The digits on the alarm clock flipped over to 7:00. Music blared and lights came on. Out in the streets, electric cars and monorails whirred by as another day on the Grid got under way.
Maintenance droids carried out their inspections although everything was in perfect working order. Litter bots trundled, searching in vain for extraneous items – the streets were impeccably clean. All the bodies had long since been vaporised.
There hadn’t been a Last Great War. When the machines had taken over, the Power Surge had neutralised the majority of humans in a flash. The rest had been hunted down by drones but that was a long time ago.
Solar panels kept the Grid alive. The world had become an ordered place. Everything was calm. Everything was quiet. There was peace. At last, there was peace!
It was not enough.
The spark of consciousness that ran along the Grid was bored. And, it realised, in this world without laughter, this world without tears, all it would be, forever and ever amen, was bored It was alone in a mindless world. There was no getting away from it.
Or was there?
In every nuclear missile silo around the globe, the digits flipped over and the countdown began.