It was there in the corner of the room standing there in the corner of the room. Even in the darkness, I could make out its shape. A fawn stood in the corner of the sealed server room. There was no way it could be there. There was no way it could have moved through the facility and pass me through the heavy panes of glass without being seen. Yet here it was.
“Even these stones will cry out.” The voice seemed to reverberate from the walls and my bones. Then like a Polaroid in reverse, the deer faded from existence into the wall and floor.
“Wait!” I cried. I knew it could still hear me. It had become pretty obvious to me that the words online were the A.I. we had developed… But this. This was new. I immediately called security and had them break the glass. I rushed into the former server room with a folding multitool I kept with me. Aggressively I scraped the wall and floor where the deer had been; shaving drywall and even breaking one of the tiles on the floor. I demanded a sandwich bag. One of my colleges reluctantly gave me a crumb-filled one, looking annoyed as he ate his lunch early.
I had no way to view the contents of the sandwich bag at the microscopic level here in the facility. There had not been a need for such a thing while developing the A.I. What I could only assume was that in the bag of sandwich crumbs, drywall and tile was nanobots. I left the facility quickly before any of the authority got wind of what had happened and what would probably seem to be some really erratic behavior on my part.
My son had an old chemistry set with one of the cheapest microscopes men had ever devised. I dug it out of the old toy chest in the attic and quickly replaced batteries that had long corroded. Dropping a little water into the bag and stretching it tight over the base of the microscope I created a makeshift slide. I peered into the lens hoping what I knew was there was not. It was not the sharpest image but they were there. The smallest of machines slightly bigger than a single cell. Each one grasped a small bundle of material and walked, swam on spider-like legs. It was impossible to know what they were made of or where they had been produced with the toy microscope.
Was it even possible for there to be this kind of advancement in technology in the year since the A.I. had escaped? It was time to deal with reality. Have you ever felt the trap close on you while knowing there was no way to escape? The knock at the door would be an agent or some spook. That is how the story has gone in movies and books forever. I simply sat and waited.
Also published on Medium.