By Zhang Kailun (19J10)
It seemed not long ago when we still had human years. But it was a long time ago when
We had humanity.
AD 2100: Scientists created a computer with more computing power than all Quantum Computers ever made
AD 2120: GreenPeace declares Amazon Rainforest as officially dead due to deforestation
AD 2200: The CEO of ExxonMobil sworn in as Prime Minister
AD 2240: The last penguin dies
The Sky turned its back on us for the final time as we stared at the eternal ball of light that had given us life for millions of years, draw behind the dark curtains for the very last time. We watched without fear, without pain, without passion. We looked on as the Dream Machine whirred away, resisting the skies without fear, without pain, without passion. It all began when they rewrote the order of time our ancestors built for us….
The year was 00111001, or Year 9. They had rewrote our calendar to calibrate them in countdown to departure.
It came as a press release. It came beautifully.
“When it’s ready, the Dream Machine will announce its command ‘let there be light!’ And a new universe will grace the human race free from pollution and waste, it shall be the dawn of a new digital era, with years marked by computer codes starting from 00111001. Our new age after BC and AD. Humanity has truly evolved! We had taken the first baby steps away from our nursery.” preached the Prime Minister on National Day.
Applause thundered across the soaring Margaret Thatcher Stadium as flashes of light frantically documented this historical announcement, transacting this very line to be inked on BBC, CNN and NHK papers.
“A new hope for mankind” was plastered across all newspapers the next day and a Founders’ Day was made to commemorate this reverent day of national scientific triumph as flags flew high and sonic jets blasted across the skies. The Queen appeared alongside the Prime Minister and his glorious cabinet on her Balcony that witnessed the greatest celebrations of history, their medals beaming bright as they addressed the cheering crowd, barely concealing the smirk in contempt at the grey heavens beyond.
“Share this dream with all of humanity”, a quote by the Secretary General, became the slogan that splattered across the television screens in a global addiction drowned in a sensation of euphoria.
“Now, finally, Climate Change has been solved !” claims experts.
Our Government also known as the Fenrir, in a decade long national discussion with “Mr Prime Minister, how, why, when, what, if….” roaring the parliamentary scene, had finally passed the AD 2500 Bill of Continuity of Human Life. It was a piece of legislation that kick started a Multi Ministerial Working Group between the National Security High Coordination, the Ministry of Manpower and the National Defence Institute which aimed to undergo a 25 year long government funded research project known as the Dream Land Project.
A live television show was broadcasted that night, giving us a rare peek into the databases of Google and the National Defence Institute Collaboration Centre. The 2 hour documentary showed off an ostentatious panorama of the plastic white surfaces in a giant hall that had a labyrinth of pipes of all shapes and sizes running across the roof. In the centre of the room, supercomputers with blinking blue lights majestically concealed in titanium black cases dotted the white floors. Little people in white coats were scattered all over the floor, tending to each machine like a sick patient with care and furrowed brows, sometimes retrieving entire trays or cases packed with wires and steel structures from the computers to fix. In the middle of the room was a semi constructed giant black pod that stood out against the white walls. It towered at least 20 storeys high and a quadrant of it was incomplete, exposing prickly steel rods in it and a hollow metallic abyss which is where they said the Nuclear Fusion will take place to power this amazing computer.
Scientists had postulated the rising global temperatures of 35 Degrees Celsius and rising sea levels that had already sunk New York City and Hong Kong 10 years ago made them realise a solution was needed.
That panacea was a fanatical decade-long study and lobbying, scientists resurrected the Matrioshka Brain Hypothesis that was first mentioned by scientists of the Modern Medieval Age in AD 2009.
A mega computer had to be built using foundations of hyper-computing discovered in AD 2100. It will upload us all into a new virtual world of hope and survival. It is a world that consoles us of the worries and devastation of this planet we left behind.
“Mr Prime Minister, what do you think?”
Headlines brought to you by the BBC
“Parliament reopens its 20th session in a week”
“Dreams strikes at the heart of government”
“Read: ‘The evils of capitalism’ by Sarah Ashton”
“Mr Prime Minister, has it not occurred to you that what stands before us is more than just pride, it is the survival of our kind. Perhaps the liberal party could enlighten this ‘misunderstood’ nation of what exactly are you and your party’s conspiracies?”
“Mr Speaker, I thank you for the floor, the labour chief has long accused us for all inconveniences no matter how minor or how major it is, he seems to have a talent for bringing flavour to the turbulence of this country. I once again reassure the citizens of our world that we will get to the bottom of this and I swear upon my term that no one gets left behind!”
