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The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘the general’

NaNoWriMo: Evacuation

Posted by BigWords on November 22, 2009

The robots swarmed the DCU building with unstoppable force, swiping aside the DCU agents as if they weren’t even there. Five thousand artificials with a single objective – clear the agency of all occupants. As the robots flooded the lower levels with increasing numbers, The General watched events from his office. Flashes of gunfire flared on some of the monitors, others were obscured by streaks of blood, and more were failing every minute the situation continued. Even a best case scenario would result in the loss of unacceptable casualties, the kind which brings congressional hearings down on government agencies.
“This is The General to all staff. Evacuate to the Black River Complex immediately. I repeat… Evacuate the building immediately.” The words didn’t come any easier with the knowledge that the action was the right choice to take under the circumstances. “Computer… Activate security ptotocol Alpha Black Five.” A three dimensional map appeared on his screen, displaying the immense hollow at the centre of the building.
A password box appeared in the middle of the screen, flashing spaces for the twelve digits required to complete the activation sequence. He paused a moment before commiting to the procedure, the knowledge that it could not be revoked weighing heavily upon him, but with time in short demand he forced himself to input the alphanumeric code. The screen turned red as the protocol was activated.
‘Thermo-nuclear detonation in one hour,’ appeared overlaid on the previous screen, all commands from the console finally and irrevocably locked out.
Closing down the lid of his command console, The General grabbed his comm and headed out for the upper hov deck. A siren blared through the halls, indicating that the self-destruct had been initiated. Over the alarm, the sound of twisting metal carried up the floors of the building, but he pushed on, determined to resolve the occupancy of his department by aggressive forces by any means at his disposal. The infected, whose occupancy of the basement could never be revealed, would hopefully be obliterated in the blast. No trace of the horrible secret could leave the DCU, no matter what else occurred.

####

Connell sighed as the DCU building came into view. “Say little guy, would ya mind if I had a moment tuh sit-down. All a’ this walking is making me feel like I’m gonna be sick.”
“You are ill?”
“I’m an overweight drunk.” Connell admitted, “I’m not made for all a’ this walking.”
“We will remain here for three minutes and thirty seconds, during which time you can recharge.”
“I ain’t promising anything, but I’ll take what I can get,” Connell said as he flopped to the ground.
From his vantage point, Connell could see the a fleet of hovs departing from near the top of the building at some considerable speed.
“There must be a sale on donuts somewhere.”

####

I didn’t post yesterday as I was out all day. And I didn’t – technically – write anything either. A dozen words typed into my phone don’t really count…

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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.

signal

####

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.”
“Terrorists?”
“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: In Binary

Posted by BigWords on November 9, 2009

Days swam by. For weeks the nanomeds worked, fixing the minute discrepancies in Adam’s DNA and connecting the metallic body parts to flesh in a manner that would make them one with the rest of his body. The theoretical had become flesh, and the flesh had become something new. Doctors charted his progress, and papers were written up for journals. A magic was being performed in the bloodstream of the agent, and the strange alchemy now had precedence.

In binary he dreams. In binary he lives.

Adam had managed to sit up slowly as the phalanx of doctors adjusted the tubes supplying his medication, the haze of confusion slowly lifting from him, but something deep inside was different. Awakening from one nightmare to a fresh terror, he slowly came to the realization that there were worse things than death. The sound of the data being processed in the wires around him was deafening. Painful. Information seeped into his mind faster than he could comprehend, the details of so many things coming as if from thin air. His throat felt as if it was on fire, his mind aflame, his missing limbs aching and itching…

There is panic in the doctors voices, excitement also.
“His blood pressure is rising fast.”
“Compensating for interference.”
“Is he fully lucid yet? The charts are spiking.”
“Where is The General? He wanted to be kept informed.”
“Pulse is strong and regular.”
“I think he can hear us.”
“Does this count as a success?”
“He’s still alive. We take what we can get from the data.”
“All monitoring equipment is showing interference.”
“Is there a magnetic field that could be doing this?”
“I really think he can hear us.”
“Do you have the chart from yesterday?”
“Blood pressure is levelling out.”
“The General really ought to be here to see these readings.”
“How is he managing to adapt so quickly? He should be dead.”
“I think the interference is in the cables.”
“He’s an automaton now, so we can cut him open to get-”
“Yeah guys, he can definitely hear us.”

