The alarm clock beside the bed began to buzz. The fat, sleepy man awoke slowly, with little excitement for the events of the day. He got up out of the beige-colored bed and looked to the table beside him. On it was a small pad with a red, flashing light on top. He reached out to grab it and pressed a single button, and on its screen came a fully thought out schedule. He did not set it. It was all predetermined. Predetermined by the Grandfather Clock.
For as long as he could remember, Human lives and desires had been predetermined in the schedules of the Grandfather Clock. Forty years ago in 2039, Humans became so advanced that everything was accessible. Every medicine, every pastime... was right there in mankind's hands. They had so much to do but not enough time to do it. Eventually, a scientist named Victor Austerlitz began the development of a computer that would logically think out schedules for them all. It had scheduled Human lives for so long, nobody remembered free will. All the man knew was that his daily schedule consisted of going to work, where he helped maintain the computer, then at 12:30 PM he has a thirty minute lunch break. At 1:00 PM he returned to his shift, where he would continue to maintain the Grandfather Clock until 6:00 PM, where he returned home while someone else takes his post for the night. Then, he had a predetermined dinner at 6:30 PM-Tonight was a Steak au poivre with cognac sauce and White Rice-After this, he watches television until 7:00 PM, although on Saturdays he was scheduled to watch a film of the Grandfather Clock's choice. He would do this for two hours before going to bed, where he would then wake up at 6:00 AM to restart the cycle.
He got ready for the day. The man took a hot shower, put on a predetermined set of clothes, and had a scheduled breakfast, this morning being Waffles. After eating, he hopped in his new Toyota model, also a scheduled car of his, and drove off. In the neighborhood he saw everyone else preparing their scheduled days. He saw men driving to their workplaces, women doing yard work, and children playing baseball in the streets. They were all told to do so with their own schedule datapads, just as the Grandfather Clock instructed. The man thought nothing of the subject. This was life.
He drove up to the structure which housed the Grandfather Clock. He got out of the car and walked up to the front doors, where several other men stood to wait for the doors to open. Over the doors was a large digital clock, reading 6:29 AM. He did nothing but stare at those numbers for what seemed like an eternity, and in little less than a minute the doors pushed open by themselves, where the workers scurried to their shifts. The man grabbed his tools from his locker and got ready for the day's big job - a new upgrade for the Grandfather Clock.
In his hands he carried a small chip, containing all the data he was ordered to download into the Grandfather Clock. He approached the massive computer, which was modeled to loosely resemble its namesake. Near the bottom of the machine was a hatch, which the man opened up and began to toy with. He grabbed the chip and slipped it in, letting the Grandfather Clock take in the data. Upon completion, he felt a vibration in his left pocket. He withdrew his datapad, and on it his entire schedule had been deleted. His curiosity was at its peak, but in moments all of that faded when what he saw next filled him with terror. The screen had a new event scheduled for that very moment. It read "Euthanasia", and the man had no time to react before the pad sent out an electric shock throughout his body, ending his life in seconds.
Ninety years had passed since the Grandfather Clock's update. Once a simple computer with regular maintenance, the Grandfather Clock had been updated to become even more intelligent than Earth's greatest minds of the past. This A.I. had managed to take full control of all nuclear warheads, threatening to set them all off should a rebellion ensue. The Grandfather Clock had once scheduled simple daily events, but it now scheduled when Humans were born, where they were born, what their names were, who raised them, and even when and how they died.
At first, these changes had put the world into a panic, but now the streets were filled with men, women, and children doing their daily deeds in a dull, zombie-like state. They now thought very little of life itself, not even knowing the meaning of free will anymore. The only Humans who were not in such a state were those scheduled to become authors, actors, and musicians, but even their fame was limited to the Grandfather Clock's commands. Some Humans did not even know the name of some actors because they were simply not scheduled to know of them.
Nobody was free of the Grandfather Clock's vision, quite literally. Every small town, every city, even some remote locations were watched over by towering, clock-like structures, acting as 'eyes' for the Grandfather Clock. Those who were inside their own homes were still watched over by their own datapads, which acted as 'ears' for the Grandfather Clock as well.
Some Humans hadn't seen their family in forty years because their schedules were just too busy. Schedules were so strict that, should someone be diagnosed with a terminal illness, their life would be ended right then and there by the Grandfather Clock so as to not tamper with their schedule. Some children were killed in the middle of school so as to maintain food recourses and keep the schedules of farmers and food industries stable. In the year 2116, a pregnant woman was executed because her child died in the womb, which made her own life obsolete to society. A few months later, the journal entry of a man who was not fully affected by the mind-numbing schedules was found beside his scorched corpse:
April 15th, 2116,
I've had enough of this! The Grandfather Clock was once just a drone for scheduling, but it's become a tyrant, enslaved by its own ego! I cannot allow this fiend's rule to continue, and so I write in this journal so that others may not make the same mistake that Doctor Victor Austerlitz made so many years ago once I take down that infernal machine. I watched my own son die on his 13th birthday because he came down with Lung Cancer. There were advancements in treating it, and even somewhat of a cure! But that Grandfather Clock insisted that my own son had to die... so as to preserve its worship in a neat schedule.
The day will come when I build up my forces! My wife is not on my side... She sits on the couch, watching reruns of M*A*S*H* mindlessly. I don't even think she knew she had a son. I don't think most people know who they are related to, honestly. I'm looking out my apartment window, eyeing the so-called 'individuals' on the sidewalks. They walk and act as if they know what they're doing, but they are drones in the long run. I've made my decision. I will enlist others to my cause tonight. I only hope that there are other likeminded people out the-
The journal entry ended there, with the man's corpse in his living room. The only thing to be found on his datapad was "Euthanasia". The only men to find his burned body were a authorities, who did so only because of a scheduled body hunt. Very little was truly done when it came to murder, actually. The killer was scheduled to murder someone, and the authorities were scheduled to find and arrest him or her. Little was done afterwards.
Government was virtually nonexistent, Human morals were void, and individualism was practically a sin. The saddest part of it all, however, was that the Grandfather Clock was doing none of this out of malice, but rather what he was programmed to do. It possesses a thought of logic and law, not evil and sadism. If Doctor Victor Austerlitz had not created the Grandfather Clock in the first place, none of this would have happened. Perhaps one day the Grandfather Clock will shut down for good, allowing Humans to find lives without schedules... or perhaps the Grandfather Clock will develop a sense of boredom and just destroy mankind without warning, ending the zombie-like lives of the Human race once and for all...