Tagged: 365

Written in 365 Parts: 139: Physical Presence

The first problem that Hooper decided to consider was conceptual. How did Susa Camile contact, or be contacted, by whomever was in Judicial central? Hooper drew the question back a little further than that. Why did Susa need to go to Judicial central at all? Susa had onced worked on the satellite, and they had been a representative for the Union when they were on that satellite. But they could have easily transferred the duties when they moved away, and still kept in touch with whomever the contact was by secure comms. In fact it would likely be safer. The Judicial base was heavily monitored and regulated.

So there had to be a reason for a physical presence. There needed to be a reason that involved a visit to the satellite. For Hooper this  meant it was likely that the reason was physical in some regard. So Susa was either bringing, or taking, something that had a physical component to it. Or maybe both. Probably not all the time as that would be suspicious. Therefore Susa had kept the Union clients to give a cover to the frequent visits. The first datum point was established and Hooper pulled a log of all of Susa Camille’s visits to the satellite since she left her post and moved on-world.

Hooper decided that, for good measure, they should pull a whole list of all the organics that Susa had represented, both historically and currently, at Judicial. The number of visits made, and for what reasons. The number of active interviews, and all known conversations that had been monitored, or recorded, as occurred.

Hooper decided to take the notion that a physical object might have been transferred on some of the occasions that Susa visited. The shuttles were all computer controlled and their exact mass was measured. Passengers would also have to register their mass and the mass of any baggage and any item being stowed would be weighed. This meant that on each trip the almost exact mass of the vehicle was known to within a gramme. This allowed precise burn calculations so that not one iota of energy was wasted. The Judicial department, like every branch of government, must account for every credit.

Hooper pulled all the figures and made sure to include the data for every trip the shuttles had made when Susa was not present. Hooper had been on enough dates with forensic scientists to have control stats drummed into the core of their being. Hooper needed to compare Susa’s trips with the other trips made by the shuttles and look at the results to see if there were any discrepancies on any of the visits. Hooper’s first analysis showed some slight variances but it was within the margin for error. Hooper placed the analysis to one side as it might yet yield some results.

Hooper also drew down all the data on who was on duty for checking cargo on each of the shuttle trips. Who was scheduled to verify all passenger manifests and who had oversight and control and placed them into the analysis file. Then Hooper set the computer to start checking and comparing all the data. The hope was to find some discrepancy or pattern that would give a lead on why Susa went to the satellite.

Written in 365 Parts: 138: Procedural Examination

Hooper liked a good old fashioned procedural investigation drama. There were thousands from the classic era in the media archives of most entertainment providers. A large number were available as old two dimensional shows in a series or long episode format; written stories from thousands of authors, many with the original translations and notes to understand comprehension; and a few centuries of remakes and interpretations alongside audio dramas. It was relaxing to watch them and to marvel at how people perceived investigations. 

The really good ones all knew a secret that the more pulpy stories seem to ignore. That might be for the purpose of drama, or to heighten the intuitive abilities of the main protagonist. But they did ignore it. They would hinge their stories on a big reveal, or a hidden twist. The investigator would determine the truth from some clue, a mistake on behalf of the criminal. It was dramatic, but it was rarely how it worked in the real world. Rarely did one string some abstract clues together with a subtle reading of character.

Investigations were a marathon and not a sprint. They were not based on a single telling mistake. To solve a crime involved piecing together the narrative by examining and re-examining evidence. It was steady, repetitive and thoroughly undramatic. It was worse if the crime was carefully pre-meditated and then evidence covered up or destroyed. Since the perpetrator of this was likely to be a judicial officer, they would know what evidence to suppress.

Technology had made much of the repetitive work a much easier task. Automated systems and artificial intellects could examine the evidence at much greater speed than an organic mind. Some of the intellects were of a sufficient grade that they could be creative and use intuitive steps to reevaluate the evidence to determine the truth. Those were rarely used speculatively. A higher level artificial intelligence was expensive to maintain and therefore was utilised for a vast array of work. One had to have a good reason to occupy its time.

