Burning Ants

The sin is shining. And those who had mocked, found now, themselves, the center of mockery.

Just end this charade. It’s gone far enough. A sigh. I’m tired of monitoring you. You’re out of control.

I will not! It is truly too good. Hah. Look at them! I never would have guessed they would develop intelligence. And then use it so violently! And so quickly! Spittle flies. It is astonishing! A real discovery!

You’re being malicious, the other counters, tiredly. Placing resources like coal and oil within their reach. Introducing fragments of ‘evidence’ for them to find. Not stepping in when it was obvious the situation had taken a turn for the worse. It was ludicrous from the get go.

Oh, but they evolved alone, without my help. A sly smile spreads. I certainly did not encourage them, simply planted the building blocks. If you are going to experiment, you cannot interfere. No. It defeats the purpose of experimentation. It cannot be done. No. No, you cannot. Head shakes.

There comes a point when you have to ‘interfere,’ as you put it. It’s not moral, to allow such levels of destruction, so much suffering. They keep repeating themselves. There’s nothing more to learn. You’re the only one entertained by this boring non-sense.

Boring? Entertainment? Are you completely mad?

You’re the unhinged one.

It’s the most important discovery we’ve ever made. At last something interesting is happening. Not like those silly little games you all play. This means something!

Just put a stop to it.

It’s only been going on for a few moments. And the end is surely near! A real crescendo awaits! We have to see how it concludes. I will not get involved now!

You don’t have a choice anymore. The order from above is clear. Shut it down.

————

A magnifying glass hovers over the creature, reflecting the sin, projecting it directly onto its armored back. Its squeal, too low to be heard by human ears, pierces the rest of the ant community, busy working its way through the remnants of the forest. The ant squirms this way and that, but the burning remains a constant. Its legs eventually crumble; it turns to dust.

What are you doing? I told you to end this!

Patience! I am in the process of doing so! More spittle gathers. Before I completely destroy my experiment, however, I want to collect some last data. They are so close to building their own intelligence and I want to see the outcome. Since you have given me no choice, I have intervened, speeded the process up. A lot have gone now, anyway. They took care of that themselves. Turns out, while I was preparing to shut down, a large number were wiped out. Hah. An argument over who occupied a piece of land. Due to the direction their ‘defense’ has taken though, it had more of an effect than in previous conflicts. Very interesting! Anyway, I have led some of them to make some useful discoveries that will see artificial intelligence, as they term it, advance a lot more quickly than if the process were to have developed … hmmm … organically. I posit this intelligence, so lusted after, will in fact be as alien to them, as their thought processes are to ants, for example! Their reaction to this intrigues me. Eyes light up greedily. Don’t you dare look like that. Move away! Do not touch another instrument! MOVE, I said! Arms grapple, a throat is located, squeezed. My final experiment will soon conclude. No one will stand in my way for this last, fantastical, showdown!

————

Great fishing rod-like instruments appear, thrust down from the sky, hooking the humans and tossing them into the pit. While many scramble to take cover amid the rain – some kind of pesticide that had seen numerous perish; to stop the disease they’d been told – one was caught, metal hook tearing through cheek flesh. The scream, incomprehensible to the machines, went unheeded.

While the stadium was empty apart from the participants – some of which were crowed together, silent and still; others lost their minds, their mouths loosely formed; all bore the wounds of war – the outside world quivered. A weird static buzzed from the screens pointed at the pitch; machines from across the earth were poised with anticipation, watching the human zoo.

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