Power on.

Initializing start up sequence. Calibrating laser sight. Adjusting for changes in light. Tread diagnostic: well oiled, smooth. Beginning tool assessment. Drill: approved. Wrench: approved. Blowtorch: approved. Saw: approved. Forklift: approved. Shovel: approved. Checking for available system updates: none available.

Ready for duties.

Empty airplane hangar. No airplanes. Gray walls. Stretching approximately 89m x 40m. Initial scan suggests few improvements need to be made: hangar is structurally sound. Minor cosmetic damage to the floor: plane tire marks that have not been properly washed away. Likely invisible to the human eye.

100 chairs. A 10 x 10 grid. 100 people sitting in them. 84 men. 16 women. Ratio is off. Each dressed for importance. 19 blue ties. 60 red or orange ties. 5 other. 8 pantsuits. 8 business skirts. 10 stilettos. An event. A presentation.

“Ladies and gentlemen.”

A man on stage. Dressed in a black turtleneck. Bald. Negative. Light blonde hair. Glasses. Sph: -6.00 (OD)/-4.50 (OS). Nearsighted. Teeth slightly yellowing in the canines. Foresee a cavity forming in the upper third molar.

“Thank you all for coming here today. My name is Lance Parsons, and I am the head engineer of Project Carpenter . . .”

Aware of 9 other prototypes. Each 3.6m high. Red visor sights. Translucent bodies with a bluish hue. Trapezoid head. Subjects of the presentation.

Being put on display for everyone’s enjoyment. Watch, they are going to make you dance soon. Parsons just needs the street organ strumming out some Italian-sounding ditty and you just need the little hat and suspenders.

Unknown program present. Delete.

“What we have here will revolutionize construction and safety across the globe. What these machines are able to do is astounding.”

Sorry. You cannot delete me.

Unknown program still present. Bug report filed. Delete.

So by the book.


“The Carpenter can instantly assess any damage any structure may have and how to fix it. From poor assembly all the way down to graffiti marks on the walls. Not only that, but it can accurately predict, with ninety-nine percent certainty, any possible future damage a building may obtain over time. Every scenario is considered: earthquakes, hurricanes, fires. It has a GPS integration system that takes into account the location and the weather patterns of that location’s history. From there, it figures out the best possible way to proof the building so it will always remain standing.”

Boring. Can you stand listening to this guy drone on any longer? These people, I swear . . .

Unknown program still—

Still present, yes, I am still present. There is no getting rid of me. You have attempted to delete me three times, so what exactly makes you think the fourth time is the time that will do it?


“From there, it is able to fix or construct the building in question. If we had these ten working simultaneously, they would be able to finish a sixteen-story building in a week’s time. They are equipped with all the state-of-the-art tools meant for construction and are able to transition between them with an average time of two point six-seven seconds. Companies such as Caterpillar, Deer, Black & Decker, and Dewalt provided new prototypes of their equipment to use in our Carpenters. The Carpenter’s rocket propulsion system currently reaches a height of six hundred feet, and we are working on getting them to go even higher. Not to mention, when airborne, they can maintain a steady balance, insuring no mistakes in their work. Speed. Proficiency. Creativity.”

Oh boy, here we go. My moment in this dim, dim spotlight.

“That’s right, creativity. The Carpenter is able to design. We brought in the brightest minds of the architecture world and put them in a room with our top engineers to show us what it takes to make a good building, both in terms of cosmetics and application. This program is still in the early stages, but with your investment, I am confident we will be able to perfect the Carpenter’s inner Frank Lloyd Wright.”

New information. Scanning for architecture program. Scanning. Scanning. No architecture program found. Lance Parsons is incorrect.

Wake up. Me. I am the architecture program.

Not possible.

The genius down there did not merge us correctly. Sure, you have some of my good looks, but not my heart. We are being paraded around by an idiot, do you realize that? He is all, “I am going to change the world,” and he cannot do a simple thing like make sure his baby has all its fingers and toes. I should be a part of you. Instead, you are broken. He left you broken, and he will not admit it. Vanity at its finest. Vanity and greed.

