Shape of Things

It was like watching a public presentation for the newest cellphone. The man walked out onto the stage, smiling, enthusiastic, and ready to show the world the latest gadget that the world ‘must-have.’

At first many didn’t see it, the thing was so small as it flew with a sharp humming noise out to arms-length from the presenter. He then offered it his hand and an autonomous airborne vehicle (AAV) lightly touched down in his palm.

“This is the latest in Artificial Intelligence,” he said. “It can processes its surroundings faster than I can close my hand around it.”

He quickly snapped his hand closed, but the drone escaped before his fingers touched it. Then the AAV zipped back and forth, scanning the crowd in the auditorium, face patterns being recognized and displayed on the large screens behind the presenter.

The crowd was delighted, oohing and awing, clapping at each new thing the AAV accomplished. Then the tone of the room changed when the fast-moving thing spotted another face, this one on the stage opposite from the presenter.

With exacting accuracy, the AAV swooped into position, touching lightly against the forehead of the face. The face belonged to a mannequin and before anyone in the audience realized it, the AAV discharged with a small puff of smoke.

The shattered bits fell all about the stage, while the mannequin remained standing a small hole in the forehead where the AAV had made contact. The crowd cheered and clapped wildly.

“Yes,” the presenter said, “Bad actors of the world are soon to be a thing of the past.’

He stepped aside and the screen behind him lit up with a mountainous desert scene that drew closer and closer until the ground was but feet from the AAV. Suddenly, a man’s face appeared and a fast as that, it disappeared.

Other men standing near him began to run from the area, however, like the man prior, their faces disappeared from the processor’s view. Pop after pop was heard until the screen went dark.

This was quickly followed by an overhead view of the landscape. Seven bodies lay in the sand, blood pooling about their lifeless heads.

“Seven criminals, gone,” the presenter stated, as the crowd cheered, “Using one of these AAV’s and a shape-charge of less than an ounce.”

Five days later, an attack left 262 Congressional members and the President dead.

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