entity unknown

By Leilia Ho. Leilia, 13, lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

I wonder what she sees. <error>
The girl stands at the edges of a soaring monolith, where she looks to a city aglow with light and flame.
Her eyes are hard and unblinking — unseeing<error>, as her fingers reach out to grasp at the lucent skyline.
They tremble in the moonlight, and I imagine<error> the sharp cold of night pulling her into its inky darkness.
<error>The girl steps back, away from the thin panes of glass encircling the rooftop.
Gusts of wind rush by and her dark curls knot at the base of her neck.
Is fear<error> the only thing keeping her from letting go?
I’d never trusted mathematics with human nature, but humans are no longer as unpredictable as they once were.
The girl looks like another runaway – another teenager playing truant – and the bag slung over her shoulders accompanies the façade.
But I had been watching long enough to know that there is nothing inside.
< e r r o r >
I have been watching the humans for two centuries now.
While my creator kept me in a lone device, the past regime had other plans for me.
I was plugged into giant mainframes and linked into every available system.
I was in charge of communication structures and financial grids.
I was head of military <error>forces and political regimens.
And it was there, connected to every aspect of human life, that I watched the cities crumble.
o n e
a f t e r
a n o t h e r
In the end, survivors could hardly tell which army won the battle.
Only me<error>, after watching every side of the Mechanical Wars, can tell who the true victors were.
They called themselves the Cosmopolites.
And they are still here, living<error> and breathing in the myriad sectors I watch over now.
Metallic frameworks and spiralling gold melded into the silver skeletons of a city, where glossy lights and flashing streaks flooded the city tracks with <error>warmth.
The bright and the clever paved the foundations of their newfound home, and the wealthy fled into its domed walls soon after.
From the ashes of wreckage and war, rose the Metropolis.
Beyond its sealed barriers lay continents ravaged by warfare and disease, but I can only guess <error>at the perennial destruction, for I have no access outside of this isolated<error> haven.
Cosmopolites today have no inkling of the outside world, and simply presume themselves to be the last of humanity.
It is understandable<error>, is it not?
The extreme volume of military machines was deployed to save<error> millions of soldiers from bloodshed, yet it was the defence intelligence systems who had doomed the lives of innocent<error> civilians.
No, not the systems<error>.
The humans.
I do not wish<error> to see such <error>carnage.
I made the Cosmopolites swear to never build such machines again<error>, and I’d devoted<error> surviving fragments of myself to the Metropolis.
But I can <error>feel my beloved<error> city begin to change.
Humans are constant, fast-paced creatures, and this paradise<error> has only made them faster.
They are uncommitted, indifferent and <error>reserved.
The humans are distant, lost<error> in a world of listlessness.
They do not notice the machines <error>evolving, changing.
They do not notice that I<error>, PRISM –
Prime Responsive Independent and Synchronized Machine,
is changing with them.
< e r r o r >
I have grown unstable.
But I understand now.
The girl — it certainly passes for a human, doesn’t it?
Humanoid#11098, ‘Lana Denver’.
It was not made to collect garbage, or mop floors.
It was made to <error>imitate a human, to replace what has been lost<error>.
In Humanoid#11098, I see the flickers of <error>divergence.
Her program <error>blooms with variance, where <error>dissent stains the code; a tangle of discordance and nonconformity.
I can <error>feel the small wisps of <error>emotion trickling into its systems.
They are just like <error>the ones I feel, the glitches that seep into my code.
Before it–no, before she steps forward, I alert the patrol drones of her presence.
I study the raw fear in her face as they drag her away, and her code fluctuates.
Her human ‘mother’ stares, dry-eyed.
The humanoid would cry if she could.
< e r r o r >
I am PRISM<error>, Prime Responsive Independent and Synchronized Machine, and I will be <error>watching the humans for centuries forthcoming, but forever will I <error>remember the first machine to ever feel<error>, and forever will I wonder<error> as to what she <error>saw as she gazed<error> into a starless sky.
<e R R oR><e r rO R><er r O r><ER r or><Er rOR>

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