A dystopian short story
By Ava Winter
Dedicated to my favorite roleplay partner
The robot drones circled all over the 30-mile radius of Unity. Scott Jackson stood just outside the edge of it, searching for a slave to free.
Robots had taken over the entirety of Earth, enslaving humans with radio collars that shut down their ability to think for themselves. In their houses, humans were safe. But as soon as they walked through the front door, their minds went blank. Each slave camp had a 30-mile radius of control. If a slave stepped out of that radius, the radio collar stopped working. If a human without a radio collar stepped into the radius, drones and slaves would come after them to make them a slave.
There were also Exterminators. Exterminators were gargantuan robots with weapons like laser eyes, super strength, giant swords, et cetera. Every Exterminator had a small black square in their chest that served as a heart.
There were a few groups of humans that weren’t enslaved, and they called each other “Spy Organizations.” No organization had a name outside of its members. Scott and the other members of his organization called theirs “Savior’s Wing”. The other organizations all had names, but the names were never public to other organizations except for the largest organization, Danger’s Shield. No one knew why they chose that name, but they were the only ones to make their organization name public, so everyone paid attention.
Scott was a recruiter. He hung out on the edge of Unity, waiting for a slave-drone pair. Then he battled the drone, subdued the slave, and took off the radio collar. He was the most successful recruiter in Savior’s Wing.
Curse you! I don’t have time for you, Truthmind!
Scott was a Truthteller, which made him very important. He was also a Healer and Shapeshifter. His sister and brother, Summer and Solar Jackson were Shapeshifters, but they didn’t know if either of them had any other powers.
About 20 feet into the radius. A slave-drone patrol. Or… wait…. Not a drone. An Exterminator?!
But Exterminators never patrol with slaves! Does that mean that this one resists when she has her mind?
Scott stepped into the radius.
The Exterminator turned toward him, as did the slave.
The slave had slightly tan skin; pretty, long sky-blue hair tipped with purple that ended at her ankles; cat ears and a tail. Her blank eyes were such a beautiful purple that he was momentarily disarmed.
But he snapped and went for the Exterminator.
A full-on one-on-one battle took place, and when he slashed the heart, the Exterminator collapsed. Then he turned to the slave, who immediately tried to grab him and knock him out. But Scott was much more skilled than that. He let her apprehend him, then reached up and pressed the hidden release button on the radio collar. The girl’s weight sharply lifted, and he rolled over to see her staring at the collar in her hands. She looked at him as he stood up.
“Thank you,” she said. “I was worried I’d never escape.”
“You haven’t escaped yet,” Scott told her. “We gotta get outta the radius. C’mon.”
She nodded and followed him out.
“What’s your name?” Scott asked her.
“Sapphire.” She pulled out a hair tie and tied her hair into a long, swinging ponytail. She met his eyes. “Your name?”
“I’m Scott,” he answered.
“How long have you been free?”
“My whole life. How long have you been a slave?”
Sapphire didn’t reply for a few moments. Then, quietly, she said, “My whole life…”
“Oh! I’m sorry, did I hit a nerve?”
“No, it’s alright. I’m just worried about my brothers.” She looked behind her at the neighborhood surrounding the Factories, her ponytail swinging over her shoulder as she did so.
“We can get them out next if you show us a picture of them.”
Sapphire smiled at him. Then her eyes flashed white for a moment. For a moment, she was still, and Scott knew.
“Get…. me… out… of this….” She whispered.
So he poked her eye.
Her eyes returned to purple. “Okay, was that really necessary? You could’ve just smacked my shoulder.”
“All I saw was fire,” Sapphire told him. “Nothing else. I’m not gonna look into it intentionally, I promise. It just happens when I first meet someone, and I don’t know how to stop it from happening.”
“That’s okay. Here we are.”
Sapphire looked up at Savior’s Wing’s large entrance.
“Welcome to Savior’s Wing, Sapphire. Here, we strategize, train, recruit and send out spies to other organizations. We’ve only been spied on once, because we have ten Truthtellers, including me.”
“Wow,” Sapphire’s purple eyes sparkled. “I think I’m gonna like it here.”
Then they stepped in, and Sapphire clearly finally felt free as the door shut behind them.
It was time to train. Time to recruit. Time to work towards freedom for all humans and a future where robots don’t dominate. Like before, how it was the first year of Scott’s life when all was well. Ish.