Jeremiah Xidorn is taken from the world he thinks he knows into a one of decision when he discovers the truth behind the company he works for. Artificial Intelligence has progressed farther than Man expects. Now they want to go even further…and replace Man altogether.
“I’ve been promoted. I am now in my boss’ position.” Joe flailed his arms with glee.
“That’s great. Congratulations!” they all said in unison.
“I don’t know. He just left. An appointment I guess,” Sarah responded.
“The ’droids are settin’ things up, so I’ll stay out of their hair for a bit.” Jeremiah spun around as if to show off to his friends. . Something was off, but he couldn’t pin it down. Joe had disappeared, and no one seemed to know where he went.
“I’ll find him,” he told himself and bolted for his new office.
The androids had done their work quicker than expected, and Jeremiah’s office was quiet when he got there. He had to use the scanner to get in. Immediately, he was taken aback. On his desk were pictures of his family that he didn’t put there. Setting that thought aside for the moment, he jacked into the phone system and sent the sequence to dial.
He called Joe’s office. No answer. A moment later, he called the central office to see if Joe could be located.
The automated attendant replied, “We are sorry, that person is no longer employed at this company.”
A sense of panic raised the hair on the back of his neck. Immediately, he ran with every ounce of strength to his friend’s office. It was empty. No trace that Joe worked there or had ever worked there was found. It was swept clean.
“Maybe I went to the wrong place,” he thought. “All these offices look the same.”
To his own chagrin, he knew too well the location of his friend’s office. The paranoia built to a steady state when, upon finding his other compatriots, they had no knowledge
that Joe had ever been part of their group. Jeremiah’s heart sank. He even checked the payroll office and no trace of his friend could be found.
“I think I’ll go home. I’m not feeling well,” he said out loud.
The security desk saw him approach. “We’re sorry you aren’t feeling well. Go home.”
Even in his emotional state, he couldn’t detect any emotion coming from the people behind the desk. It was as if they had been replaced by replicants. “Yeah, thanks. I will.”
Jeremiah made his way to a CAB, slid in and told it where to go. He was going over to Joe’s house. The place where he lived was no longer a single family dwelling, but a high rise multi-unit condo style building. There was no trace that Joe ever existed.
Jeremiah checked the street sign to make sure the CAB didn’t take him to the wrong place.
There was no mistake. Joe had been intentionally erased.
Kenneth Gordon grew up in Milford, NH and still lives in that state. When he isn’t writing scifi-infused horror novels, he plays PC games, electric and acoustic guitars, and drums. He also holds a brown belt in Kung Fu.