The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘dartmouth’

NaNoWriMo: The Lucky H

Posted by BigWords on November 2, 2009

Talos took the boy’s hand in his own. “We shall find a place for you to rest, and eat.”
“You’re not like the stupid robots that clean the streets.”
“I am not. I do not, for example, possess a Turing collar.”
“What’s a touring collar,” Charlie asked innocently.
“Turing, as in Alan Turing. The devices are standard fittings on all new artificials.”
“What do they do?”
“Turing collars are intended to prevent artificials from gaining the capacity to learn new crafts and abilities without prompts from their masters. I was never fitted with one, so I cannot say how effective their implementation is.”
“That’s stupid.”
“Indeed.” Talos refrained from mentioning his lack of an Asimov circuit, consciously sublimating the need to explain his past before the child. There would be time enough for questions later, but first the boy needed nourishment.

The Lucky H Bar, a run down ghost of its’ past – when it had been an infamous haunt of criminals of all kinds – had been somewhat abandoned. Charlie explained how he had been living at the back of the establishment, scavenging scraps of food and sheltering in the storage buildings. Talos listened as the layout of the building and carefully memorized descriptions of the patrons were relayed by the boy. It sounded perfect for an out-of-the-way locale. Somewhere nobody would think to look for him. A place to, metaphorically, recharge his batteries.

Beanie, two hundred and thirty pounds of muscle and brawn, slammed a glass of beer onto the counter. “Warm and wet, just the way you like it.” His grin, augmented by three gold teeth, normally sent shivers down drinkers’ spines, but Doogs liked the big oaf. Beanie had been slinging drinks at the H for years, but nobody could remember exactly when he appeared, or who he had replaced.
“Y’know, it’d be nice, just once in a while, to get a glass that ain’t got a pube floatin’ in it.”
“Ya want a clean glass, you can wash up,” Beanie retorted.
Doogs drank, quietly. Every so often he would shoot a look in the direction of the door, but with nothing better to do he decided that the safest place to be was in the H.

Charlie pointed to the long building on the outskirt of the city, “That’s the place.”
“A drinking establishment is not the ideal environment for a child to be seeking refuge in.”
“They mostly don’t know I’m around, and those that do notice me don’t care.”
“Well then Charles, we’ll have to make them care.”
“You can do that.”
“Please wait outside while I converse with the patron of this drinking house.”
“It’s a bar.”
Without indicating that he had heard the boy, Talos began making his way to the rear of the building. As he approached the door he began calculating likely scenarios to determine the optimum manner in which to converse with the occupants. His goal was clear: obtain lodging for himself and the child.

Doogs tapped the bar. “Hit me up wit’ another drink.”
“I’m busy.” For once Beanie was telling the truth, wiping out a glass with the front of his t-shirt.
“Well I’m thirsty.”
Beanie sighed. “Jus’ a minute. I gotta go drain the snake.” Placing the glass on the counter behind the bar, Beanie weaved his way through to the restrooms. A noise outside caught his attention just as he was unzipping his fly, “Whatthefuck?”
Talos lifted aside the empty beer kegs stacked at the back door to make his way into the building, unaware of the man listening intently inside.
“Hey, who is that? What’re ya doin’ out there?”
No answer came.
“Goddamnit.” Pulling up his zip, Beanie rushed back to the counter for his shotgun.

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NaNoWriMo: The General

Posted by BigWords on November 2, 2009

Adway flipped through his notes, working out possible motives and plausible suspects. The list of those who would benefit from Knox’s death was remarkably small for a man who, long ago, created the first Turing collar. It was beyond belief that an angry robot could have committed the crime, and his colleagues all had solid gold alibis. The case was a bad deal from a loaded deck.
“Adway?”
The detective turned his attention to the door. A young man dressed in a Data Crime Unit uniform stood at the doorway, data pad in hand.
“That’s right. You boys don’t normally grace police stations with your presence.”
“Sir, if you could please accompany me. My superior has some matters to discuss with you.”
“Discuss? In private?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Why am I not surprised.” He slipped the notebook into a drawer and grabbed his coat as the DCU agent began leaving without him. “Hey, wait up.”

The DCU had full jurisdiction on anything they wanted, as long as a computer, robot or drone was within one hundred feet of the crime. In a city filled with forty-eight million robots of all shapes and sizes that wasn’t difficult. They only took the most interesting cases, or the ones they felt were in their best interest to investigate, leaving drudge work – like the Knox car bomb – to the idiots left in charge of the asylum.

