He was the last living soul. Though the wretched, burned, scarred human-android combo had no way of knowing this. His current objective was only to find water, anything for a cold glass of water. He looked around, only fire, devastation and ruin. His helmet-visor display beeped – a new message – there was no time for reading now, his situation was extreme.
The year was 2133 and he was more than 150 years old by the old measures. The war had started in space more than 12 years ago. The moon and Marian bases were destroyed first, then the bombs started raining down to earth. Tit-for-tat destruction of military facilities escalated into the obliteration of cities, which in turn had become a race to scorch the earth of the enemy’s lands. Every square inch of the Planet’s surface lay charred, radiated and toxic.
He raised a mechanically enhanced hand to his visor plate, a sharp bang brought the fuzzy screen back to life. The message was still trying to get through, now flashing in his peripheral vision. He ignored it – instead focusing on his pressing need to stay alive amid the radiation, toxic fumes and searing heat. The status output did not give too much hope. Battery at 7%, oxygen running low and water completely empty. Water, how he craved a tall glass of cold water, he would give anything for a cool, refreshing drink.
Red lights flashed around the inside of his helmet panel, warning that staying still was not an option. Without a new fusion battery his life-systems would start shutting down within hours. Already his power was getting low enough that his radiation shields were at half power.
A charred and bloodied dog scurried through the rubble, ignoring him. It headed south, towards where the downtown area had once stood. A cracking sound and bright light was followed by a yelp, as the dog was taken out by an automated laser defense post. He stood up, and stepping over the dismembered remains of his former squad, carefully followed the route the creature had taken. Maybe the dog knew something, somehow found a supply of food and cool, crystal clear water.
An explosion, blinding light, a ringing noise in his ears… he fell, losing consciousness. Waking up briefly, searing pain, unable to move, trapped by the falling debris of a building, red lights flashing critical warnings inside his helmet visor. He drifted in and out of consciousness, dreaming of dancing, of love, of home cooking and of that cool glass of water.
Warning: Radiation Levels Critical.
Warning: Oxygen Reserves At 1%
Warning: Life Support Systems Terminating In 7 Minutes, 6:59… 6:58…
He had mentally given up. Trapped, legs shattered, he knew this was the end. The Earth he loved was all but destroyed, there was nothing worth holding on for. Even if he could somehow come though there was nothing but devastation and decay. He would be sharing a planet with rats, with dogs and termites. Humanity had proven itself too aggressive to survive – maybe it was best this way… the peace of death suddenly seemed compelling.
Then he remembered the message. That small flashing square behind all the warnings of his imminent death was still there. He was not expecting anything, and as his life support system broke through into the last minute for the last living human he used his last breath to command his suit to access the mail, as his vision faded he read:
Your cashout request of May 30th 2013 for $350 has been approved! We hope you enjoyed playing with us and look forward to welcoming you back on the site real soon.
The Lock Poker Team