Drake Johnston – The Computer

A loud hum jolted Dave awake from his sleep at his desk. The fax machine was printing. Dave could care less and leaned back into his chair waiting for the machine to stop so he could continue sleeping. Last night was New Year’s Eve and today was New Year’s Day, 2022. Dave didn’t sleep until he came to work at 6:30 this morning. The hum eventually did stop, but Dave knew that he should at least glance over to see what was just sent to him before continuing to catch up on sleep. He read the first line, it said “Termination Request” Dave immediately got up from his cluttered desk and grabbed the paper, to continue reading.

Termination Approval Request

Jonathan W. Baker

DOB: 19 July, 2073

Place Of Birth: Lakewood WA

Suggested Date of termination: 21 July, 2073

Method of termination- Lethal injection 

Reason for termination:

Destruction Of Government material

Dave, very confused, waited for more papers to print, but the fax machine sat as silent as him. He had never seen a paper like this before in his entire 19 year career. Termination approval requests, or TAR’s as they were called in his training,are the rarest requests that could be sent. The instructors said most would go their entire 20 year long careers without ever seeing a single one. But something has to be wrong. He needed to be given more details. It must have gotten something wrong. Whatever Jonathan Baker is going to destroy can’t possibly require killing him. 

Dave got up from his seat, folded the paper in his pocket, and quickly left his claustrophobic office through the heavy soundproof door. Walking as fast as he could it still would take him a good 10 to 15 minutes to get to the exit, but that was nothing compared  to the 7 hour drive he had ahead of him. 

Dave hopped into his old but reliable car. He got it when he first started his job. Whenever someone asks Dave what his job is he usually says something bland like accounting. Everyday Dave wakes up and goes to work in an office building like any other. But when he gets into the elevator, instead of going up, Dave goes down. Down all the way to the last floor the elevator will take him and from there he walks a maze of hallways into his office. Dave’s job is one of the most important a person can get. Dave knows the future. 

The government selected Dave for his expertise in software manufacturing. But Dave’s job doesn’t require him to do anything with software. He is one of the 231 specially selected people in the US who manage the decisions of the world’s most powerful computer. They never told Any of the 231 selected experts how, what, or where this computer works. But Dave from his software expertise believes somewhere a massive computer big enough to calculate with certainty the events of the future. But the government was smart. They knew that they should have people monitor the computers’ decisions. So whenever the computer believes a major event needs to be stopped, or a person who is going to cause a major event needs to be stopped, it will send a request recommending the best course of action. But rarely ever does it recommend killing someone. This means no matter what events could be caused in a person’s life that would change their future, they will still inevitably end up committing a terrible act against humanity. So they must be killed. But not by Dave or the other 231 experts. But by an elite group of government assassins capable of killing anybody at any age, or time. With the ability making it look like an accident. Dave was particularly aware of this because he himself feared he may soon find that these assassins were after him. He was very aware that speaking of any events from the future could lead to literal termination, but needed help. He was driving to his friend. His friend is named Nick. Nick was also involved with the supercomputer in some way but Dave wasn’t allowed to know how. They met during their training and since then they have been meeting up fairly often. But they rarely ever spoke of work, they were too afraid. But their next meeting, wich Nick didn’t even know was going to happen, was only going to be talk of work. Dave’s long drive started when the sun was high in the sky but now as it grew darker so did Dave’s thoughts. He couldn’t stop wondering why or how Jonathan would want to turn off the computer. Over the seven hour long drive Dave never stopped thinking about it, until he finally pulled into Nicks driveway. He knew that Nick shouldn’t be home for another hour son he turned off his car and started to wait. But to his surprise Nick’s front door opened and he came out. 

“Hello Dave! Come on in.” He yelled, leaning out of his front door. Dave was confused how Nick knew it was him, but quickly got out of his car and made his way inside. 

Nick asked Dave “So what are you doing here?”

Dave Disregarded the question and immediately asked 

“How did you know that was me out there”

Nick seemed distressed and said 

“I already know why you are here Dave. You are in serious trouble. I need you to take the envelope on my table and leave everything you need to know is in the envelope. Now leave”

Dave didn’t even question his friend. He grabbed the envelope and left. 

He went to Nicks to feel better but he left feeling even more uncertain. He drove away fast and couldn’t stop thinking about what was in the yellow envelope on his passenger seat. It would be another sleepless night for Dave as he drives back to his office. Why doesn’t he want me to open the envelope? He kept thinking. It made no sense. Dave couldn’t restrain himself. He pulled over on the side of the road and started to open the enclosed envelope. Insides was a single piece of folded paper with one line of text. It said, 

“Dave, I knew you would open the envelope. Start driving and don’t stop. Get back to your office”

Dave floored it. He was going as fast as he could. It usually would take another 5 hours from where he was but Dave made it just under 4. He sprinted his office past the Receptionist who seemed a little confused why he was running. Dave sprinted to the elevator. Dave sprinted through the hallway and struggled to open his door. He stood there trying to catch his breath when a fax came through. He waited a second  for it to finish printing and pulled out the paper. 

“Dear My friend Dave, you are playing a major part in the history of the world. For the last 7 years my job has been studying your future. I know everything that you have done, and will do. You recently received a fax like none other you’ve been sent before. That was not sent by the computer but rather me. Jonathan W. Baker is however a real person. In just a moment you will receive the real TAR. You need to deny it. The computer is programmed with a fatal flaw. It has the benefit of the United States in mind. But in 2094 when Jonathan W. Baker has your job, The United States is no longer what we know it as today. It is a corrupt nation of evil and rich scum. The computer will become their greatest weapon and grant them control of the world. It must be destroyed. So I ask you Dave to let Jonathan fulfill his fate. You need not worry, I have made you safe. There is no one that will be able to find that it was you who saved Jonathan Baker. I have redacted any evidence pointing to you. But it has cost me greatly. Today at 6:16pm I will be killed. 

Best regards, your friend Nick

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