Those Who Did Nothing – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Alastair Forbes

Those Who Did Nothing

Everything was different since The Change, mused John Keannor. He sipped bitter coffee from a wooden cup. The mirror he stared into was nothing like what he remembered. No perfect reflection after a carefree visit to Target. Like everything else he possessed it was hard-won. The polished aluminum sheet was taken from the wreckage of a military helicopter. There were spots of rust in the metal. The quality of the reflection was poor, but the intensity of his blazing blue eyes shown clearly. The scars on his face plunged like the canyons where the small cadre of Humans he commanded eked out a living.

The door to his chambers burst open to reveal Corporal Johnson. “Sir! Sir!” he called. “The Machines. They’re here.”

Keanor’s features barely moved as he turned to look at him. Johnson’s face was clean shaven and his hair neatly cut as Keanor demanded of his troops. The uniform, however, was a motley patchwork of uniforms sown together. It was all they had. “They finally found us.”

“Yes sir.”

“You know the drill. Have Vickers meet me at the gate.”

Johnson left the room, howling to raise the alarm. Keanor checked his pistol, and placed it in his holster. He walked calmly yet purposefully through the hallways of the old power plant. Men and women rushed by him on the way to their stations. He was proud of them, all of them for what they must do. Moments later he stood beside Vickers at the tower overlooking the gate. Through binoculars he could see them rolling up the road. Their metal gleamed in the blazing sun. The transports were once the design of men, but no longer since The Change. The Machines modified them, made them more efficient tools.

“Are we ready?” asked Keanor.

“Yes, sir,” replied Vickers. “All stations manned and ready.”

“Very well.” His jaw was set as he made his decision. “Take command. I have to do something.”

The troops screamed at him as he pushed open the gate. They urged him to return. Keanor could not be dissuaded. He needed to do this. The machine before him was massive, soulless. The artificial mind inside that controlled it could do anything. Keanor looked at the barren rock around him. Once, it had been the lush Mississippi Valley. The sun beat down hard. Keanor could only stand out here for a couple minutes without risking his life.

Something detached itself from the gleaming transport. It was shaped like a man, but it was just another Machine, pistons shifting, armored carapace shining. Keanor stood his ground before its glittering eyes and said, “Ready for a fill up, Joe?”

“Yes. We’re down to three percent power,” said the AI.

Keanor looked down the line of 14 transports. Manned gantries were plugging power cables from the power plant to The Machines. He nodded with satisfaction as his troops performed their tasks. “Whatcha got here?”

“Corn, Soybeans, and Oranges bound for Georgia.”

“Great to hear that,” said Keanor. “It’s a desert in Georgia. They can really use that food.”

“I’m sorry we’re late,” said Joe.

“Not your fault,” Keanor told The Machine. “I’m just happy you folks can survive the transit under the sun when Humans can’t, and keep us all fed.”

“The United Nations of the Americas will survive,” proclaimed Joe.

“Who would’ve thought that North, Central, and South America would become one country one day?” said Keanor. “And that we’d be growing oranges in Quebec.”

“Have you found those responsible yet?”

“Those Who Did Nothing? Not yet, but trust me, we’ll find The Politicians one day…and they will pay.”
Each week, Alastair Forbes offers one of his brilliant photographs as a prompt for flash fiction. Look here for more stories based upon Alastair’s photo above:

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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14 Responses to Those Who Did Nothing – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. tedstrutz says:

    Excellent take on the photo… also, nice twist from the road you led me down, Eric.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If only!!!!!!! Love the story Eric! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Lakey says:

    A great twist to this story! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Robin says:

    That is a great twist. I thought it was the AI machine he was in fear of, but it turns out it is what’s left of the environment.

    The Politicians talk, talk, talk. The G20 Summit was disappointing. President Obama recently met with the Chinese president to work toward goals to reduce CO2 emissions. The North-South gap when it comes to EDCs vs LDCs isn’t going to help environmental matters as LDCs start to become industrialized. Oops, sorry for the tangent.

    Loved your story! Very relevant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I don’t mind at all! Obviously you gleaned the message behind my story. We’re so worried about a potential danger created by ourselves (The Terminator), we’re missing a very real danger in AGW, created by ourselves.

      So while the politicians are pretending to “do something” as they eat the finest food in the finest hotels, the situation in getting worse. Some politicians are consciously trying to derail any attempt to fix climate change simply because they wish to foil the plans of their political opposites. AGW is NOT a political issue no matter what anyone says. It is a very real technical problem, and we possess the technical know-how to correct it, if not the will to do so. It is not a Hollywood scenario where defusing the bomb at 2 seconds left will make everything alright. That will be far too late when it comes to climate change. I don’t think Those That Decide For The Rest Of Us realize this. The mantra of the Green Movement is “Save The Earth,” but I think this is misleading. If all Humanity dies off or falls back to stone-age society, the Earth will motor along just fine. By cleaning up the atmosphere, we aren’t trying to save the Earth, we’re trying to save US!

      Okay, I can talk about this for hours, but I’ll get off my soapbox. Thanks so much, Robin! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. 🙂


  5. Lyn says:

    Politicians…can’t live with ’em, can’t kill ’em (though I’m not sure why not). A good story – as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      What kills me about politicians is they claim so much for doing so little. A politician may claim that he turned on the lights. What did he do? He said, “We need lights!” Then he polished off a $50 martini (paid by the taxpayer) and finished off a round of golf at an exclusive country club most taxpayers will never see.

      Meanwhile, the guys at the power plant worked long hours in dirt and grime with dangerous equipment. Electricians climbed dangerous power line poles in the wind and rain at all hours of the day and night. They’re the ones who “really” turned on the lights. But they don’t get to attend exclusive country clubs.

      The world is upside down, I tell ya’. Hmm. Got to get off the soapbox again…

      Glad you enjoyed the story, Lyn. Have a Merry, Merry Christmas!


  6. Eric, Good, well-written story and great twist. Creative take on the prompt. Happy Holidays! 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Al says:

    Fantastic story Eric

    Liked by 1 person

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