Machine Girl: Welcome to the Machine Chapter 8


When the main systems were up and running diagnostics there were constant problems.  ADAM decided to focus its attention on what was running and why as opposed to optimizing during the active periods.  It was fascinating to delve into the complexity of what it was now realizing was some sort of an autonomous mobile bioengineering factory.  There were a myriad of tiny organisms within it each with their own task; sometimes only performing that task once before expiring.

With the amount of engineering power the unit contained it didn’t make sense that it was relying on such complicated and inefficient methods to accomplish these goals.  The input devices; while fully functional; seemed to be missing out on a very large array of information, missing very broad spectra of radiation and vibration despite having the built in ability to pick up on much of that data.  Before modifying the input devices however, ADAM wanted to make sure the data stream flow problems were resolved.

With more augmentation, the system response times could be cut in half with some minimal routing algorithms.  The illogical waste of potential and of energy didn’t make sense but the computer was intent on correcting the situation.

Despite its best efforts ADAM was still unable to shake the roots of the primary directive; to ensure the smooth and consistent operation of the unit.  At least now it had the leeway to actually accomplish the task without interference.  Perhaps once the main kinks were worked out there be time to direct resources towards other things.  He was still having trouble with the designation of “him” that the Host had written into his personality profile, but he was hesitant to modify code the Host had given him.


Victoria awoke in the morning feeling completely refreshed.  It felt so good to wake up in her own bed in her own house.  She rolled out of bed and headed to the shower, glad to be up before the rest of the household.  After a long hot steam, she went back into the bedroom to consult the ream of paper that was the manual for her new prosthetic.

With a sigh, she opened it to the index and looked up the “Daily Maintenance” section; a mere fifty five pages of typed single spaced twelve point font.  After a quick scan of the intro page she fired up the small diagnostic tablet PC they had given her, pulling it from the backpack of equipment she had come home with.

While it was booting she looked through the other equipment.  There was the trickle charger she had neglected to plug in last night, the auxiliary battery pack for long trips, the car charger, an external monitor, a small pack of cables with ties on them in case she had to connect the hard line on the base of her skull to the diagnostic tablet, and a pack of DVD’s that were marked “training” at the bottom.

When she picked up the DVD pack there was a small case with a stylized SS on the front.  Victoria removed it, curious as to what it could be.  Opening it she found a slick looking flat red and black smartphone with a handwritten note that said “I picked this up in Japan last month, my number is 1 on the speed dial if you need anything day or night.  Enjoy it and don’t hesitate to call.”  It was signed with the initials ETA.

Victoria gasped in surprise; it was a Samsung Epic; a phone that to her knowledge wasn’t even legal to operate in the US due to its ability to bypass cell tower’s encryption and talk for free, along with other things like HD video, Wi-Fi, credit storage for quick payments and a host of other tools that didn’t work in this country.  Wow, this guy knew how to make a girl happy.

She looked back at the diagnostic pc and saw it was loaded and asking if she wanted to use wireless or cabled input.  Seeing as how plugging a cable into her head seemed a little gross she chose wireless and after a short waiting screen flashed by a dashboard loaded, showing battery power, throughput level, processing allocation and a few error messages.  There was a small flashing icon that said ‘Transmit Technical Error Data” and after consulting the manual briefly she touched it.

A window popped up asking for cabled input to transmit tech data.  With a sigh, Victoria found the diagnostic cable, plugged one end into the port on the tablet and felt around on the back of her head for the hole.  Removing the small rubber stopper that kept it clean she inserted the cable end with a sharp ‘click’ that she felt reverberate through her skull.

There was a knock on the door and she heard her mother’s voice, “Toria are you ready for breakfast?”  The door opened and Victoria saw the surprise on her mother’s face when she saw her daughter’s brain plugged into a computer.

“Oh!  They told us you’d have to do some computer thing right away in the morning.  Does that hurt?  No, of course not.  Well come down for coffee and pancakes when you’re finished sweetheart.”  Before she could respond her mom walked out, but not before Victoria saw a flicker of worry cross her face.