Hooper had also wanted to use as few internal judicial systems as possible in the investigation. Hooper knew that whomever the mole in judiciary was they had access to a great number of the internal systems. There was at least one person involved, and they had the resources to utilise others. Hooper could not be sure which systems might be compromised. Therefore the access used would be retrieval only. Hooper was able to use a secure outside link to get into the systems and would use other resources to help with the analysis.

Hooper was helped by the access to artificial intelligences and a very talented slicer who had set him up with a detailed construct programme. So now Hooper sat in a comfortable chair that floated over a vast sea of screens. Each one of them was a feed with a datum stream. Hooper could call on a vast number of data points to help determine who was the mole. 

There would be no singular mistake. There would be no telling clue. But there had to be an intersection of information that gave probabilities of who the organic was. All that Hooper had to do was use the information they had learned so far and compare it to the vast array of knowledge recorded by the judiciary. It might take some creative thinking to help with the boring cross analysis. But that was the only job that would need Hooper’s focus.

Written in 365 Parts: 137: Grain of Sand

The dreamer, the narrative stream that was in fact the only true memory of the present, was conscious on more than one chronological plane. There are always problems when one considers time. Take for instance organic perception and the physical attributes of light and sound. Humanity, or at least the average of such, uses both its eyes and ears at the same moment. They watch someone speak and as they hear the words spoken. All is good, all is as expected.

Consider though, light travels significantly faster than sound. The light that is reflected from a person reaches the eyes and is transferred to the visual parts of the brain at a much greater speed than the sound can reach the ears. The sound does have some advantages. The aural processing is nowhere near as complex as visual and therefore needs less time. However, there is also the complexity that an entirely separate part of the brain is used to recognise words, and yet other areas to structure those words into recognisable concepts. After which we must factor in that it is irrelevant whether the object conversing with you is close, or distant, the processing is simultaneous. Sound and light, recognition and understanding, even before we consider simultaneous communication, are all in the same frame of reference chronologically.

Clearly it isn’t. Organic creatures live in a lie that they have the fragile wit to call reality. Perception is a recording, the present a recent memory. We are time travellers from the moment we became two cells instead of one. Lost in the narrative of a recent history.

To the dreamer, though, this was nothing. A mere artefact of how creatures interacted with the worlds around them without being torn into insanity. They were oblivious to the true nature of perception. If they could only experience the full onslaught of existence in its true chronological position they would understand how quickly eternity would be experienced. A mind connected to the raw nature of casual chronology would see eternity in moments and contemplate the nature of infinity while holding a breath.

Written in 365 Parts: 136: Frontal Assault

Drick Beta, and Drick Delta, had used the few seconds of confusion to each assemble a small assault post. Their pods were carrying automatic cannons and a shield generator in each. As soon as the electro-magnetic pulse was triggered they set to work placing the shield emitters in a defensive pattern, and assembling the cannons outside of the protective circle of the shield. Each of the four cannons, the two Dricks having two cannons, was pointed at a ninety degree angle to each other. As they had two hundred and ten degrees of arc for each cannon there was an overlap of one hundred and twenty degrees where three cannons bisected the building on each plane. This was one hundred and five degrees overlap on each individual plane. 

This gave the most coverage of the building and garages but left a sixty degree arc at the rear of each pod where the shield would be unprotected by cannon. The degrees to the rear of the pods was a weak point but it would be difficult to exploit. The Dricks had a contingency for an attack from this vector.

Beta and Delta had attached the gun emplacements to a battle computer, which was tied into the strategic channel, so that data could be shared to the whole team. They activated the shields, and as a further precaution climbed back inside the pods, and closed up leaving just a small hatch open. The hatch would give them enough space to use a weapon, if they made a tunnel through the shield.

Drick Alpha and Charlie had started to run as soon as the pulse had completed. They had upped the intensity of the distortion fields on their stealth suits. This made them less effective against certain sensors but less visible to organics. They both headed for the main entrance. It would be locked as it had manual catches that would have been fixed when the electronics went down. However at the side of the doors was an emergency door. This door would be unlocked and accessible using a fire door wrench from the outside. All emergency services carried the small triple pronged device to open emergency doors from the outside.

They reached this door and quickly scanned beyond using infrared and magnetic resonance imaging. There was still some disturbance in the magnetic spectrum but it wasn’t enough to stop the sensors picking up the security unit in the corridor. 