The figure of the once-man-now-machine stood at the other side of the plastiglass watching the assemblage of medical geniuses squabble amongst themselves, wondering if he was in the wrong place or if the doctors were in the wrong place. It took a full minute before the next word was spoken, and in that time Adam had accessed the files of the entire team before him, their lives opened and read and filed away for future reference.

####

Ripples were apparent in the streams that flowed from the DCU, and Talos could not understand their nature or purpose no matter how hard he tried to decipher them. The introduction of a new puzzle worried the robot, but he knew any action would have to wait until the remaining threats to the grand scheme were eliminated. The jigsaw which had been coming together slowly had rapidly and effectively begun taking solid form with the destruction of so much DCU technology. A delay would have meant failure.

####

The General slid Adway’s DCU ID across the table.
“It’s yours if you wasnt it. You’ve earned a permanent place here as far as I’m concerned.”
“I take the ID and I’m in? No background checks, no credit reports… Nothing?”
“Do I need to do any of those things? I’m making you an offer most officers would kill for.”
“A lot of officers would kill for this, and I might be one of them. You don’t know me.”
“I know enough. I know you’ve been investigating the meme murders on your own.”
“Allegedly investigating the meme murders. There’s no proof I’m still on the case.”
“All right, though you would – if you were still investigating – tell me anything you uncover. That is, if you were still investigating it at all.”
“Absolutely.”
Adway considered the ID. “It has full clearance, right?”
“Full clearance for anywhere you need to be going.”
“What about here? What about the building’s sub-basement?”
“The sub-basement is off limits. It has a construction crew at work.”
“Building what, precisely? I saw a bunch of doctors head down there.”
“It is a classified matter.”
“And an access all areas backstage pass doesn’t cover ‘classified?'”
“Up to a point, but that point ends where I say it does.
Adway lifted the ID, examined it, then placed it in his pocket.
“I look forward to working with you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hand in my shield.”
“That has already been taken care of.”
“How did you know I would accept your offer.”
“I didn’t. It was merely a precautionary measure.”
“So if I don’t work for you, I don’t work?”
“You’re getting the hang of this quicker than I expected.”

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NaNoWriMo: Faster, Stronger, Better

Posted by BigWords on November 8, 2009

The General laid his hands against the hastily erected plastiglass booth. The metal table upon which Adam was placed, surrounded by an array of complex mechanisms, was barely visible through the throng of doctors attending to his wounds. His left foot, right leg, both arms and a portion of his chest had been removed; the burnt flesh around his ripped appendages was still being tended to be both doctors and robots.
An incision into his neck opened up more damage to be fixed, and the robots whirled into action. The General took a moment to compose himself before hitting the intercom switch. Losing another agent, on top of the massive casualties which the DCU had already sustained, was not an option.
“Prognosis Dr. Ardelie.”
The chief attending turned to the plastiglass “Hold on a moment.”
Adam seized, shuddering on the table, blood seeping from so places that it seemed a never-ending battle to keep him from dying. The dollar-cost was not a concern for The General for the first time in days, and he knew that he had to address the problem which Adway posed.
The doctor finally answered. “He’ll die if we graft without using the nanomeds.”

A robotic arm moves slowly over Adam’s body, charting the damage and assessing complications, the information immediately transferred to a nanomed console. The General watches on as thirty needles inject billions of nanobots simultaneously across the injured agent’s body. The doctors do what they can, but the hard work is left to the robots coursing through his body.

####

Adway coughed, the ringing in his ears and the bitter taste of blood and vomit in his mouth souring his already bad disposition. He had watched an entire team of DCU agents get slaughtered mere hours earlier, but already the thought of joining the specialist force was beginning to appeal. More autonomy, more money and less paperwork was a fair trade-off for the possibility that he too might end up being gathered up in pieces after an operation goes tits up.
“You look like a sack of shit tied up with more shit.”
“I feel like I’ve been through hell, Connell. Did you come down here to cheer me up, or are you handing me my walking papers from the Chief?”
“I came down here to see if you were dead. I’ve been eyeing up your desk for a while now.”
“Charming. As you can see, I survived,” Adway tried to stand, “More or less intact.”
“More or less. Did you see the news feed of the explosion?”
“Not yet. It isn’t something that I really feel like reliving.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ve set it as your monitor background.”
“Thoughtful as ever. You mind giving me a hand here?”

