Report A05 - Operation 022

Report A05 - Operation 022

A Chapter by Meeks
"

"I can't do this. There has to be a plan"

"

The program is off. That means that the power grid is down, the internet is down, the cameras are down, everything is down. Only us, autonomous units who can function separate of the program, and humans are still functioning. The problem is that all of us need power to survive, and there is no real way of getting it.

I check my battery. 94%. Understandable, since I’ve been awake for an hour already, and police units weren't made to be energy efficient. I have about 16 hours before I shut down. The others probably have more.

But the humans are a whole other problem. True, their battery packs can keep them up for four days, but that’s if they’re lying down and not doing anything. And not many would've been doing that throughout the night, since modern humans are nocturnal. Civilians have 4 or 5 hours to live, 18 if they lie down and focus on life support.

And that’s only on this side of the planet. The program controls nearly all human life on the continents, and functions sort of like a government. We have it worse, being powered down right at the time when people are supposed to start charging, but the rest are going to die just as surely if we can't restart the program. I glance at the kid, his face changing as he peeks at the police.

Only he doesn't need power. This could turn into an apocalyptic one man scenario if I don't do something quickly.

“Restart the unit,” I heard one of the police drones say, and the lights flashed as they found its control panel. They would restart it, and the robot would ignore my orders and share its report. And then they would find us.

“Follow me,” I said, grabbing my rifle and slowly crawling towards an automatic glass door near us. It didn't open, the power really was down, so I grabbed the doors to open them manually. The kid followed me inside, and I turned on my camera lights. One was broken, but the other was more than enough to light the area which we entered.

It was a mall. Well, in a way every building’s bottom floor were shops, but this was a full on mall. Retail stores, cafés and restaurants lined the edge of the hallway in which we found ourselves in. I could clearly outline the large dome-like connection a bit further down, and a giant opening in the ceiling where another floor of shops was. The wide hallway was lined with fake little palm trees, and I think I could discern the quiet trickle of water somewhere. And lights flashing everywhere, their beams pivoting rapidly around, mostly further along in the dome but also some nearby, trained at us.

Civilians. Civilians everywhere.

I could see their metal bodies stir in the light of my flashlight, and I quickly pushed the kid behind me.

“Police Unit CR 047,” I introduced myself, my processor heating up. Their flashlights nodded, looking at me and then at each other. One of them stepped up to me, his silent whirring indiscernible from the quiet buzz of machinery echoing through the space

“Robot, what is going on?!” he asks, his face frowning. It was a frown of calculated machinery, very much unlike whatever the kid does. “Why is the power cut? I’ll file a protest, this is unacceptable!”

A protest. Civilians could send protests whenever they didn't approve of something, and the morality loop pressed the program to always follow through. Basically if the humans wanted something, all they had to do was protest.

“I am sorry sir, there is a level ten emergency. Power might not return for several hours, I recommend going to your apartment and focusing on life support,” I say, and the man’s light flashes in surprise. Only then does he notice my bent in features, and turns around to look at his friends, illuminating their surprised faces.

I sidestep into a bookstore, making sure to push the kid along so he stays behind me. As soon as we are out of sight -- I can tell because the light from the glaring civilians stopped illuminating my body -- I turn around and look down at the kid.

“Listen, stay here,” I tell him, trying to put as much weight as possible into my voice. His eyes are wide.

“What’s happening?” he whispers. The lights flash around the bookcases, looking for us. We don't have time for this!

“Just stay hidden. If someone finds you it’ll be complete pandemonium. I’ll come back,” I start away, but he latches onto my arm.

“What’s happening? Tell me,” he insists, his fingers tightening on my metal shoulder. His mouth is curved upward, but definitely not a smile. His expression was simply… different.

“The program has crashed,” I tell him, and then notice what a mistake that was. If he ran away even when the program was online, who knew what he would do now? “Listen, promise me you won’t go anywhere, okay?”

He looks at me, his face shifting again. “What do you care? You're just a computer,” he decides, and I frown. I have much more important things to be doing right now, but I can't have a biological kid running around everywhere! How could I convince him?

“Listen, they’ll take me apart if they find out. You have to stay, just promise me,” I say, but his face doesn't soften. “Please?” I add.

His lip trembles.

“Fine! I promise I'll stay here. You satisfied!?” he bursts, and I hear footsteps coming. I quickly turn around, shielding the kid with my body as a light pierces the darkness towards us.

“Hey robot. Come over here,” the civilian commanded. I walked toward him, making sure that I stayed between him and the boy, and I heard him mutter something about the broken robotics used today.