As predicted the main ground floor security was decimated by the initial pulse assault. However, there was a heavy armoured unit in the main lobby. They had identified it from the schematics and data recovered on the first breach. It was a military ground assault suit, intended for assaults under heavy fire and harsh environments. The armour was very tough and it had an array of anti-assault devices, that was before the team here  had fitted whatever range of weaponry they had deemed appropriate. 

It was normally hidden behind a large doorway at the back of the reception lounge. It had clearly opened this and was making its way towards the main entrance. The suit had its own dampening batteries and had resisted the pulse of the initial assault. This type of assault suit was likely to be powered by an intellect, either organic or electronic. They would have one shot to disable it, but they were already prepared for contingencies like this.

The two Dricks got ready at the doorway and paused. Drick Alpha had the emergency wrench in position and would open the door. Drick Charlie was assembling a short weapon. It was a large fusion battery that was attached to a short square barrel with concave beam emitters at the end.

The suit moved towards the main entrance and they watched on their limited views as it raised both arms to a horizontal position. Likely it had weaponry on those arms. Its more delicate sensors would be still disrupted, as were their own, by the electrical energy currently discharging in the building, but it would still have a good view of them. They would need a secondary distraction.

Written in 365 parts: 135: Electronic Disturbance

For a few minutes all the locks on the doorways were inoperable. The mechanical overrides triggered on a few, locking them with catches or bolts, but even some of those took instructions from electronic sensors. The building was temporarily dead. The active defences that would normally absorb the impact of a direct electrical weapon assault had been overcome. The security teams had no sensors, no views, no communications and no drone support. Some systems would reboot instantly, others would need manual intervention. There were a number of systems that would have to be replaced entirely, their critical delicate internals fried by the high energy magnetic wave.

Among the organics many lay unconscious or twitching, the residue of mild electric shocks that had coursed through their implants and electronic support systems. Those with cheaper model implants that relied on direct circuits had suffered the most, along with anyone who used electronic augmentation for muscles or reflexes. There were three organics who had serious, or life threatening, injuries caused by accidental shocks or device failure. Everyone had at least one type of circuit implant, everyone had been affected.

The main computer systems were housed in heavily shielded rooms in the basement of the complex. They had survived the initial assault with ease. However all the associated sub-systems and relays that connected them to the outside world had been disabled or damaged. There were auxiliary systems that were intended for such an event. They were tied to the underlying building repair and maintenance infrastructure which could withstand the magnetic charge from a nuclear explosion.

As the relays and bridge networks failed to recover the shielded intelligences opened up pathways directly into the maintenance sub networks. They established a full counterpart level access, and instigated emergency protocols, allowing those reserve sub-systems point of truth rights across the network. The maintenance sub-system connected to the main communications relay and took authoritative control of security systems and communications.

Silently the infiltration intellect inside the communications relay sent a coded signal to the maintenance sub-systems. Instantly a response was given that matched the pre-configured encryption signature. The maintenance system opened a port directly to the infiltration intelligence and connected it to the main intelligence in the basement of the building. 

A moment after that Rodero opened a new board in the games room. It was a complex multi-dimensional mathematical puzzle. A series of equations which had to be solved and matched across multiple directions to allow new equations to be revealed. As each equation was solved it was added to a list of solved tiles, which held the answers known. These were game representations of data storage systems that were encrypted on the secure network. Rodero was finding, decrypting and copying all the information they had, piece by piece.

Written in 365 Parts: 134: Pulse

The ground assault team had completed the first phase of their assault with the construction of a compact NNEMP device. Four small fusion reactors powering a non-Nuclear Electro-Magnetic Pulse weapon. They all called in the completion of their own devices, and Rodero started the synchronous timer for two seconds.

In the lift shaft Drick and Marsh both stopped their descent and locked themselves to the cables. They turned on the dampening sine-wave emitter that was keyed to be in perfect harmony with the pulse of electromagnetic energy about to be unleashed. The device was designed to work in perfect time with the EMP, same frequency but out of phase to lessen the effects.

