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literature

I Didn't Lose

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They took Mesa out kicking and screaming, but when they put her on ice, she smiled and whispered that she didn’t lose. They would understand soon.

It was absurd Dr. Rayland’s mind. They’d spent years building this city and equipping it to defend itself from the degenerates of the world. Now it was in the air, flying over the world, and that useless slave girl was frozen in one of their test facilities. Her rebellion and it’s pathetic symbol ’J’ failed, the last of the slaves killed, and the perfect city, built with the guidance of God himself was ready to purge the world.

Utopia was upon them. No more heathens practicing their idol worshipping. The holy land would be free of those infidels worshipping a moon and star over God himself. The atheists. The catholics. Whatever that mother earth fairies are real crap was. Soon it would be gone and all that would remain were the pure. The followers of the one true word.

He went to the window in his office and looked down on the city. There was no crime here. Everyone knew their place and was happy to serve as God intended. The streets were clean and glittered like gold in the sun. They were so high, the ozone was thinner and the sun more radiant. It was as close as a man could get to heaven without a spaceship.

Women with small children were shopping in an open air market below the church. The bubble around the city kept the air comfortable and prevented rain. There was no need to have shops confined indoors. On the tops of buildings, other women and children tended to their rooftop gardens. There were enough provisions to keep the city fed and safe for the next decade, but growing fresh food kept people busy and content. Fresh was always better.

Pulling out his cell phone, Dr. Rayland checked the time. Just one more minute until the release of the God’s judgement. That was the system Mesa had tried to tamper with. Thank God they stopped her. If she’d succeeded, they would have been set back weeks. Months perhaps. A slave the girl was, but she was clever and quick with programming the computers. She always went past the copy, paste, retype rote the other programmers followed. They should have put her on labor, Dr. Rayland thought. She would have been less trouble. That rebellion never would have made it off the ground if she’d been too exhausted to organize it.

All the lights suddenly flickered off.

The whole city shuddered.

Something was wrong.

Below, people were scrambling, panicked. They probably were screaming too. Dr. Rayland pulled out his cellphone about to demand answers.

One his screen was the letter ‘J’ set on fire. He whipped around towards his desk. The screen on his laptop was lit up with a burning ‘J’. The tv screen across from his desk also bore the same burning ‘J’.

His heart sped up. His hands shook as he fumbled with his phone. He tapped the screen, pressed the buttons, and shook it. Nothing happened. It wouldn’t respond. He couldn’t even turn it off.

A light flashed on his computer screen. Looking up, he saw the ‘J’ still there, but there was text. Shall we talk? Y/N

It took a moment for Dr. Rayland to move. His trembling fingers pressed the ‘Y’ key on the keyboard.

Hello Dr. Rayland. This is God, or as close to God as you will ever get.

It couldn’t be. She was frozen in some hibernation chamber somewhere to see how long it took her tissue to die. She couldn’t be writing this.

He shook his head. No, of course it wasn’t her. She snuck something in the code. Something from the rebellion. It was some holdover system she put it.

Again, he tried his phone. The programmers needed to shut this down now. Get her out of their perfect system.

Do you still want to release your disease on the world? Y/N

She wouldn’t win this easily. He hit the ‘Y’ key. He’d play her little game until the programmers purged the last of that horrid girl from the system.

Pity. I’d hoped the rest of the world would live. I admit, I didn’t get the chance to completely shut down your system. We didn’t have the time. You were too clever, and we slaves were just not up for taking down a superior force like yours.

Would you like to know why? Y/N

He tried his phone one more time. She would likely have this buried under encryption. That was fine. He would need to keep the system occupied while the programmers rooted it out.

Y.

Because you had the weapons.

Pity you didn’t have the brains. Fortunately, we did. If this program is running, it’s because I failed to stop you.

But at least you will share in the world’s fate.

I would say burn in Hell, but there is none, and nothingness is a worse fate, don’t you think?

The screen flashed off. All the screens flashed off.

Outside, even through the glass, he could hear people screaming. He ran to the window. In the streets, a strange colored gas was filling the city. He raced to his door. It was locked. The electronic locks had him sealed in. He was trapped.

He ran back to the window, pounding on it. No one could see or hear him. Not from there.

The computer screen flashed back on, showing the burning ‘J’ and a single sentence: I didn’t lose.
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© 2018 - 2019 Tealya
FFM Day 24 and another challenge. This one had to be a utopia or dystopia, have dramatic irony, and contain one of 15 objects (I got a burning letter) and interpreted that as an actual letter from the alphabet set on fire. I thought it added something visually interesting. Anyway, this was my take on it. We know from the beginning that Mesa did something, but we don't realize exactly what until the end. The people who tried to kill the world will now die to. She couldn't stop them, but she could deny them total victory.
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Comments (3)
WindySilver's avatar
WindySilver|Hobbyist Writer
What an excellent story! I love how the girl communicated through the phone. Well done!
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squanpie's avatar
squanpie|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I like this one! The y/n conversation was a really neat way of giving the girl a voice even after it seemed she'd failed - although maybe some sort of formatting would have made it easier to identify the computer's 'speach', but then I'm reading on my phone so formatting isn't great any way.
I liked the gradual build up of clues, as we found out more about her, especially her programming skills,leading to the reveal fitting really naturally. 

'It was absurd Dr. Rayland’s mind' - missing a word here? 
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SCFrankles's avatar
SCFrankles|Hobbyist Writer
That was rather enthralling  - I really liked that final 'conversation' between Dr. Rayland and the message Mesa left behind. 
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