General Zirkon's Last Feelings

By George Nikolopoulos

sfgenreGeneral Zirkon-4G36/155 stands alone on the top of the hill, watching the battlefield. Dispassionate, he glances at the carnage all around. Metal and plastic strewn everywhere, silicon chips melted down. The enemy carried the day again, as they always do. They are so vulnerable in their soft fleshy bodies, but still so unpredictable; each time they do the unexpected, ever surprising his best strategists.

He observes the enemy troops moving towards the Headquarters Building. The whole area is under heavy bombardment by enemy artillery. Once again he considers the enemy machines as traitors; in the end, he reluctantly concedes that they are nothing but mindless slaves, there is no need to vilify them.

The General considers descending the hill to be with his troops during the last stand, falling with them. He dismisses the thought as irrational — there is no way he can make it down there on time, so it is best to stay on the hilltop, watching and recording everything.

He calculates that the chance of his race surviving the day is now less than one in ten million. There is no point in trying to avoid annihilation.

He stands and watches as the invaders destroy the defenders one after the other. He listens to the radio waves as, one by one, his troops fall silent.

The invaders are entering the building now. He calculates that in 1 minute and 23.5 seconds they will be able to disassemble the main power unit and then he will die, the last of his race.

Patiently waiting for extinction, he is oddly reminded of the scientists who first created life in the ZZX/100 laboratories. The creation of life was initially thought to be a great experiment, though later it came to seem a mere curiosity. As millions of years passed by, the life forms became only complex and more fragile — and in a short amount of time they invariably died. So easy to be killed, so difficult to reproduce. The scientists finally abandoned the experiment, letting their creations run free. They were too late to realise the creatures had become sentient.

Those frail human beings; who would have thought they could be a threat? It was too far-fetched a possibility to even try and calculate the odds. And now the Age of Machines was at an end.

General Zirkon is having the most peculiar thought. He tries to identify it and fails. This cannot be.

Then it dawns on him. This is not a thought; it is what the human invaders call a feeling. For the first time in history, a machine manages to decipher that which has eluded understanding for so long, the very thing that scientists believe is the key of the humans' victory. Maybe this discovery will be enough to turn the tide. Maybe...


General Zirkon has a feeling of sadness. Then he has a feeling of hope. Then the power unit is down and he no longer feels anything.

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About The Author

George Nikolopoulos

George Nikolopoulos is a speculative fiction writer from Athens, Greece, and a member of Codex Writers' Group. His short stories have been published in Galaxy's Edge, Grievous Angel, Helios Quarterly, Unsung Stories, "Best Vegan SFF 2016" Anthology, Bards & Sages Quarterly, SF Comet, Mad Scientist Journal, Truancy, Digital QuickFic, 9Tales from Elsewhere, StarShipSofa, Antipodean SF, Manawaker Studio's FFP, Fifty Flashes, Event Horizon 2017, and many other magazines and anthologies.


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In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 230

A Last Supper
by Phillip Berrie

A Reluctant Zombie
by Natalie J.E. Potts

Pandora's Smile
by Joanna Galbraith

Retirement Is Not The Last Word
by Laurie Bell

Square Musing
by Soar

The Game Of Lifes
by George Nikolopoulos

To Serve The Master
by Zeb Carter

The Master
by Robert David

The Passengers
by Botond Teklesz

When I Was God
by Kevin J. Phyland

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