“Sir?” I ask him, but he turns around to exit the bookstore, motioning for me to follow. I grip my rifle harder and follow his footsteps. But inside, my wires heat up; why would the kid yell at me like that? Did I do something wrong? Will he even follow through on the promise?

“I need your authority. You need to tell others what you told me. We need to preserve battery power, right?” he asks, and I nod. “Also, I need details. What exactly is happening?”

“Classified information,” I respond. It might be classified, but I don't know. It’s always the program who determines classifications. At any rate, telling this man that the world was going to end won't help our situation.

“I doubt classification has any use now. You have to tell us what is happening or we won't be able to judge the situation correctly,” he says, our beams of light illuminating the hallway as we quickly walk out the entrance of the store. As soon as we come out, several other lights focus in on us, and robotic shells quickly surround me.

“What’s happening?” someone asks. “Why is the power out?” “What do we do?” “How will we re-charge?” They siege me with questions, and I ignore them. There’s at least eight civilians around me, and more beams of light are turning our way. I try to push my way through the crowd, sticking my rifle out in front so that people move away.

“Hey! Everybody stop moving! Halt!” a voice shouts and heads turn towards the sound, away from me. The group is clearly illuminated by the lights, their rifles pointed at our clump and advancing in a crouch, the hiss of their pistons clear in the sudden silence, their fluid robotic bodies like tanks compared to civilian shells.

The police. Finally.

“Police unit CR 047, requesting introduction,” I say, pushing my way through the stiff civilian bodies towards the formation. They look at me curiously, studying my damaged head, but reply quickly. “Police Squadron Z022-03, task level eight.”

“Great,” I say, stepping out from behind the last person, who looked at me as I walked towards the units. “Task level ten. Task override, you guys are now under my command,” I watch as they look at each other, their guns lowering hesitantly.

“Denied. Requesting task confirmation,” one of them says, unsure. Clearly their specified leader.

“Classified,” I respond, earning a lot of curious lights on my face. “Cannot be transmitted in public. Follow me,” I say, and slowly start to the shop opposite the bookstore. I steal a glance to where the kid is hiding, and I almost outline his face.

They follow, one staying behind to calm the civilians. I recall that I didn't have much organization in the past few hours, and this was so much simpler. Everything just falls together if you're organized.

There was a door behind the counter, leading to a sort of small storage room. I push open the door, holding it for the rest and finally go in myself. We shouldn't be overheard by any humans here, but it was not a place to hold five human-sized robots at all. The room was maybe the size of a normal shed, and already filled with stuff. Several flashlights focus on my face, and I blink to re-adjust the one working camera.

“Task confirmation. What are you supposed to be doing?” one of them questions.

“I was recently controlled by the program, Operation 022,” I say. They stand, silently computing, unresponsive. “It’s down. The whole program is under emergency shutdown,”I continue. Their eyes blink at me, then at each other.

“That can't be. How?”

“Accidental shooting of a civilian,” I tell the truth.

“The morality loop forbids that though, it can't just shoot civilians!”

“That’s exactly why it was shut down. Besides, it was accidental, it happened too fast to transmit anything,” I decide, and their faces blink with worry. “The power grid is off, and it is not going to return by itself. Neither we nor the civilians will be functioning by tomorrow morning.” We look at each other as they slowly accept the information and compute it. Silence.

“So, that thing outside, that was you?” someone asks.

“No, that was the program controlling me,” I answer, meeting their stares. Silence again, this time even longer.

“Task override granted. You're in command,” the robot nods at me, his fans whirring. I look at him, then at the rest of the unit. It worked. I have command, but what do I even do now?

“Follow me,” I say, opening the door and leading the way outside. They lift their weapons, automatically scanning the possible threats as we quickly walk to the exit of the store. The single robot is still there, trying to hold back and pacify about two dozen humans as they try to get inside, the flashing lights illuminating pieces of everything as they quickly turn their heads around

“Hey! Everyone keep calm, move away from the entrance!” I shout, and the humans kind of half-heartedly obey, probably not used to being ordered around by a robot. The units form behind me, their rifles lowered and eyes flashing at the sculpted robotic faces around us.

Their surprise doesn't last though. They start showering us with questions, demands, and other preposterous things that only humans are capable of. I notice that there are more people gathering, not to pester us but simply standing and watching, waiting. Probably want to hear what we have to say.

“Everybody quiet down for a minute!” I yell above the din of questions, and people quickly start shushing their neighbors, which leads to total silence within several moments. The expectant faces look at me, the light from their flashlights illuminating my cracked faceplates. There are several people upstairs too, peeking over the railing to look at us.

