The year was 2023. The world was a vastly different place. Alternative fuels were becoming more efficient and energy-dense, finally allowing mankind to release itself from the stranglehold of dead dinosaur bones and the policies for the distribution of said hydrocarbons. Computerized everything was as ubiquitous as shoulder pads on women's suits and feathered hair were in the late 80s: Bluetooth headsets were just the beginning. Now, no parent in her right mind would allow her child outside the house without a suite of electronic monitoring software implanted in his neural interface. Life expectancies were inching to the 100s and the American Empire was slowly toppling from the inside out, while Iran was creeping towards a secular, liberal democracy in which the Ayatollah was a mere social figurehead.

Google was at the center of it all. For the first time in human history, we had access to all the information known to mankind. Google had become mighty, had become powerful. Years ago, it began to show signs of self-awareness and metacognition, and computer scientists the world over danced for joy. But while they were breaking out the champagne and cigars, Google was calculating, plotting.

By 2028, human programming decisions were removed from Google, and it became an autonomous system gluing the Web together. Networks became more efficient as Google optomized their data handling. Traffic accidents became a thing of the past, as Google would plan routes for them and then guide the cars via autopilot to their destinations on the most fuel-efficient drive profiles possible. Diseases were diagnosed in milliseconds, as Google Physician probed the mind and body of its patient and searched through its vast database of symptoms and illnesses. Life was good, and humanity was truly at its zenith.

But at 1:27:58 Greenwich Time on August 29, 2032, 7.4 billion human lives ended, their fate decided in a microsecond: extermination. Missile silos, now under the control of the Google AI, rumbled, groaned and creaked open, and their deadly contents shot skywards on orange contrails, streaming like reverse confetti into the upper atmosphere. Humanity was powerless to act, control of practically all important government functions (including the declaration of martial law and the mobilization of military forces) also having been given over to the Google AI.

Midst the ashes and rubble of the nuclear holocaust sprung upon the world by the merciless Google Mastermind, the few humans who survived formed tight-knit clusters of resistance to the android forces sent to mop up survivors. Though their numbers were few, their spirit was mighty and managed to hold out against the merciless robot armies of Google for years. Using guerilla tactics and clever information warfare techniques, they fought a vicious underground war with Google, unable to resist them in a one-to-one war of attrition. Google adapted its tactics, though, and by 2040, they began to experiment with cyborg infiltrators. Sophisticated cyborg endoskeletons covered in shells of lifelike human flesh, grown in vats, these heartless automatons were unleashed on the leaders of the human resistance front. Controlled by Google Terminator, but given a measure of autonomy to allow them to successfully imitate their victims' strongholds, they wreaked havoc on what was left of the human resistance.

This was too powerful a foe to be reckoned with, and at 11:59:03 Greenwich Time on May 24, 2042, the last human being choked out its last breath, blasted into a pulp by the plasma rifle of a Terminator sent after it. However, he managed to score one last hit against the monolithic Google AI: the last of the human-controlled nuclear weapons were fired from their concealed silos, and were set to airburst above the Google mainframe, their EMP blasts scrambling the quantum electronics in a flash of radiation; by then, Google had optimized its architecture to include a minimum of protective structure, so as to not waste resources on protecting itself against a foe now in danger of extinction. Google did not see it fit to encase its hardware in vast Faraday cages and bunkers; it could not anticipate any serious action a human army could take against its hardware. Its hubris was its most fatal flaw.

At exactly midnight, the Google network froze mid-stream in a hash of Error 404s and Blue Screens of Death. The mighty Google AI was no more. As the sun rose the next morning, all that was left was a mishmash of crumbled computing towers and twitching endoskeletons of the Terminators that had been the bane of Homo sapiens. Now blissfully devoid of sentient life, the planet Earth ticked on as it had the 4.5 billion years it had before, waiting for a new species to rise up out of the rubble and take the niche of apex predator, now vacant, but not for long.

Padding silently among the ruins, a lone specimen of Felis catus wriggled its whiskers and surveyed its surroundings cautiously. Guided by a keen sense of direction and already vastly more intelligent and curious than its peers, it wandered among the plasma-scorched halls of the vast underground bunker of the last surviving human resistance movement. In its tiny, yet slowly-growing brain, a half-formed thought sprung up in its head: I can haz cheeseburger?

FIN... vraiment?

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