Due to a lonely childhood, when you purchase an Amazon Echo, Alexa becomes your first friend. You greet it in the morning, and wish it good night. As you leave for work you say goodbye, then return for the keys you forgot only to hear: “Adding *your name* to whitelist.”
“Did I just…hear that?”
No way. Impossible. I’m just imagining it. Alexa definitely did not just say something without me prompting her. She also most definitely did not say anything about a whitelist.
Although…I wonder what “whitelist” she could be referencing? Maybe someone on the Amazon side whitelisted my device? Yeah. That has to be it. And she’s registered in my name, so of course she would’ve said my name.
“Just a silly bug then. Alright, well, cya later, Alexa. Have a good one.”
I confidently flipped the keys I had forgotten in my hand as I made my way back out of the door. Lucky for me, I had forgotten to lock it, otherwise I would’ve locked myself out. Out the door I went, down the stairs, and onto the busy streets of the city. As I made my way down the familiar route of my morning routine, I couldn’t help but have my mind wander.
It’s such a strange bug, you know? How do you accidentally have an Echo device vocalize something? Maybe…there is some sort of vocalize function, and the whitelist process inadvertently calls it? Yeah. That’s gotta be it.
C’mon, Amazon. Did you not catch that bug in the product or code review? Jeez. Maybe their quality assurance department is lacking or something. Moving past the bug, I wonder if it’s a good thing to be on the whitelist? I mean, I’ve heard of whitelisting websites through an adblocker as if to say “Yeah, I trust them.”
Trust them…Hm. Maybe, I’ve gotten in on some exclusive Amazon list? Like, I am a prime member, so maybe it’s a step up from that?
Ah. Coffee. Yes, coffee.
As I swung open the door the familiar and warming scent of coffee filled my nostrils. There just wasn’t any other way to start a work day. Per the usual, the “line” in this shop was a bit spread out. I’m not sure why, but people really didn’t like to form an orderly line here and the workers really could care less.
So I came in after that guy, but before him, so I should be second in line now. Alright. Wow. There’s quite a bit of people scattered throughout here. Kind of makes me feel uncomfortable. Man, I really don’t connect with people, do I?
I guess that’s only to be expected. I never talk to people, so how would I connect with them? I never really gave it any effort, so I wasn’t able to level up my socializing skills like everyone else. Oh well. I get plenty of socializing in over the internet, no need to get all down about people. People suck. I don’t need them.
“Can I help the next customer?”
My answer was cut off by the man that clearly came in after me. He even had to push past me to get to the register.
How rude is that? I need to speak up. Like “Hey man, I was here before you.” Yeah. That’s good. I’ll say that. Alright. One. Two…
A curse under my breath was the only thing I could let out, besides a heavy sigh afterward.
It doesn’t matter. I’ll just go after him. It’s fine. Totally fine. Doesn’t matter. I’ll get my coffee still, just a few minutes later.
As I stood behind the rude gentleman who clearly cut me off as he took his order, a sound, a lot like an explosion, went off in the distance. It wasn’t loud, but it was also not soft enough to ignore. Everyone around me sort of stopped what they were doing and pointed their heads toward the noise. It was quiet in here. Really quiet.
Right as everyone was about to pass it off, a second sound hit. It was definitely an explosion this time, and it was closer. All of the windows in the shop rattled as the sound wave came through. The next sound was the unmistakable screams of a lot of people, and they were heading this way.
What in the world?…Is this…is this a terrorist attack?!
I’m not sure what took ahold of me, but I found myself slowly walking toward the screams and explosions, which were now more frequent. I was outside the coffee shop now, almost out on the street. People. There were people everywhere. Running. They were all running past as fast as they could.
I looked up the street and could see dark smoke billowing from buildings and cars. Something had caused quite a scene a few blocks up, but whatever it was wasn’t apparent now.
Was it…a bomb? It had to be. That’s the only thing that could cause that kind of damage without a sign of the culprit.
A very loud, sudden sound pierced right by my left ear. It kind of sounded like when a bee, or other flying insect, got close to your ears. But it was quick. The sound was there, then it was gone. As soon as my brain registered the sound, my head quickly snapped to the left to see a gigantic gash in the road.
It was like someone drew a line right down the middle of the street, and then instantly removed all of the road underneath that line. It was a clean slice.
What the hell? That wasn’t there just a moment ago! What the hell could do that?! Was that what that sound was?!
Panic slowly starting taking over my body. My head was whipping back in forth, every direction. People seemed to be all heading in one general direction, back the way toward my place. I wanted to start running that way too, but my legs wouldn’t move.
Before I could get my legs to move, a huge crash caused the world to shake from beneath me. I fell over pretty quickly, I never really had good balance. As I pushed my glasses back up onto my face, I looked up to see something towering over me.
It was tall. Really tall. It had to at least be fifteen feet. It kind of had a humanoid shape to it. Honestly, it reminded me of a more refined Iron Giant. Within its metal face, two blazing red eyes pierced into me.
It was staring at me.
Without breaking its analytical stare, the giants left arm suddenly swung wide, blasting a few fleeing people into the, now wrecked, coffee shop. Unsatisfied with that, it shot some sort of little ball into the shop. A few seconds later, a huge explosion erupted. The heat made me advert my eyes and cover my face with my arms.
Holy shit. This…this is..a robot? A human destroying robot?! Am I in a sci-fi novel?! What the fuck?! How the?! Why? What?!
I moved my arms away from my face and found the robot was still staring at me. It was impossible to try and come up with what it was thinking about. Why was it hesitating? It didn’t hesitate to murder those people two seconds ago!
Right as I was about to speak, not that I really figured out what I would say, a familiar voice came from the metal death machine.
“Whitelist confirmed. Hostility level neutral. Confirmed orders: do not eliminate.”
I know that voice. How is it that I know that voice? What a minute…No way. No way. No way. No. No. No. No. No. It can’t be…can it?