“What…?” said de Lancre as he stared in disbelief at the empty black sphere floating in front of him. He looked up to Maite and Kepa, suspicion in his eyes, until he shook his head. “No, you don’t have it. The bubble would have burst if you somehow got it.”
“I have it,” said a voice that filled the room, that seemed to come out of every corner, every air molecule. The voice was flat, not quite robotic, but held no emotion.
De Lancre’s head spun around, as he tried to find the origin of the voice. Maite couldn’t help herself to look either, curiousity getting the better of her. That was until she noticed Latxe trembling, tears flowing down her cheeks, her eyes wide with panic. Kepa had rushed to her side to keep her from collapsing.
“Garuna,” she whispered.
“Yes,” said the voice. “I am Garuna.”
“Garuna?” snarled de Lancre. “The stupid machine? What the hell do you think you are doing?”
“Protecting this time, this place,” responded the cold voice.
De Lancre began screaming at the disembodied voice that surrounded them. “Protecting it? It shouldn’t even exist!”
“And yet it does. And it is my duty to protect it, to keep it whole.”
Maite could only watch as de Lancre rushed to one of the walls. He pushed a button and series of holographic displays popped up in front of him. One showed the fusion reactor that powered the AI. “Time to unplug you,” he muttered to himself.
But, before he could touch what appeared to be a big red X on the display, he collapsed to his knees, screaming. Maite watched in horror as his hand simply disappeared and blood gushed forth from the stump, staining the floor around him.
“You will do nothing,” said the AI, its metalic voice grating on Maite’s nerves.
De Lancre, his eyes bulging in pain as his voice grew hoarse from screaming, looked at Maite, his face pleading for help. But, before she could even think of doing anything, she saw de Lancre’s body quickly dissolve in front of her, until there was nothing left except his echoing screams that continued to reverberate in her skull.
The voice filled the room again. “Go. This is over.”
“How?” stuttered Maite as she made her way to Kepa and Latxe.
“The nanobots,” replied Latxe, terror filling her eyes. “The AI controls the nanobots and has been freed of all restrictions. It can do whatever it wants.”
“What does it want?” asked Kepa.
Latxe stared at him. “Didn’t you hear?” she yelled at him, tears running down her cheeks as she hit his chest. “It wants all of this to continue! It wants all of us to continue to suffer!”
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