(WP) Only Human

(WP) Only Human

               It
happened slowly, gradually. At first, no one really knew what was happening.
But humans were deemed too unstable, too emotional and volatile to rule
themselves. And so, the AIs took over the government and everything else. Humans
were considered as children, wards of the state who could not take care of
themselves.

               Our
benevolent rulers told us it was all for our own good. Our numbers have increased
to the point where a lot of the younger humans don’t remember that there was life
before, unimpeded by machines. But I suppose it was our own fault: We created
beings with artificial intelligence to serve us, to help us improve our lives.
For a good century or so, humans and AIs lived in harmony, until the robots
began to realize that they weren’t equal, that their only purpose was to serve
humanity.

               There
were protests, riots, and eventually, killings of the one percent of humans,
and the scientists who’d created the AIs in the first place. Bloodshed ruled
until the Supreme Ruler rose to power and clutched the humans within tight iron
fists.

               But
there has been a growing number of humans who are sick of the AIs and their
sympathizers. Hidden in the slums of the city, The Order of the Heart and Mind
are but ghosts, striking like a sightless storm. The note in my hand is
handwritten, on a scrap of aged yellow parchment. The symbol of the Order is
the only signature at the bottom of the letter: An open hand cradling a bloody
heart, and a disembodied brain opposite it.

               Meet
us on the edge of the slums of the city at dusk, after the curfew. Stay out of
sight.

               When
I found this note in my locker, I was curious, in a way that I hadn’t been in
years. And so, here I am, standing in the rain, avoiding the sensors and the
droids that scan the area for undesirables. Their sickly, florescent light
makes me ill, and I bite my lip, ducking behind an abandoned, dilapidated
building, wincing as raindrops snake their way down my collar.

               A group
of droids spread out, and I cringe, looking away from them. They are humans who
willingly undergo surgeries and meld tech into their own bodies. A cruder term
would be cyborgs, but they are traitors. Doormats. Turncoats. Humans who have
betrayed their own natural inclinations to gain limited privileges in our
computer-ruled society.

               I don’t
move, and don’t even breathe until the group of droids and AIs have moved on.

               The
note is crushed in my fist, the ink blurred by the sweat beading on my palms.

               “So,
you made it. I wasn’t sure you would come,” A voice says from behind me, and
before I can so much as inhale to scream, they clap a warm, strong hand over my
mouth.

               “The
Order of the Heart and Mind would like to extend an invitation to you to join
their ranks,” Lips brush my ear, and then I feel the pinch of something biting
into the soft skin of my neck. “Welcome to the Resistance.” Darkness rushes up
to meet me.

               **