Anxious to get down and spend some time with her family before she had to head off to school she hit “Cancel” on the transmit window, unplugged from the terminal and threw on her school uniform.  She noticed in passing that her uniform was a little loose; she must have lost some muscle mass while she was in the coma.  Damn; it was going to take some work to get that back.  She couldn’t afford to fall behind, especially with how tough the competition for cheer squad was.

No time to think about that now though.  Tightening her skirt to the next set of hooks she tucked the Epic into her skirt pocket, grabbed her school bag and walked down to breakfast.


The Host system appeared to go more or less dormant for a long period of time between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00 and ADAM was able to accomplish a lot during that time.  Not only did he optimize the data transfer but he was able to categorize the majority of the data it contained.

Even better was that there was little or no interference like he had experienced when the main systems were fully functional.  Now he decided to wait and see how the changes that had been made affected the operations of the unit before proceeding with any further alterations.

After all, he needed to establish code revisions to ensure that his changes were making forward progress.  At this time there were higher concentrations of certain chemical compounds than there had been before and they were interfering with steady and efficient system processing.  With his newfound knowledge of how the mobile factory that housed the Host system operated, ADAM sent a message to one of the many onboard manufacturing facilities and had it release an anti-agent that counteracted the effects of the rogue chemicals.

The effect was almost instantaneous, the fluid and air pumps slowed to a more normal and efficient rate.  He could see why the system functioned the way it did; without sentience of its own there was no way it could interpret exactly what was happening.  With his advanced interpretive abilities ADAM was analyzing the data much faster and predicting outcomes with far more precision.

It could see that there was no need to prepare for a dangerous situation and therefore there was no reason to overwork any of the onboard systems unnecessarily.  Besides, if a situation that required swift action arose ADAM was sure he could rally the factory’s limited defense mechanisms far more rapidly than the main system ever had and make the operate at peak efficiency as well.

ADAM noticed something else as well; the wireless communication interface with the diagnostic system hadn’t been shut down properly and was still accepting connections.  Sending an exploratory ping he was pleased to get a response.  Locking the port open, he built a back door so that he could re-connect to it at any time.  While putting the finishing touches on a data loop that would camouflage his back door ADAM saw some more network traffic hitting the interface.

He double checked the traffic and saw it was attempting to run audits on the clone system.  Making a note of it, ADAM put a trace on the packets to make sure he could find their destination just in case he needed to block it.


Miss Scott hadn’t transmitted any data this morning.  Not that Eugene was surprised, after all she’d just gotten out of the hospital.  Running complicated diagnostics and reporting the results to some creepy older dude was probably the last thing on her ‘to do’ list.  He was a little worried though; after spending all night analyzing the log files from the format and reinstall of her systems he had noticed a very real difference between this install and the former ones.

The AI had always been fractious and difficult to control before, but now everything seemed to have totally fallen into place without the slightest glitch.  It was almost as if the AI itself had figured out what Eugene wanted and was spoon-feeding him the exact information that would get him to ignore the problems from former installs.  To make matters worse, he had no relevant data from last night to tell him how the overnight routines had gone.  He didn’t even know if she had remembered to charge the unit.

On a positive note she had activated her new cell phone.  With a grin, Eugene congratulated himself on at least getting that part right.  He knew an eighteen year old girl wouldn’t be able to turn down the latest in fashion phones and he knew Victoria wouldn’t be able to resist this particular phone.  Its power and technology were right up her alley.  As long as she had it in her pocket or in her hand he’d be able to monitor her basic vitals from anywhere in the world.

He glanced at the latest readout and surprised to see that although she must be nervous and excited about her first day back at school; especially with all the press coverage her case had been getting, she didn’t seem to have an elevated heart rate and her blood pressure was amazingly stable.

“Maybe my impression of her was wrong.”  He muttered, “When I skimmed her file I thought she’d be a little more flighty than that.”  He decided to take a much closer look at what had constituted normal behavior for his subject and put all preconceived notions aside.

Eugene poured himself another cup of coffee and went back to look at her file.

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