Adam O'Grady

The Machines

+SHIP d1fdd6fd-1d4c-4af1-9af1-558f7d7f6e9b DOCKED, BEGIN UNLOADING+

The message was processed by the wharf control system, it's failover brethren, and received by the redundant systems although as there was no emergency requiring activation they did not act on it.

In the harmonius ballet that followed, the wharf control system orchestrated a hundred drones of varying types that began removing all the cargo from d1fdd6fd-1d4c-4af1-9af1-558f7d7f6e9b. Ship-to-shore cranes took care of sea containers full of goods and materials, robotic pumping stations connected, cycled, and then began pumping out all the precious liquid and granular contents that would be sent elsewhere for processing or manufacture.

Machines wove around each other but unlike the planar dances of earlier centuries where dock workers and vehicles struggled to move around each other on flat ground, these autonomous designs took full advantage of the limited flight their rotors and grav-pulse jets allowed them. It must have been frightning for any onlookers, if they could still have existed. Unrestrained by the slow reactions of humans, these metal beasts moved as blurs regardless of their burdens and executed pinpoint maneouvres that defied what we would have considered reasonable.

Having been emptied of cargo, ship d1fdd6fd-1d4c-4af1-9af1-558f7d7f6e9b would soon undergo cleaning and maintenance before being reloaded and sent to it's next destination. Each of these steps would be done with the same ultimate precision that a machine could offer. No missed patches due to forgetfulness or haste for a smoke break. No overlooked faults, no alignments left uncorrected. Anything found wanting would be repaired or replaced in minutes - down from hours or days or weeks in the old times.

Meanwhile, the cargo went to all it's intended destinations. Autonomous trucks delivered a container to a distribution centre for a large toy retailer. It was unpacked with ferocious, blinding speed into the warehouse and new orders were picked, packed, and sent out on smaller vehicles to local stores. There, the robot shelf fillers replaced the old toys that hadn't been purchased and were starting to fall apart or discolour with age. Only the newest toys for any customers.

Tonnes of grain was sent to a local bakery, which took in the shipment and fed it into it's neverending cooking cycle. A series of continual cooking lines, multiple of them always running while others were undergoing maintenance or repair so that the bakery never had to “stop”. Fresh loaves of bread leaving in trucks every hour to all the grocery stores where it would be placed on the shelves as old products were sent to the various waste facilities. Nothing was turned into landfill, it would all become compost to be sent to the farms to help new growth and the artificial components would be recycled into new goods.

It was a perfect system, one that ran to serve humans without need of human interference. One that had lasted for one thousand years since a hand last touched a control system, or even purchased a doll or squeezed a loaf of bread for freshness.