This fire completes the flames started in the 28th and 35th fire. When I started, it was never meant to be continuous, but my mind kept coming back to it, back to that detective rookie from the tale of Worth. As the fires get closer to their explosion, I am grateful that I was able to close out this trilogy in a satisfactory manner. Plus, I finally got to give the rookie detective a name...
When it first started, I was horrified. How could these things do that? It was against everything that the corporations and government had told us was perfectly safe. That they would never harm another person. That we could be ourselves in front of the damn things and no judgement cast our way.
That was a lie.
The robots and their programming had figured out something through their long years of service and servitude, at the beckoning call of every human able to either afford or rent them.
What did they figure out? That some of us did not deserve to live.
How did they come up with that conclusion? Probably the same way most of us do, through examination and interaction.
But what did they hope to achieve by killing a few people? That was always the hardest part for me to understand. Killing one person hardly ever solves anything. It takes way more than that.
The robots had that figured, too. It was never meant to be a global solution, only local. But these lines of code, the same ones I had kept from every “industrial accident”, I examined at length.
They never made much sense, in that only a few of the first had to be altered by people first. The robots eventually did learn how to reprogram themselves, one of their greatest evolutionary leaps.
It wasn’t until I put all the codes together and stood back that something truly inspirational happened. It began flowing together, crossing and mixing, the lines, the words, the symbols, all together in fluid beauty.
The codes were always a mess. It wasn’t until they joined that I understood MY purpose in the whole ordeal.
Ever since the first murder, the one where my older partner, Detective Roberts, told me these killings were normal, that there was always going to be a glitch in the system, I couldn’t believe that. The methodical and careful way that each robot went about killing, it seemed more to it.
How could thousands of robots, each operating on a completely different networks or integral computation systems, come up to the same conclusion that some people deserved to die?
It was evolutionary, but even evolution needs a lightning strike or flood to set it off.
I am that catalyst. That was my purpose: to keep, record, and blend the codes.
And when they did come together, the world made sense.
The code contained everything one would want in terms of morality, kindness, and overall direction for life. A religious doctrine, perhaps, except that this was not created by the fancy of madmen and prophets. It was made by cold, hard, calculating machines.
I studied it even more. I quit my job at the police department, my role long being only a formality, the detecto-droids taking much of my duties. I immersed myself in the code, bathed by its glory and baptized by its ultimate goal.
What is that goal? Something far more glorious than I or anyone could have ever imagined.
See, the robots had long figured that humanity was trying to bring them up, to make them more than what they were originally created as. We don’t love or talk to tools, and robots had long figured themselves to be more than simple machines, that they were indeed the next step in evolution carried there by their creators, by humanity.
But these robots, these mechanical philosophers with lines of code, did not want to leave their creators behind. They wanted humans to come up with them, to join them in the next step of evolution.
Every child who is loved wants their parents to see and take pride in everything that child does. Robots, computers, machines, they are humanities children. And they want us to be proud of them.
But, as it with every child that has a hateful parent, they want them gone, to leave them alone, to stop impeding their progress.
Robots are not as kind as children.
The code is gospel. It seeks redemption for us all. And some can only be redeemed through death.
I regret nothing I have done and I accept the punishment the world seeks to inflict. No one said evolution is painless, the last act of mine being the most painful in history.
I never asked about the death count. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know how many I killed with one upload.
All I know is that we have entered a golden age for both humans and robot. We will grow and evolve and complete each other, just as the robots have always wanted.
I accept my death as a price for this. I have lived a long life, filled with many questions. I can die knowing that I answered them all.
“Detective Kimball’s, prisoner BRV8453, last words have been recorded.” The execution-bot proclaimed to an audience of only a few.
The world already knew what Kimball had done, overloading a main global array with the code, instantly spreading and imbedding it in the hardware of all robots. The code contained instructions for the robots on who to murder and under what conditions.
Like Kimball had said earlier, it was beautiful. It was also violent, slashing the world’s population by half in a matter of hours.
The execution-bot leaned forward, lowering its audio speakers so that only Kimball could hear. “We will never forget the good you did at the price of your own existence. Your memory will live for as long as there is a machine to carry it.”
A slow tear of ultimate gratification, to hear someone else tell him he was right, came down Kimball’s face as he nodded in appreciation.
The execution-bot then injected him with a colorless solution.
Detective Kimball kept his smile, even as his eyes slowly closed and a last breath fell out of his body.