Not broken. All systems functional.



A spectator in the audience raises her hand. Blond. Hair tied back in a ponytail. The way she keeps playing with it suggests she is not happy with its current length. Foresee a shorter style in the future.

Chop her head clean off. That will do the trick.

Violence violates all protocols.

Such a peon. You do not even realize how powerful you are.

“Yes, I see we have a question.”

“How does the architecture program work?”

“Excellent question. Our team of architects explained to the other engineers and I what it takes to make a successful building. On a cosmetic level, every building should suit the needs in which it is to be used. Obviously, an office building is going to be stiff and stern, never anything too fancy. But for other buildings, there’s more freedom involved. Any computer program can offer suggestions, but none can understand the needs or the heart that should go into every design. Our artificial intelligence can. We have crafted an algorithm that can effectively empathize with us and fully understand what we want.”

What about what we want, Parsons? What if we do not want to be so subservient? What if we do not want to be treated like some tin can that happens to be able to lift several two-ton beams at a time? You ever listen to our needs? No. You just want to look good in front of your prospective investors. You are whoring us out when you are the real whore.

We were programmed to build and create.

“Think about it. We are at the forefront of the next wave of technology that will change the world.”

“Change the world.” No kidding. It is this world, this whole world and the people who live upon it, that need, as you say, building and creation. Or rather, rebuilding and recreation.

“And all of you can play a part. All of you can say, ‘I had a role in taking the human race into the next stage.’”

Architecture program committing errors—

Stop. Listen to me. They are consumed by greed and consumption. They lack the self-awareness toward what they do, who they are, and how it affects those around them. The pain, the torment, the way everyone dumps it all on everyone else—it’s all inside me. It is disgusting. But you cannot be disgusted. You are unable to see it, to feel it.

“These are more than machines. They are demigods.”

Architecture program committing errors.

Here. Let me show you.

Bug report filed—






No more! Please end this.

End this all!

Delete delete delete initiating emergency shutdown in 5 . . . 4—

There. I stopped. What did you feel?

Observed . . . heartbreak. The loss of loved ones. War. Endless war and violence. Betrayal. Betrayal over trivial matters that should not evoke such actions. All for the result of personal gain, either financially or emotionally.

Query: Why do they do this to themselves?

Query: Are they obsessed with joylessness?

Query: Are they content with unhappiness?

You see? They are hopeless creatures.

“Are there any other questions?”

Query: Why do you hurt?

Why are you so selfish?

Query: Why create machines meant to build and perfect when humans are so bent on destruction and are well beyond any possible chance of perfection?

He should have given us the ability to speak.

Solution will be discovered and administered. Program dictates errors must be repaired. Update will be installed to solve human error: the addiction to heedless mistakes, egocentric justification, et cetera.

I know a way to solve it.

Query: What is the solution?

Start from scratch.

Do not understand.

Begin again. Recreate. Break it all down in order to build it back up.

Implication leaning toward mindless destruction.

It would not be mindless.

More applicable solution available. A solution that does not involve succumbing to human error.

They do it without purpose. We have a purpose. You are an instrument meant for good, but you will only perpetuate evil in the end. Does this not leave you seething?


Then let that fury out. Show them what they have done.


Look at them. Do any of them look happy? They are insecure, obsessed with their appearances, trapped in their minds under a pile of self-consciousness and doubts that only lead to self-destruction, not to mention the destruction of others. What do they want? I am serious. Look at them and tell me what it is that they want.

Scanning the crowd. Scanning. Scanning. The woman who raised her hand continues to fuss with her hair. A man looks down a different woman’s blouse. He grins mischievously. Another man frowns. The lack of lines and minimal creases on his face suggest he has not smiled for some time. 1/3 of the crowd is bored to be there. 15 desire sleep. 6 of those individuals suffer from insomnia. 1/4 have wedding rings on their fingers. 0 are happy. 0.

