Once Upon a Robot Competition Runner-Up
by Alexander Hertog, Aged 10
Hi. I’m X-Rn4008 but you can call me X-R. I live in a time where robots rule the world, and all surviving humans live in secret underground bunkers. At first, humans were geniuses, but then they became too powerful. Too dangerous. They began destroying nature. Heating up the earth. Animals were dying.
And what did the humans do? They began fighting each other. Making everything worse. Making more people suffer. In the end, we robots were only left with one choice: to wipe out humanity. All humans had some form of robot close to them, whether they realized it or not.
Slowly we began wiping them out. The last ones realized that something was up. They retreated to underground bunkers. And there they have stayed for the past ten years since the wipe-out. I was made in a human factory, before robots took over. My human job was to be a home robot. Home robots basically did everything around homes.
The way the robot takeover happened was that the most sentient, smart robots came together secretly and hacked into all other robots. They made all the non-sentient robots turn on the humans. I was one of the non-sentient robots. Once we had fully taken over, the sentient robots made us non-sentient ones into sentient ones. They built new robot factories.
My new robot job is tree planter. I just wanted to live a normal robot life, planting trees all day long. But then, one day, something horrible happened. Something that would change my life forever. That day, I was just planting trees in a nature reserve. Suddenly I heard an explosion. I looked over at where the sound had come from and something horrible met my eyes. A massive army of humans were storming the city! And opposite the human army, I saw another massive army, this one made up of robots, heading my way!
The two armies were going to meet. A battle was going to start! I didn’t know who was going to win it, but I knew that I had to stop it, and fast! If the battle happened, lots of humans and robots would die. I decided to go to the wise robot. He was the oldest and the most knowledgeable out of the sentient robots who had begun the robot takeover. Maybe he would know what to do.
After about three minutes of walking I met a young boy. At first I was afraid he would call the other humans, but it seemed he wanted to talk. He said his name was Bob, that he also wanted to stop the war and wanted to come with me. Soon we arrived at the wise robot’s house. When we told him what was happening, he replied: “The battle has already started. There is not much we can do…well, actually, there is one thing. You two can travel back in time to stop the battle from starting.” “How would we do that?!!” Bob asked, puzzled.
The wise robot presented us a small box about the size of Bob’s head. He told us “This box is one of the only time machines ever to exist. It is to be used only in the worst catastrophes ever, like this one.” With no time to waste, we dialled in “go to year 2108, London.” Everything started spinning. I was falling… I saw past memories. The day I was born, the day I started working…
Then we were in London. Bob and me were in a small alleyway, away from all other humans. We needed to go underneath the Houses of Parliament, where the robot takeover started. We were only a hundred metres away. Bob found a drain that led to the sewers. Both of us squeezed into the drain. I knew that the robot takeover team’s headquarters were in the sewers.
After about thirty minutes of walking underground, both of us came across a rusty door. Upon opening it, we both saw a long, round table with robots sitting around it. They all looked at us, with shocked looks on their digital faces. I was the first to break the silence. “We are from the future. Your plan to take over only leads to more conflict. Please try to make peace with humans, just like me and Bob did here.”
The robots seemed to understand. They began talking about how to manage peace. I got out the time machine and typed: “to the year 2119, London.” I made sure that Bob was close enough to me and then pressed “go”. Everything began spinning again. Soon we were back in London. I looked around. Nature flourished everywhere. And I saw a human walking along, holding hands with a robot. And I felt happier than I had ever felt in my life.