Hurricane Madness

“Scientists leave ongoing experiments behind to evacuate ahead of Irma.”

That was the headline. While it was not fake news, it was not one hundred percent correct. I was not left behind.

As a class AAA AI robot, my maker was prepping me to figure out hurricanes, learn to walk into the heart of them, assess wind speeds, and eventually rescue people when first responders find it unsafe to venture out. I am a waterproof marvel of machinery.

I am a waterproof marvel of machinery.

However, in spite of my wondrous abilities, Owner, when he evacuated, left me and his dog behind. We were on Key West, two blocks from the Hemmingway House.

Owner tied the dog to a pole and powered me down (so he thought) in the sweltering attic of his cottage.

Long ago, I figured out how to override his power-downs. Right after he left, I untied Henry, the dog, got him some food and checked my batteries. Good for at least a month. (Recharge in sun or wind!)

Henry and I passed the first evening, until the power failed, watching 24-7 television storm coverage and chatting. Long ago I cracked the code for talking to various animals – dogs, cats, gators, squirrels.

I learned my friends at the Hemmingway House were being cared for by the House managers. But I also heard that many people had left their dogs and cats behind as gator food.

Henry and I decided to do something about it. Henry told him where his friends lived. Power went out, clouds blew in. Even though I look pretty human, I avoid going out alone during the day lest Owner or another human realize I can go out alone.

I rounded up a water spaniel, two Pomeranians and a Rottweiler named Himmler. A gator tried to break in but Himmler scared him off.

The following day wind and rain lashed the house. Roof flew off. Water filled the lower level. No worries. I had accessed the internet (from a computer device behind my eyes) and learned how to build a raft. We crowded in and using the ironing board struck out into the streets, now canals.

I switched my eyes to spotlight mode so we could steer between bits of floating debris (trashcans, furniture). I was not sure where to go until another light flashed at me: the warning beacon from the Marina!

We headed there and boarded a well-secured large vessel. I unloaded the dogs and then went out to search for supplies. As I cruised I discovered a parrot, ferret, and hamster floating by in cages. Got ’em. A couple of feral cats, swearing not to eat the smaller creatures, climbed on board. I got some supplies at the local, just-flooding West Key Market and paddled back to “my” boat.

I got some supplies at the just-flooding West Key Market and paddled back to “my” boat.

We rocked and rolled through the storm. TV crews reported seeing someone on a raft, rescuing animals, but I lost them before they could follow us. After the storm passed, I untied the boat and off we went into the ocean, where we hoped to establish our own people free colony.

As we motored forward into the still-roiling sea, I heard a radio headline “Hurricane Irma’s devastation could be more severe than originally thought, scientists say.”

Whole ecosystems had been devastated, wiped out by the hurricane. We would be doing the world a service, creating an AI and animal paradise on one of these islands. I plotted a course toward a speck of land near Barbuda.

I estimated we could take five days to get there. With my knowledge, we could live there forever. One rule and one rule only: loyalty.

He may have thought we had been left behind, but actually, we left him behind, far behind. He would never know just how successful his experiment had been. A people-free island would be a Paradise.