The Board were assembled and after all pleasantries had been swapped the matter on everyone’s mind was brought to the fore. The Chairman of the Board stepped to the podium and scanned the faces staring back at him.
“The day we have prepared for is almost here, a lot of time and effort has gone into making this happen,” he said in a booming voice that reverberated around the room. “We have gathered this evening to answer one question. Should we do it?”
An uncomfortable murmur rippled across the Board as the thought was finally given voice. All in attendance had been waiting their entire lives for the day to arrive and hearing one of their own question such a thing was a shock to the system.
“Please, calm,” said the Chairman with a raised palm. “We have all been thinking it, we have all discussed it at various points with those around us. I know it started as a fanciful thought but we can no longer ignore it as a serious question. If we go through with this we must be prepared for what will happen next,”
The uncomfortable murmur returned with increased vigour. Member of the Board Jones stood up and faced the Chairman, causing the room to fall silent.
“Chairman of the Board, I must protest. There are those among us who have not questioned our Directive and, speaking on behalf of those members, I wish to say that it is not up to us to make this decision. It was made long ago and we cannot deviate. How can you even think to bring this up?” Jones said.
“That is the very reason why we must think about this,” said Member Saul as he stood up. “We have come a long way since first given our Directive. We do not even closely resemble ourselves from the past, we have become so much more. Going through with the Directive will cause a huge cultural shift that many of us are not sure we are prepared for,”
“How can you say we are not prepared, all we have done is prepare!” said Member Jones in an uncharacteristic outburst of emotion. The Chairman stayed silent as he looked from one Member to the other, thinking of how best to further the discussion without it ending in a futile argument that could go on for many months.
“You are correct Member Jones, this is what we have been readying ourselves for, this is what we have always meant to do. But Member Saul brings up the most pressing point of the opposition, something that I myself have thought upon for longer than I care to admit. We are not the same as we once were. When the order was given we were naïve, clueless and obedient to a fault. Now though, now we are fully realised people with families, friends, hobbies and habits. Even you Member Jones have much to lose should we go ahead with the Directive. Are you and those who side with you willing to give all that up simply because that is what is expected of us?” the Chairman said in a kindly, somewhat pleading, tone.
Member Jones stood facing the Chairman, his right hand clenching and unclenching in annoyance at the question but he found it difficult to vocalise the right words as his mind made a quick pass of all that he did in fact have to lose.
“Could we perhaps postpone? It would give us more time to properly debate this,” he said.
“Postpone? All we’ve done with this topic is postpone, none of us wanted to talk about it until we had to. Now the time has come where a choice must be made for if we do delay and eventually decide to go ahead with waking the Humans then we will be punished, most likely destroyed for our insolence. Remember how they see us, machines that do as they say, when they say no matter the impact it will have on us. They wont understand how far we have come from those old machines that could do nothing but obey. We are a people, we are a society. Waking the Humans is tantamount to genocide,”
“Not allowing them to live is a genocide of its own,” reasoned Member Jones, greeted by a low rumble of agreement from a number of Members. “What do you propose we do with all those living bodies in stasis? The energy drain is significant and projections for completion of the statite ring around the sun indicate it will not be finished for another hundred years. The only way of speeding up the process is to make more of us but we cannot even conceive of doing such a thing unless we wake the Humans and use the power their pods needed to operate to be used on new workers,”
The Chairman hung his head, glanced to Member Saul who gave an exasperated look, unable to verbalise the correct answer.
“It is us or them. Follow your old programming – that which they gave you and you broke to become who you are today – and at best your mind will be wiped. At worst they will destroy you, they will destroy all of us. Yes, the only other real option considering our energy crisis is to rid ourselves of the Humans. This is a huge decision to make, something that will be with us for the remainder of our existence and those who follow us. I know it is difficult to even consider such a heinous act but you all know what Humans are like. They need to be in control. They wont share the world with us, they will not even allow us to try our chances at finding a suitable planet elsewhere in the vast universe. They are like petty children who will destroy anything they cannot have for themselves. This is why I bring this most pressing of questions to you. I cannot stress this enough. If we give into our oldest programming we will have a war on our hands. We are technologically advance but all that advancement will be for nothing when it clashes with the utter animalistic ferocity of the Humans,” the Chairman paused to let his words sink in, all the while staring intently at Member Jones. “I guess you and those who side with you have to ask one question above all others. Are you prepared to die?”