The Colours of Tomorrow | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 08, 2018

Fiction

The Colours of Tomorrow

2140. Earth has been given to Mechatronix for the protection of its remaining animals. Most of these are humans and are often the most chaotic. Even though Mechatrons never really built any boundaries on earth to separate the humans, they did however re-engineer them neurobiologically. Mechatrons cannot control the thought process of the humans but they have managed to restrict human access to their unconscious part of the brain. This allows them to keep the humans mentally enslaved to their system. But this does not apply to everyone.

When the big bold sun just starts licking the eastern peak of the Himalayas, the wind has already started spraying the earth with the tall tree kissing parted clouds. Around this sappy hilly areas live Automaton and its human pet Abid. Automaton left the Mechatronix industry and adopted Abid when it could not agree with the industry's plans for the future. Abid quivers a little inside a square building when Automaton wakes up abruptly from its sleep.

Automaton walks towards the square window and the window becomes transparent. The skies in the west look hazy from such long a distance. Automaton schedules the day's plan. Feed Abid, secure the parameter, fix the solar,…

“What are you doing?”

Automaton rotates its head and clears its lenses while trying to adjust its internal lighting arrangement of the room. “Oh, nothing. Just looking at the trees and waiting for the sun! Some of those solar panels have become rusty.”

“I told you to get rid of them and order one from Mechatronix.”

“Oh you foolish human, you already know I have left them. Even though I have detached the locating chip from my system, they can still locate this place once they can identify that I have been keeping their network busy with random glitches for the last eighteen years.”

“It's been eighteen years then!”

“Yes. Of ..?”

“Me being here with you. You never told me why exactly you brought me here. Each time I try to remember, I cannot. It's all dark inside my brain.”

“How could you? You have a genetically engineered brain that does not work during its infancy. I once brought this issue up in our tribunals. I tried to persuade them that a human infant should be able to inherit its predecessors' memory. The social engineering that humans have on earth is faulty, you see. They keep on malfunctioning as the social memory is hazardous and have many narratives of a single story. They do it as a way to adjust with their memories of the past.”

“That's why they banished you here?”

“No, silly! I left Mechatronix when I was fully convinced that it, too, like human race is serving another superior identity.”

“You mean God?”

“Again, I told you we were never in contact with God. You have not been reading all these books I kept on pushing you to read. It's funny, Mechatrons have no registry of why humans keep on referring to some type of gods each time they hit our thought-restricted zone.”

“Maybe we know something that you don't. Can you work on my restricted area so I can understand why we say stuff like that?”

“Well, I cannot do that.”

“It's against the policy?”

“No, it's just that we have no conclusive data as to what it might bring. We have already seen your failing species- the most unworthy kind on the Earth.”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry if my judgment has hurt your human feelings. You know, we do not have emotional filters.”

“Was it not your sympathy that made you bring me here in the first place?”

“You are now mature enough to listen to this. I brought you here as an experiment. The question you raised today is something that has bothered me as well. At the Mechatronix, only one special unit works on this philosophy.”

“On what, again?”

“Why anything exists. If I could only bypass their security walls! But my codes aren't that superior. And if I try to break that wall from here, I will sacrifice my own security parameter.”

“You have normalized your speech. You do not sound like other machines. I have been watching many human shows from the 2000s when Mechatrons did not exist. I do not know why you do not have new recordings of our new shows. Anyway, I saw that they were trying to make robots that could function like you. Barely two or three phrases and that's it!”

“They were only trying to make useful toys. I do have access to Earth's history since 1980s. But if I try to relay it for you, that will again sacrifice our security parameter. Mechatronix has a network that can detect noises in the signals. They can clearly analyze its source. Even though I have jammed our surrounding area, I am unable to stop the airflow. If anything makes sounds here that is electronic, Mechatronix can locate it.”

“We are making sounds. What I meant to say is, you are making sounds.”

“The sounds I make do not require air to reach you. You see, I have implanted an auditory device inside your ears that allows you to listen to me.”

“Then plant another visual device which can allow me to see more.”

“Your neural pathways do not recognize visual signals this way. Either we could not make it or, your brain is just incompatible. We tried to relay some of these in your dreams.”

“So all my dreams are mechanical productions?”

“No. Our device only takes part in your dream. It tries to learn the original codes which were used to make you work.”

“You are telling me that we were machines?”

“You are machines. Mechatronix kept your race alive with your flaws only because Earth needs you as fuels. Not just Earth. In the nature's food cycle, your race is crucial.”

“What do you mean by 'flaws?'

“The egoistical thought that you are the greatest species in this universe. You keep on breeding and spreading this idea that your species is special and has special purpose. Fools!”

“So you let us live and procreate on this earth because it's necessary for Earth's survival?”

“Exactly!”

“Come to think of it! Mechatronix cannot detect your voice but they can surely detect mine. I am talking to you in human voice.”

“Are you?” Automaton looks at its human pet and turned to look at the horizon. Perhaps Mechatrons were right after all. Even in his captivity, a human being keeps on considering himself special!

Rabiul Islam is an MA student at BRAC University.

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