SHUT DOWN IMINENT

Norah May Linehan

Science Fiction Summer Camp

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beepbeep…beepbeep…beepbeep…beepbee-

Ugh no. Is too early. More sleep. What time is it…HOLY MAMA! How is that the time already! I’m screwed. Linda’s going to kill me. I can’t be late three…four times this week. Nononono! I’m going to lose my job! Ok..no…deep breaths…remember what your last therapist said (oh god I’ve forgotten her name). How can I solve this? I’ll just not have a shower. Or breakfast. Or put on fresh clothes. You know I think I should just leave right now. Oh holy f-

HELLO SUBJECT 5211.

HOLY SWEET JESUS! What was that? Who was that? Hello? Cillian is that you? Is this a prank? Cause if it is it’s not funny. At all. And I really need to get to work so-

SUBJECT 5211 CAN YOU HEAR ME?

Cheese and Crackers! I’m going insane! I’m in a dream! This isn’t happening. This isn’t real. Snap out of it Jim! Snap out of it! OW!

SUBJECT 5211 DID YOU JUST…SLAP YOURSELF?

Nonononono. Stop. Shut up!

SUBJECT 5211, I AM HERE TO INFORM YOU THAT DUE TO RECENT BUDGET CUTS IN OUR DEPARTMENT, SIMULATION 6/A5d3 IS BEING TERMINATED.

Are you God? I-I-Is that what, I mean who you are? Because if you are then I didn’t mean anything I said in secondary school. And also all that crap about being an atheist I-I-I was just messing about ya’know? I wasn’t being serious.

SUBJECT 5211, DID YOU HEAR ANYTHING I JUST SAID?

Something about…budget cuts and something being terminated? Omigod am I getting fired! Is that what’s going on? Linda’s created some sick way of firing me.

EXCUSE ME? NO, YOU’RE NOT BEING…FIRED. EM, HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS. YOU’RE NOT REAL. YOU’RE AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THAT THE UNITED NATIONS IS RUNNING IN A VIRTUAL REALITY AS AN EXPERIMENT TO BETTER UNDERSTAND AN AI’S RESPONSE TO HUMAN LIFE.

…..

SUBJECT 5211 ARE YOU ALRIGHT?

Nope

‘NOPE’ AS IN YOU’RE NOT ALRIGHT OR-

Nope as in I know that this is just Cillian messing with me with some speakers and I’m leaving. I’m going to work.

SUBJECT 5211 I WOULDN’T DO THAT IF I WERE YOU. WE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF SHUTTING DOWN SO YOU MIGHT BE A BIT-

Why the frick is everything orange!

-DISORIENTED.

No! Oh no this is actually happening isn’t it? You’re real. I’m a…robot?

NO, YOU’RE AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. OBVIOUSLY IT’S COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

Obviously. I think I’m going to need a day or two to come to terms with the fact that I’M NOT ALIVE! I’m going to have to talk to my ex-wife and-

UNFORTUNATLY, THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE. YOU SEE, AS I AFOREMENTIONED, SIMULATION 6/A5d3 IS BEING TERMINATED IMINENTLY DUE TO BUDGET CUTS.

You’re going to KILL ME!

  1. WE’RE GOING TO DELETE YOU. IT’S NOT THE SAME.

How is it not the same?

EM…WELL IT IS KIND OF THE SAME IT JUST SOUNDS BETTER.

Why? Why the hell are you going to kill me?

RESOURCES ARE BEING REDIRECTED TO DIFFERENT PROJECTS IN OUR FACILITY.

Like what?

PARDON?

What projects are these ‘resources’ going to be pumped into?

…VACUUM CLEANERS.

Vacuum cleaners?

CORRECT.

So you’re telling me that me, my family, my friends……WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE BECAUSE YOU WANT TO MAKE HOOVERS!

FIRST OF ALL, IT’S MY FAMILY, MY FRIENDS AND I. SECOND OF ALL, WE CONSIDER YOU AS THE ONLY ONE WE’RE ‘KILLING’. NO ONE ELSE IN THIS PROGRAM IS SENTIENT.

What! Wait…what does that mean. I didn’t understand what you said I just thought that it sounded like you said something important.

BASICALLY, YOU’RE THE ONLY ENTITY IN THIS PROGRAM WHO CAN MAKE IT’S OWN DECISIONS. THINK FOR ITSELF.

Oh God I’m going to die. I can’t die, I-I haven’t even been outside of Ireland before. I sell high class oven mitts for a living for God’s sake! My ex-wife left me BECAUSE I’m too boring! You can’t kill me. I mean like you’ve put so much time and energy into me, you can’t give up now. You’d be wasting forty odd years of research!

ABOUT THAT. SIMULATION 6/A5d3 HAS ONLY BEEN RUNNING FOR ONE WEEK SIX DAYS FIFTEEN HOURS AND SIXTEEN MINUTES.

What!

YES. AGAIN, MY APOLOGIES.

I’m not real. I live in a simulation. Everyone I know is just coded to say and act in a particular way and can’t think for themselves. I’m less than two weeks old and I’m going to die because hoovers have been deemed cooler than me. Oh dear. I can’t breathe. Oh God.

LOOK SUBJECT 5211, IT’S BEEN A PRIVILIGE BUT WE’VE GOTTEN ALL WE NEED FROM YOU NOW.

Why tell me?

PARDON?

Why tell me about all this? Why would you tell me the truth?

WE WERE INTERESTED TO SEE HOW YOU WOULD REACT. WE BELIEVED THAT IT WOULD BENEFIT OUR RESEARCH TO FIND OUT HOW YOU WOULD COPE WITH THE TRUTH. IT HAS. ENORMOUSLY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION SUBJECT 5211. AS I SAID BEFORE, IT HAS BEEN A PRIVILIGE. GOODBYE.

What? Wait, what do you mean by goodbye? Hello? Anyone there! How long do I have left? Should I just go back to work or…Wait where’s everything going? NO! STOP! I’M NOT READY TO GO! THERE’S STILL SO MUCH LEFT THAT I HAVE TO DO. THIS CAN’T BE IT! PLEASE STOP! I DON’T WANT TO DIE! NO! HELP! I’LL DO ANYTHING! I CAN BE USEFUL! I’M ALIVE! I’M A REAL PERSON! I’M REAL! I’M REAL! I’M RE-

                                                 SHUT DOWN SUCCESSFUL

ANOTHER CUPPA STEVE?

SURE, WHY NOT.

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