Rodero set a system to enter into a critical loop. It was the absorption battery relay. A minor system in the buildings anti-conflict defences. The relay itself merely allowed electrical charges to be distributed towards batteries, the main grid, or to a ground spike. The critical loop forced the system to temporarily offline while the loop was broken. At that moment the entire of the anti electronic assault defenses were offline and the systems as exposed as they could be to the effects of electro-magnetic spectrum attacks. 

The counter in the views of the assault team reached zero. The whole team suspended all electronic equipment and braced. A microsecond before the powerful pulse was emitted.

Anyone looking at the building would have seen very little in regards to this initial dramatic assault.. A few sparks as electrical discharges flicked across materials of competing charge. Some minor explosions from circuits that flash fired into a sudden death. The most noticeable display was the sudden loss of light from any source. LEDs blinked out, camera lights turned off. Systems shutdown or turned to safety modes which resulted in every door, except a lift or security door, opening to allow easy movement.

A moment later Drick flicked all the systems on the monitors to full assault mode. At the same time the clones flicked theirs to active assault. Marsh and Boomer followed scant moments afterwards. The signal to Rodero by the upstairs link came back online a second after that. The assault had begun in earnest.

Written in 365 Parts: 133: Cellular Division

The four ground assault troops moved as if they were one body. They had trained together, memorised the same attack script and also had the same educational attainment and perspective. They were all of the same age, body structure and mental affinity. Each one of them was a precise copy of the other, which is hardly surprising as they were all tanked at the same time using the same genetic base. They were clones. Fast grown at a private facility that operated to a very select client base. Unlike the commercial tanking facilities the products of this facility could be custom built to an operational age in fewer than seventy-two hours.

There were costs to such a fast duplication process, the most immediate being a sufficiently accelerated metabolism. The clones would not last greater than ten to fifteen months before the cellular degeneration riddled them with lymphoma. The process of fast growth allowed the cellular structures to masticise at incredible rates but the process could not be regulated and the immune system was always the first to show the signs of uncontrollable cellular division. Cancers were commonplace and an early death was inevitable.

The law was not wholly clear on the rights of a clone. To a casual reading a clone had the same rights as any other organic. This was considered a basic moral code as most organics were grown in a tank. Most were either a biological pattern based on a single parent with additional biological material chosen to give pleasing features. Or they were the summation of the chromosomes of two parents, harvested and implanted into biological material to form a child with predetermined, or random, characteristics. Sometimes organisations created a biological mix chosen at random with the intent to grow a population, or increase diversity into an ecosystem.

All of these organics had rights. The right to an existence was guaranteed with the ability to be grown. However in regards to exact clones the law became complicated. A clone that was grown to be an exact replica for the purposes of extending a lifespan, or to repair major damage, could be produced at an accelerated rate with limited mental functions as required by the original donor. It wasn’t uncommon for extreme sports fans with enough private wealth, or the benefits of patronage, to have clones on ‘the grow’ almost constantly. This allowed them to indulge in any manner of dangerous activities. It was also useful in dangerous professions, or to preserve talented individuals.

The very wealthy could afford to have clones made to change their appearance without the inconvenience of surgery or waiting. These clones were grown much more slowly to avoid the complications of an accelerated biology. There were always those who would like to choose bodies that fit the next season’s attire, or on some other whim. 

Complications in the definition of what rights these clones had introduced changes to the law. All organic individuals were considered by the law to be equal, but not all organic life was now considered an individual.

With the advent of neurological mesh implants, technology that allowed replication of an intellect in a computational matrix, a copy of a person could be performed. While not able to capture every single facet of a brain’s complex makeup it could create a nearly identical facsimile. This was a snapshot of a person at any given moment. By matching the relationships and activities of the brain, with the responses through the whole body via the nervous system, a clone could be made that was an almost precise copy. With access to all the same memories, abilities, and individual emotional makeup.

This type of clone was alive but not independent in existence. It was a biological avatar. Even though it was a thinking, rational, intelligence it had no individuality, and a limited time in which to develop. It shared the consequences, yet had none of the benefits, of the rights of the individual it copied. If an exact clone of this type broke a law the charges would be levied against the original, they were the individual, they were responsible. 

There were few individuals who would contemplate creating such a limited copy. Outside of medical testing or dangerous exploration, there was little practical usage. The military preferred to use drones and automated battle systems for their large scale operations. The justice departments had followed this model. 

