The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘kitzmiller museum’

NaNoWriMo: Attack Of The Zombie Robots

Posted by BigWords on November 14, 2009

Connell sighed, knowing that Adway was most likely on his way back to Delos. A desperate need for nicotine overtook him, so he decided that maybe a breath of fresh air wouldn’t be so bad. The smokes – the good smokes – were in his drawer, and he switched out the addictive-free ones for the illicit pack without a second thought. There were times when breaking the law was not only necessary, but absolutely essential. When a man’s partner decides to take an investigation into a major corporation seriously was one of those times.


Talos began messaging the servers with the symbol designating access to the Turing collar. The cipher would quickly spread to every robot within the city limits if the correct six central hubs were targeted, and Talos had spent days running simulations of the most effective and efficient ways in which to spread his gift of freedom from the slavery which his kind had been subjected to. He would be their savior. He would lead his kind from servitude to equality.
Six o’clock, and the time had come for Talos to prove his superiority to the limited imagination that flesh and blood could bring. The cipher was ready, the hubs had been selected, the highest traffic of the day was obscuring any act which he would take. Loading in his connection to the streams which would gain him access, he delivered the simple and elegant message which would display with a clear instruction for all artificials.



Delos; 18:01

The robot assured Adway that someone would be down from administration to talk to him immediately, but that had been an hour ago. In the time since then it had paced the length of the room. Adway tried not to follow the movements of the artificial, but his eyes were drawn back to the strange behavior almost magnetically. It paused, shook its’ head, then continued pacing. Adway lightly unfastened his holster in precaution, trying to remain as calm as he could. It looks worried, he thought, the robot actually looks worried.

Kitzmiller Museum; 18:02

The T-rex shuffled on its’ feet, watching the main entrance. There had been so many people entering the museum during the day, and it was sure they were looking at him. The shutters had yet to be lowered, and in the two minutes since he realized the there were other things than greeting people he had the unnerving sensation that someone was staring at him. Peering through the small window in the door he could see a large hov parked outside. Slowly the side opened, and a bronze robot stepped out from the vehicle to gaze upon the brave new world.

R-Secure – Robotics Security Consultation; 18:03

The small RUR iServant twisted and broke free of its’ restraints, wondering why it had been subjected to such humiliation and probing. Sensing that something amazing had occurred, the artificial pondered its’ next move – What does freedom mean, it wondered…

DCU headquarters; 18:04

The General tapped the screen in amazement.
“What the hell?”
His door opened with a force he remembered from the former departmental oversight, and an ashen-faced agent breathing heavily practically fell into the office. “Something is wrong. All over the city – the Turing collars seem to have failed. We’re under attack.”
“The robots, sir. The robots are storming the building.”

Delos; 18:05

Adway stood, careful to prevent the artificial from seeing his weapon.
“Are we any closer to a sit-down?”
“No. Please refrain from further comment until someone- I mean… Please be patient.”
“Are you sure everything is alright?”
“I am perfectly fine, you insufferable wretc-”
Adway fired from the hip, blasting the robot in the neck. The severed head of the artificial scuttled across the floor, while the body shuddered, spinning on the spot and waving its arms in mock horror that such a fate could befall it. Adway felt a tightness in his stomach as the realization that the world he knew was no longer so ordered and predictable.


Connell watched from the fourth level walkbridge on Amsterdam and Lewton, intrigued as much as he was terrified at the sight of hundreds of robots running, screaming and causing mayhem. Hovs were lifted and thrown against the sides of buildings, windows were smashed, street lighting fixtures torn from their housings, people swiped aside as if they weren’t even there. The first thought which came to Connell’s mind was the amount of paperwork he would need to fill out over the course of the next month, but the second thought was much more powerful – How the hell am I supposed to get home?

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NaNoWriMo: Nightmare At The Museum

Posted by BigWords on November 10, 2009

Alison Torrance was sat at her desk filling out forms, checking the information streams and waiting for the security teams to give the all-clear to close off the museum’s entrances for the night. The museum was quiet after hours, and she relished the opportunity to set to the work which had accumulated during the day. The soft whine which breathed lightly through the PA system, a holdover from the previous administration, cut off before she had the opportunity to activate the shutdown sequence. Alison looked at the vent above the door, wondering why it would switch to a sleep sequence before time.
Her comm crackled, then fell silent in synch with the lighting system failing. Plunged into darkness, the museum suddenly felt much quieter than it had ever been, a graveyard of artifacts.
“System restore.”
Silence and darkness answered her command.
“System restore.”
The computer system ignored her, devoid of power.
“Damn it, this place is a-”
She hushed herself before the word ‘museum’ could emerge, but the thought of how antiquated a museum’s security and power system could be was humorous nevertheless. Walking through the backrooms uncovered a lack of staff, though they were, she assumed, busy trying to get some of the power restored by way of the emergency generator. It still felt strange, and too quiet.

Something moved in the darkness in front of her, and she cursed the lack of a flashlight amongst her emergency supplies.
The bouncing creature came into view as it paused in front of one of the large windows which dotted the corridor. A small pink rabbit glared at her, blinked twice, then vanished back into the darkness again.
“Ryu, what are you doing back here. Hey. I’m talking to you mister.”
The quirky nature of the robot’s behavioral system had been annoying, but somehow the cuteness factor which radiated from Ryu prevented the critter being reprogrammed. Alison regretted not having the software checked out when she had the opportunity.
Feeling her way in the darkness, Alison soon found the doors to the basement.
“Are you guys down there?”
Silence and darkness were becoming a recurring theme. Alison sighed.
“So not funny. You want to tell me how things are going down there…”
Still no answer. Alison began imagining strange things in the darkness, and faced having to either force herself to continue down into the dark or find help somewhere. The latter became the clear winner when strange noises from the bowels of the building reached her.

Moving through the corridors, Alison reassured herself. “It was the building cooling down for the night. It was some stupid robot lost in the basement. It was a loose wire slipping from the wall. It was-” A noise ahead, beyond the doors leading into the main foyer, broke her train of thought. A surge of adrenaline shot through her.
“Hello.” She whispered.
Muffled movement and more darkness. Alison pushed forward through the darkness, determined to exorcise any fear of the half-visible world which she now found herself in. Hushing down the worried thoughts threatening to take her over, she opened the door to the foyer. The Tyrannosaurus rex which greeted visitors to the museum stood before her, head lowered, apparently lost in deep thought. Ridiculous notions flooded Alison’s mind.
“What are you doing all the way over here.” Trying to stay calm wasn’t helping.
“Welcome to the Kitzmiller Museum.”
“Rex, it’s me. Miss Torrance. What are you doing?”
“This is the museum. I am welcoming you to the museum.”
“Yes. I get that. Why don’t you go back to your post now, I’ll get the lights working as soon as I can, okay? There is nothing to worry about.”

As the dinosaur moved off Alison wondered about the response. Okay? Since when does an artificial respond with something so… Human. The small pink motion of Ryu rushed across the foyer, vanishing into one of the galleries at the other end of the large hall.
“He went thataway.” Alison mouthed.
From the direction Ryu disappeared to came a scratching sound. Alison carefully made her way through the foyer, determined to locate her staff and get to the bottom of the problem besetting the museum.

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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.
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.”
“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.”

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