It's assumed you'll read the story first, so here's the cut so you don't accidentally catch any spoilers:
This version has had a little bit more revision and well over a page's worth of extension done to it, thanks to the comments of my classmates. (If you ever go to HBU, you should take Creative Writing: Fiction with Dr. Ulmer. It was one of the best classes I took.)
This is one of your classic "technology turns against man" sci-fi stories, except at the end you find out that it's still man turning against man. Although the story's not long or deep enough to show this, it's based off of several themes: the depravity of man; the desensitization and glamorization of violence that led to the Roman gladitorial games and, as popularized in the movies and games (such as Unreal Tournament) of the past decade, could feasibly happen again in the future; and the worship of entertainment that will eventually allow us to accept anything as fun or exciting, always pushing the envelope for the next shock or the next high. (This isn't really a satire or a put-down of gamers or a lesson on the inherent evil of video games; I'm an avid game player myself, and it just seemed like the best and most natural vehicle for the story. I hoped to keep the reader guessing for as long as possible about who or what the robots really were, though I assume it becomes fairly transparent early on.) Also, I tried to dehumanize the main character as much as possible by never directly hearing his thoughts or having him speak, except at the very end where he's about to be named, (which is one of the most fundamental things that make you a person instead of a thing,) and even that's brutally taken away from him.
The inspiration for this exact idea is actually in the text; it's a quote from my friend Eric who, like myself and my entire circle of friends, is convinced that the world is going to end in a totally sweet apocalypse and that we need to be prepared for whatever's going to happen. Once we start developing technology like Euphoria, it's only a matter of time before that becomes the basis for the AI that's going to drive the individual robots that are going to kill us all. This train of thought is what led to his infamous "ASIMO's all cute fun and games, running in circles and climbing stairs, until he can do it at 10 miles an hour and comes around the corner with a knife" quote. (In fact, the working title of this story was "Run, Asimo, Run.") Thanks, Eric.Trivia:
Masato Sakaguchi comes from two different names: Masato Hirose, who is the lead inventor of ASIMO, and Hironobu Sakaguchi, who is the creator of the Final Fantasy series. And, although I know both of those men are Japanese, the fact that he's Asian is a slight jab at the Koreans for how StarCraft is still their national sport. Just sayin'.
And finally, needless to say, the title is a riff on the incredible "Ender's Game" by my favorite author, Orson Scott Card.