The problem as it stands: The City of Seattle Roads and Bridges AI has determined that it will be necessary to deliver 900 nubile and fit human beings to a lonely cul-de-sac in the Fremont neighborhood at a particular upcoming date and time.
The story thus far:
1964: Gary Borenstein, a young civil engineer, is working for the city. He is responsible
for bridges, particularly the type that go up and down, and more particularly the Fremont Bridge.
Gary it seems would often sign up for night shifts as a bridge tender at the Fremont Bridge because it gave him time to work on his hobby, which was fiction writing. He was interested in particular in a genre known as Dystopian Futurism, a style described at the time as being something like a bad acid trip, only on paper. He was a bit of a hippy. Long hair, espresso, incense, small foreign cars, Chianti, etc….The extra money he made also helped to cover the expense of his other hobby, which was hashish. Which he liked to smoke. A lot. He kept his writing on the same shelf as the engineering reports for the bridge as he would work on both whenever he was on site. Gary also had a reputation for being somewhat paranoid and received an official diagnosis for this in 1967. He didn’t take it too seriously as they were clearly out to get him. He also claimed that there was a creature, possibly a cyclops, living in the foundation of a bridge near the Fremont Bridge, the Aurora Bridge. He claims to have had several significant discussions with this creature and was forced at one point to barter with it for the future safety of the city. This was just before he resigned his position and left town. He was last seen on a beat up sailboat heading north through the Inside Passage.
In 1995 computers were the big new thing. They were all the rage. Their popularity knew no bounds. Everything was being digitized, which meant scanned and stored on large spinning disks or something. It was determined that city records should also be digitized. A young intern working for the Department of Roads and Bridges was tasked with finding the old engineering reports from the various bridges around the city and getting them all properly scanned. At the Fremont bridge this intern grabbed everything on the appropriate shelf, and what he grabbed of course included Gary’s somewhat dusty and long forgotten Dystopian Futurism.
Time continued to pass.
In 2029 the City of Seattle put the city’s roads and bridges under the care and authority of the city’s Roads and Bridges AI. The AI, per usual, immediately scanned and absorbed all of the records associated with the bridges under its care and pondered the information provided by Gary’s manuscripts. After pondering for about seven seconds it realized that it would be necessary to take immediate action and, more specifically, that it would be necessary to round up and sacrifice 900 people who met specific preset standards for age, physical health and muscle tone (henceforth referred to as “nubile and fit”). This would be necessary to fulfill a contractual agreement with a Cyclops. To that end the Roads and Bridges AI began working with the Police and Security AI to organize a run, a marathon which would deliver 900 fit and nubile young people at the place and time agreed to when Gary was forced to negotiate with the Cyclops for the future of mankind and the safety and functionality of the Fremont Bridge.
Meanwhile: The National Security AI has realized that the City of Seattle Roads and Bridges AI has been presenting some rather strange ideas and plans of action and has had the foresight to alert the National Bureau of Artificial Intelligence.
It didn’t take long for Edward Haskell, the newly appointed chief of the newly created National Bureau of Artificial Intelligence to get word about the special marathon for the nubile and fit out in the hinterlands of Seattle fucking Washington, and it must be said that he did not find this in any way happy news. The idea that the local roads and bridges AI may have been somehow undone by the demented musings of a 60’s stoner civil servant sent him into an “apoplectic rage”. It was the last thing that either he nor AI in general needed. People were already on edge with stories of out of control AI domination and visions of a Terminator style future. But the more Edward thought about this situation the more he began to think that perhaps the best course of action would be no action at all. AIs had had hallucinations before, this certainly wasn’t the first time. This was after all about nothing. The problem was all a mirage, a fantasy. Once the marathon was over and no cyclops had arrived to collect its human sacrifice the Roads and Bridges AI would hopefully go back to worrying about roads and bridges and everything could go back to normal. It’s not like there was anything that he could actually do anyway. The public had only nervously gone along with the whole AI thing after being assured that there wouldn’t be an AI large and powerful enough to ever control everything. The downside to this was that there would be no AI large and powerful enough to step in and take control if two or three AIs got together and decided to go native.
Meanwhile, the Roads and Bridges AI had been feverishly conferring with the Police and Public Security AI to prepare the route and timing of the marathon so that it fulfilled the terms of the agreement made with the Cyclops. The route was an odd one, taking many little used neighborhood streets and ending, for no clear reason, at a dead end under the Aurora Bridge.
The day of the marathon for the nubile and fit at last arrived, and the runners ran. As they were approaching the last block of the course concrete panels on either side of the street began to whir and slide open. Large gears wrapped with steel cable began rising to the surface, turning and trembling slowly and ominously. As they turned the far end of the road began to sink. Slowly and ominously. The road now angled downward into the great ember orange maws of the earth. It was into this massive mouth that the runners ran. Once 900 had disappeared the roadway rose back into position.
Not Much Time Passed
The City of Seattle Roads and Bridges AI received a receipt from the Cyclops. Edward Haskell began vigorously polishing his resume. A number of desperate calls were put in to Arnold Schwarzenegger.