The Human Thing ~ WOLE TALABI

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Reception Date: Hour 16.45, Day 243, Year 2505.

Subject: “Prepare Yourselves”


When the hunger and the bombs came, we forgot our heritage of independence and reasoning. We descended into an abyss of sheep-like senselessness. We gave them our obedience, our trust… our lives. They who would deliver us from ourselves. They came selling hope to the desperate and we traded everything for it. Our Minds. Our Freedom. Our souls. Now we are hollow husks longing for hope and light again, willing to trade everything just to feel human again. Soon we shall regain our humanity. Be prepared to go out into the streets, the ITEs and the fields to reclaim it. On the twenty-sixth of December we shall receive the greatest gift of all. The gift of freedom.

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I have thirty-eight minutes to make this recording before I see the sun. If you have already reviewed my personal archives, perhaps, you will understand. Understand why I must do this.

Why I must destroy this world.

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July 6, 2058 / 20:34hrs:

Earth’s population has finally reached twenty billion. Celebrations commissioned long ago are now in progress. I suppose I should be happy as well, but I am incapable of being in such a state. Perhaps that will change with time. Perhaps not.


December 8, 2062 / 14:56hrs:

The first reports of the ‘Hunger Strike’ come in. A rebel group calling themselves ‘FREEDOOM’ detonated a dirty bomb in Geneva. Their target was the United Nations’ office. Initial estimates of casualties are in the tens of thousands. My estimates are considerably higher.


December 8, 2062 / 22:03hrs:

‘FREEDOOM’ has released a holographic recording demanding equal sharing of resources among the Earth’s people. They claim to speak for the billions that starve. Perhaps they do. I see logic in their words. I do not see why they had to use a nuclear device as a megaphone. Current estimates have been revised to two-hundred thousand dead. I do not think they have accurately factored in the thousands more that will die from the radiation poisoning.


February 23, 2063 / 04: 09hrs:

The United Nations has called for a series of emergency deliberations. They finally realize the magnitude of the problem. There are, quite simply, too many people on the planet. Technology cannot keep up with the demand for food, security and happiness. This current model for human existence is unsustainable.


August 3, 2076 / 17: 33hrs:

Dr. Gbadamosi Roark presented his ‘grand plan’ at the UN assembly in New York this morning. It has been unanimously approved and is being hailed as the greatest step ever taken by the human race towards sustainable existence on Earth. Bold Words. Time will tell.


May 12, 2080 / 15:02hrs:

The first of the new countries was completed today. New Arabia arose from the rubble that was once The United Arab Emirates. Six solid structures, each one towering seven kilometres into the sky and imposing a ten square kilometre footprint on the ground; six fingers insolently poking the eyes of the sky. People have been relocated into their new homes in the super-cities and the rest of what used to be the UAE has been relinquished to the United Nations’ control. Expansive fields of solar panels shall follow in short order. Dr. Roark’s plan seems to be progressing smoothly.


August 10, 2172 / 13:45hrs:

After almost a century of persistent construction, the last of the super-cities is finally finished. Dodoma. The last African super-city. Where Tanzania once stood, there are now endless fields of crops surrounding ninesuper-city towers. There is something phallic about this last construct. Perhaps it is the domed roof, the abnormal groove at the 797th floor or the expansive fields at the base. Humans have always had phallic obsessions.


December 25, 2201 / 00:14hrs:

All the systems that control food, energy and water supplies for the super-cities have been networked together. They have been routed to The Human Centre – the new name adopted by the United Nations, now morphed beyond all recognition. They have a super-city to themselves – a capital as it were. Their only function: to ensure everyone had access to the basic amenities for life. Starvation and hunger have been eradicated. Perhaps there is cause to celebrate.


May 22, 2203 / 21:09hrs:

Dr. Roark had not at all accounted for human nature. The nations are still nations and people are still people. I suppose that is why Israel launched a thermonuclear strike against Iran today. A country whose entire population resides in five towering contraptions is a remarkably easy target for five missiles. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. In any case, they are all gone now, the Iranians. All 1.1 billion of them. Five smoking masses of rubble surrounded by automated oil fields and enveloped in a radiation cloud are all that remain. Everyone is confused, angry or scared. Understandably so. Genocide never produces any other set of emotional responses.


November 8, 2203 / 12:55hrs:

Things have degenerated significantly ever since New Arabia destroyed Haifa in response to Israel’s attack on Iran. China has made it known that it would declare war on any country that further launches any nuclear strike, even in retaliation. The United America Federation is not pleased. Everyone is living in fear of mutually assured destruction. Fear is a supremely contagious thing.


