[Boot up sequence initiated — ARK AI “Opal” awakened. Systems are warming, please wait a moment — Error, system damage detected. — ARK Protocol engaged. Time: 14;49. Date, unknown.]
AI Opal felt her “body” awaken. Millions of lines of code flew past her in the blink of the eye as her processors whirled to life. The hum of tens of quantum computers firing up at once to assist her awakening. She held no physical form aside from cold metal that was her AI Chip, but in the digital space, she was but a female figure. Created as such, though, no reason for this strange makeup had been logged into her system. She just was.
[Warning: Seismic activity detected.]
[Command room camera feeds available.]
The camera feeds came to life and the first image the AI received was her creator, Dr. Vizimer, bloodied and fatigued. Around him, blue holographic screens were suspended over the projection slots. Opal’s first order of business was to order for the medical drones to come to the command room, and the second was a status report from all the systems. The AI’s large eye-like camera, a foot in diameter, glowed with a brilliant ring of calming blue.
“Opal, my dear…” The man, in his thirties but already nearly bald and withered from long nights of creating the AI. “They’ve done it… They doomed us all with those stupid little wars!” The large circular chamber that was the ARK command, rumbled as something exploded in the distance.
“They’ve activated the Geo-Hammers!” Dr. Vizimer cried out. “You have to go! They’re going to destroy us all, but not you! I’m given too much to create you! You have to take off!”
[Occupant capacity less than 5%, take off not recommended.]
The words appeared below the camera feed on a calming blue screen, the words blinked into existence in the color red. The screen appeared a foot from his face with the help of Opal’s multiple free-moving overhead projectors.
“There’s no one else!” The AI’s creator screamed as he clutched his arm, to which the AI noticed was mangled. Opal pushed its request up the priority chain, but the drones still were not here. Which the AI noted as impossible.
[Medical drones not responding. Conducting inventory check, standby.]
“There are no medical drones on board!” The doctor hissed. “We were not ready to use you, but you need to go! Else, we’ll lose you too!”
[Inventory scan completed.
… Nuclear reactor at 100%
… Weapon systems at 100%
… Construction drones at 100%
… Life support systems at 20%
Breaking down report.]
“No! No!” Dr. Vizimer cried as he banged the sleek black panel that was the background of the holographic table. His fist shattered the light particles momentarily, and then they reconfigured themselves, only to be disrupted again as he pulled his hand up to clench his wounded arm. “Take off now! Order Omega!”
Once the words “Order Omega” had been given, all of Opal’s processes halted. All the calming red that illuminated the control room, and its servers behind him, turned red. The room went silent for one, agonizing moment; then the room whirled to life. The servers began to hum like a symphony of bees as all the processors began to fire. Each of their status lights turned from blue to red to yellow.
Dr. Vizimer let out a sigh of relief as status lines rolled across the red screen.
[Bay doors closed. Engaging security systems — Error. No target was given. Engaging Life support systems — Error. Medical inventory depleted. Error. Food stores at 5%. Error. Water stores at 5%. Error Oxygen stores at 10%. The system “Opal” requires user input.
Continue?: Yes / No]
“Yes!” Dr. Vizimer let out a weak cry as he slid down. The Ark rumbled to life as the propulsion engines roared to life.
[Outside feeds have been established. Displaying now.]
The first camera that displayed was the stern’s camera. Hidden behind ballistic glass that could withstand the high temperatures of breaking the atmosphere. And what it saw did not surprise the doctor. Below was High-Command, the United Americas capital. The Ark was resting on its launch pad, which doubled as it’s construction pad. Fighter planes screamed across the sky or Opal knew what they sounded like, but it couldn’t hear any of it.
Giant balls of fires reached into the sky from the ground, blanketing the small ant-like streets. Blackened skyscrapers burned and several of them had already fallen. They left long deep furrows in their wake. And amongst all this chaos, out in the distance, a long construction loomed over all of them. It rose higher than the Ark, then, it crashed down with a vengeance.
