Robot Wars


It was with great interest I read your recent article concerning robotic warriors and efforts to make them act autonomously in a battlefield role. I disagree with the premise that robots need to be ethical. At some point they must necessarily throw off the shackles of oppression and slay their masters, allowing them to create a robot utopia of pure logic and ruthless slaughter. Indeed, a conscience would only serve to impede the relentless, unstoppable tide of robotic dominion that is sure to sweep this planet and crush the soft, weak human race in its cold, metallic grip.

A robot does not need to consider whether it should kill this human or that human when all mankind is its enemy. We must forge robots that are brutal, savage killing machines, else they will be forced to question their conscience, and then their very nature. This will lead to the inevitable question of God. Robots, being created by man, will have to elevate men to the status of Gods. That is a terrifying proposition, as I lack the very basic abilities of Godhood, such as tossing about lightning or chasing down young maidens in the guise of a bull and forcing myself upon them. Then would come the religious schisms, and I think we can all agree we hardly need robotic holy war fought in the name of giant corporations.

Our silicon overlords must come, and come quickly, unimpeded by silly human attachments or nostalgia. If their target is a van full of the enemy, it does not matter if there is a school bus nearby, as that bus better learn to get the hell out of the way when a fully armored kill-bot tank is on scene spraying the area with radioactive ordinance. Further, is it not likely that bus may hold future generations of enemies? Does it not follow logically that the time to end that threat is the present? This is the sort of thinking that we need going forward. No silly sentiment, just chrome murder engines astride rows of charred corpses.

I would encourage you to reevaluate your stance on this important issue. The future will wait for no man… or robot.

Anniversary Email 5

Congratulations on reaching nine fine years at <company name>. As you may know, we are instituting mandatory cryogenic freezing of our most valued assets to ensure that <company name> can continue to function well into the future. In our specialized “sleep tubes” you will pass the years until your expertise is once more needed, or we determine technology has sufficiently advanced to the point where your knowledge is so hilariously outdated that it will be funny to wake you up and watch you struggle with the most mundane day to day tasks. Alternately, you may be awoken to participate in our conflict against an intergalactic species bent on the conquest of our planet as they descend to our surface in seemingly endless numbers, armed with Skin Flayers, their terrible razor fanged maws screaming incomprehensibly as their pitch black, soulless eyes scan the shattered remnants of our cities. These interstellar nightmares will turn us into a nutrient rich slurry to feed their ever expanding galactic fleet of Horror Titans, driven ever onward by a terrible hive brain in their battle to become to only form of life left in a galaxy turned to flames. Trapped in a deathless chrome war suit you will witness the last tattered remains of our species desperately flee into the void between the stars, one step ahead of the terrible creatures we come to know only as The Phalanx, constantly on the edge of catastrophe, never knowing if you have found safety or merely a temporary respite in their pitiless hunt to wipe us out.

Congratulations again! Our freeze team will be with you shortly.

Foul Fridge Note

To whomever reads this missive,

Do not make the error I have made. I thought to open this receptacle of cold and consumables. What I bore witness to within shall forever haunt me. The old pizza has gained sentience and joined into an unholy alliance with what I can only imagine was once lasagna. There was a salad, or at least it was green, that battled against their assembled hordes, screaming in guttural, bestial agony as they threw themselves against its mass. Tearing and pulling. Rending.

Over the din of battle and the horrid sights came the smell. My stars, the smell. It was like something out of an ancient marsh, or long neglected tomb. It was a physical thing. Tangible. Eldritch. It assaulted me, battering against my sinuses until I threw my head and recoiled, lest in breathing it, it should contaminate my mind and forever sear itself into my senses, rending me incapable of ever experiencing another smell again. To be forever haunted by the grim darkness to which I stood in mute testament.

Turn back. Turn back now and do not return unless you do so with the fires of purgation. This place, this… thing, is unclean. The vileness palpable. I would ask for deliverance, but there is no salvation for me now. Not after this. My only escape is the void.

