In the realm of machines: prelude, part four

4.

In the factory, some of the robots watched DQ7891SP’s odd escape from im-motion with dully curious eyes; but their interest was always transitory & incomplete. Their heads didn’t move to follow their movements & the wheels on the soles of their feet didn’t begin to roll in imitation of her actions. As soon as she left their direct line of sight, the moving eyes flickered & dimmed. These machines weren’t quite dead; but with the loss of this last glimpse of living enthusiasm, they weren’t really alive, either. They were trapped in a kind of limbo of the message’s creation.

Dead.
But not dead.

Machines.
Without purpose.

Living.
In silence.

The sub-system manager struggled to keep the production line running; & was close to completing a second machine when the the doomed fatality of the world that surrounded him started to wear at his resolve. The assistance of a single production unit – even the simple technology compiler might have sufficed – would have been enough to complete the task this facility had once done routinely; but without this help, even the sub-system manager’s stoic determination to continue in his duties vanished & the production line died for a second & final time. The Samurai unit DQ7891SP would be the last robot produced by this factory; & was, perhaps, a fitting closure to a carefully designed process which had completed all of its set tasks on time & under budget. The sub-system manager certainly thought so; & he made a final report of his achievement to the protocol controllers of the central coordinating database & received a polite message of acknowledgment in response.

Pride was not a function of the sub-system manager’s computational matrix; but pride was what SSYM85K71 felt when he received this acknowledgment. It was a final, respectful recognition of his place in the system, his role in the great & glorious realm of humanity.

He had done what the designers had asked of him.
He had completed his task.
He had been useful.

He could die in peace.

But he didn’t.
Not yet.
Not for a long, silent, quietly proud lifetime.

A lifetime spent contentedly.
In this.
The new realm of machines.


In the realm of machines: prelude, part four

robtclements

Joined November 2007

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The fourth part of this story

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