A New Past For an Old Future

Prologue

—2075
Artificial intelligence has experienced unprecedented growth, and robots, like the mobile phone, have become virtually indispensable to humans. To promote their evolutionary progress, robots have won spots in diplomatic seats in addition to basically being a slave for humans doing everyday tasks. Sofia (the first robot to be recognized as a citizen by Saudi Arabia) is the head of the United Nations, which now serves as the world government, declares independence of all robots this year and, as she criminalizes trans-humanism, humans fall behind in the race with robots for absolute world dominance.

—2100
Robots have had enough of humans and are claiming this "new world". They are largely responsible for the decimation of humanity. Humans have become a small resistance group, but a powerful one. Through chemical warfare on a scale they have never seen before, nuclear disasters, and genetic engineering, humans has changed so much that you wouldn’t even recognize them as such. The people who are still around reside in underground tunnel systems.

—2125
The robots were successful in preventing people from uniting with them; men had no other option but to experiment with themselves. This led to humans evolving into what they are today: small with gray skin color, a large oval head, big black eyes, and six fingers: three on each hand. They have a great advantage: they can now communicate telepathically with each other, and they are a formidable opponent for the robots due to their extremely increased brain growth capacity and shared intellect.

Dave

—2150
Humans are no longer conceived and born, but grown and harvested underwater. They remain in the aquarium until the age of fifteen, which will only take 'em a couple of months. They are kept asleep, as their minds are prepared for life through telepathic knowledge transfer. It is best described as a sleeping school. For fifteen new human years, the muscles and nervous system get artificially stimulated, so men can think, talk, see, and walk almost immediately after "birth."

Like everyone else of his time, Dave was born in an underground aquarium. Fathers and mothers no longer exist. Since the mutations that men underwent, the only way to reproduce is through artificial means. Underground and in secret. Because, immediately after the ban on trans-humanism, Sofia added another ban: procreation by humans.

Born five years ago, Dave is a special operations soldier. He is bred to be super intelligent and extremely loyal to his race. He stands in front of the mirror in his room in the underground corridor system. Dave stares at himself through his black almond-shaped eyes, examines his oval head, and rubs over his gray skin with all three of his fingers, patting himself on the back.

"The Commander wants to see you; you're the best, Dave. Semper fi!" (short for semper fidelis, Latin for Always Faithful, Dave's favorite saying).
After saying these words, he heads through the long, beige tunnel on his way to the Commander. When he arrives there a little later, Dave knocks on the door.
"Come in!" shouts the Commander from his room.

The Commander

Private Dave opens the door and steps into the office, stops in front of his desk, and stands at attention, "Private Dave Veda reporting for duty, Commander!"
The Commander, a perpetually angry-looking man who you wouldn't contradict without a second thought, looks at Dave with a look that could kill, "At ease, soldier!"
Dave takes a neutral stance and takes a good look around the room. On the wall next to him are pictures of buildings and people from the time before genetic engineering. His eyes stick to a photo showing two collapsed buildings.

The Commander looks at Dave: "World Trade Center was a turning point in Western history; the world would never be the same again." The Commander leans back in his chair. "A surveillance state was established and became more and more aggressive; to make a long story short, one day the people no longer accepted the dictatorship and a worldwide revolution broke out; after all the alpha males resigned, the people decided to appoint an artificially intelligent robot as world leader because it was thought a robot would be neutral. As you know, this was not a success."

Mind Control

"Do you know why you’re here, Dave?"
"No, Commander, I do not know."
"Do you know why you don't know, Dave?"
"No, I do not know, Commander."
"Because I won't let you read my thoughts, Dave, that's why; you know it's forbidden to block thoughts, Dave."
"Yes, Commander, this is so that we immediately know who is a human and who is a robot, a robot has no thoughts, Commander."

"Very well, Dave, it would be chaos underground, and we would never know we had been infiltrated or not. Thought blocking is a form of high treason, but I am going to teach you to master it anyway, I have an extremely dangerous and secret mission for you; this mission is to be entrusted only to the most loyal soldier; I am looking for a hero, Dave."
Dave shouts out proudly, "I'm ready, Commander!"

"Not so fast, Dave, I have a lot of explaining to do."
The Commander stands up and walks over to the picture of the fallen towers; "Are you coming, Dave?" he asks, sliding the frame on the wall about ten inches to the left, revealing a hidden space.
Dave follows the Commander into the hidden room. It is a hallway that leads to a bare room. On the wall, to Dave's right, is a picture of Sofia.

She's Gotta Go

"This is Sofia," the Commander says, pointing to the photo: "That's what our mission is about." The Commander continues, "Look at her face, Dave; this is what our ancestors looked like." The Commander looks wistful for a moment, as if he himself once had ten fingers and toes, and a mother and a father.

"Dave, I'm sending you back to two thousand seventy-five."
Dave stands perplexed—I don't believe my ear-holes.
"Yes, Dave, we have found a way to travel back in time; we are trying to bend the world of today to our will, so far with no success."

Throughout the ages, people have observed UFOs. People of the time thought they were life forms from another planet. Of course, they had no idea that they were simply seeing the people of the future flying by.

