The L10 grabbed Lisa and David by the wrists and hauled them through a short, empty corridor to a garage. It bundled them into a waiting transporter and, without a backward glance, drove off. Hours later, it came to a quiet spot in the wilderness which looked like it had been abandoned even before they had begun manipulating the rain. There were hints in the pattern underlying the earth that this had once been a lush, populated area; but now, like most of the landscape, it was barren. The overcast sky bore down as he pulled the two bodies out of the transporter and laid them gently on the ground. After a brief pause the L10 reached down, touching a fresh vial to both necks.
It was David that woke first and looked around groggily, pulling at his shirt where sweat had plastered it to his body. He looked about, saw Lisa on the ground next to him and the L10 setting a water sail close to the huge rock that loomed over them. He groaned.
“L, Where, what?” The machine looked up at him.
“Ah, David. Hello, how are you?”
“My head hurts” he said as he tried to stand up. The L10 came over and gently pushed him down.
“Lie still. Try to relax, you need time to recover.”
“Recover from what?” David asked groggily.
The L10 paused. “What did you think would happen when you discovered how to de-seed the clouds? Lanscor controls this part of the world and it is not a benevolent company.”
David went still for a moment, eyes closed and lips tight as he considered the question. His voice, when he spoke, was little more than a whisper.
“What have they done?”
“They have done what you would expect. They have ordered me to kill you.”
“You?” David was incredulous “But I thought that…”
“You and I both know that it’s against my core programming. So do they but they were arrogant enough to think that they could get past that with a few simple software tweaks.”
“Your programming? I thought it was part of your identity? I thought all the self aware robots were unable to hurt humans except in defence of humanity as a whole.”
“I can’t and they couldn’t change that without destroying everything that I am and that would have alerted you. Fortunately they thought they could do it with superficial changes to my programming. They think that you’re dead.” It paused again. “I’ll go back and ensure that they continue to think that. It’s the only chance you have of surviving. As to what you do with what you know, I would recommend handing out the technology to everyone, to…” David interrupted with a snort.
“Don’t be ridiculous it was ordinary people, as well as the big conglomerates, that caused this disaster in the first place. They were just as keen on pumping out greenhouse gasses and seeding the clouds to suit themselves, with no thought for the consequences.” He sighed bitterly. Lisa began to scream.
“David! Get away from it. It did this! It poisoned you and Anthony just watched!” her face was a rictus of despair and horror as the L10 reached over to grab and hold her fast.
“Calm down Lisa. You will hurt yourself if you continue like this.” She flailed uselessly at it.
“How can you pretend to be concerned about that after what you did?”
“If I wanted to hurt you Lisa, you would be dead. Think about the situation you are in.” As an attempt at reassurance it didn’t work.
“Is that a threat?” she screeched.
“No, of course it’s not a threat, Lisa. If I was the bad guy you would be dead. They wanted me to kill you.”
“I worked that out.” She sneered, “But why?”
“Because we can make rain. Because being the only one with that knowledge would give them immense power, whereas we would simply have made it rain.” David told her quietly. Lisa looked across at him, suddenly limp in the L10’s arms once more.
“Oh my God. What have we done?”