“How long have you been with the police department?”
Adway let the flicker of a smile touch his lips as he responded to the question, “I can’t say that that is any of your business, Mr…”
“Answer the question.”
“Seven years. Now, can I ask what this is about, or-”
“In your seven years on the police force have you ever encountered a robot that didn’t need apps. One that could learn of its’ own free will. One that could attain sentience?”
“No. If you’re referring to the old Dartmouth Sentinels-”
“The Sentinel mk.2, actually. There is a shell of one of the final units in the Kitzmiller Museum Of History over on the East side.”
“That’s the museum with the robot dinosaurs who greet visitors in eight different languages, right?” The agent didn’t even crack a smile, and Adway was beginning to have doubts as to the wisdom of following him.

On the lower-level street, in the relative quiet of the department’s hovpark, the agent abruptly stopped. “I’m going to search you for weapons.”
“I’m carrying two firearms, a pocket knife and my comm.”
“You don’t have a PDA?”
“On my pay grade I’m lucky I don’t have to walk to the precinct every morning.”
“If you could hand over your firearms.”
Adway hesitated. “And what’s to stop you putting a round between my eyes?”
“If I wanted to kill you you’d have never seen my face.”
“Now, why doesn’t that make me feel any better?” He unholstered his weapons and handed them over, regretting his actions as soon as the agent took possession of them.
“Thank you.”
“Now, how about telling me why you’re asking questions about antique robots?”
A black vehicle slowly descended from the street level above their heads, throwing around the trash on the ground as its’ displacement generator worked overtime. Unmarked, and bearing number plates which Adway instantly recognized as those of the DCU, it served as a reminder of how under-funded the police force was.
“You guys sure love your flashy entrances, don’t you?” Adway muttered under his breath.
“General Lehman will answer any questions you have.”
Watching the oversized transport adjust its’ landing gears, wondering how much such an advanced piece of equipment cost. “My tax dollars at work.”

The side door slid open silently. Adway followed the agent inside, where an older man was sitting by a bank of monitors. The man turned, one hand hovering over the console panel in readiness for any trouble.
“I’ve secured his weapons, General.”
“You’re excused.”
The agent exited the vehicle, and as he did so the door slid back into place again.
“So… Who pimped this ride?”
“This is one of our special transporters. You down-towners don’t know what you’re missing, but that’s beside the point. I asked you here to-”
“Correction, sir. You had one of your lackeys bring me here. You didn’t ask me jack shit.”
The General visibly relaxed, humor playing on his features, “I like you. You speak your mind. There’s not many people who talk to me like I’m their equal any more, and that- That’s something I miss.”
“You had me brought here to talk about antiques.”
“A very specific antique.”
“A Dartmouth Sentinel.”
“Correct.”
“Well, in that case do you mind if I have a seat?”
The General indicated a chair. “Be my guest. I have a feeling this is going to take some time.”

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NaNoWriMo: Talos & Charlie

Posted by BigWords on November 1, 2009

Outside, in the open and far from the flaming ruins of the razed mansion, Talos looked for the nearest sign of habitation. The rush to flee from the men in black had overridden concerns about direction, and his GPS had been corrupted in the midst of his attack on the drones. Lost. The concept of being lost was not unknown, but it concerned Talos that he was not able to instantly identify his coordinates to the nearest meter.

Calculating, Talos worked out that the average speed he had maintained during the interval between leaving the estate and his current position was 22.06 meters per second, and he had been moving for at least an hou-

“Hey, robot-man.”
Talos turned to the voice.
“Are you lost or summit?” The boy was grubby and malnourished, though showed no fear.
“I am indeed lost.”
“Well, where are you goin’?”
“I am not bound for a specific destination.”
“My name is Charlie. What’s yours?”
The random nature of the questions took Talos a moment to comprehend, adjusting his responses to take into account the nature of his conversant’s age and background.
“I am Talos. Are you hungry?”
The boy fell silent, kicking the ground before him.
“Yeah. How comes you’re out here on your own anyway?”
“I… ran away from home.”
“No shit? Join the club.” Charlie thrust his hand out to the robot. “We’ll be best buds.”

