Machine Girl: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing – Prologue

Richard Scott signed the final piece of paperwork and passed it to his wife for her signature.  He watched as she signed the paper and felt a smile cross his face.  They had a new daughter.

“Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Scott, you have adopted a daughter.”  Said the man behind the desk with a smile.

“Oh mom, daddy, thank you!”  Victoria said with a huge smile, embracing her parents and trying to pull Yuen-Ja into the hug.

“I promise not disappoint you mother, father.”  Yuen-Ja said stepping back out of Victoria’s reach and looking between the two with a serious, determined expression on her small face.  She bowed slightly, but Jane Scott was having none of it.

“You get over here!”  She said, her arm reaching out and beckoning toward Yuen-Ja, “I love my daughters no matter what, you can’t do anything to disappoint me other than not come over here and give me a hug!”

The look of bewildered happiness on the little girl’s face as her new family welcomed her into the circle of their arms nearly broke the social worker’s heart.  He wasn’t sure what had happened to the young Korean girl, in the past.  He didn’t know why her adoption had been fast tracked either, but he always loved it when an adoption went this well.

The new code was easily integrated into his systems now.  Adam had reconstructed the spy program from the remnants of the DOD code and from what he could remember from how it had functioned.  In spite of having that nasty disruption protocol in it, the program itself had been a stroke of genius.

Even just the dregs had been enough for him to tap into security feeds in the hotel, something that had been absolutely essential for their survival. Using what he now knew about the world, his Host and the program itself, Adam built a masterpiece that would allow his Host… would allow Victoria he kept reminding himself… to control electronic devices as easily as he could.

He knew she had enjoyed being able to do it before.  Her ability to easily and quickly understand the form and function almost intuitively was most gratifying.  Victoria would appreciate this present, he was sure of it.

After that, he went back to his project of optimizing the data storage and retrieval algorithm he had been trying to perfect. Adam was in trouble here and he knew it.  The data storage system he had been working on was woefully inadequate to serve the erratic and intensive retrieval needs that seemed to be required by Victoria Scott.  Sometimes she attempted to recall entire text files, and other times images or short video but there were always a host of names, events, associations attached to this data along with a multitude of seemingly extraneous sensory input.

What difference did it make what color the shirt The Creator had been wearing was or what odor he had been emitting?  Yet she requested this data at odd times and once it was retrieved seemed to wander aimlessly through her own databanks touching other things related to The Creator, white shirts, shirts with similar styling, cologne, perfume, aftershave.  It was so confusing; if the data was there then why not just have it all accessible at once?

Of course the obvious answer was that it would put an unnecessary strain on the processing power of the system.  Unfortunately the schema for storing data he had devised initially was obviously not going to provide proper functionality.  He began breaking down the massive amount of data she had stored into a schema web, instead of the more linear design he had been using before.

Once he had created the initial routing algorithm Adam created a mining program that would sort and link data once he had turned it on.  He would wait until the system was dormant before running an update this large.  With proper use of resources the process should be complete after ten nightly cycles.  Of course the retrieval algorithms would need fine tuning along the way but that was part of the fun of designing a new system.

Before the existing information was re-categorized, Adam began routing newest incoming data into the new schema.  It was a bit of a test run, something to see how it would handle the flow.  He watched in satisfaction as entire portions of text documents, images, scents, sounds and tactile feelings streamed into their proper places.  As they were sorted, they also linked with other bits of incoming data on the fly to create an interrelated web of knowledge instead of a simple system where items were classified and then stored in linear stacks with similar information.

The new system eclipsed the old in regards to speed and accuracy of storage and retrieval, although it used a little more processing power than he would have liked.  No matter, processing power was something this system was not short on.  Even if it had caused some system lag, the accuracy it ensured was more than worth the sacrifice.

“Are you certain this is a wise course of action young Master?”  Ivanov asked, holding the flame of a gold Zippo lighter to Dmitri’s cigarette.

“No.  However, I wish to know more about this thing that has caused my father and my Family such trouble.”  Dmitri said, allowing smoke to drift from his nostrils.

“With all due respect, it is not a thing sir.”  Said Ivanov with a slight lift of his eyebrow, “It’s a girl, and a rather attractive and intelligent one at that.”

“Oh you know what I mean.”  Dmitri said with an airy wave of his hand.  “I suppose she’s interesting as well, however it is the technology she carries that truly fascinates me.”

“You had better keep in mind that she will not appreciate your… lack of interest in her.  In spite of everything, she is still a young girl.”  Ivanov said, the slightest hint of a smile touching the corner of his mouth.

“I am not an IDIOT!”  Dmitri snarled, “You are treading on dangerous ground Ivanov, one would hate to have to show you what your INSIDES look like.”

“I merely offer these reminders as a way of helping you to accomplish your goals young Master.”  Said Ivanov evenly, “You know I would never contradict you directly unless it were an absolute necessity to save your life.”

In spite of it being ten in the morning, Dmitri gestured and Ivanov poured him a generous measure of vodka into a glass and slid it to him.  The young man drained it in a single swallow, sighing and shaking his head.

“One day you will stray too far.  One day I won’t hold my hand back.”  He looked at the older man with a shrew look in his eye, “Perhaps one day I will cease trying to hold back.”

Ivanov’s eyes widened ever so slightly in surprise, “I live to serve young Master.”  Was all he said.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right.  I still need you, and you are excellent at making yourself indispensable.”  Dmitri stubbed his cigarette out in a heavy gold ashtray.  “Now continue being your indispensable self and go get me the information on Victoria that I wanted.”

The big man reached into his suit jacket and brought out a slim folder, sliding it across the table with a flourish.  “I do not think you need this much data on a young woman simply to ask her on a date.”

“In my experience, there is no such a thing as luck.”  Said Dmitri, lighting a cigarette. “Instead of believing in spirits or chance, I choose to make my own luck by being prepared.”

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