Tagged: Writing

Written in 365 Parts: 142: The Corridor

Drick slowly inserted a pneumatically-powered fast expander into the slight gap between the elevator doors and set it to immediate open. There was an acknowledgement from Marsh that he had moved into a safe position. Marsh was currently using the molecular adhesion bonds on his suit’s feet and elbows to stick on the vertical wall of the lift shaft, ready to cover the corridor beyond.

The computer monitoring system used by security was still resetting after the electro-magnetic pulse. There was a flashing counter in Drick’s view that gave the most conservative estimates of how long each system, or organic, would take to recover.

Drick activated the expander and with a snap it pushed the doors apart revealing the corridor beyond. It would have been glorious if the corridor had been empty, but they didn’t expect it to be. They were mildly surprised at just how full it was.

Drick figured there must have been a meeting on this floor as there were at least thirty organics strewn in the small foyer in front of the elevators. For the most part they were dressed in business cut clothes, though still displaying the military black and grey favoured by Volstron Services. They were all in various stages of disarray. Many were drooling or clutching their heads in pain, or confusion. Some were semi-conscious and others lay twitching, unresponsive to outside stimuli.

Among them were at least fifteen security guards. These had favoured better than the administrative organics. Their implants would be shielded and resistant to electromagnetics. Most of the guards were already bringing themselves back onto their feet and looked up in confused surprise as the elevator doors sprang apart.

Drick used the few seconds of confusion to act. With a thought the instruction was sent to Marsh to spray the entire area with darts. The tiny needles were loaded with a paralysis drug that would incapacitate the organics and disrupt mental processes. This effect of the paralysis was enough to cause a lack of communication skill, without triggering emergency medical measures.

At the same moment Drick launched out of the elevator, using arms to pull hard against the sill, and flip upwards. Drick has set the gravity adjustment to its maximum, lessening greatly the effect of the planet’s gravity. Drick flew towards the ceiling and as they did activated the adhesion pads on the suit. The plans had revealed that this section had no false drop ceilings. It was solid panels, eight millimetre thick tungsten carbide, layered over carbon fibre composites, attached to shock absorption panels. This section was designed to resist external attack but maintain some flexibility. The designers did not contemplate the attack happening internal to the building.

As Drick attached to the ceiling the view on the battle monitor inside their mind showed the tracers of the darts. This information was pulled directly from the targeting and monitoring system attached to Marsh’s dart ejector. Drick would have smiled if this was a casual observation. Marsh was precise, there was no random spraying of an area. Controlled bursts in tight patterns. Exactly the way that Drick would have done.

Drick drew four globes from a pouch and activated the trigger to mix the liquids inside. These were expanding epoxy grenades. Or as many people called them, stick bombs. With a carefully controlled flick of the wrist Drick launched them into the air, and then used the internal micro-motors to guide them to their exact destinations. There was no flash as these grenades used an expanding compound that reacted violently, but with no kinetic impact, with the air. They quickly saturated the area with a liquid, that expanded to a foam, that soon hardened to a porous block.

Drick dropped onto the top of the mass of forms that contained all but one of the security guards. Casually Drick walked to the edge and viewed the half free guard who was now hacking at the epoxy foam which covered, and held, their head. Drick shot them with a taser set to maximum charge and calmly waited for it to override their defensive countermeasures in their suit and stun them. After a few moments Drick signalled the all clear to Marsh and waited for him to join them.

Written in 365 Parts: 141: False Prints

There was only one possible solution. The signal was an instruction or a flag for an instruction. It was unlikely that it was intended for an organic, it was too short. The communication must instruct a computer system to do something. If Hooper was to guess the instruction would be an indication, some pre-arranged signal, so maybe this was the signal that someone wanted to talk. But, what was also apparent, was that it was clearly not by scrambled comms. So they were smart, they knew about tracing routes. They must know that any encrypted commercial communication could be intercepted, its route known and its contents eventually unencrypted.

Hooper wondered if they had been wrong to dismiss the idea of laser or radio communications. They pulled the data from all of the monitors and scans for the last three months from the security systems. There was no reports of any illicit communications streams. They decided to look for any unusual activity, making sure to include any data the systems had matched to known bad behaviour. All systems kept a file of their bad behaviour. Incidents they recorded that didn’t exist due to a failure in software or hardware, or known phenomena messing with the results. A clever person might use that against a system. Hooper found a few small incidents in a dump file, they were auto-detection of signals with no cohesive structure. Basically static on the monitor’s reception array.

However these incidents shared the same features. Random noise on the infrared spectrum in a localised area. Hooper looked at the reports. The noise was a tight scattering of photons in the infrared wavelength, unusual but not recorded as an issue for investigation so thrown to the dump file as a bad behaviour. Hooper took the record of incidents and compared them to the list of communications bursts from the Yee On Kline. Each of the incidents occurred within a few minutes of a scrambled comms message. Hooper’s instincts tweaked.

Hooper ran an analysis for how often the infrared noise occurred versus the comms signals being sent and the times of day. There were far more comms signals, so many in fact that there was little pattern to them. That was another piece of the puzzle. The association between signal and static was a little too random, false signals to stop anyone finding a pattern, especially a computer system that was cleaning out the trash from log files, and linking it to a person.

