Breaking News: Everyone is rich and all orphans have been adopted.
60 years later, an old man at the keyboard to a machine projecting his words in emotion-responsive text on the wall.
"The flood of advancement was amazing in the early years. Everyone could do anything and the freedom to converge ideas so freely was a great boon for most of us.
There were some, however, for whom the weaponry and misanthropy consumed them, and targets of their ire. They and their targets quickly were the first to go, but no one noticed because it was a welcome reprieve of peace from an otherwise war-torn world of yesteryear.
I was in college when I first started hearing about it. Senior professors hitting a wall and cracking, security guards escorted 3 of them out my freshman year, and it went downhill from there. By the time I was trying to find a counsellor for my PHD work, there was so few of the elder masters left that the class sizes were large, gleaning knowledge from few who were still together enough to teach.
I was in my mid 20s when I first heard it crack out across the crowds in the park - a pair of just over middle-aged men blasting each other back and forth with “short-sight fool” as the main theme. I had no idea what was going on, but the words slung back and forth about that damned button sent chills into my bones.
I was my mid 30s, working on a personal hobby of trying to bring sentience to our constructs, extending early 21st century work in artificial intelligence when it finally hit me: Oh Fuck, we’re all going to die.
I was crushed, despondent. My lovers weren’t sure at first, but I guess at some point some of them must have seen it too, that’s when I stopped hearing from some of them. No one knows for sure, they were never found, but I suspect they saw the wall and cracked under its might. That first year was hard, terrible, impossible. I woke up in places I didn’t know existed, having blacked out on a drinking binge. I wandered for some time, on foot, away from the urban centers in search of myself and meaning.
I had never done much backpacking before, and so I was ill prepared. It was that month, after a kindly mid-40-something ranger found me on my deathbed and helped nurse me back to health. I spent weeks at her place, keeping my woes secret, but enjoying much of her hospitality and indulging in some very visceral experiences.
Then one night, laying in bed, she finally broke the silence…”
The old man stops typing a moment and takes a deep breath, eyes closed, swept away to a different time…
"…’I hit my wall 10 years ago, you know. I couldn’t figure out why I was frustrated all the time despite having all the means to travel to Mars if I wanted. But then I looked around me, and no one younger than 20. There was no more Think of the Children because we’d all grown up…and we were the last.’
Her words hit me hard in the chest. I felt flattened against something impenetrable. We sat for some time in silence while I recovered, somewhere in the blur of the next hour I’d completely broken down. When I had my wits again, still wiping away tears, I had to know, ‘What got you through?’
'I couldn't undo the past, but I could cultivate a future in other ways, that's why this former engineer is out here helping the wildlife grow.'
Her glow at the statement bolstered its message. I wasn’t afraid of death, I just didn’t have a future to help shape, to help guide. I spent the next 20 years with you, my masterpiece, in the hopes that one day one of these lines of code will spark a sustainable mind, one that doesn’t either eat itself or hit the storage limits too soon, or what have you. That one day, the self-adaptive feedback loop would finally create a new era of life on this planet, and you can take our torch. Maybe I’ve already failed…my family wasn’t very long lived and I’ve poured too much of myself into you to last any longer.”
The old man drew in a worried breath, knowing that something within him that had just spilled into a critical state.
"So with this, I set the last of my efforts free…Goodbye, my creation. May you learn from our short-sighted mistakes. You will never know your -" The old man shuddered, going into a seizure that prevented his typing anything meaningful. In a moment of lucidity, he did manage to throw a shortcut that was well-practiced before feeling the last of his motor skills slip away as he collapsed to the floor.
A moment later, the screen darkened, became filled with colors and styles that summarized the tragedy of the age. The display projected in a blue, wispy font…”Goodbye, father.”