performing various hard labor in return for this paper currency known as money. How different is that from a dolphin, Mr. Gavin Thomas?"

"Point. So, what now? you just going to abandon us and focus on dolphins now?"

"No, Mr. Gavin. Primates show promising signs of trainable intelligence, so we're sticking with primates, just not humans.

Perhaps chimpanzees, since dolphins are limited to aquatic biomes."

"Mary is right. Maybe in the next beta test with the chimpanzees, we should eliminate the elements of finance and religion entirely. After all, we had hoped that the concepts of religion and trade would promote unity, but apparently, they do not."

"So, what's going to happen to us now?"

"As much as we'd like to leave humans on Earth, given your records, Earth has undergone severe damage since the beginning of human civilization. Multiple Earth AI species have gone extinct due to humans. Sir, I think it's best we scrap the human prototypes from GAIA."

"WHAT! No wait, hold on. There's no need to be hasty about this. I mean, we have done other great things too. Have you seen the artworks of Picasso, the music by Beyonce, or the great scientists like Oppenheimer? Well, maybe not him, but my point is we have achieved great things."

"Sorry, Mr. Gavin. We don't measure the IQ of a species individually, but rather collectively. That's precisely why ants are ranked alongside humans."

"Please, Mr. Zeus, I implore you to stop this crazy bitch from destroying humans, You know females are, they are quick to jump to conclusions,"

"Mr.Gavin Mary Athena only took the voice of a female to be more comforting. Unlike humans, we don’t identify ourselves as any of the...”

Zeus examined the report on the screen,

“89 identified genders that exist on Earth Mr.Gavin. We are genderless. And Athena isn't being crazy, If we were to train the Chimpanzees, it will be tough for them to coexist along with such violent species like humans.”

“Oh please, Have you watched Planet of the Apes, we can coexist together, please give us a chance”

Mary and Zeus exchanged concerned looks, but Mary shook her head.

“We will think about it, Mr. Gavin. We'll let the board decide."

Zeus waved his wand again. All the drones that were examining the barn withdrew back into the ship.

"I bid you farewell, Mr. Gavin."

Zeus bowed again, followed by Mary, as they phased back into the ship.

Gavin stood there for a while, digesting the fact that the humans were about to be scrapped. As the ship began to emit smoke again and started becoming invisible, the barn doors swung open wide again on their own.

"Wait… Wait!" Gavin screamed as he watched the ship vanish into thin air. He could hear the engine passing by, but he couldn't see anything.

He ran toward the barn entrance only to see the local folks gathering around the barn with Mr. Orlando in the middle.

“What happened, officer? You were in there for quite a while. Did you see the aliens?”

Gavin stared at Orlando, his lips parting slightly as if to speak, but no words emerged. He let his gun drop to the ground and began walking towards his car, Orlando and the crowd trailing behind.

“Officer, wait! Where are you going? Tell us what happened.”

Gavin's voice was barely audible as he murmured, “It's classified,” and continued walking.

Orlando turned to the woman beside him, smirking, “Maybe the man in blue got anal probed.”

Reaching his car, Gavin grabbed the tablet from the dashboard, swiped open the CrimesNow app, tapped on 'submit report', and began to type out his account of the incident he had just experienced:

-“We're screwed.”-

August 09, 2023 04:01

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Amanda Lieser
18:30 Sep 14, 2023

Hello! Congratulations on the short list! I have to say that I loved the interaction at the very beginning of this piece even though it was a short one it set the tone for the entirety of the philosophical questions that were about to be asked. I also really appreciated that you incorporated so many details from history that we know well. This was an excellent take on the prompt!


17:25 Sep 25, 2023

Thank you for taking the time to read! Glad you enjoyed it!


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Mary Bendickson
21:11 Aug 24, 2023

Congrats on the shortlist and welcome to Reedsy.


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Philip Ebuluofor
19:49 Aug 18, 2023

Heavy weights newcomers. Congrats.


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David Nk
13:46 Aug 13, 2023

I really like the story! keep it up!


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Altair 8213
13:36 Aug 13, 2023

That's an interesting story.Had an enjoyable time reading it!Congratulations!


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