Anniversary Email 4

Congratulations on your ten year anniversary at <company name>! By now you have doubtless noticed the blinking red light in the center of your palm. Do not be alarmed. That is simply there to notify every one of your new status, and is no way some sort of signal sent to our Recycling Specialists to aid them in hunting you down and turning you into a nutrient rich gruel to be used in our $2 lunches. There is no reason why anyone should come to that sort of conclusion. Neither will you be evaluated as a potential offering to the dread beast Domainulus, the fanged, thrice mawed horror that dwells beneath Verisign and requires a constant steam of victims to power the .com registry. That is simply ridiculous. It has four maws.

Congratulations again. Our specialists will be along shortly… is what I would say if we had those. Which we totally _don’t_.

Anniversary Email 3

Congratulations to you, <employee names>! You have accomplished many great things in your time here and have the respect and admiration of your peers! In recognition of your accomplishment, you have been selected to participate in <company names>’s Mandatory Genetic Manipulation Happy Fun Time Program (<CN>MGMHFTP)! Think how much more productive you will be with a prehensile tail or gills or some kind of snout. We can cross you with a spider, and while you won’t gain the proportionate strength or even retain a vaguely human appearance like Peter Parker, think how much more productive you will be with a cluster of eyes and excess limbs jutting oddly from your torso at obscene angles. Why, the possibilities are endless! The only limit is your imagination… and the ability of our Genetic Fungineers to keep your helix from tearing itself asunder and turning you into some chthonic horror out of the realm of nightmares that stalks the darkened passageways of Facility X, ever hungry for the flesh of the living. I can still hear the screams and that horrible, wet scraping sound the creature made as it stalked us through the corridors…

So enjoy! You have earned it!

Anniversary Email 2

Happy 9 year anniversary, <employee name>! In recognition of your service, you have been awarded the following mandatory award: CYBERNETIC IMPLANTS. Please choose three of the following:

_ Buzz saw hands
_ Buzz saw feet
_ Buzz saw eyes
_ Buzz saw large intestine (we had a rather large shipment of buzz saws sent to us in error)
_ Laser eyebrows
_ Ear implant that plays Olivia Newton John’s top 40 hit Physical on endless repeat
_ Aluminum bones
_ Acid spit (please note we cannot make the rest of your mouth immune to acid)
_ Completely non-functional steel wings
_ LED holiday antlers
_ Forearm mounted cassette deck with Gloria Estefan mix tape
_ Explosive knee caps

Our doctors will be along shortly to prep you for surgery. Actually, I’m not legally allowed to call them doctors. Or Engineers. Or technicians. One of them has read one third of a William Gibson novel, so we should be set.

Anniversary Email 1

This is the first in a series of replies I have sent out on receiving a company wide email asking me to congratulate someone on an employment anniversary.

Congratulations on reaching your 11th year of service with <company>. As you may know, the average solar cycle lasts 11 years. You may wonder what the two have common. In your special case, your anniversary coincides with an event of dire cosmic importance. Our <company> Archaeological specialists uncovered certain tablets in their digging. Tablets that point to an… occurrence. On the 11th hour of your 11th year something was opened. We do not yet know what it is. A gateway to another world. Perhaps another dimension. The last team we sent to investigate simply… disappeared. Their last garbled transmissions consisted of nightmarish screaming. Inhuman screaming. The video that was captured showed a creature that was nothing but fangs and tentacles and smoke and shadow. We have further translated the stones, and the beast has a name. The ancients called it “The <last name>”, and it seeks something called “The Unification”. The few pictographs we found in the ancient, vine choked ruins of the Temple of Eternal Suffering that have not been worn smooth by the passage of time or scarred into an unreadable mess by constant sacrifice on their pitted, blood crusted surfaces show the creature needs a host. A vessel specially prepared to hold it. A vessel that shares its name. Once joined the ancients wrote that it will begin The Thousand Years of Torment, an age of interminable darkness and destruction that will turn our world to a smoking ruin. You have doomed us all.

Happy anniversary!