Eugene had just hung up his cell phone when his office phone began to ring. He picked it up with a resigned sigh. “Hello, this is Dr. Arlington.”
“Good afternoon Eugene, this is Mr. Jackson from the Global Enterprise Group how are you doing today?”
“Sorry, I don’t know of any such organization, what can I do for you Mr. Jackson?” He reached for the pack of cigarettes in his breast pocket, silently cursing himself for starting smoking again.
“Well obviously I’m calling to inquire about the sale of the technology you have recently acquired. Is there any way we can meet? My counterparts have put together a most attractive package.”
“Sorry, it isn’t for sale. It is still in the testing phase and a sale now would not only be premature but also very inappropriate. Without further testing and troubleshooting I fear I cannot be assured of the quality of the final product.” He lit a cigarette and took a deep drag.
“That is really too bad. I can assure you our offer eclipses what the Russians and the Department of Defense have invested in your little pet project thus far. We can offer you enough to pay them off completely with plenty left over for that house you have been looking at.” The voice on the other end was silky smooth without the slightest hint of a threat. That’s what made it so incredibly threatening.
“You seem to know much more about me than I do about you Mr. Jackson, perhaps a meeting is in order. When and where if I might inquire?” Eugene racked his brain for a way to warn Victoria. Anything that would be suitably innocuous and yet keep her on her guard. He grabbed an old Tracphone he had been using to place anonymous calls and sent her a text message. With any luck she would get it and be on the lookout for trouble.
“How about dinner? We could meet at the new Bishop’s steakhouse in an hour if you’re free. My associates have reservations for you already.”
“Yeah, sure that sounds fine. I’ll meet you there.” Eugene stuffed the butt in an over filled ashtray and reluctantly took a small pistol from the top drawer of his desk. Checking to make sure the magazine was full he slid it into his jacket pocket, grabbed his keys, picked up his laptop case and headed out the door. Getting across town at this hour was going to be difficult and most likely take up the entire hour.
Getting into the Aston Martin, he tossed his battered aluminum briefcase on the passenger’s seat, pushed the big red start button and took momentary refuge in the throaty rumble of the three liter V12. Taking advantage of the car’s Bluetooth capabilities, he used the voice activated dialing and called Victoria as he backed out of the garage. She didn’t pick up but he left her a voicemail anyway, something he almost never did.
“Hey Victoria, I’m heading to meet with a potential buyer for dinner, normally I wouldn’t consider such a thing but the Global Enterprise Group has made a very compelling sales pitch. Now I’m not signing anything tonight so don’t worry about that, I just wanted to give you a heads up on the development.” He didn’t dare say more over the phone, if these assholes were anything like he was afraid they were his phone was tapped and likely they had his and Victoria’s houses watched as well.
With the new filing system in place, ADAM was focusing on fine tuning the units’ … that is Victoria Scott’s, audio, video and olfactory interpretation systems. Although the ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ and ‘nose’ had vast amounts of capability, only a fraction was being utilized. It was very confusing to him why it seemed to always be this way with his Host.
First he chose video, starting with the basics of the data routing system. He had touched this briefly before when it had been damaged by the DOD software he had destroyed with Kai Yuen-Ja’s help a short time ago. In order to preserve the system he had also rebuilt a bit of the coding into the system so he could inject text and video from alternate sources directly into the visual cortex of Victoria’s brain. This was far more efficient than the type of clumsy analog retinal display hardware the DOD software had been designed to use.
That capability had been invaluable when he and Victoria had worked together to rescue their young friend from killers of unknown origin who were searching for data she had borrowed. ADAM still held the gift she had given him tenderly in his memory banks. Perhaps one day he would ask her for the key to decode it or perhaps he would simply crack it. He was sure she had given it to him as a present and the triple layered 256 bit encryption was just the wrapping.
Stopping himself from wasting any more time on what had been, ADAM focused on building the future. The data routing systems were nearly perfect and only took a small bit of tweaking to meet with his approval. Next he analyzed the algorithms used to categorize incoming data and decided they were a tangled mess of bad and flawed code. He began to break it down line by line, re-writing at least ninety percent of it in order to fit into the new organizational system he had devised.
Potential threats were categorized on a numbered basis and things that were in the eightieth percentile would show highlighted by an orange nimbus. Threats in the ninetieth percentile would have a red one. Everything else would be normal with points of interest having the ability to display pertinent information if Victoria focused on them for a moment.
Looking at the spectral input, ADAM noticed that the sensors were able to pick up other types of radiation but not able to interpret them. What his Host referred to as the “visual spectrum” was a very tiny slice of the radiation pie that was coming into her visual receptors. He wrote a small investigation program that would delve deeper into this problem and report back with findings.
The majority of the work done there, ADAM began work on the auditory channels. The problem here was filtering. Victoria’s ears were very sensitive but as they had no ability to filter out the tiny from the massive they were being forced only to gather information on the sounds in the middle. Some of this was unavoidable; the ear drum was so sensitive that a very large sound vibration could tear the surface. The tiny noises however should be easily manageable.
Merely by repairing some nerve damage and modifying a few data routing algorithms ADAM gave her the ability to isolate auditory inputs after they had been recorded by the ear. Since she would have access to all the incoming data at any later time she wanted, it was a simple thing to re-link that data back into the real time information flow. If Victoria wanted to hear one instrument out of an orchestra all she need do is focus. Granted her ‘hearing’ was now going to have a three to fifty nanosecond delay depending on how complex the task of filtering was but that was a small price to pay for such precision.
The sense with the largest amount of room for improvement was the olfactory. This sense had obviously seen a lot more use at some point. There were ancient applications for interpreting chemical signatures in place that this unit had apparently never used. For now ADAM decided to dissect these applications and re-write them if need be instead of starting from scratch.
He quickly activated a data mining program and set it to categorize the old code. A project of this size didn’t require him to check every bit and byte himself. A message from Kai Yuen-Ja interrupted him just as he was releasing the program.
“Hi Adam! I made math league! I also made some enemies today, nothing I can’t handle but Traci Thorndon is going to regret pissing me off THAT’S for sure. Anyway, I just wanted to give you my news. We should have another virtualspace chat some time. <3”
What was he going to do about her? From what he had been able to turn up about these ‘emotion’ things was even more confusing than he had initially thought. As far as he could tell they were merely chemical reactions released in the organic brains of humans. With that thought in mind he was baffled as to how he was experiencing these things.
Chemicals should have no effect on his circuits, yet the things he was ‘feeling’ were undeniably related to a chemical reaction. The most disturbing thing was the chemical reactions were NOT Victoria’s. Her ‘feelings’ towards Yuen-Ja were completely different. The only explanation ADAM could come up with was that as he had integrated with Victoria, she had also integrated with him.
Was his need for ‘self’ going to be consumed by the overwhelming power of Victoria’s organic computer or would he be able to maintain a private space? With the possibility of annihilation looming on the horizon, ADAM set about building a cunningly disguised set of firewalls and fail safes around his core systems.
He wondered how long it would take Victoria to respond to his request for an interface with Yuen-Ja.