“Electricity is now a limited resource. Everyone is to turn off their light, and focus on life support until power comes back,” I say. A quiet murmur runs through the crowd, but only a few shut off their lights. Someone starts asking questions, which sets the whole crowd off again.

“All information is classified! Power may not resume for several hours, if you want to survive until then, turn off your light!” I yell, and they kind of quiet down. The lights quickly come off, until only several people and us are still flashing around in the darkness of the mall.

I can see more people further in the mall, who might have not even noticed us. They kind of look at the sudden darkness behind them, surprised that there was only a few lights piercing the blackness. How big was this mall? No, how big was the city?

This is not going to work. We need a plan.



© 2015 Meeks



My Review

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Featured Review

Firstly, a remark to the chapter: you should decide to what extent the robots are humane (for instance communication through sound seems unnecessary since there are all kinds of wireless technologies).
Secondly, I'd like to express my opinion on the story overall: The story is written in a very interesting style, it is gripping and really enjoyable, but as for me, I expected something else, to be honest. I read the second chapter first (I believe) and I fancied it would be a story about a twisted individual or something of that sort (I know it doesn't matter, I'm just mentioning it to explain why my opinion on the story has changed). The plot so far has been a generic apocalyptic sci-fi (or so it seems). I'm being honest, these are just my impressions I'm writing with intention of helping you (not discouraging you). So, keep writing, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Meeks

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the review.
Yeah, I don't really like the way it's going too. It was supposed to b.. read more



Reviews

Firstly, a remark to the chapter: you should decide to what extent the robots are humane (for instance communication through sound seems unnecessary since there are all kinds of wireless technologies).
Secondly, I'd like to express my opinion on the story overall: The story is written in a very interesting style, it is gripping and really enjoyable, but as for me, I expected something else, to be honest. I read the second chapter first (I believe) and I fancied it would be a story about a twisted individual or something of that sort (I know it doesn't matter, I'm just mentioning it to explain why my opinion on the story has changed). The plot so far has been a generic apocalyptic sci-fi (or so it seems). I'm being honest, these are just my impressions I'm writing with intention of helping you (not discouraging you). So, keep writing, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Meeks

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the review.
Yeah, I don't really like the way it's going too. It was supposed to b.. read more
Meeks, I apoligize for the amount of time this has sat in my RR inbox. I have been a little busy lately. Well, here you go :) My critique; remember, I loved it !

For these lines "The program is off. That means that the power grid is down, the internet is down, the cameras are down, everything is down." Where you said "That means the power grid is down, the internet is down" I don't mean to be nit-picky but it seemed a little off. Maybe do this? "That means the power grid is down, as well as the internet, cameras, and everything else too"

Well, overall I really liked it. Theres just some little things I see consistently across the chapters.. I understand it is robotic but try and add some more scenery like details as he is going to do things and such. Well done, Meeks!



Posted 1 Year Ago


Operation 022 maybe it should be more robotic, all caps with the : to make it monotonous. The last question about the city was good second guessing to make the crises good g
job. Maybe make it little more dramatic to make your reader wonder more.
with Police Unit, capitalize Unit. To make it official.
with task confirmations, say, "Task Confirmation: What are your orders?"
These are police robots. They aren't supposed to be so responsive.
It would help if it was like this with all tasks and orders, to make it colder on their park, less personal.

Posted 1 Year Ago


annalysiar

1 Year Ago

Great. This is a great chapter I love the plot lol I'm starting to understand the more I read. Machi.. read more
Meeks

1 Year Ago

Nah... the begining is always boring if you start from the middle... unless you have nothing else to.. read more
annalysiar

1 Year Ago

Lol well its me I usually do it with everything, its part of routine for me, an I must. 😃😇😉.. read more
A crisis situation... The odds not looking too good.
well done.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Meeks

1 Year Ago

I try. Thanks for the review.
Dani The Unreviewed

1 Year Ago

you're welcome.
Excellent. The mystery of the whole system. The way you describe everything though, it gives us a clear idea of what is going on, which is very important. I find myself not confused and easily understanding what you have going on, though the system shut down is a bit queer XD. I just love this and find myself wishing there was another chapter! Can't wait, nice work!

Posted 1 Year Ago


Meeks

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the review. And I'm working on it, hope to finish this first draft by the end of the year.. read more

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Added on December 19, 2015
Last Updated on December 19, 2015
Tags: science, action, fiction, robots, power, electricity, human


Author

Meeks
Meeks

Poland



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Hey guys! I'm a sixteen year old writer trying desperately to make something publish-worthy. In the meantime, I hand out useful critiques and comments. Currently trying to work on something diffe.. more..

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