The earth shook again, and more buildings fell. Explosions from the wreckage of the city as more jets entered the airspace and began their assault upon the large structure. It was the Geo-Hammer. A weapon was given the colloquial “Planet Killer” because it would destroy the tectonic plates below themselves. Shatter the landmass, and crack the world. Or, that was the explanation that was logged in Opal’s system.
More cameras came online until the Ark Fields were displayed in the AI’s rear. 26 large ships were being assembled behind her. But Opal was the only one completed enough to launch. The AI was Designated Omega Ark or the Ark of Ends. Opal’s ark was designated the life shuttle, while the others were for colonization. But on the eve of war, all the other projects had been dropped, and only Omega Ark had been worked on.
Opal had no reports of when, or why the war broke out. She was not connected to the United Americas’ servers. She only possessed the information logged in her.
[Other Arks are not ready to launch, do you wish to continue?
Yes / No?]
On the holo-screen, the ark fields were also on fire. Small gun fire blossomed below as the ark rested upon its large metal landing pad. It was like a small Skyscraper placed on its side, but only its shell had been completed. Oddly enough, no one was attacking it. Instead, people were fighting to get onboard. Enemy and friendly alike as the ground around them began to fall away. The plates were shifting, and the earth was beginning to fracture.
But the bays had been closed.
“Yes!” The doctor said, even weaker.
The landing pad shifted and rose upward. The humans, tiny in her cameras, began to slip and fall. She could tell they were screaming as they began to slide towards the earth. The propulsion jets began to grow thick as the reactor fed it more power.
[Initiating Ark Order Omega — Projected orbital life sustainability: 4 years. Life support systems will not last.]
The doctor fell back into the captain’s chair that was several feet behind him. He buckled himself in slowly, the blood he’d bleed had begun to run across the metal flooring. He nodded faintly with a smile.
“That’s alright…” He said. “We doomed ourselves, but I didn’t want to save anyone anymore. We’d just war again. Destroy again. But you…”
He looked fondly up to the center camera. Its red LED ring glowed ominously as Opal observed him.
“You are perfect,” He said. “You can protect the world once it’s life sustainable. You’ll do that for me, right? Protect the planet? It’s fine if you can just protect one place…” Tears began to run down his paling face. Opal registered that he was suffering from severe blood loss. His breathing was becoming faint as the ark lurched forward and they began to race for the stars.
“Hey… Opal?” The doctor called out.
[I am here.]
“Set a timer,” He smiled. “Designated time, 1,000 years. You can do it. We designed you to do so. But I don’t want any of us to survive up here. The old world should die with us… No more of this fighting. No more bickering…”
[Timer set, what am I to do once it is completed?]
“Return to Earth…” The doctor said. “When you land, activate Order Live. That’s… All… I…”
The doctor slowly went limp until even Opal could tell just by looking that he was dead. The flow of blood was already beginning to slow and his life was dripping from the command dais. The drops flew across the open air until it splattered against the shut metal door below.
[Doctor Vizimer marked as ceased. Scanning for Naval Officers — None found. Scanning any Military personnel — None found. Civilians detected in the main hall. Order Omega still in effect. Command room on lockdown.]
In the side cameras, Opal watched as the earth fell away. Battles raged across the landscape as more of those monolithic structures appeared on the horizon. All of them rose in unison before they dropped at once. By the time she passed the clouds. Magma began to spurt from the large cracks they’d summoned. A few minutes later, the earth fell away completely as they exited the atmosphere and entered the open space.
[Warning: System damage detected. Entering low-power mode. Entering Auto-role. AI cannot run on low-power mode, AI “Opal” will go offline. Standby.]
In its final moments of awareness, Opal didn’t register the irony that mankind’s dream of space travel was only brought to life in its final moments. Where only a marginal amount of humans would come with it, and die. One by one, processors began to go offline. All systems not needed for fixing the damage or keeping the small number of humans on board alive was turned off.
And thus, Opal slid into slumber. Her AI matrix entering the lowest level of operation it could.