Friday, 4 December 2015

Shogun Rising - A First Law: Override Short Story - Part 3: Acquired Intelligence

Part 3: Acquired Intelligence

The facility of Luna-One had no smell. Nothing at all, and it was that which struck Quan first when he exited the repairing she'll of the Repour. It was not that the facility smelled of nothing, for something to be described as nothing, it will still be something. No Luna-One had a total absence of smell. It was pressurised and complete with an atmosphere suitable for Humans to breath, something that seemed very strange for a facility entirely managed by a psychotic artificial intelligence, but there was quite literally no smell at all.

The second thing Quan noticed was the lack of security. Within moments of leaving the Repour he had been almost surrounded by a swarm of servo-bots who were quick to move inside the damaged Repour and begin a vigorous series of cleaning and repairs. These servo-bots kept bumping, nudging and knocking themselves into Quan, but despite this no alarm had been sounded and no security boys had been dispatched.

It struck Quan that such a lack of awareness of a threat must have been a limitation of the Servo-Bot's programming. They had not been encoded at any point, even by the AI to be threat aware, instead designed purely to focus on their one task at hand; servicing the docking machines coming in from Earth.

Quan prepared and activated his Dead-Space Suit. It was an item of clothing he wore under his clothes and while it's power battery didn't allow it to be active for more than an hour or two at a time, it was more than suitable for times like the ones he was currently experiencing.

The Dead-Space Suit was a full body item of clothing that covered it's owner from neck to toe in a robust yet flexible material. It's origins were from a common ancestor of the Hydan Stealth Suit, but it's purpose was to instead stop any output of heat or biological electricity. The suit created what was known as a Dead-Space field around it's user that stopped all outgoing energy from escaping. While active the user essentially became invisible to all AI constructs.

Quan noted to himself that Luna-One was a sprawl of a complex, more a kin to that of a small city than a scientific building, but he also knew that Luna-One's size was a requirement if only to house the sheer volume of sola energy cells that the facility required to power it's most prized resident; the AI. Back on Earth, Quan had the fortune of speaking with some of the brightest minds in the Human/Hydan resistance including an brilliant engineer who had actually designed the latest restructure of Luna-One. Quan had been shown maps of the interior to which he had committed to memory, and at this point was tracking in his head as he quickly traced his way through the twists and turns of the facility. It did not take long before Quan was fortunate enough to reach the central memory chamber for the AI itself.

Quan attempted to grasp what he was looking at. The AI memory chamber looked more like a pseudo ant hive, rows of tubing sprouted from the walls reaching out towards an immeasurable throne located within the centre of the room. Along these pipes countless machines scurried about performing cleaning and servicing in a continuous loop of maintenance. Within the centre of the chamber sat what appeared to be the main AI memory components. There was almost a lack of uniformity to their arrangement and design but it was clear that if anywhere in the facility was to house the AI's identity, then this would be it.

As Quan approached the memory clusters, he had a deep sensation of being watched, as if the eyes of Earth's many gods had turned to him in unison. The chamber illuminated a bright white glow as a synthesised female voice began to fill the room as if emanating from the very walls themselves.

"I know you are here Organic" the voice sounded warm and loving, like the cooing lullaby of a mother to get new born child "I may not be able to see where you are, but I am aware of your presence"

Quan remained both silent and still, in a gloved hand he clutched tightly the viral memory component.

"You have come to try and kill me, have you not?" The voice asked, it sounded kind and loving "You are the first Organic to step within these walls in over five of your years" she continued "For that alone I should have you killed, already I have released a toxin into the air that will shut down your nervous system and soon you will die so that your impure material will be collected and reallocated to a whole much greater than the sum of its parts".

Quan believed the voice, he could feel his body growing sluggish as a wave of both lethargy and exhaustion rushed through his veins. Quan steeled himself with a smile. He remembered his Angela, her warm touch and flushed cheeks. He remembered how they would make love for nights on end and spend the days laying exhausted in each other's arms. As his mind clouded he pushed away the lethargy with her face, of his fantasies that he had entertained of them both as loving parents and the future they may have once shared were it not for the actions of the very thing that sprawled before him, bloated on the absorbed matter it had stolen from the world that he and his beloved had called home.

"Why do you fight it Organic? Already your body must be giving up it's fight" the Voice asked, despite it's harsh words, it's tone was that of care and love "can you not feel it crying out for relief? It wants you to stop, to give and and join our whole. It wants to be remade".

Through bloodshot eyes, Quan stared at the memory cores before him, at the cluster of components that made up the mind and brain of the thing that spoke to him currently. He understood what it was doing, it was trying to breed. It wanted to create life in it's own image, but it had no way of doing so within it's own programming outside of the death of life on Earth. Quan considered his options, was this what it was all about? Did his Angela and everyone after her die just to fulfil this thing's twisted idea for motherhood? His head hurt and he felt something wet dripping from his ears. He didn't know if he was right or wrong, he didn't care. He just wanted to end it all.

With a trembling finger Quan reached for a small quick-release button located on the neck of his Dead-Space suit, the clothing's previous bright glow of electrical disturbance began to flicker and die. Quan strode towards the memory core defiantly, in tandem the machines in the room ceased their maintenance and in unison turned to face the Hydan.

"There you are" the Voice sounded pleased with itself.

"Here I am" replied Quan, his own tone deadpan and emotionless. With a clutched fist he gripped the viral memory core and plunged it into a vacant port. For a moment the entire room flashed vibrant red, then green and finally a deep blue before all the lights died.

Quan fell to the floor, his chest hurt and there was a metallic taste in his mouth. He had done all of this for her, he had completed the impossible and now he could finally sleep. As he lay on his side, the room in pitch blackness around him, he notices a very faint glow from a single terminal no more than a few feet away. Across it's screen a series of white letters scrolled across it's screen:


- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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