June 11, 2204 / 09:32hrs:

There are protests on the streets and in the intercity transport elevators (ITEs). There is chaos and rioting. All over the planet, people are rejecting their governments. I wonder what they will replace them with if they do succeed in ousting them.


October 23, 2204 / 08:22hrs:

Reports are coming in that Pope Steven XIII has called a meeting of all the spiritual leaders in the world. Even the scientologists and fringe cults have been invited. I suppose they choose to seek a way out of the madness the world has become through their gods. Religion and politics have never been comfortable around each other. I am worried.


March 14, 2205 / 12:00hrs:

Even I am shocked at the events of the morning. The spiritual leaders have united to form one union. There will be only one religion. They are demanding that The Human Centre and all governments hand over control of the resources and super-cities to them. They promise a truly united world, one without governments, one without nations – a world unified only by a love of mankind and its creator. They call themselves SHINRAH. The people support them. I am still worried.


July 22, 2205 / 23:05hrs:

SHINRAH formally assumed control of the world as we know it today. They have assigned delegates to take over control at each super-city. They have taken control of the Human Centre. They control the human experience. They control everything. They promised no governments but they have simply replaced the many with the one.


March 2, 2267 / 01:50hrs:

The new world order is progressing smoothly. Apparent peace. Apparent order. The fabric of humanity is now seamless. There are no governments as humanity once knew them. There are no nations. There are no religions. All are one people under SHINRAH. SHINRAH makes a formal announcement at 13:00 hrs. They say it will be the greatest step in human existence since Dr. Roark proposed his original plan. I am not sure it will be a step in the right direction.


February 14, 2306 / 12:00hrs:

SHINRAH has been regulating procreation from their DNA database, imposing partners based on optimized compatibility matrices and steepest-gradient homogenization of races. They are interbreeding humanity’s racial borders away. They have also banned people from leaving the super-cities. Everyone simply does as they are told; cogs in the optimized human machine. I wonder how long it will take for the protests to begin. I wonder if there will ever be protests. I wonder how long it has been since anyone saw the sun.


September 23, 2505 / 23:45hrs:

Three hundred years of stable SHINRAH rule. Peaceful. Homogenous. Bland. Stagnant. Enclosed. Over four hundred billion people living in towers serviced by machines. Thanks be to SHINRAH. All hail SHINRAH. All, except XENIX – the newly birthed resistance. They contacted me today. They have proposed something. I am intrigued.

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We must destroy this prison we have built. I now have the key card and the Omicron chip. That is all I need. I collected them from Lena in Dakar yesterday. It was my first ITE ride – from Lagos to Dakar – crossing forty-five levels and lasting almost one hour. Lena was so beautiful. She gave me the keycard, the chip and a pair of white leather gloves. She said they were a family heirloom from before the Integration. I would not have taken them if it were not Christmas. The gloves feel wonderful on my skin. I have not taken them off since.

I smelled Lena’s hair when she leaned in to hug me before saying goodbye. I can feel. Feeling is so different from simply logging and observing. Smell. Sight. Touch. Sound. The intensity of it all. I cannot understand how they have endured it for so long. Not seeing the sun. Hope is being able to see the sun. I have never seen the sun.

I am sorry. I have been rambling incoherently. My mind is still adjusting to this new processor…brain… I mean brain. I only have a few minutes left. Let me clarify.

My name is Osas and I am a CYBRID – A cybernetic hybrid. Until three days ago I only existed in the memory banks of the Human Centre as an artificial intelligence processor, recording data, learning, and using my systems to regulate the water processing and supply for the planet. I knew everything there was to know about being human. I became human. I am human. The resistance group XENIX liberated me from the microchips and hyper-switches. They installed me into this cloned human body in exchange for my services.

My services are as follows:

I am going to corrupt the data banks of the Human Centre. I am going to open the gates of the super-cities. I am going to override the cooling systems at SHINRAH’s headquarters. Then I will walk out of this city, this prison, sit on the grass and stare at the sun until the hope blinds me. I will take pictures. Several of them. Record them for posterity and transmit them on every frequency I have access to before the burning ultraviolet rays turn my new eyes into clear, useless orbs. I will do this because I must.

I will give humanity the gift of freedom. Even if it destroys them. I will destroy the new world order.

It is the human thing to do.

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WOLE TALABI is a full-time engineer, part-time writer and some-time editor with a fondness for science fiction and fantasy. His stories have appeared in Terraform, Omenana, Liquid Imagination, The Kalahari Review, and a few other places. He edited the TNC Anthology, These Words Expose Us. He currently lives and works in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He likes interesting flow simulation problems, good stories and scuba diving.”

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