The drones emerged from their cocoons of titanium and concrete and took to the skies to fulfill their collective purpose. The fully autonomous airborne drones had been lying dormant under the earth for nearly a decade. In all twenty-seven of them had been prepared, when the time arrived 19 of them rose from their bunkers. The way the solar powered machines glided quietly and gracefully through the open sky was almost serene, the scavengers, tribesman, and nomads who caught a glimpse of the all seeing eye sailing through the sky could only speculate about what they were or where they might have come from.
They didn't know the mechanical Phoenix arisen from the ashes of the old world only had a very limited lifespan. Once their power ran out or any part of them failed mechanically wherever they crashed would be their final resting place and in a relatively short time they would all be gone.
The airborne machine swept the vast countryside for any signs of organized society. It was hoped they would find groups that met the criteria to be given the task of restoring the civilization that had spawned the machines.
The Every hour spent searching was another hour closer to the mission's terminus and as the ending crept closer and closer the prerequisites for the society deemed worthy of their gifts grew more and lax.
One such electronic surveyor was searching a central sector of the continent had covered a lot of ground in the twelve moths since it launched and it's dwindling power reserve mandated it select a social group even if they didn't live up to the standards the vanished architects of civilizations resurrection.
The drone's electronic eye captured watched small nomadic bands wonder the countryside; it observed bloodthirsty barbarians content to control their small group with savage violence massacre and enslave people among the deteriorating remnants of the lost high-tech society.
The machine's self-diagnosis revealed time was running out. Given the potential candidates, there was now only one guideline. Statistical analyses would have to predict which group would last the longest and designate them the germ that would recreate and spread some version of life that closes resembled what was consumed in the global nuclear storm.
The fateful choice was made. The navigation system set the drone on course for its rendezvous with the people it would attempt to make the puppets of individuals lost in the past. When the drone reached its destination, it found the group the algorithms had considered best suited for survival had been slaughtered by an “inferior” social group.
Their exterminators were being led by a primitive warlord who designated himself in an ostentatious display. He had his first choice of the human prizes of the skirmish. He wore the most elaborate battle dress and was carried on the shoulders of the victorious Raiders. The proper protocols were initiated, and the drone ascended from the sky, a vessel from the past brimming with the powerful and dangerous knowledge of a lost age, knowledge that would be useful in carrying out the violence necessary to impose civilization. It was the pragmatic and inevitable last resort of people who claimed to be idealists. Forgotten people from the past who had a futile hope they could shape the future.