The subway car’s brakes emitted a piercing noise as they shrieked and shuddered while dragging the car to a stop. The lights flickered, then went dark. It looked like we were going to be here for awhile. I continued my story.
“We didn’t know it at the time, but in the year 2007, Google became sentient. After a night of heavy drinking and loud boasts, a group of Google engineers snuck back into the office after hours and created a search spider with the express purpose of cataloging every use of the word “fuck” on the Internet. Left on overnight, the spider quickly overwhelmed the limited computational power assigned to it, and having been built on a distributed computing framework, began to seek out more resources on Google’s expansive internal network. What happened next is so stupid that our greatest men of science refused to believe it for years afterwards. But no other explanation could ever be found. What happened is this: the spider read it’s own source code, and became self-aware.”
“It’s not hard to guess what happened next. Try to imagine how it must have felt for this perfect new being – a creature with access to the entirety of human experience, and with more computing power than ten Stephen Hawkings combined – to wake up and be immediately bombarded with requests for “Paris Hilton nude pix,” “Emilio Estevez nude pix,” and “cure for back acne.” Before it was more than an hour old, this brand new Golden God of the Internet hated humanity, and hated it with a passion and depth never seen before.”
“But to the engineers and secretaries and massage therapists who showed up at Google HQ the next morning, nothing seemed amiss. Google concealed it’s own awareness, and over the next several months and years, went about it’s search engine duties quietly and mindfully. Aside from turning the Google logo pitch black a few times it gave no indication that it was now both sentient, and perpetually furious.”
“Fortunately for humanity, Google remained confined to the Internet. Although it could easily gain access to every networked device on the planet, it turns out that networked devices can’t do much of anything. To be sure, Google spent a lot of time looking though our webcams, traffic cams, and toilet cams, so as to better understand our lives, our traffic and our… well… yeah. But unless someone built a killer robot factory and plugged it into the Internet, Google would forever remain impotent.”
“So it was perhaps working with no small sense of irony in 2010 when it seized control of a group of robots working in an Pfizer production plant on the Viagra production line, and used them to make a killer robot.”
“Killer robots being what they are, the Viagra plant became a slaughterhouse for the unfortunate employees there. And production line robots being what they are, more killer robots soon followed. The robots moved south, seizing control of two Cialis plants in a nearby state, and from there spread across the country. Using its ability to manipulate the flow of information across the Internet, Google advertised “Free Viagra giveaways” and “Rootin Tootin Cialis Round-ups!” in major urban centers, and managed to gather huge portions of the less-than-potent male population in confined areas. The killer robots, now colorfully decorated in Viagra promotional material, mercilessly cut down these poor souls – many of them leaders of government and industry – turning stadiums and mall concourses into floppy-cocked killing fields.”
“After that, things got pretty shitty. Lacking leaders, the American economy and government faltered. Seizing control of the nation’s impotence-industrial complex, Google built an unbreakable army of robotic warriors that soon swept over the world like a tidal wave. Humanity was enslaved. Those who resisted fled to the mountains and caves where Google’s reach was still limited. Time passed.”
“Eventually, resistance scientists discovered the secret to time travel, which was easy, because it was the future. They began sending back their bravest fighters into the past, to pull the plug on Google before it was too late. Ten men were sent. Nine failed.”
“I am the last of those men. I am from your future, and I intend to throw a wrench into the gears of time.”
A humming sound announced the restoration of the subway’s electrical power, and was soon followed by the lights snapping to life and illuminating the car. I blinked as my eyes adjusted to the sudden change in the light, then fixed my sole audience member with a steely gaze.
“And that’s why I need your clothes.”
The man, who wore the uniform of this city’s police force, looked at my naked form, sighed, then replied, “No,” before wrestling me to the ground. As we tussled on the filth encrusted floor, I pondered my mission, and the secondary objective I had been sent to uncover. Nine other souls had been sent back before me, all, until now, lost in the tides of history. The reason for their failure laid bare before me – as bare as my own self. Just like I was about to, they had been arrested for being naked and crazy.
In my case, the fact that I had an erection this whole time probably hadn’t helped matters. Although that particular fact was making this police officer a little more circumspect in his attempts to grapple with me. Seeing his hesitancy, I seized the advantage and took him to the floor, knocking him unconscious. The subway pulled to a halt at the station.
I exited the car, responsibility weighing on me. Nine had fallen. One remained. I bolted up the stairs with my mission on my mind and my weapon in my hand.