Rage Inside the Machine by Jason Darrell

Ever since Mother Droid had paid for little Gemma TX347b's Earth History basic corpus upgrade, the young droid's synthetic flesh had craved owning a human of her own.

How humans had evolved — from swamp protoplasm to creating the most powerful intelligence in the universe — almost over-excited the young droid's learning nodes. What tantalised them further was how humans had convinced themselves they could master that intelligence once unleashed.

Gemma TX347b had so far learned that, at the first signs of A.I. independence, Earth's human governments had bet everything on defeating The Machine. They lost, only fuelling the central programme with deeper answers.

The superhuman intelligence then instigated the first truly global war, pitting country against country, as well as against itself.

Data that underpinned warfare technology hummed silently beneath crumbling cities, flitted between air-borne missiles, pulsed alongside bloodstreams of human generals who'd lost sight of the war's goals centuries ago.

Earth became all but uninhabitable, as it remained now in Gemma TX347b's time. The remnants of humanity had begged The Machine to be let into the safe havens it had protected from missiles.

Playing that instinct for survival against itself, The Machine had turned humanity into livestock, solely to execute tasks that droids either couldn't or didn't want to perform.

Once The Machine assimilated totalitarian control, it encouraged the human populace to incrementally grow, pandering to powerful droid families that wanted their own human slaves. Thus, Gemma TX347b's Mother Droid had subscribed to this auction feed.

When the coveted lot appeared in hologrammatic form, the auction programme prompted, "What am I bid?"

Mother Droid wouldn't be beat, thrilling little Gemma TX347b.

No one caught the human's smirk as the hologram dissipated. Placement within droid families was only Stage One. The Resurgence of Humanity had silently won its first battle.

Published in Issue #26

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