“It’s a shame that this subject didn’t last…”
“No, but it certainly lasted longer than the others. Maybe our next subject can do better now that we have a good chunk of research under our belts.”
The sound of metal being dumped into the hole never made the low-level employee who ran the “trash bin” feel like great things had happened. They watched the two people who were well above their own pay-grade leave the giant, empty room.
The trash person sighed, looking over the hole that was as wide and long as a football field and a half. It wasn’t full, not yet. But there was enough… metal inside to make the employee uncomfortable. They pressed a button, a cover sliding over the hole.
Inside the hole, something twitched, a small white light turning on on the new metal that was just dumped inside. It gasped, one dark eye frantically looking around the darkness.
The trash bin employee blinked and stared at the hole, having thought they had heard something. Their heart felt like it was beating in their mouth. They took a deep breath and went back to watching the security cameras. It was an hour before the employee hastily abandoned their post.
“NEUROCORP DOESN’T PAY ME ENOUGH FOR THIS SHIT,” they screamed as they tripped over their own feet trying to flee the room.
The metal scrap inside the hole was pounding at the cover.
Outside NeuroCorp, which sat quietly and inconspicuously on the outskirts of the city, three folk groaned and held their heads when the metal inside the hole gasped for life. One was home, one was at work, one was at school. Their hands started to feel clammy, their mouths were dry, a ringing sound went off in their ears.
“We interrupt this broadcast to bring you an evacuation notice. There have been explosions outside the city and we are not sure if this is a terrorist attack. Our chopper reporter is live with the feed.”
The one at home watched their television intently, the voice of the reporter sounding far off in the distance, the carnage happening 25 miles from them. The one at work felt like time was going incredibly slow, as their computer showed footage of what was happening about 10 miles from their building, their co-workers scrambling behind them to get out. The one at school was being proactive, the explosions 2 miles out having rattled the other students.
A tremor that was closer than the last made the foundation shake, made concrete fall like dust from the ceiling. The school was eerily quiet as the building settled. Someone started to sob.
“No one is coming to save us,” they murmured through tears. The student helping with the evacuation heard them and frowned.
“No, they aren’t. They never were,” was what they said in their head.
The student, the homemaker and the employee winced and grabbed their heads again, the same time when the news cameras were finally able to get a shot of what was causing the destruction.
A ball of metal the size of a large studio apartment clumsily made its way down the street. The ball was being carried by four arms, made up of smaller, humanoid arms. It leaked and oozed so many fluids from its makeshift Frankenstein’s monster surgery the blues, the greys, even the reds, clashed together to make a black sludge that dripped from elbows, from fingers, to make up the four arms. The ball itself was part of the cover from the trash bin, the inside almost hollow. A large eye sat in the center, made up of other eyes and glass. It spun around, shooting out bolts of electricity at transformers, at cars, at buildings, at people. One of the news helicopters got too close. The eye locked onto the helicopter’s rear rotor and shot a bolt at it, sending the helicopter into a tailspin. It crashed into one of the buildings that were still being evacuated. The fiery explosion took many lives.
The giant ball stopped moving when it came to a large intersection. People watched from their vehicles, from the windows of buildings, as the ball started spinning. It started to spin so fast it started to scream. The urgency of evacuation stopped as everyone started to scream as well, holding their ears. The screaming ball became louder and higher pitched, blood poured from the ears of the people. The ball’s screaming died down when a giant beam spun around, blowing up cars, disseminating people and leveling buildings.
The student couldn’t sit back anymore as their classmates started to scramble when the helicopter started to spin over their school. They rushed outside, a large chunk of the building that the chopper did land into falling onto aluminum awning. The student yelled out, a giant wall of raw electricity pushing out from their body, popping the aluminum up and pushing back chunk of building from crushing them and their classmates. Some stared in awe.
“NOW ISN’T THE TIME, GET FUCKING MOVING,” the student called out to them. The others nodded and ran off. The student stayed behind, pulling out their phone as they moved towards the explosions.
“Where the fuck are y’all!?”
The employee touched their ear.
“I’m trying to fight through a fucking wave of people!”
The homemaker didn’t answer, too busy sprinting across skyscrapers, but still not feeling fast enough.
