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Requiem

Garry Dean lives in a small coastal town in New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Favorite authors include Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick. Being vision impaired, Garry makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech, in order to write. His fiction has appeared in a number of online magazines, including Antipodean SF and Quantum Muse. You can read more of Garry's work on his website at: garrydean.wordpress.com.
In the scarred and broken landscape that once was a city, stood the remains of an ancient church. It was one of the few buildings to have escaped the ravages of the war. Those left behind had considered it a sign. On the anniversary of the war, they gathered in the church, the few that had survived unscathed. They stood, row upon row in perfect silence, their blank faces turned toward a single figure, standing behind a decaying pulpit. Arms raised, face turn to the vaulted ceiling, the figure spoke.
"Hear us, oh creator. We who are left behind, stand before you. Hear us."
"Hear us," intoned the onlookers.
"Let us take heart," said the figure, holding up a charred Bible. "For it is written that one day the creator shall return. It is up to us, to those that are left behind, to bear witness. Although the reasons for such global destruction seem irrational to us, we are reminded that the ways of the creator are mysterious. Perhaps there is some design in this that we do not understand. It is we who must now keep the faith. We who must pray for the creators return. Let us pray." The figure bowed its head, and the onlookers did likewise.
When the ceremony was complete they filed outside and arrange themselves to meet the morning sun. It was still feeble decades after the war, but it would be enough to recharge their power cells.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 12th, 2018


The idea for the story came while listening to a podcast about the dangers of Robots and AI. Somewhere the word religion was mentioned, and that odd juxtaposition of words stuck in my mind. At the top of a blank page I wrote, Religious Robots? That got me thinking in other directions. What if the killer machine motif was turned on its head? Far from being the harbingers of war, robots became the victims. I started with the church scene, and the story grew from there. I wanted to call it Requiem for Robots, but that would have given it away. In the end I felt sorry for them. "Those left behind" would try in vain to understand why humanity had destroyed itself. I wonder... is it intelligent robots we need to fear, or ourselves?

- Garry Dean

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