Zombillions, the fourth stand-alone story in my every-other-month series of new science fiction stories is now available on Kindle – see https://james-aston.net/science-fiction-stories/ for details and Amazon links.
Yago 42485 pushed the stiff branch aside and stepped into a small clearing. He stopped and scanned the ground and the foliage that stretched up to the sky. On the far side of the clearing he saw a pool of light that reached through the canopy to touch the ground.
He walked across the clearing and stood in the pool of sunlight, then turned his head upwards. He felt the heat of the sun warm his face.
<<Request, location update>>, he sent.
A few seconds passed before the response arrived. <Target location, one point five (km), twenty one point three north (deg)>.
He turned to face the direction indicated, the trees were denser in that direction. The canopy completely covered the ground and darkness lurked beneath the trees. It was only punctured here and there by stray shafts of sunlight.
He frowned, and wondered whether there was a better route. Subconsciously he captured the image he saw and held it to be attached to his next communication.
<<Request, route strategy, (embedded image)>>, he sent. His mind cleared as he waited for the vast processing capabilities of the network to determine the best course of action.
The network. Pervasive, reliable, dependable. It impacts every decision, every choice, every action. But has humanity given too much?