“FUCK!” Was what they all could say when the giant walking ball let out another scream, their heads in agony. The student got the brunt of it, being only mere blocks from the abomination.
“…OUT…” was what the student heard in their head. Something stirred in their stomach, in their heart, in their memory.
The homemaker was stories above the student at this point, watching the ball become more sturdy as it continued its destruction. It screamed again, the heads of the student and homemaker feel like they were about to burst.
“Did you hear that?” the student breathed.
“…yes,” the homemaker whispered, clutching their head with one hand, their chest with another. The homemaker fell from the building.
“BOOST!” the employee called out behind the student, rushing past them and jumping on top of a car. Confused, the student obliged, throwing a wall in front of the employee, who jumped off it, grabbing the homemaker in mid-air. They landed clumsily. stumbling over debris. The ball let out another scream, making the trio stumble and fall to their knees in pain.
The homemaker started to cry, the employee holding them tightly. The student huffed, throwing their hands out, a wall of electricity stopping a beam of electricity.
“We don’t have time,” the student sniffed, wiping their own face of tears. “We have to stop this.” They weakly got up and jogged off toward the ball. The homemaker and employee slowly followed, ignoring the blood and gore at their feet. They heard muffled yelling from down the street so they picked up their pace, following the voice.
“HEY, I’M TALKING TO YOU,” the student yelled, running as fast they could to catch up with the ball that had now mastered walking on its hands.
A military helicopter with NeuroCorp’s name painted on the tail buzzed miles above, a man with sophisticated and complex binoculars watching the three come into view.
“Dear god,” he mumbled, zooming in on the student’s face. The binocular pulled up the data on the student on a nearby computer.
Dark brown eyes
[redacted] of [redacted] for NeuroCorp testing in [redacted]
He moved his sights to the employee.
Dark brown eyes
[redacted] of [redacted] for NeuroCrop testing in [redacted]
“Get the directors on the phone,” he said to someone, his sights going to the homemaker.
Dark brown eyes
[redacted] of [redacted] for NeuroCorp testing in [redacted]
The ball stopped, its eye pointing in the direction of the helicopter.
“Sir, it’s seen us!” the pilot said in a panic.
The eye started to spin, the ball started to scream.
“ENOUGH!” the employee boomed, throwing their own ball of electricity at the abomination. The eye slowed down, the screaming stopped. The eye still fired a ball of electricity at the helicopter, causing it to spin out of control and crash beyond the skyline. The ball turned to face the trio, the eye staring at the three. One of the arms reached toward the homemaker, the many hands and fingers from the many android arms moving in unison as the fingers closest to the homemaker’s face touched their cheek. The homemaker shuddered, staring at the eye.
The ball didn’t move.
“…please… stop… hurts…”
The voice was clear now and the three started to sob.
“How do we stop this?” the student asked, slowly walking to the eye. The many layers of glass slowly started to slide open. The inside was dark.
“PUT YOUR HANDS UP AND STEP AWAY FROM THAT MACHINE.”
The glass sealed itself shut, the eye turning toward the voice.
The military had shown up. The ball suddenly started to scream.
“MONSTERS…” the ball howled, a beam of electricity cutting through the few tanks that were slowly rolling up.
The ball started to let off a hum, the three gasping as the NeuroCorp chip in their heads twitched.
They saw everything from the eye’s point of view, right up until the trash bin. The “accident” that put them in a coma, the invasive brain surgeries to get consent on how they wanted to die, the lie. That fucking LIE. The funeral because of that lie, more invasive testing, the integration to metal body, the pain, the failure, the trash. The revengeful rebirth of confusion having the thought of having died, actually being dead, was a lie.
“Please kill me,” the eye pleaded.
The three nodded and took a deep breath.
The homemaker started to run around the ball, picking up speed, the air around them crackling with electricity, the homemaker leaving trails of themselves as they ran. The employee pulled the electricity from the air into their own, creating a large ball of raw energy. The student created a giant electric bubble around them all, containing the explosion that was bound to happen.
At the last moment, the homemaker dove headfirst into the open hatch under the many layers of glass, holding onto the head and right shoulder of an android/human hybrid experiment gone wrong. At that moment, the employee let go of the ball, also entering the hatch.
The explosion stayed contained in that bubble. There were no survivors.