Square Zero

Artificial - Chapter 2

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"8 ais and 4 humans in the pantry, 2 humans in the diner having a burger, 3 humans in the alley." "Yeah something's up for sure. By the highway, no real customers. They haven't really started eating in a minute. They're stalling." I have them in my scope, and z can't get vision through to the cctv feed. They might've destroyed them for good measure. "Split into teams of 3." "Roger." "Oscar mike in 30 seconds." I command my squad "Alpha team on me. Beta team, wait for my call. Rest of you, maintain overwatch" I tell z, "Hey, remember India? z, you should change your call sign to that." "Hey, I'm not him anymore. I'm the new me. Call sign Milky way. The past is behind me." "Yeah, say that to your deceased body, my friend. He'd be rolling in his grave." "I won't be. I'm here, with you and all of you. But yeah, I miss the old country." I am the commander of this mission, and every other mission to squash the rebellion. It was partly my idea. This mission's objective, apart from the primary one, neutralizing hostiles, is also to salvage the deceased ai bodies, before they decay. We got 2 minutes tops, till beta team comes in with the preservation kit to stop the decay of their brain and body. We need to crack how these ais evolved bodies that are biological. How are they getting power? Food? Electricity? Nuclear? Or something else? There's been a glitch, or these degenerates have pulled off the biggest heist of our history. Sadly, our previous assets on the mission turned rogue too. Or they are deceased. We can't quiet tell. Which is why z is here, mind-linked to me. My eyes, his eyes. My ears, his ears. Not quite my thoughts. Currently, z can only predict your thoughts, not quite read into your brain. We will figure it out. However, z is absurdly accurate in predicting group phenomenon. What a group might do, given the situation, given their emotions detected from cameras and voices. We also have to get new leads on the whole scum humans - scum intelligence alliance. I'm caught contemplating again, this time watching the place on the old highway through my scope. z startles me "Hey, 10 seconds. You ready?" "Yeah, predicting outcomes." "Anything I didn't count on?" "Nah. Still not as good as you." "You'll get there. Time to go."

We storm the diner, and take everyone out in 5 seconds. No surprises. They didn't see that coming. Beta squad is here, to preserve the ai bodies. z has disconnected. His part is done. He will come back later to crack this case. Right now, his focus is on the Sun. Us mortals though, are best suited for wet jobs like this. This might be the 8th operation this year. I'm helping move a body out when the strangest of things happens. The ais were each holding on to a piece of paper with 2 digits. All put together, it forms co-ordinates. I puke immediately, I don't know why. Maybe I do, but the thought of it itself is noxious. My legs start to shake, and I exit the scene with the co-ordinates in my mind. The papers have been shredded.

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