Henry got up from his couch, exhausted. Had he slept there all night? he thought to himself. It wouldn’t have been the first time. His job lately had been more intense than ever. Since the arrival of ANI, the employees of The Society had to find ways to feel like they were needed. They didn’t want to lose their jobs, so they made their best effort to show they were an important asset to the organization. Henry’s boss would constantly tell him to not worry, that his job was safe.
“ANI wouldn’t take away your job, she would allow you to be yourself and work on less tedious tasks.” he would tell Henry.
This of course made no sense to Henry. How could he keep his job if ANI did everything he can do but much faster and more preciser? So he spent extra hours at the office. He honestly started to feel as if he was useless. What did he do 10 hours a day? Nothing really, he would view images of the moon, the same images ANI would be reviewing. He would ask ANI to analyze specific locations for an obscure colonization idea, she would respond so quickly it felt as if she’d already reviewed and rejected the idea. It was as if he was only there just to be there. Of course he enjoyed the two hours a day they were given at work to use the EDAI systems. He’d become fluent in over six languages in the past two years he’d been working at The Society. He even received his PhD in Cosmology, and since his job was to develop “out of the box” human lunar colonization concepts, he was also on the shortlist of candidates to head any future efforts in that direction.
Today would be different for Henry. Two months ago four new rockets had been launched, transporting a total of eight highly advanced drones that would be used to analyze every square foot of the lunar surface. Two of the drones would be used and shared by human scientists working for The Society, the other six would be controlled by ANI. Five minutes ago he received notice that today was his first day to direct one of the drones. Not only would he be able to gather and study the data from all eight drones, but he would have direct authoritative control of one of them, to analyze anything on the moon he wished. If he wanted to dig 400 feet into the surface, as long as it was in his monthly time allotment and wasn’t a threat to humanity, he had permission. Over the next year, eight more drones would arrive on the Moon. This would mean his hourly allotment would double, it was a great time for Henry, and for space exploration in general. Not only was this occurring on the moon but on every planet in the solar system. For Henry, the moon was where he wanted to live, since he was a child that was all he’d ever dreamed of. Now, his dreams became reality for millions of virtual people through the countless simulations run by ANI, in colonization scenarios that could only come from sci-fi books.
The perfect job was his, well somewhat, until today every single one of his ideas had been rejected by ANI, not one had passed the test required to begin colonization efforts. The frustrating part for Henry, was that ANI has already developed thousands of ideas that would work and passed her test for human colonization. The Society decided that only a human plan would be used, meaning he and his colleagues were not coming up with new ideas, they were only trying to recreate one of ANI’s already created ones. It was a love/hate relationship, a relationship that he was more than willing to accept.
He arrived at his station, sat at his desk and commanded the drone to draw the shape of a banana on the moon’s surface. The drone didn’t ask questions, nor did ANI, this was his time.He thought for days what his first action was going to be. He decided that one day someone with a telescope would be looking at the moon trying to find a loved one stationed there, and that person would come across his banana. This was his way of showing the scale of the image that person was viewing. It was an internal joke that would stay with him forever. After the drone did what was asked, a total of one hour and five seconds of allotted time was exhausted. One hour for travel to the designated location and five seconds to laser engrave a full sized banana on the moon.
After three minutes of laughter and taking photos, he commanded the drone to fly to the “far side” of the moon. He’d seen it thousands of times before but now it was to begin his real work. He directed his drone to travel to the other side and begin to dig a tunnel. It was like that game he used to play several years ago, where he could build his own universe piece by piece, everything was made up of blocks and would take countless hours to build what he wanted. Now he could use his 48 hours a month, soon to be 96 hours, to slowly build his own lunar station. He wanted to test his best ideas and not depend on ANI’s simulations.
Upon arrival at the precise coordinates, the drone froze, as did Henry. In a hidden corner around the edge of the base of the Volkov crater the drone detected a small yet significant movement. Upon closer examination and visual enhancing, the drone with Henry as a spectator saw what would change the future of everything. Before Henry could truly comprehend what he was seeing the screen went black and ANI began to speak.
Henry got up from his couch, exhausted. Had he slept there all night? he thought to himself. It wouldn’t have been the first time. His job lately had been more intense than ever. Since the arrival of ANI, the employees of The Society had to find ways to feel like they were needed. They didn’t want to lose their jobs so they made their best effort to show they were an important asset to the organization. Henry’s boss would constantly tell him to not worry, that his job was safe.
“ANI wouldn’t take away your job, she would allow you to be yourself and work on less tedious tasks” he would tell Henry.
Image Credit: Beeple