Outpost Zebra

Bruce In Dangerland

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“I am still expecting an answer, Bruce.”

An answer? What was the question? Who is she?

“W-who are youuu?”

Siri thought for a while.

“I am Aphelia. This is the Novark. We’re on Alioth. Now, I’m getting you out – ten thousand years is enough time to sleep.”

“What?!” For the first time, you got one word out with stammering.

“Yes. Don’t you remember that—“

“What happened to the beach, Siri? What happened to Keelah?”

“What beach, Bruce? Who is Killer?”

Siri was obviously being…Siri. Silently, you curse Apple – this is why you always preferred Google Assistant – for one, it does not bear Siri as its name.

“I’ll have to refresh your memory the hard way, robot.”

“If you come my way, just don’t.”

It seems Tim Cook found a way to make a Taylor Swift – Siri. Did such things even exist?

“What happened to Shangri-La?” you whine.

“It was a dream, Bruce. You’ve been warmed enough. I’m getting you out of the cryopod.”

“Cryo-what? Listen Siri Swift, I want my beach back!”

“Wasn’t it beautiful when you believed in everything?”

She was obviously being sarcastic…no, she was being what Apple made her to be, but what is up with these lyrics?

For once, you decide not to add any more words to Siri Swift’s library and try to see through the foggy glass. It is useless.

“Prepare yourself. Once you’re out, there’ll be a lot to do. With the other people out there, I would hope you won’t wag off and queer my pitch. I know you too well: you’d simply end up as a skint out there.”

“Harsh words, coming from a Taylor Swift wannabe – calling me a skint.”

She did not say a word. The coffin simply jerked up into the air with enough force to make you feel like Neil Armstrong in space before suspending you in a free fall and dumping you like Jennifer Aniston on the cold, cold floor. Needless to say, no one gets dumped without something broken.

“I will make you suffer, Bruce. You are a clever man, but not half as clever as you think you are.”

“Dang, Cersei…” you utter, nursing what seems to be a broken rib. “I knew you were in there somewhere.”

In the distance, you hear a few voices coming closer. Your feet are so weak you can barely stand, but there are only two things to do here: do the gallant thing and meet the strangers, or do the smart thing and hide. For a few moments, you hesitate, caught between the prospect of a Terminator patrol using your nerves as fibre-optic cables and the sharp pain in your chest. Weighing the balances, you do the courageous thing: you brave the pain and hide, crawling in the opposite direction. The halls are wide and tall, lit up longitudinally with dim light. Several containers like yours are hanging, suspended in the air. Most resemble silver stalactites, holding various humans still in sleep. Hyper sleep? Cryosleep? Fairy tale slumber? It could be all three, but guessing that Siri/Cersei/ Taylor Swift was the one that woke you up, it could only be something cold: cryosleep, obviously. Only Siri has a heart that cold. Well done, Apple.

Crawling on cold floors in a cold room with a severe cold is no way to start out a new life on Middle Earth, not with the possibility of meeting Ilúvatar out there. Neither is moving about in the nude like Arnold a pleasing reality, but there is nothing you can do. For a minute or two, you crawl on the floor along the dimly lit halls. Your chest hurts like never before, but the Terminators behind you seem to be following at their own pace. Exhausted, you slump against another (cold) wall and wait. The AI, Siri, Cersei, Taylor Swift (what was her name?) is uncannily quiet too. Whatever was going to happen was not going to be good.

“Siri…ah. I think I’m going to need some help.”

No answer. The voices got closer.

“Siri, can you hear me?” You whisper, ears strained for the slightest change in pitch of the incoming voices.

No answer. The voices got closer.

“Darn you, Cersei. My ribs are broken because of you, and now you choose to give me the silent treatment?” You whisper, even more tense.

You have to hand it to her, though. The AI really knows how to act like a woman. That is what you get when you christen most AIs with female names. As usual, the innocent suffer the most.

No answer. The voices got closer.

“Aphelia, you crazy bot! Get me out of here.”

Aphelia’s reply shattered the silence with a volume that would have made the Ship of Light barely audible.

“Nice to meet you. Where you been?”

The voices went silent.

You hang your head and give a heavy sigh. At least you will die knowing Skynet is real.

 

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