Hooper smiled. If one took this as a principle then every datum point had the chance to be a false reading. Someone was being very clever, someone who could alter low level computer readings. Someone who knew that footprints in the snow could be easily hidden if there were enough false prints. It appeared that the mole may be hiding behind others, Hooper wondered how well they could hide themselves. Hooper requested a greater number of data streams from the Judicial systems, everything from purchase requests to oxygen usage by section of the station.

Written in 365 Parts: 140: Communication Types

Hooper sucked on their teeth for a few minutes. The weights were bugging them. There was something there but it was hard to know what exactly. It would have to be left to stew inside the rusty synapses of a police officer’s tired mind. Their intuition though said that the figures didn’t quite feel right. Hopefully the computer would detect something. The first pass showing nothing unusual was a blow, but police work was a slog, a long hard crawl and not a leap. Hooper knew this, it’s what they preached.

Hooper ran with an assumption. It was unlikely that Susa would arrive and have a request. Would they arrive with a list of things they needed? Unlikely. Maybe they were told to go and collect. More likely they were just told to go frequently and the things happened around them. They would be a trained courier not an active agent. Hooper felt pretty sure of that. So, a courier, a go between. Someone worth protecting but also someone who would know little and could be cut loose. Hooper doubted they had even met the mole on the station. If it were Hooper they would want as little exposure as possible. So no formal contact had to be the assumption.

 So how would the mole be contacted. How would the mole know they were coming? How would the mole get items to them?

There must be someone running communications and since Hooper knew that the comms link had to be able to manage ad hoc connections, as was indicated by the recent activity, that route had to be available at almost any time. So it wasn’t via Susa Camile. Someone else made the communications. Someone else contacted the mole.

This left only one conclusion. Someone had access to the judicial inside operative, the mole, via a remote communications link, probably to the planet. That would have to be either a directed radio signal, tight beam laser or standard communications array. Hooper ruled out the laser, if you pointed a laser directly at Judicial it would be detected, even a short range laser. You could put a remote receiver somewhere on the satellite’s surface and run a short, tight beam, comms to it. But that ran the risk of being detected in a random sweep, of which there were many.

Radio had similar issues. There were random sweeps of the surface looking for any unusual signals. The satellite wasn’t just a government administrative centre for legal. There were the rapid response teams for civilian militia based here, along with the only prison in the system, aside from the rehabilitation facilities in the asteroid field. The prison here was a maximum security facility with secure wards for those who had severe psychologically divergent criminal tendencies.

So it had to be via a standard comms route into Judicial. Hooper assumed that they would use a civilian link into the system. Government links, even those that were private, were recorded as to who sent them and who received them. So it had to be commercial. However, it would still be recorded who received the calls.

Hooper pulled a list into a new query for all private communications that had come into Judicial in the previous decade and stored it in a table. Hooper then set up a new query of all personnel and who had received calls, and when they had received them. Then Hooper made a new table of all the registered calls, those that were private but marked as to their contents. Many of these were private medical or insurance companies. They were given their own query as it was unlikely they were using that as a cover. Hooper demonstrated the thinking by checking against the companies listed to return a verification, making sure that those calls had been made and were regulation. The query took a few minutes to confirm that they were legitimate.

This still left a large number of calls to a great number of organic officers. Hooper sucked a cheek. There was no officer who was contacted a significantly greater amount than another. Over a certain pay grade the number of calls increased. But that nagged at Hooper. If they were above a certain pay grade they would be more noticable. True they would be able to exert greater control and affect more systems with less impunity. But they would be more physically visible. Something told Hooper that the organic they were after would make themselves less noticeable.

Hooper decided to run the query for where the calls originated from. The calls were divided into private and scrambled. A scrambled call didn’t reveal its location, sender or contents. They were most used by Judicial and Government, but there were a legitimate number of private calls, lawyers for example, who also used them. However there was an interesting artefact about a scrambled call, many intellects might not know the whole process. If a scrambled call was transferred across standard commercial networks it left a trace in the system. In order to avoid data corruption of other commercial traffic, scrambled calls were always given their own routing, they didn’t share with other data streams. 

Hooper sent a request for all the routing information for the calls that had come into the satellite that had single routes. Then Hooper built a map of where those calls originated from to see if they could identify a hot spot of calls. It wasn’t long before the pattern emerged. A vast number of calls from the banking and government sections, but also an unusually large number of calls from a floating city. The sector indicated had hundreds of buildings, but thankfully only one organisation owned them. Yee on Kline.

Hooper did a query with his received calls table and list of names. It was less instructive than they had hoped. There was no single organic who had received calls from Yee On Kline.Hooper scanned through the list and suddenly paused, that was interesting and bizarre. The calls came into Judiciary and then they went to no person. The communication lengths for the majority of the scrambled signals that came in from Yee On Kline were short. Not just a second or two short, but a microsecond or two short. That was not enough time to send a communication. It was only enough time to send a signal. But a signal to do what?

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.