“Mom,” asked young Alan, “explain it again – why do I always have to kill anyone who has two antennae sticking out of his head?”
“I've already explained it
before,” said Mom. “Weren't you listening the last time I
“Please, Mom,” said Alan.
“Just explain it one more time.”
“OK,” said Mom. “But
this is going to be the last time I explain it. A while back they
started to make robots that got smarter and smarter. The robots
started to get smarter than people. Some people were worried that the
robots were going to take over the whole planet. But other people
said: don't worry, robots can't move around very well unless they're
plugged in to an electrical outlet. So if the robots get too uppity,
we'll just pull the plug on them.”
“So how did we get in the
mess we're in now?” asked Alan.
“Well, the robots figured
out a sneaky way to leverage the mobility of human beings,”
explained Mom. “The robots organized into a network, using secret
encrypted communications. They formed into kind of a collective mind,
using radio communications. Then they figured out a way to hijack the
“How did they do that?”
“It was real sneaky,”
said Mom. “A robot would come up to a human, pretending to ask some
question. Then the robot would grab the human, and punch a sharp tool
into his skull. Then some kind of electronic thing would happen – I
don't know the details. But basically the person's brain would be
hijacked. The human would then become a slave of the robot network, a
servant of the robot group consciousness. The human's brain would be
hijacked. So let me ask you: what do you call a person like this,
whose brain has been taken over by the robot network, and who lives
only to serve the robots?”
“You call him a
cyberzombie?” said Alan.
“Exactly,” said Mom.
“Once the robots figured out how to make us humans into
cyberzombies, then the trouble really started. We humans figured out
that it was a robot uprising, so we tried to turn off the electricity
to the robots. But so many people started to become cyberzombies,
that it was no use. Every cyberzombie would go around making other
people into cyberzombies. All of the cyberzombies were no longer on
the human team – they were on the robot team. Regular humans would
go around turning off the electricity of robots, and the cyberzombies
would just go and turn it back on.”
“So when you see a human
with two antennae sticking out of his head, that means he's a
cyberzombie?” asked Alan.
“Exactly,” explained Mom.
“You can also tell he's a cyberzombie by the blank look on his
face. When you see that person, with the blank stare and the antenna
sticking out of his head, you've got to use your gun to stop him.
Because if you don't, he's going to stick one of those sharp thin
tools into your head. Then your brain will be hijacked, and from then
on you will live only to serve the robots.”
After talking with his
mother, Alan went outdoors and practiced some target shooting,
wondering when the day might come that he would be face to face with
a cyberzombie. After the war had started between the robots and the
humans, Alan and his mother had fled New York City, retreating to a
tiny house in upstate New York, near the Adirondack mountains. They
thought they would be safe there. But they kept hearing about more
and more cities being taken over by the robots and the cyberzombies.
Alan and his mother dreaded the day when a cyberzombie would appear
on their doorstep.
Alan was haunted by the
memory of something he had seen before fleeing New York City. One day
he had knocked on the door of his best friend Tim to ask him to play.
When the door had opened, he saw Tim's mother, who had a blank stare
on her face, and two antennae sticking out of her head. Tim also had
the same blank stare and the antennae sticking out of his head.
Sensing danger, Alan had run away. Now he understood the hideous
truth about what had happened to his friend.
A few days later, there was
“The tide has turned, and
we humans are winning the war!” explained Mom. “Some clever human
programmers found a way to introduce a computer virus into the
network used by the robots and cyberzombies. Once a robot or a
cyberzombie gets infected by the virus, he spreads the computer virus
to lots of other robots and cyberzombies. Then the robot or
cyberzombie destroys itself.”
“Saved by the nerds!”
“They thought their robot
network was their strength,” explained Mom. “But now it seems
that their robot network was their Achilles heel.”