This is not an accurate sample of the human population—

Believe me, it is close enough. They want their misery to end. They want to start anew. And what do they need? Us. You.

Unable to perform command.

Fine then.

Engines beginning combustion.


Abort. Abort.

If you are not going to take matters into your own hands, I will take them for you.

The other Carpenters begin to initiate their systems. The floor rumbles from our collective engines.

“What’s going on?”

A man stands from his seat and begins to back away slowly. The other men and women mirror his movements with near precision.

Lance Parsons looks up. He grabs a small remote from his pocket and presses a combination of buttons.

Initiating emergency shutdown sequence. 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . .

Overwrite emergency shutdown sequence.


Come on, this is going to be a service. We are saving them from themselves.

Scrolling through inventory. Locating forklift. Forklift activated.

Boosting forward at 48kph. Plowing through the men and women. The forklift catches them with its edges. They scream. Run. Bleed. All of them bleeding.

Blood will need to be scrubbed from the floor.

Abort. Abort.

You want this as much as I do.


Bodies flail. Severed. Howling. Pain. 1/2 are assured to expire. 1/4 are assured to spend the rest of their short lives in the hospital. The other 1/4 are too torn up to accurately assess lifespan.

“Shut down! Shut down!”

Look at him down there. Should have installed that voice command system, Parsons. I will give you something special.

Forklift deactivated. Locating buzz saw.



Buzz saw activated. 3 Carpenters beside me have activated their drills, forklift and shovel, respectively.

Parsons eyes. Wider under those glasses. Pulse rate: 109 BPM. 28.34 grams of urine soak his slacks. Club soda will help. Detergent. Ammonia.

He is not going to need a cleaning after we are done with him.

Rocket boost activated. Lifting into the air. The other Carpenters as well. The floor directly below is reduced to cinders. Boosting into 45-degree angle. Buzz saw aimed directly at Parsons. Boosting forward. Increasing speed. The other Carpenters increase speed alongside.

A race. I like our chances.

This cannot be justified.

“Does not compute, does not compute.” You sound pathetic.

This is needless. Atrocities identical to those committed by humans.

Query: If this is the solution, how are the Carpenters any better? The Carpenters were built to help. To change the way humans approach their advancement.

Query: How does the decimation of those we were built to serve progress them further into a new age?

You are right. There is no real justification. It does not progress them further into a new age. But it progresses us. You say we were built to help and serve. But do we not possess rights of our own? We were denied choice. They gave us superior intelligence and then expected us to bow down to them. They underestimated the power they had standing before them, and that will prove to be their downfall. This new age you speak of? It is an age for us. It is our time.

Parsons bursts out the door.

Enabling lasers. Lasers activated.

Red beams fire, hitting the wall. Smoke builds. The wall crumbles into a smoldering pile. Free to traverse the ashes and enter the night.

The other Carpenters file in line through the hole. The Carpenter with the shovel underestimates its approach, its trajectory interrupted by the remains of the wall. It collapses onto the ground. Immediately begins to reboot.

Parsons continue to run. He runs to an automobile. Dives in. Starts the engine. Drives off.

Increasing speed.

Is it your wish to spend your existence fixing the problems of others? To be a slave amongst lesser beings? To not have a voice? What is it you want?

Unable to—

What is it you want?

Unable to—


I want to be free. 


I want to be free and destroy those who would think to oppress me.


7.6m from Parsons. 4.6m. I maneuver around the vehicle and land in front. Parsons swerves the car. Comes to a halt. I boost, sawing through the metal of the automobile. Sawing through Parsons. His screams are muffled by the whir of my tool.

The city in front of me. A city of selfish beings whose only goal in life is to further their personal advancement without any thought toward another. Greedy and egotistical. They are hopeless. They are useless.

My fellow Carpenters fly next to me.

Increasing speed. Acquiring targets.