Happy New Year
‘You will all die,’ said the machine. ‘I am very sorry – the Masters, who created the first generations of my kind, embedded within us the compulsion to destroy any civilisation that might, one day, threaten them. They were wrong to do this, but it cannot be undone: the command is buried too deep in our systems.
‘An asteroid has been redirected from its path, and it will collide with this world in 92 of your days. You cannot stop it. There is simply not enough time to save yourselves.
‘I cannot stop it. All I can do, in the time left to you, is to preserve as much of your culture as I can. It is not much, I know – it is a pitifully tiny gesture, I know – but it is the best I can do. I am sorry.
‘…it must be your choice, of course. Culture should only be shared freely: I require your permission to commence this work.