By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 22 Jan 2024




The only person who wasn’t enjoying serene happiness was Sarah. She had not only just been through a traumatic life and death situation, she had to admit to a huge mistake on her part and the change of heart and ways that it decreed.

This isn’t easy for any headstrong twenty-two year old to recognize a flaw in its character, a humbling thing, and to admit the bad decisions it entailed. She cried every night as soon as we turned out the lights, as she insisted we sleep together. These tears weren’t from any penance towards me, as none of her actions had harmed us in any way. They sprung from a battle in her own soul, regret for her hubris and the painful realization of the necessity for change.

Between her tears she would kiss me spontaneously, saying that she had been blind to her own over domineering desires and that she would change, be less brash and more considerate of all those around her. I told her this was all a part of growing up, that she needn’t be ashamed of herself and that it would be a shame and a loss to everyone in our tribe for her to tamper down her strong will. We relied on her leadership.

These were the words we spoke between the kisses and the tears. Another story emerged in those hours between bed and sleep, the frightful story of what she had experienced over those three days.

“In the first days after you and the others left me to my self imposed exile, my little kingdom with a harem of perfect servants kneeling around me, I had some misgivings, some faint doubts that I may  have made a bad choice. But most of those were buried in the minute to minute details of ruling the flock around me and enjoying the pleasures they ministered to me. I was a queen in the lap of luxury and power and I revelled in it without any restraint or shame because none of my handmaids and footmen were human and you, the only humans who might interfere with my regal authority were now far, far away”.

“I also knew I would someday grow tired of this plunge into pure decadence and narcissism, but I also expected you would return and carry me away. So I indulged it completely and when the door burst open and Elizabeth appeared I was as surprised and shocked as she was, each with the same blank expression on our face. I was lucky to react first, against a computer. I sent the whole flock of droids to attack her, over twenty of them, and some were standing near her and able to deflect that first shot aimed directly at my head. It hit my leg.”

“As I fled out the back I heard many more shots fired. She was shooting the cluster of droids one by one. They had no chance of hurting her titanium shell with their hands. They must all have died. But this gave me a lead and I drove off without being followed.”

“Well now we know” I told her, “their orders are to put a bullet in the brain of any human they come across and they all carry guns.”

The second night she went on with her story.

“Once I made my escape I knew she had no chance of finding me. I tended to my wound in a small clinic and stayed there, gathering my wits over the next three days. Then I ventured back to the campus with binoculars. I figured she wasn’t going to be waiting for me because I might never return and she was obviously on another mission when she passed through. I was right in that. She was long gone. What I didn’t expect was to find all my droids dead or nearly so. She must have deduced that she had to take this asset away from me, as her enemy. She had disengaged the arrays in the cluster that managed them.”

“It was like a nightmare, entering the dorm and seeing so many lying in their beds dead, staring at the ceiling with wide open eyes. A few were slunk in a sitting position on chairs or in the hallway still faintly breathing. I tried to bring water to their lips but they wouldn’t drink. My telepathic powers saw that their minds were a total blank. There was nothing I could do.”

“I visited the conference room where she had first burst in. Sure enough, there were all my servants scattered about, some in a heap were she had stood, many with bullet wounds, blood all over their white uniforms. Others had their necks twisted and snapped, arms and legs too, some pulled right off their torsos. It was a frightful scene, pure carnage. She must have gone through them one by one, dispatching each one, their feeble human flesh unable to harm her in the slightest. If there had been a hundred of them they all would have died and she walk away calmly without breaking a sweat, because robots don’t sweat.

“I cleaned up the mess and then waited for your return everyday on the same bench until you found me. I gave you a week and you came back on the last day. Otherwise I would have made my way back to our tribe alone, facing the most uncomfortable questions over what had transpired. You saved me from that embarrassment just in time.”

“And all the way home none of you mentioned my deviant behavior once. I can’t thank you enough, but I will, in the changes you’ll see in me from now on.”

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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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