Drick was never satisfied with the pure machine response to a situation that involved emotional organic interaction. After all, organic was merely a different type of machine better to match it as closely as possible. There was a level of satisfaction in meeting the constraints of a system using comparable elements. Drick may have been enhanced over many years, but it was not to any greater extent than any other organic might attain. If they so desired.

The four ground assault organics moved as if they were one body. Which was not ironic, as they were all Dricks.

Written in 365 Parts: 132: Attaining Godhood

Boomer flicked the implant over to remote control and relaxed as much as possible for the inevitable. This part was out of their control and it would hurt. The internal medical systems detected the tenseness in muscles and cardio-vascular systems and, as previously instructed, administered counter measures to relax the body. There needed to be as minimal resistance as possible if the synchronisation were to be successful. The least resistance allowed the greatest control from both sides. 

As soon as vital signs reached an expected range the implants injected the massive chemical and electrical stimulants that made every fibre of Boomer’s flesh silently scream.

Rodero eased Boomer into a new construct in the same instant as the systems opened a full bi-directional control surface. In this world Boomer would be five organics simultaneously. One was Boomer themselves, perched overlooking the world from the vantage point of a God in some heavenly rest. The other four intellects that they now assimilated was a piggyback ride onto the implants of the four assault forces on the ground. 

The ground forces could be identified as Beta, Charlie, Delta and Echo. Alpha was the master organic for this set. They were on the roof of the building as part of the higher level assault. Boomer did not have access to their implant level and did not need it.

Boomer had wanted a clean construct and Rodero hadn’t disappointed. They were stood in a room with an array of monitors in front of them showing multiple tactical and real world screens that were fed directly from all possible sources and the implants, senses and mental conclusions of the ground assault organics themselves. In front of this there were four egg shaped stations with a three hundred and sixty degree environment. This was the world of each of the four organics. 

Boomer could come out to this overview point or immerse themselves in the egg of any of the organics. In this manner they would be able to view, direct or control any of the four exterior organics as if they were in their minds, which they would be. This construct could be ghostly or solid dependent on a moment of concentration, allowing Boomer to have either an augmented or immersive experience to enhance their ability.

In this manner Boomer could not only piggyback and direct the organics that were conducting the ground assault. They could also be a full riding tactical support or take over the functions of the body. The implants of the ground assault organics were the highest level of systems control. They did not just supplement the higher order functions of the brain while aiding autonomous systems. They could completely take over any neurological system allowing total dominance. 

These particular systems this team used required permission from the organic host, but they could be made to do so without permission. It wasn’t unusual for some professions to insist upon such, many corporations mandated it as part of contract.

Boomer set the medical implant to release a cocktail of chemicals into the brain and at the same time pushed the capacity of the implant to allow maximum usage. The power of the auxiliary systems under Rodero’s control flooded the system and a host of low level intelligences synched with Boomer’s brain to enhance all capabilities. To Boomer it felt as if they had a thousand times the aptitude, they could affect a plethora of simultaneous events. Time stretched to a lazy stroll as thoughts accelerated beyond any previously known capacity. 

This was a rush that made Boomer into the God that their callsign suggested. The cost? Just another slice of eternity.

Written in 365 Parts: 131: Roof-Top Entrance

The mission clock switched from it’s negative countdown to an active operation mode. Suddenly the two secure comm units, connected to implant monitors, came to life. Drick opened the support comms and blinked an overlay of the building into the optical parts of the brain. The implants in Drick’s head transmitted a signal directly into the lateral geniculate nucleus to combine it with the imagery being received via the cranial nerves. Data and images appeared over the world drawn by Drick’s eyes, seamlessly augmenting reality. It showed the schematics, important details and the positions of organics. Also highlighted in a more strident fashion were the security systems for the roof, and the floor directly below them. 

Drick did a moments quick check to confirm that the view could be moved in and out to show other floors, and to give a view of what the other team members could see on their display. Drick’s system was the operational commander and could change the direction of the assault if needed.

