You are part of a circle of scientists that have collaborated to fake the world into believing the sun was going supernova. As the generation ships carrying the rich, the flawed, the zealous, and the privileged leave Earth you decide its time to rebuild -the right way.
With all of the funding sank into massive ships and the systems to run them, it wouldn’t be hard. Not anymore.
For decades we had the technical capacity to invest in heavy automation. The science was all there, just locked in thousands of NDA and hidden behind classified folders. We could do it, we just…
We couldn’t do it under the previous system. There was no way to support it.
But as the time came closer and closer, it became easier and easier. To fix the ships in space, obviously, we needed automation; the systems needed to be able to fix themselves, or else the generation ships would ultimately fail under the burden of running out of parts.
The only solution was more and more advanced AI, automation, and more and more efficient systems.
We’d been asking for it for years. More funding. More time. More energy. The ability to actually invest in our own crumbling infrastructure instead of mindlessly reproducing another useless iteration of a product we’d ultimately throw away in favor for the next.
and now, we finally had it.
“ATLAS systems are online,” I whispered, grinning, shooting a look at the others clustered around the table.
“Automated systems functioning,” Janice said, adjusting her glasses. A live feed sprang across the lens, showing her everything she needed to know. “Full food supplies will be replenished in a matter of weeks. Until then, ration everything, ATLAS.”
The AI took a few stumbling steps as it reaffirmed existence, tasted the air for the first ever, and began downloading the moral components we’d set it up to find.
“Sector systems online.” Ted said, looking down at his pad. He’d declined the glasses, citing migraines. “We’ll be able to detect what each district needs by listening in on their chatter within a week. Fuck. I can’t believe we’re doing it.”
I laughed, leaning back in my chair. “And to think, it only took killing off every single government in the world, destroying civilization as we know it, mass suicides, an exodus the likes of which we’d ever known, and a near complete and total decimation of the earth’s biosphere. It’s in pieces.”
“We can rebuild.” Ted said. “We have all of the seeds. All of the samples we need.”
Janice flicked her eyes over to me. “They won’t understand, you know. That we did this for them.”
The gun in my hand was heavy. Intolerably heavy as I drew it up from underneath of the table. “Everyone else has already done it.”
Ted stared at the revolver. “It’s… strange to think that this is the way it’s going to be.”
“Congratulations, we’ve killed off half the population of the planet,” I said, pointing it at Ted. “And set ourselves up as kings.”
Janice slowly breathed, and adjusted her clothes. “What say you two. Judge?”
“We, the secret inheritors of the earth, lay accused of genocide on a scale hithertounknown, treason on a scale hithertounknown, and the decimation of all powers. What do you plead?”
Ted’s face paled, staring down the barrel, but he didn’t hesitate. “Guilty, definitely.”
“Guilty as charged,” I said.
“Jury?” I tilted my head and stared at Atlas’s functions. Watched the AI think.
“Precedent says… Execution required. Morality must continue even under my reign.”
I laughed. “Look, I think ATLAS has got it figured out.”
“What if this doesn’t work out?” Ted asked.
“We won’t be around to know that,” I said. “We did it. We saved the world. There’s no place left for idiots like us. Everyone in space might as well be dead, you know. They’re never coming back.”
“They’ll figure it out eventually,” Janice said. “They’ll be so mad.”
I pointed the gun and pretended we were all invalid cells on a spreadsheet.
Didn’t even hurt.