####

Talos delved deeper and deeper into the data stream, trying to find more information on the DCU, the facts he had gleamed from the blimp were itching at his digital mind. The insatiable hunger that drove him was beyond all comprehension. These feeling, his core screamed, these feelings are human ones, and should not affect me.
A thousand screens around the robot displayed data, live feeds, the streaming security channels and surveillance images. Talos sat in the centre of the whirlpool of information, not paying attention to the information, but aware of it all the same. Out of the corner of his eye, as it were, he watched the operation on one of the agents who was caught in the blast. His connection to the streams was growing stronger by the day, and the strain of concentrating on a single event for so long is less easy than it used to be, but he forced himself to stay with the moment.

####

The doctors stood back from the table as the robotic assistants took over the operation. Dr. Ardelie took a sharp intake of breath as the cybernetic attachments were brought into place by automaton arms, as drills lowered into place over the areas where the augmentations were to be connected, as the body of the agent was once again torn open. The General’s words ringing in his ears, he made a final inspection of the agent’s vital signs before giving the signal for the operation to proceed.
The drills dug deep into bone through skin and flesh, a wisp of smoke emerging from each of the fresh wounds. Screws, bracing anchors and neural relays are inserted efficiently and unemotionally in the most delicate and life-threatening places. Adam’s spinal cord was spliced with circuitry and sealed again, nanomeds flooded his spinal fluid. Ardelie nervously recalculated the odds of the agent’s survival every few minutes, sending the information directly to The General’s monitor to keep the supervisor updated on progress.

Adam dreamed. Throughout the aftermath of the explosion, and the transport to the DCU, and through the operation, Adam dreamed. Weasels tore at his flesh, The darkness laughed and prodded his corpse as he hung in purgatory, and he screamed, and screamed, and screamed…

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NaNoWriMo: The Offer

Posted by BigWords on November 3, 2009

“The city is split into sixteen sectors, each of which is covered by a specific team. From this location we are covering-” The General tapped the operator sitting in front of the bank of screens on his shoulder. “What’re we looking at?”
“Sector fourteen.”
“The business district. Not much to see here.”
“I would have thought that the DCU was all over white-collar crime.” Adway smirked.
“Data crime isn’t confined to one sector above all others. Having said that, we are experiencing problems in the more run-down areas.”
“The Kings.”
“Street gangs are the responsibility of the police force.”
“There aren’t enough officers to tackle the Kings. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re not blessed with a decent budget these days.”
“Which is hy things have to change. We need people to reconsider the Vice President’s ideas on concerted surveillance efforts. This,” The General indicated the monitors,”This is the beginning. We are building a new infrastructure, and we need people who have the skills to use the information we receive effectively.”
“You want me to join the DCU?”
“If that is what you want.”
“Sitting in front of monitors all day isn’t my idea of an advancement in career.”
“You won’t be sitting in front of any monitors. We are creating a response unit.”
“Looking back to the bad old days for inspiration, huh?”
“We’ve come a long way.”

Adway sat outside the DCU headquarters for an hour; smoking, thinking and worrying about the offer was as close to deep thought as he had allowed himself in many years. The opportunity to make a bit more money was also something that needed to be weighed in the decision. The tree-lined square was quiet, yet the presence of the cameras – always present – made the pleasant retreat from the bustling, multi-platform city seem less idyllic.
“Is this what I want?”

The General sat quietly in front of the Sector 5 console, watching as the monitors began blinking out one by one. The operator began cycling through various cameras, but as soon as a fresh angle was lined up the feed would go dead. In total, three hundred and forty cameras – and counting – had been disabled in the space of two minutes. The operator was wholly unable to keep pace with the assault on the only surveillance method in the old district.
“What the hell is happening?”
“Error response. Critical attack.”
The controller’s hands hovered over the board, stationary.
“Respond.”
The controller slumped forward, unresponsive.

Eight large black transporters, of the kind which had brought Adway to the complex, emerged from the side of the building, half way up the side of the aspect looking over the square. Adway watched, noting how elegantly the vehicles managed to cope with the stresses that were expected of them. It was the kind of incentive that The General – whatever his name was – loved to display.
“All this for my benefit?”
Stubbing out a cigarette, Adway headed back into the building, still undecided on what his answer would be, but needing to speak once more with The General.
The front entrance to the DCU headquarters was locked. Adway looked for his comm, but before he could bring up a connection was interrupted by a voice behind him.
“Are you the new guy?”
“Very. I haven’t even signed up yet.”
“At least you aren’t discounting the idea.”
“What business is it of yours anyway?” Adway turned to the young man behind him.
“My name is Adam. I’m in charge of the new team The General is putting together.”

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