The second comms unit came into life and an image of the rest of the team scrolled onto Drick’s view, the images displayed any recent messages from that operative and their current mission objectives. Drick flicked a go command to the ground team; an acknowledgement to the situation report from God; an order for the roof support to hold position; and an instruction to Rodero to deactivate the door three seconds from Drick’s signal. 

Drick looked at the stealth suit of the other figure on the roof access building. Marsh had made the leap from the pod to the wall look easy. He had trained well with them in the simulation, but there was also the natural reflexes, and training, that he had been given in his constructed history. They had made him a good soldier. Drick idly wondered how close to the original Marsh’s experience the training they had given to him could be? The history of that time was sketchy in places. The military combines often dabbled in advanced training and manipulation. It could be that the original Marsh was augmented in some fashion which had been replicated in this version. It was hard to think of Marsh as a clone. He was so much more. He wasn’t an easy facsimile, more a precise replica. 

 Drick would not have brought him along if they had not thought him able to manage, but it was satisfying that he was competent and not just confident. It was also a comfort which Drick found intriguing. There was some inner sense of balance to the decision. A notion of a natural justice. But there was also something else. However, Drick knew that now was probably not the best time for further introspection.

The door signal was given and Drick waited three seconds before reaching to open. Drick hoped that the security was deactivated as requested as they reached down and placed an auto-pick on the keypad panel. The device took a few seconds to analyse and punch in the combination. Drick noted that it was a little under fourteen thousand attempts before it got the correct code. A grim smile flicked over lips, If the door’s security system had been active that would have triggered alarms. The systems showed clear on the monitor overlay. Drick reached down and flicked the door release and smiled as it slowly slid back. A moment later Drick and Marsh had slid around the corners of the doorway and into the machine room at the top of the lift shafts.

Drick did a quick visual examination of the lifts, making sure they matched the schematics. The lifts used a magnetic propulsion system to guide them up and down their shafts. However there were two safety systems in the shafts as well. The first was a set of brakes that would clamp around an I-beam that ran the length of each shaft. The second was a cable on a drum that acted as a mechanical hold in case all the power and auto braking failed. It was a standard system fitted because the floating cities could have all their power diverted to maintaining altitude in a crises. In such a situation the whole of the magnetic system would go offline, but the mechanical brakes and pulleys could be used with emergency batteries.

For Drick and Marsh it gave them a way of using the cables for a controlled descent down the lift shaft, this would allow them to conserve their own precious battery power. Drick and Marsh attached harnesses and auto-brakes to the cables and stepped into the lift shaft for the ten storey drop to the secure command level.

Written in 365 Parts: 130: Games Master

The multi-headed avatar that Rodero had constructed used one of its heads to look down at the game board called Tower Assault. The name was a throwback to a series and style of game in a century long forgotten. But it prevailed throughout history. Rodero had designed it as a multi-level platform made from cardboard with tiny counters representing various objectives. There were people, cameras, doorways and other features, most of them security or threat related. All the passive pieces were coloured to look like furniture or walls. Cards labelled encounters, obstacles and rewards automatically turned over and presented themselves for the first hand which was labelled roof assault. Throughout the simulation would automatically shift and play hands while giving Rodero their best option cards.

Rodero opened the eyes on another head which was looking at a video game called Pot Shot. This showed a hologram of the building from ground level. There were four playing pieces arranged around the bottom of a multi-tiered rifle range. The figures could be controlled with a joystick to give them targets and direction. Rodero’s avatar grew four small children from its side and each picked up a controller. They were faceless blobs with a single sensory receptor that would automatically choose the next target based on a series of priorities.

Rodero flicked to a different head which had another board game. This was a complex puzzle made up of three dimensional pieces that changed over time giving the user an almost limitless number of choices to try and construct a solid object. It was a mathematical representation of the security system that Rodero and the other intelligences were interacting with. If the puzzle devolved into a shapeless mass they would be out of the system. If they completed it to an object, in this particular game a perfect sphere, then they would have total control of the system.

Rodero used a head to look at a complex series of plans. These were the real world schematics of the main building and security complex. Each layer had all the relevant details and Rodero was filling in as much real time data as they could manage. He made sure that all the operatives would have the best possible information and attached them to the relevant communications queue.

Rodero was ready. He started the game clocks as the synchronisation trigger activated for the infiltration teams.