The Parliament explodes into yells, finger flicking and ovations
“Now that the prime minister himself has sworn, let this nation witness the true capacity and leadership of your party, let this day not be lost in the history books, this day shall be a testament, an awakening to this world of where you and your cabinet is heading. For better or for worse, let this be a last shred of dignity the people shall grant you, for it is not just you who is at stake. Mr Prime Minister.” as the labour chief sunk into a cushion of silence. His face calcified.
It was live. Everybody saw it.
For the first time, the Parliament sat in radio silence. The Prime Minister had no words. No one had the answers.
The nation watches on as the politicians stared. It was a circuit neither wanted to break. Echoes of last year’s celebrations still swam in my head. The triumph, the relief, the hope…
Turns out, the machine could not handle all of the earth’s population. There was insufficient data space. Some of us have to be left behind.
Left behind to attend Earth’s funeral…
“But who’s going to be left behind?”
“W-well, that depends you s-see..I’m sure they’ll find a way, don't you worry dear” My mum reassured as her eyes darted away from mine, her hands fumbled frantically around the dinner plates, almost dropping one.
“Do you think we will get to go Mammy? I’d love to see this paradise they promised. They said there will be the biggest rollercoaster ever built in it!” my sister laughed as she looked quizzically at all the adults in the room with a spangle of light oscillating in her eyes.
“Ada, you are late for school! Get going!” my mum erupted, twisting her back from the sink in fierce agitation to face us as beads of sweat dripped from her forehead.
We scurried out of the house, bursting out the door to face the greyscale skies as traffic of humans stalked past each other. Looming above is an even greater “stalker”, the bust of Apple’s CEO standing in erect attention from the iron walls of his headquarters which boomed into the heavens, sternly scrutinising the operations of life.
Counting his money.
Black reflective hearses crawled across the bridge and disappeared into Westminster Palace day in and day out in an operation that we should not know. Sometimes amongst them were cars that were not black, they didn't seem like they should be there.
“What do you think will be in the machine?”
“Do you think they will still have countries in it?”
“ Will we be able to taste anything?”
The chatter of children evaporates from the playground as parents watch with a dazed look in their eyes, with the quiet sunset reflecting off their faces.
“Good evening, this is the BBC News and I am Kate Wilson. Do join me tonight as we follow the latest updates on our national dream. The Prime Minister has suspended Parliament and all elections for unified cabinet action. From number 10, he reassures the public of a solution within a year and cooperation from the public will be most appreciated.” the anchor moulded a comforting smile on her face and then quickly withdrew it away.
And so we waited.
“Save me, please.”
It was raining.
But it didn't matter.
The Margaret Thatcher Stadium was filled once again. This time with raindrops and deep breaths. The icy cold fog stung our nose and hands.
We were all waiting.
From the grey shadows, an inconspicuous slender figure with a black tie and tightly fitting suit strutted out with his shoulders swiftly swaying from side to side as he walked out of the long runway, his leather shoes making light pounds on the floor.
The world crowded around this small man.
Without a script, he pronounces, “We have decided that due to the difficulties, only citizens part of the previous Preservation Project will be part of this dream. I am deeply sorry. That will be all. Thank you.” He turned and strolled away without looking back. Hand in one pocket.
We continued to sit in silence. The pouring rain continues to berate the stadium.
He’s not serious right? It can't be true. Where are the other ministers? Where is Kate Wilson? I thought last year they….
“Mum, tell me he is joking. Tell me he is coming back. Tell me anything. Tell me this isn't the end !” I shook her arms cladded in wool violently as if begging for something, barely holding back the tears, the painful lump in my throat and the thumping heart.
My mum sat still, her lifeless eyes fixed upon the spot where the Prime Minister had once stood. Her mouth was half open and her body wobbled in the pushing wind.
There was no protest. We sat there without any feeling in our legs. Perhaps this is a form of comfort.
The Preservation Project was a scheme in AD 2050 that allowed for designer babies. Upon its legalisation after fierce lobbying by the rich, the upper class went into a frenzy of pimping up the bodies of their children with better brain, body, and build. Everything. Today, the descendents of these people continue to enjoy money and brains. It Preserved their lives forever.
Now it preserved their dreams.
“Lock him up!”
“Lock him up!”
“Lock him up!”
