In an attempt to make the flow of data more streamlined, Adam was constantly making revisions to his code. It became obvious to him that many of the requests his Host – Victoria – was making were tertiary in nature, merely handshakes to confirm the existence of extraneous files that didn’t necessarily directly relate to the current processes but ones that could add depth to the ongoing program.
To ensure that the relays weren’t being slowed down by them, he put bandwidth caps in place and prioritized requests based on relevance. Files that were accessed more frequently were cached in a secondary schema so that their retrieval wouldn’t cause a system lag and in the end there was a ten percent improvement in the daily data storage and access algorithms.
With the normal, everyday drudgery of code modification over, Adam turned to the other, newer problems he seemed to be developing himself. He was curious, and his curiosity had a ravenous, insatiable appetite. Everything that Victoria read he dissected. Every bit of information he could glean from her data requests he internalized and sorted. For some reason, he was becoming fascinated by what he now realized was the analog world.
He wanted to know things, to understand things, to be able to respond to things that had absolutely nothing to do with his directives and it was beginning to disturb him. Even the concept of something being disturbing was new and quite frankly disturbing. It was only through focusing on his primary and tertiary objectives that he was able to bring himself back from a line of logic that could lead to a dangerous loop.
Somehow the Host – Victoria Scott’s code writing over some of his had caused a flaw in his logic programming. He almost tried to rectify it, to re-write it, but only at the last instant was reminded by security protocols that writing over Host data was dangerous and might be seen as a hostile action that would result in a purge.
His only option was to maintain a static copy of his original code and keep comparing current to former data before making any operational decisions, but that was cumbersome and led to an overall system slowdown. The Host system was simply too fast, and it never bothered with testing code before implementing it.
Normally this didn’t cause any major issues; all of the main, critical functions were hard coded and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to even tamper with let alone redesign. Sometimes there were effects that reached far further than Adam believed the initial plan for them had been. An obvious example was the love of simple energies.
The hydrocarbon fuel system could break some chemical bonds easier than it could break others and thus craved simple sugars. The ready availability of a wide variety of sugars was something only found in wealthy parts of the world and also was a fairly recent development. The long term effects could include illness, loss of teeth, weight gain, bad skin and a long list of others, but the association had been set and now the rational, aware portion of Victoria’s mainframe had to contend with this ancient desire for sweet things.
Yet altering that simple system would leave a vacuum in the system databank. All the files – memories associated with pleasure at eating sweet things, the connections and neural pathways that had been formed because of those memories and the lessons learned from them would be diminished if not lost altogether. What was truly interesting and frightening at the same time is that Adam wanted to know what ‘sweet’ was really like after analyzing all that data.
He understood it on a chemical level. He knew how Victoria’s tongue processed the difference between ‘sweet’ or ‘sour’ or ‘bitter’ but he didn’t really know what it would be like, and never would. Being fully aware that much of what he was learning would be forever out of reach for him only made him want to learn more. He swam in the sea of knowledge and was in danger of drowning, he simply wanted to drink it all.
Victoria was sitting in History class, sweating over her first midterm exam. ‘Discuss the events that led up to The Louisiana Purchase including specific dates and pertinent individuals.’ With a sigh she picked up her pencil and began to write. After a few minutes of intense writing, she raised her hand and her professor walked to where she sat.
“What can I do for you Miss Scott?” He inquired, leaning close to whisper.
“I need some additional paper please. I’ve filled the paper included with the test questions.”
He raised an eyebrow, picking up the sheets of paper she had filled with her flowing cursive writing. After a moment, he shook his head. “OK Miss Scott, let’s have your phone, or your cheat sheet or whatever.”
“Excuse me? Are you suggesting that I’m cheating?” Victoria asked in a fierce whisper, “Are you SERIOUS?”
He gestured to her paper, “This reads like a Wikipedia entry Miss Scott. I know you’ve been out of school for close to six months. Despite achieving decent grades on your daily work, there’s just no way you could have absorbed the material this well.”
“You did NOT just say that. I have been working my a-“ She stopped herself just short of swearing at a teacher, “REALLY hard to earn the grades I’ve been getting. If you’re accusing me of something you’d better have some evidence.”
The volume of their voices had increased. The entire class had stopped writing and was staring at them. In response Mr. Coleman read aloud from her paper.
“The Louisiana Purchase, or ‘Vente de la Louisiane’ as the French refer to it was the acquisition by the United States of America of approximately 828,000 square miles of France’s claim to the territory of Louisiana. The US paid 60 million francs or around 11 million dollars for the land as well as cancelling additional debts of approximately 18 million francs or 4 million dollars for a total of nearly fifteen million dollars.
“In 1803, a French nobleman, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours began to help negotiate with France at the request of Thomas Jefferson. Du Pont was living in the US at the time and had ties both with Jefferson and prominent politicians in France. Using his connections, he was able to negotiate with those close to Napoleon.”
He set the paper down, “You expect me to believe you simply know this? We didn’t cover half of this in class.”
“I memorized it. Isn’t that what this is all about?” She said, “It’s not my fault if I read the book and am able to write down what is there better than you are able to teach it in class is it?”
“You memorized it?” Mr. Coleman laughed out loud, “More likely you are reading it off your phone. Really, you’re making this a bigger scene than it needs to be.”
“My phone is in my locker, but if you insist I’ll prove it to you, page 443. Open your textbook and I’ll read you the third paragraph word for word.” Said Victoria, when he didn’t move she folded her arms, “I’m serious.”
Mr. Coleman walked back to his desk, chuckling. “I’ll call your bluff, but I’m going to ask for page 444 instead. That shouldn’t be a problem since you memorized the textbook right?” He said, opening his book and flipping to the proper page.
“That’s fine.” Victoria said, closing her eyes for a moment. The page almost seemed to appear before her eyes.
“On October Twentieth, the United States Senate ratified the treaty with a vote of twenty four to seven. On the following day it authorized President Jefferson to take possession of the territory and establish a temporary military government. In legislation enacted on October thirty first, Congress made temporary provisions for local civil government to continue as it had under French rule and authorized Jefferson to use military force to maintain civic order. Plans were also set forth for several missions to explore and chart the territory, the most famous being the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”
She opened her eyes and gave him a level look. He stared at her, mouth slightly open for a few moments, then closed his book, picked up her test papers and some blank sheets from his desk and set the stack back on her desk without a word.