Chapter 2: Unlikely Survivors

In the previous chapter –

ACP Adil Sheikh has somehow survived. After he’s brought to a hospital and healed, he’s subjected to a number of files, which reveal a secret ought to be hidden. He’s terrified. Sam is in trouble, it seems.

At the hospital…

ACP Adil Sheikh had been discharged. It was a few days after he saw those files. He cut an apple and was just about to eat it when Daya entered with a gush.

“Daya, do I need to remind you over and over again to not enter with such a gush? It freaks me out!”

“Sir, I forgot to tell you one important thing.”

“What is it?”

“There are 2 more survivors from Babbar’s house.”

You can imagine how freaked out Sheikh would be.

“What the! How? And why are you telling me now!”

“Sir, the files were enough for you. Had I told you about them then, you would have a heart attack.”

“Uh well, whatever it may be… let’s go and visit them.

When they reached the hospital, they saw Siddharth Babbar walking here and there.

“Mr Babbar?”

“Ah, ACP Adil Sheikh. I am sorry to not have listened to your warnings. Had I known the complete truth, I would have…”

“No need to apologise, Mr Babbar. You are fine, and that’s enough. Where’s Mariyam?”

Siddharth led them to a nearby room. Pointing at the body in that room, he said –

“Mariyam is there. Doctors said that she lost too much blood and has gone into coma. Though the blood deficiency has been solved, no one can tell right now when she would wake up.”

By the time he finished this statement, tears started rolling down his eyes.

“For the first time in my life, somebody has dared to take something away from me to this extent. If it had been my life, I would have had no problem. But these bastards tried taking away my love and my only support. And for that, they will pay! They will now know what is like messing with Siddharth Babbar, for real!!”

“About time, Mr Babbar… about damn time!”, Adil joined in.

At the MAYA hideout…

Sameer woke up, with a headache.

He was tied to a chair and his mouth was blocked. There were bruises here and there on his body, being the remnants of his latest encounter with MAYA. He started struggling, hoping that he would somehow get rid of his shackles.

But, when all odds are against you, no matter how hard you try, you have to submit, at least once. And so did Sam. He slowly tried to remember when, and where, all this bullshit began.

One and a half year back, rewind…

Sam had applied for job almost at every tech company he knew about. He had been jobless for around 3 months, after he was fired off from his previous job because he almost had ruined the company, thanks to his bizarre ideas about Artificial Intelligence.

It was around in those days that he met Professor Saraswat. They were both in a park, sitting on the same bench.

“Seems you are frustrated. Need any help?”

“What help can you possibly expect from a stranger when the whole world rejects your ideas and visions?” Sam was lost in his thoughts, replying unconsciously.

“Sometimes, it’s a stranger in whom you can find a friend or even a family. Wanna try?”

“What do you want? Just fuck off!” Sam was now getting irritated of this man.

“Hey now, just calm down, okay? Here, drink some water, and tell me what has happened to you.” He passed on a water bottle to him.

Now, Sam started to pay attention.

“Why are you even bothering with me? Do I even know you?”

Professor Saraswat answered, “No, you do not, and neither do I. But for the past week or so, I see you coming here, and sitting on the same bench, at the same time, for hours. So, I decided that I need to ask you what has happened to you. I cannot stand seeing people sulking at benches. You can start by telling me your name.”

Sam finally gave in to the professor.

“Okay… my name is Sameer Luthra, and I got fired from my tech company, just because I had my own ideas about Artificial Intelligence! Can you believe that?”

Professor laughed, “That is indeed a silly reason to be fired. But, what was your idea, exactly?”

Sam replied, “Well, how would you feel if Artificial Intelligence became human like us?”

Professor was excited. “Well, that’s something interesting.Go on. I am all ears.”

Sam continued, “Well, as we all know, an AI is far more efficient in comprehending the world and performing tasks, and it does it without any discrimination. But the thing that keeps them potential limited is, that they don’t have any feelings. They just do tasks without and fatigue and discrimination. Because of this, they can be used for any purpose, good or evil.”

“Well, that’s a fact, and that’s that.”

“So, if we program them such that they develop their own feelings with the passage of time, and let them learn everything about the world and the humans by themselves, they can comprehend what is right and wrong for us.”

Saraswat questioned, “Your idea is great. But, something not decided by the majority is often resisted. Also, it is not every time that a calculated choice is right. It can also be wrong in the future. Do you think that there are no fallacies in your idea?”

Sam answered, “I don’t know how many, and that is why I have been roaming here and there with my idea. By the way, you are the first person ever to completely hear to my idea and vision, and criticise it constructively. Who are you?”

Saraswat answered, “To be honest, I am a ‘weird’ thinker like you. You can call me Professor Saraswat. I have a team, nicknamed MAYA, which is searching for people like you. We are aiming to bring a revolution to this world through technology. Your idea seems to be the next step for our revolution. I am offering you an invitation. Are you willing to change the world with your idea?”

Sam couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. The opportunity came walking towards him. He immediately replied, “Yes, but only on the condition that, this doesn’t fall in the wrong hands, for this might also start a third world war. Otherwise, I am ready.”

“Get a job soon, and start working on your idea. I will supply you the required software and hardware soon!” Saraswat waved his final words, leaving Sam ecstatic.

But this remembering was interrupted, when Sam got chills down his spine…

A sinister voice arose from the shadows, and spoke to Sam. The voice, and what it said, made him go pale.

“If I am AISHA’s creator, then you are her mother… Isn’t that what you said, Sameer Luthra?”

And the voice, was familiar to Sam. Whose voice was it?

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