While we left, fists were thrown outside the Parliament as the Buckingham Palace and Apple Headquarters silently watched on, with their stoic grey walls leaving no compassion.
Koch Industries, Apple, Google….The Cabinet.
They were all in this together.
“People, people. My dearest citizens. Let us not panic. You see, we didn't have a choice. We want the best for our country after all, don’t we? So of course the best genes would be needed, right?” a woman wearing a stiff brown uniform seems to appear suddenly on the balcony of the Parliament with a compact, military posture. She had short golden hair, a fatal sharpness to the edges of her eyes and tip of her nose, and a cutting astuteness in the way she looked at us. Something else seems to live underneath that flawless white skin of her face.
A hush slowly muffles the people one by one.
“My name is Elektra, you can call me Ms Kent. I am the Secretary of the National Defence Institute. I understand that this news is shocking and I do empathise with you. I really do. But we as a species need to survive don’t we? Drastic situations call for drastic measures.” She stopped and scanned the crowd efficiently with beady eyes partially hidden by the sleek lines of her eyelids.
“You will be remembered for your sacrifice! It’s such an honour to be you. Long live humanity!”, boomed her microphone as she threw her arms up to carry the grey heavens.
The air went dead.
Headlines brought to you by the BBC
“Mob assassination attempt outside Parliament on Ms Kent”
“Secretary of National Defence Institute opens fire on citizens”
“Thousands died in what is known as the ‘Class Massacre’ yesterday”
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Violent bangs broke through the night.
I was jolted from my bed, silence and lifeless airs in my room constricted any movement. Where did it come from?
I got out of my room and burst into the living room, my parents were already there. Everyone was staring at the door. The door looked as if it had a conspiracy.
“Quick! Hide under the sofa” my mum ushered me and my sister into a dark narrow hole, her bony hands and cadaverous complexion looked even worse tonight with the unusually dilated pupils of her eyes.
I held onto her hand tight. She trembled as she held onto mine, and let go. Somehow I knew it was goodbye.
The sound of wood breaking shrieked across the room. I held my breath.
Followed by screams, broken furniture and unshot gunshots. The house went dead with an eerie echo of “Help…” disappearing off into the distance.
I emerged from the sofa and looked out of the window, seeing a beastly man with “POLICE” ingrained on his back, strutted away, pulling a woman by her hair.
Under the street lights, people with ghostly night gowns were dragged from their homes and thrown into a military truck under the swollen moon that watched everything silently.
I dashed out into the wide open street, staring at the dark silhouette of the truck as it disappeared off into the highway. Reuniting with the many.
Silence was in the air and only sounds of insects echoed around. The world seemed to come to a halt.
That night, many of us were rounded up to be sent somewhere.
Now, nobody could stop them.
Long live humanity!
“Ready? Because we are.”
Headlines brought to you by the BBC
“We thank you for the past 1000 years of viewership as today we shall mark our final days of bringing the world to you.
To our loyal readers for the past generations, we thank you for your sustained support for the BBC. From BBC to the world, we wish you a pleasant journey ahead.”
“It has been a pleasure to be your Prime Minister. As we embark on this new journey, let us not forget it is the humanity and courage of the human spirit that brought us this far. To the new digital age, I hope for the very best in our future undertakings as a species.”
We were captured the next midnight as well. Now we have the privilege of witnessing from the City Cells.
The Prime Minister sat down triumphantly with a saintly smile on his face, the speaker and new labour chief (former Google CEO), clapped in content unison at this hero of the nation. The Parliament stood up together and faced the Prime Minister as they clapped for the future of our kind.
The same giant pod with glowing mini electric lights at its side stood at the centre of River Thames, its dark titanium walls imposing a dangerous statement to us and little silhouettes of people boarded from long bridges connected to towering scaffolds that ambushed the immortal pod.
We watched from the top of the City Cells, the golden sunset scorching the river into a glittering fiery blaze that only darkens the enormous pod further.
Within seconds, the scaffolds roared as they collapsed dramatically into the burning river in a final combustion of glory.
The earth went silent after.
The walls of parliament, palace and mega buildings continue to stare at us remnants curiously yet apathetically, while preventing all light from the skies from ever reaching the roads.
A blinding flash of blue light shot out from the side of the pod, zapping into the infinite heavens beyond. A deafening whirr began to groan as the waves started to retreat from this monster.
Then it all went silent.
I looked into the golden sunset, breathing in deeply and closed my eyes, squeezing my sister’s hands tightly.
“Let There Be Light”