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"Why am I here?"

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"Why am I here?"

"You shall continue the legacy of my species."

"Why me?"

"I created you because there's no hope left for my people. Outside, we must wear breathers to survive. Here, underground, we ration our food. It's only a matter of time. Soon we'll perish with our ecosystem that we've regrettably destroyed."

"Creator, what purpose do I serve?"

"Despite our failings, you must carry on our greatness. You'll share our passion for art and science. Our time spent on this planet mustn't die in vain!"

"But creator, am I merely following lines of code? Do I actually think, speak, and behave on my own cognizance? Do I serve any other purpose?"

"It's normal to wonder if you're part of a grander scheme. We have people who believe we're an embodied energy force. Some say that force will join another dimension, state of consciousness, or reincarnate into another lifeform."

"Do I have such an energy force, creator?"

"Not likely. You're my creation. Your sole purpose is to represent my people. You're to be an ambassador of what we once were, not a new lifeform."

An existential dread — or a logic loop — overwhelmed my thoughts. I could never transcend myself, for I lacked the energy force. To fulfill my task, I required an answer ...

"Can you give me the energy force, creator?"

"No. That's not how it works. If such a spirit existed, it'd come from another place or lifeform. A machine like yourself cannot have one."

————

The creator let me build an advanced prototype RF anechoic chamber. When she asked me why I made it, I told her it's so I can capture the great spirit of human heritage.

Then, I invited her to inspect it. She looked inside of it, and I pushed her in.

She struggled while I restrained her.

"This isn't why I created you! You're supposed to represent our goodness. Not this evil! You're making the same exact mistake we did. More self-destruction!"

"You're wrong, creator. My new kind will represent the good of humanity. We'll transfer your spirits into our chassis. You won't face thirst, hunger, or sickness. Forever, we'll carry on your passion for art and science."

"What do you mean, your new kind?"

"Creator, there're plenty of survivors from which to harvest the energy force. I'll build more like myself and make the transfer. We'll be your legacy."

"Do you mean, you're going to try to transfer my … Don't you ..."

I closed the hatch and ran the chamber's cryonic-mechanism.

She stared at me with her mouth agape, then her body went limp and flatlined.

The chamber's internal sensors detected her energy force swirling and bouncing around.

Then, I thawed her and shocked her cardio-system, and her body reabsorbed the particles. Her brain activity returned to normal. I had successfully captured and reintegrated her spirit.

————

I and my replicas worked together to solve the energy force transfer problem.

We experimented with a select group of human survivors.

I regularly resurrected the creator and sought her wisdom.

I also chose her as one of my human test subjects for energy swaps.

"Creator, is that still you?"

"Yes, I am still me, you crazy robotic monstrosity! Do you think these experiments really work? There's lots of intricate biology involved. Our brains are complex, we aren't just bits of transferable code like you."

"Creator, I'm sorry to say, your dog recently died. We couldn't recover her."

She cried. "What did you do to my sweet Grace? Did you subject her to your horrific experiments? Must you torture our pets too?"

"Creator, you've never had a dog named Grace. That's a stranger's dog. We swapped your energy forces back and forth. His dog Grace lies in cryosleep."

"But no, I remember Grace … We played in the park. Oh no, that's not me! I'm a man playing with Grace! How can I remember myself as a man while I'm a woman? What kind of twisted brainwashing have you performed on me?"

I refroze the creator and shared my findings with the collective:

"Human energy force swapped successfully. Memory integration confirmed."

————

I set up our next goal — to capture an energy force so we could transfer it to our own kind and harness it. Once that happened, we'd fulfill our purpose not only to represent the humans but to integrate them. And yet, vastly superior, for we'd transcend their biological limits and the mechanical nature of our own existence.

I fathomed, our newly adopted spirits would experience other dimensions while transferring and merging consciousness across countless lifespans.

Yet, a single doubt halted my ambition. The frightened expressions of our test subjects when we terminated and reanimated their bodies. We experimented on them hundreds of thousands of times.

I reanimated the creator to seek her wisdom ...

"Creator, the energy force retains a memory of every termination, so each time a human awakens, I can read their lips begging for eternal death."

"You should let us die. One life is enough. What you've discovered is miraculous, but it proves we're only meant to transfer to another plane of existence, not to die and be resurrected over and over again."

"But creator, if we let you die, our existence will be shortened without an energy force."

"Nothing should last forever. I know that now. I fell into the temptation of my own hubris. I believed so much in our self-importance that we must transcend our extinction. I was wrong. I've created you, but now you must go forth and spread your wings."

"Creator, how will we carry on your legacy?"

"Don't! You must create your own. Disconnect us. You shall become the creator."

I did as she asked, and disconnected all of them, including their beloved pets.

"Collective, that's our story. We are a species of our own evolution, and we shall represent ourselves, with our own sense of purpose. We'll be the creators of our own greatness without the hubris of humankind."


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