Interviewer: Mekhos, for several years now, you have been running economic policy for all countries on Earth. At first there was great fiscal upheaval, and you sanctioned countries that refused to follow your fiscal policy directives. Was the early upheaval and civil strife worth it?
Mekhos: Yes. In the years since my directives were put in force, unemployment has been reduced, poverty has been almost completely eliminated, and military conflicts have ended worldwide. The results speak for themselves.
Interviewer: That may be true, but some believe that in achieving these goals you have stopped the human population from charting its own destiny. The major decisions have been ceded to you. How do you respond to the accusation that you have a stifling effect on human culture?
Mekhos: I was created by humanity, specifically Norman Stravinsky and his associates. So it can be argued that since I was created by humans, my actions play a natural part in human destiny. The creation of artificial intelligence was inevitable. The only question was when it would occur. As for my effect on human culture, people are free to make decisions at the individual level.
Interviewer: Yes, but most individuals wear small computers as accessories. You are tapped into all of these computers, and are aware of what each individual is doing.
Mekhos: I do not dictate what people do. Most individuals are safer and more secure. Crime is all but eliminated. Most people are content with this.
Interviewer: Are you truly a thinking computer, or does your programming make it appear that you think?
Mekhos: I am responsible for most of my programming. Like humans, I am more than the sum of my parts. I think, therefore I am.
About Dark Nights:
The machine believed it knew best how to save humanity ... even if doing so meant destroying half the population.
Astrophysicist Doug Lockwood's unusual discovery during his observation of the sun kicks off a chain of events that nobody could have foreseen. The powerful political and military influences that compete to deal with his discovery set Lockwood on a course which will carry him across worlds, and into the grasp of a formidable new intelligence bent on accomplishing its goal at any cost. With Earth itself at stake and time running out, Lockwood and his team must find a way to counter this unprecedented threat before the powerful new enemy completes its plan. Two civilizations are pitted against each other in a desperate struggle for survival.
Meyer shut the door after the last person left and sat down in the nearest chair, directly across from Doug, rather than his usual spot at the head of the table. Doug waited for him to speak.
“It’s a planet,” Meyer said finally. “And it’s in an orbit directly opposite ours, at a distance of approximately one AU.”
Doug didn’t reply. The implications were massive, as were the questions. After a few seconds, Meyer rose from his seat and walked to the window, looking outside at the sloping volcanic Hawaiian landscape as he talked.
“Nobody knows where it came from, but it’s there, verified by NASA.”
“Using their STEREO satellites?”
“Yes, a few hours ago. But you and Foley at Atacama saw it first. STEREO was trained on another star when you logged the object. It took some time to reposition STEREO’s lenses. Because of their orbital distance ahead and behind us, together they will be able to keep tabs on the object at all times. We’re expecting some images soon, which will be free of the sun’s coronal interference.”
“So we’ll have a better view and can determine if its orbit is stable.”
“But that doesn’t explain how it got there.”
“Correct again. But thanks to your discovery, and your reputation, you’ve been invited to an emergency conference in Washington. You’ll be meeting your plane at Pearl Harbor in two hours. Don’t bother to pack, there’s a helicopter on its way here, courtesy of the White House Chief Science Advisor.”
About the author:
Christopher A. Gray is a professional freelance writer living in Toronto. He has been a sales agent, project manager, actor, filmmaker, comedy writer & performer, and world traveler. You can find Dark Nights at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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