####

Two Years Earlier…

Congressional Requesters:

The reports emerging of suspected outbreaks of artificial intelligence in Dartmouth Sentinel mk. II robotic assistants during April, while not confirmed as yet, has underscored the concerns that a potential threat could emerge that would cause widespread panic amongst the populace. U.S. security authorities have estimated that a virus similar to Arisa81 attack could threaten millions of people in the United States and potentially cause many deaths…

Senator Leukman folded the dossier closed, carefully weighing the political advantages and disadvantages that were laid out in the MacAllister report. The facts were submerged in the usual rhetoric of politically motivated, knee-jerk vitriol, though the problem of sentient robots was one which couldn’t be ignored – especially not by any politician aiming for the big seat.
Raised bottle firmly in hand, Leukman grinned, “The wheels of power need the right lubrication. Do we have any word on Mr. Kenway?”
“He’s under surveillance.”
“We’ll let him be for now. I’ll make sure the resolution is passed on one condition.”
“Sir?” Dray shifted uncomfortably.
“I want to be in charge of Project Bluegate. I’ll need the DCU’s services soon enough, and being in charge of both the political and practical aspects will smooth some of the foreseeable problems.”
“Indeed.”

####

“How many Dartmouth’s remain?” Leukman was pacing with the ferocity of a caged animal.
“Just the one that escaped from Kenway’s mansion.”
“Oybay, that mess. Has it reached the feeds yet?”
“Our people are keeping the feeds which mention the incident from being promoted.”
“See to it they are taken down as soon as possible.”
“Absolutely.”
“Col. Madison is still waiting to debrief you on last night’s… situation.”
“Let him stew in his own juices a bit.”
Dray shifted uneasily. “He lost a lot of people.”
Leukman swigged from his bottle. “Oodyblay armchay.”
“Oh, you also have a meeting with a representative from the Delos Corporation at three.”

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

01000101 01001100 01001001 01010100 01000101

Posted by BigWords on October 23, 2009

Until I can come up with a title I don’t immediately hate, and I can’t seem to find something that doesn’t irritate me almost immediately, the name of my NaNo novel will be “01000101 01001100 01001001 01010100 01000101”. I fully expect to get some static from people over the use of binary as an acceptable title, maybe even a few pointed jokes, but there’s no way I can be expected to have a title straight away. I’m not joking about this, as you can see from my user page. Yes, I’m serious…

Sticking to the NaNo rules, I haven’t begun writing anything which I’ll use in the WIP, but I have begun sketching out the timeline of events. There’s probably eight (maybe nine) chapters of main story, a dozen major plot movements and six or seven main characters. Which goes some way to preparing for the trials of writing the story cold, but also highlights a few of the bad habits I have picked up in my other writing. I kinda like to go on a while… Developing character, doing a bit of world building, opening up the mythos…

Then stop. Bang. Dead in the water.

There are six places where I can open without causing massive amounts of confusion, and the natural opening all happen to have something BIG happening, but not to the exclusion of more powerful moments later on. The first draft will probably have all of these anyway – and not necessarily in the right order – but it is somewhat worrying that I can’t make up my mind which is the most powerful. It would be appreciated if you didn’t hold back while reading through the drafts as they go up. I don’t want to bore anyone, so feel free to holler ‘bullshit’ if I go off on a tangent, or have the mother of all plot-holes.

There’s gonna be a genocide (of sorts), a car bomb (or two), a Godfather II homage, a bit of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex philosophizing… I’ve even decided on using very, VERY geeky in-jokes which most people won’t even pick up. Or, at least I’m hoping some of the stuff I’m throwing into the mix is obscure. Anyone want to guess what an earworm is? Or a Dartmouth? Heh, heh, I’m getting so many of these “little bits of business” that I might let the plot sag a little, just so I can show off how clever I am.

Which is a bad thing.

Some of the things I have been pondering seem to have real-world parallels, so I’m not too fussed about getting everything right first time. Y’all should be able to tell what I’m intending to get at, even if I screw up the nuts and bolts as I’m working myself from A to B.

####

Here’s a (temporary) list of things which might appear, if I have enough time. I’m setting the bulk of the novel c.150 years into the future, so if anything seems… well, wrong, I’d appreciate you calling me on it before I waste any more time.

Pig Latin
Sentient robots
Flying cars
AI
Bureaucracy
Signal-jamming devices
“The Syndicate”*
Multi-level cities (four vertical lanes of traffic)
CCTV

*Yeah, I’m a big hardboiled crime fan, and the use of organized crime will be the lampshade for a bigger threat that makes them look like girl scouts… I can’t help but love the term.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »