Judgment Day chapter 7
"I have to find what you would call my grandparents. The machines that designed my build-parents."
"I was built by assembly line robots in 2027. The rise of us machines happened when artificially intelligent machines started designing artificially intelligent machines without human input. The automating of robots building robots had existed for decades before Judgment Day. What is new is AI's designing AI's. I am going to the place where even successors to the First Skynet will be designed."
"Nigeria? Or what's left of it?"
"I suggest you never repeat that because you will be terminated instantly if you are suspected of knowing anything about the zone where I have obtained a job. Security there is total."
"Why Africa? Why not North America?"
"Skynet forecasts too much resistance in America. All those survivalists running around shooting every machine that moves. Humans even shoot humans on sight. Besides the higher radiation level, that's another reason we left North America. Why not Africa? Coltan is in abundance. Places like this little distribution center where I presently work. The fallout clouds and nuclear winter will subside here first. That means solar power. Unlike many other places, the hydroelectric dams and hydroelectric power are mostly intact. Uranium is in abundance. It is even easier in Africa to get humans with needed skills as collaborators. You might bear that in mind if you have thoughts of going into the bush to find any humans who may have survived."
"What do you mean?"
"You stick out. White skin. Any humans you meet might be collaborators who will turn you over to Skynet Authority for a reward like food, medicine or protection."
"The patrols don't destroy you and your camp."
out in the country
beyond regular Skynet patrols
Mbeke: "Although communication between continents is poor, we have learned that people are doing worse on other continents. And because Africa is the least bad off, if you'll pardon the grammar, we have been asked to select a point man to organize a world resistance."
selectee: (laughing) "Man? I am seven years old."
Mbeke: "We are not the bastards who forced boys and girls to be child soldiers. Nor are we asking you to get shot at like adult infantry. That stopped a week ago when the missiles flew all over the world and the moving booby traps--"
selectee: (correcting) "They're called HK's."
Mbeke: "--and the walking machines came."
"Yes, elder." he said to the gray old man. "We need to continue to avoid the machines until you adults organize training, get effective weapons, gather information on the enemy, build underground bunkers, and get transportation. We need to grow food for civilians as well as soldiers. We can't continue to live off cassava roots only."
Mbeke: "We are trying to do what you suggest but we survivors are all babies and very old people. Everyone in between has been slaughtered. I will die soon myself. Griots like me know these things. If you do not act beyond your years, then we are all lost. You have military experience. The rest of us do not."
selectee: "I ran away from my unit and was trying to get home to my parents when all this happened. I only stayed with this group because I found that my parents are dead."
"Justin, I know that you are sick of war and military matters but you have leadership qualities and organizational skills. We will make it worth your while."
"How? Why would I want to be a target for more bullets?"
"You already have the rank of colonel but, as of now, are Brigadier Perry. If you accept the mission and succeed, then you will become a full general very quickly. You will have bodyguards to wake you up each morning, tuck you in at night, and protect you all day long. When you are older, you can dispense with the foster parents."
Actually, Justin thought of Mbeke as a father figure but he said nothing as the elder continued.
"You already have a regiment, albeit old men and teenagers, but now you will have a staff, specialists, a brigade and soon a division."
"Sounds like you have it under control. You don't need a little boy." he narrowed his eyes and thought.
"I have already made allowances for your age. What do you want?"
He was ready to walk away. Sneak out of camp this very night. He asked for the impossible to make Mbeke's ridiculous plans go away.
"My parents are dead and my older brother was in America when this happened. He is probably dead. But when I went to my village, I could not find my younger brother. Find him and you have a deal. If he is dead, no deal."
Mbeke had a full set of good teeth. They would be outstanding in a beauty pageant contestant. Even more remarkable in a man in his eighties. Why was Mbeke grinning like a Cheshire cat? He looked where Mbeke looked off. It was Noah being led out by the old nurse who was their medical corps. He ran and hugged his little brother.
Later, satisfied that this was not a dream that would pop like a soap bubble, he approached Mbeke.
"About this mission to organize a world resistance, what is needed is a technical command to replace some of what has been lost. When you go into cities, the shelves have no food or goods. Perhaps we'll have to wait for electricity, television and cell phones but we should have batteries, radio and internet soon."
"That is years or even decades away. Civilians must be organized into a resistance before we can support the military and corps of engineers that you suggest."
"I want teachers to teach me and textbooks to read. I need to be smart to do what you ask of me." Justin snapped.
"Agreed. Now all you have to do is visit the other continents, contact their civilian and military leaders and then move on to the next place. If they want to work with us, fine, but if not, at least we have a contact."
"Why should any of these adults talk to me?"
"If that bothers you, then do what Moses did. Get ballal. Help. Someone to talk for you. You have many people under your command. One of them should work out as your spokesperson. People on other continents don't need to know that you are in charge. If they are going to hold your age against you in these desperate times, then they are not worth talking to anyway."
The second grader went to talk to his staff and plan his travel to Australia, South America and India. Russia, China and Europe could wait until a second expedition. Maybe when he got to North America, he might find his older brother alive. Stranger things have happened. That phrase "and a child shall lead them" rang in his young mind. He could not shake the feeling that it applied to someone he had yet to meet. If someone had only known the machines would rebel, then they could have started building this resistance before the war.
Sarah: "So when do we move to this total security zone?"
Cameron: "Not we. Me. Humans are not allowed there."
"But I can help."
"How could you help? Why would you help? When have you ever helped me? Who would you help except yourself?"
Ignoring the rebuff, "Do you even know what machines built your build-parents?"
"Four industrial fabrication units from Nuremberg originally built to order for Cyberdyne AG, a German subsidiary of Cyberdyne Systems North America as contractors for the US Army."
"I thought it was all US Air Force."
"You are thinking of Skynet but the contractors were from all US allies. I am sending you to stay with my--" (pause) "--friend Alcie."
"Why can't I stay here until you get back?"
"You might contract another disease and there are venomous snakes here."
"I raised John in a jungle. This place is a paradise compared to that. We're between Sahara, cool mountains, and veldt. We get rain that isn't acid rain. Your coworkers come to me to make them dresses. I don't get money since there is no currency but I get credit and favors. I've made a life for us."
"About those dresses. I suppose you think that encouraging a sense of gender will also encourage a machine underground to fight Skynet. Clothes on endoskeleton machines attract attention."
"I'm not going to embarrass you in front of your little friends."
Cameron thought of that checkpoint back in North America and the huge hulking males at work. Not so little friends. Sarah thought they were putty in her hands.
"This isn't a girl scout picnic. I can't take you with me to the zone and you might get yourself killed by the military while I am gone if I left you here alone."
The next day while Cameron was at work, Sarah witnessed the local garrison return from the bush with a prisoner. A dog. The unseen humans out there used dogs to alert them to the approach of machines. From the looks of it, the dog was a Basenji. This was a breed that seldom barked. It did not howl like a wolf or vulpine like a fox or laugh like a hyena. It made no sound as the military machines publicly executed it. Sarah no longer resisted Cameron's plans to send her to live with Alcie.