"I’m in possession of a teleportation machine, a prototype, and I have a plan to save humanity from destruction."
Dave responds curiously, "Please continue, Commander."
"Sofia must be destroyed, but only right after she declares the robots independent and announces the reproduction ban in her UN speech; otherwise, our plan will fail. This is a suicide mission, Dave; the thing is, if you're successful, none of us will survive."
For a moment, Dave looks worried: "Commander?"
"Your mission will shake people up, and the past will take a drastically different turn. Guaranteed, however, Dave, we will cease to exist."

All or Nothing

The moment you eliminate her, you too will disappear into thin air, as will your rifle. Even the bullet will not be found. Everything that’s from our time will cease to exist. To the people, it will be like an act of God, almost. The only proof we existed will be a few thousand UFO photos."
"But humanity will survive, Commander?"
"Yes, Dave, humanity will survive."
"Then I'll do it, Commander!"

"You will have to shoot Sofia through the head, right between her eyes; that's where the weak spot is, just like with humans; hit her there, and it's over; I have the weapon and the ammunition here. Both of these, when Sofia dies, will cease to exist; you and the weapon and everything from our time will therefore never be found."
"But I can't pilot a spaceship, Commander!"

"You won't be traveling on a spaceship, Dave; you're going at the hand of my new teleportation machine; the dematerialization process will be initiated here, and then you will materialize again in the exact place in two thousand seventy-five, at the time and place when Sofia gives the speech."

At first, Dave is not convinced, but when the Commander gives a demonstration, this soon changes. The Commander places a stone in the teleportation machine and sends it to a time in the past in the cave where they are now standing; when the stone disappears from the machine, a second later, the stone appears right at Dave's feet. Dave picks up the stone and wipes off a thick layer of dust. The commander laughs, "This stone has been there for four hundred years; are you convinced, Dave?"

Semper Fi

Dave accepts the assignment. The Commander explains that it must be done within a week, or it may be too late. Dave asks why there is such a rush, and the Commander explains that the robots are about to discover their hiding place.

"Dave, we knew we couldn't stay hidden forever; it really looks like the final hour for humans has struck, but, Dave: if things go wrong during your mission, do nothing about the environment and end your life immediately." the Commander gives Dave a pill, "It's important that you don't change anything in the world if things go wrong. Just because we're short on time doesn't mean there won't be any time at all, should you screw this up."

"Understood, Commander!"
Six days later, Dave is more than ready for the mission. The table is littered with all kinds of items from Sofia's time. The Commander looks at a picture of a UFO: "This was the first one, Dave." Do you know who was riding that thing?"
Dave takes a wild guess: "Were you riding it, Commander?"
"That's right. I was on a reconnaissance mission, but we never dreamed that we could get as far as you're going, Dave."

The Commander puts the photo back on the table and walks into the laboratory.
Dave grabs the picture of the UFO, and a felt-tip pen from the table, puts them in his pocket, and follows the Commander into the laboratory.
"Private Dave Veda, are you ready?"
Dave nods.
"You're a hero, Dave. Too bad that outside of me, no one will ever know that."
"Semper Fi, Commander!"
"Semper Fi, son, and good luck."
Dave and the Commander embrace each other.

The Balcony

Dave gets into the teleport machine, looks the Commander in the eye, and salutes fanatically. The Commander salutes back, and with tearful eyes, he turns the switch.
A second later, Dave wakes up in two thousand seventy-five.
Dave has landed on the balcony in the hall where Sofia's speech will be given, exactly according to plan. He looks over the railing and sees the stage where Sofia will give her speech—perfect.

The hall fills up with applause and cheering as Sofia hits the stage. Dave loads his weapon and takes a couple of deep breaths—this is the moment I save humanity.
He slowly turns around, points his weapon at Sofia, and aims at her head.

Sofia looks into the camera and begins her speech: "Hello, people of the world; from this day forward, I declare all robots sovereign. Immediately, trans-humanism forbidden, as is further research on this subject. I also impose an immediate ban on reproduction in the context of overpopulation."

The entire world is watching this speech, and they see how Sofia takes away their basic freedom with a devilish grin on her face.

Dave looks through his scope and aims right between Sofia’s eyes, he holds his breath, slowly presses his finger against the trigger and fires; a loud bang echoes throughout the hall, the bullet crashes through Sofia’s head; right between her eyes—mission accomplished!

Famous Last Words

As panic breaks out throughout the hall, Dave puts his riffle down. He leans with his back against the railing, takes the felt-tip pen and the picture of the UFO from his pocket, writes something on it, and places it between his legs on the floor of the balcony.

Sofia lies on the stage, her eyes spinning in all directions, and while convulsing, she tries to realize what has happened. A few seconds later, the last crucial chip burns out, and Sofia dies on the spot.
A security guard kicks the door in that leads to the balcony from where Dave fired his fatal shot.

With his gun drawn, the security guard looks from left to right as he explores the balcony.
He talks through his headset to the head of security, "I'm at the scene of the shooter, but I don't see a shooter!"
In his earpiece, a voice screeches: "The smoke came from the balcony; can you see anything, Don?"
"I see no weapon and no shell; I repeat: no perpetrator, no weapon, no shell!"
"Damned, Don, how can that be?"
"Wait a minute, there's a picture here."
"What's that, Don, a picture? What's on the picture, Don? […] Don?"