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Black Goop

by Ricky Tucker Jr 2 years ago in science fiction
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Chapter 1

The year was 2023 and covid-19 has continued to ravage the world. During the three years that covid-19 has ravaged the world the united states has maintained quarantine. This quarantine started as independent states managing restrictions for travel, work, and recreational activities. As the horrific losses continued to mount, the federal government took over control of the quarantine restrictions. The first step was to make it a criminal offence to gather in numbers larger than 6. The second step was to require regular testing of citizens every 14 days for Covid. If a citizen were proven to be free of Covid then they would be issued travel cards, allowing access to grocery stores, commuting to work and other essential tasks. These drastic steps were a little too late and the population of the US was reduced to 30 million people. This led to the presidential Covid-19 Task Force, The Task Force, to be formed.

After being formed The Task Force was appointed to handle all domestic affairs. The amount of power granted to them by the president had no checks or balances to it. This nearly unlimited power allowed the organization to take control over key technologies for the country's benefit. First order of business was to take over Elon Musk’s Starlink network. The second order of business was to take control of amazons’ drone delivery network. With these two businesses The Task Force created a network to monitor citizens for violations of the Covid-19 regulations.

With such a reduction in population many families were shadows of their former selves. In many cases the tragic losses suffered by these families would be both parents, leaving children without parents. One such family was the Tucker household, the surviving members were Trace, Kris, Jeremiah and Bently ordered by eldest to youngest. Trace was always helping his father in his lab underneath their house. After his father died Trace continued to work on their last project.

This project utilizes an advanced Ai programmed by his father to provide guidance in case he could not be there. The project was to develop nanites which would revolutionize building and manufacturing.

It was one of these days that Trace was in the lab that his troubles got worse. The Covid 19 task force sent their quarantine enforcers to round up all children who no longer had parents to look after them. The quarantine enforcers take all children to a reeducation camp in the local town. The Enforcers took traces brothers but missed him. As soon as he left the lab, he noticed the struggle that had taken place upstairs. The front door was busted in, the furniture was overturned, and papers were strewn everywhere.

Trace instantly knew who invaded his home and took his brothers. The only thing he did not know is which of the five camps in the state they would be taken to. He crumpled to the ground in despair. He did not know how he would find them or how he would save them. But he knew he would.

After setting there for many hours an Idea popped into his head. The thought was about his father and his nanite project. These nanites could be used to build things in an accelerated manner. Maybe with the addition of his father’s AI they could do the impossible. That impossibility would be to rescue his brothers.

In another age the successful production of nanites would have earned his father and him a nobel prize. In this age of strict military country, the government would utilize it as a method to control its citizens. In Trace's hand the technology would allow him to rescue his brothers. Though there was much work to be completed before he could rescue them.

To take the design from a theory to an actual functioning nanite it took every engineering feat trace, and the AI could manage. The first breakthrough for movement was developed from an arachnid’s structure with eight legs and a maneuverable head. With something so small battery storage would be an issue, he developed a technique for absorbing photon energy and thermal energy. This energy absorption gave the nanites a dark appearance under the microscope. To optimize the nanites trace worked out a nano obstacle course. He then assigned the AI to analyze the movement. This proved to work well, allowing him to optimize the nanite design.

After Trace had worked out an optimized nanite design he knew that he could not control them without something controlling the nanites. Rummaging around his house up top he found a galaxy smart watch. He knew that the smart watch would not be powerful enough to do everything needed.

Trace went back down to the lab and sat down looking at the smart watch hoping to come up with an idea to make it powerful enough to control the nanites. As he sat there, he started losing hope. He started falling into despair. Despair turned into anger and that is when he tossed the smart watch off to the side. He continued to sit there for what seemed like ages until he saw a picture of his brothers beside the keyboard. The desire to rescue his brother outweighed any negative emotions he held.

When Trace went to pick up the smart watch it was laying amid boxes in the corner. One of these boxes was that off a mesh router. A light bulb lights up inside his head. If we can produce a Wi-Fi signal covering even the largest houses with mesh technology, why not processing. He ran over to the computer and started analyzing the nanites design and the AI logic matrix. With a slight redesign a nanite could be upgraded to communicate with its fellow nanites and the smartwatch to provide extra processing power. Of course, this meant trace would have to build a lot of nanites to do what he needed to. Though this would not be much of a restriction because they were so small.

With the nanite reaching the count of a million and only taking a one-millimeter cube of space up, Trace started calling these units of nanites a cluster. The first storage container he created for the clusters was the size of a cylinder of mini m&ms from the 90s. This container would hold several clusters in each one.

Trace connected the Galaxy smartwatch to the supercomputer with a Bluetooth connection. He then uploaded the Mesh AI control software to it. With this software upgrade the smart watch restarted and the display changed to include only one icon on it and a background showing how many nanite clusters were available. In addition to this the display said that the AI was level 1 with a ring around the display that was partially filled with green.

Trace decided to click on the icon and saw that it was labeled molecular deconstruction. He made his way outside to test out the molecular deconstruction ability. For his first test he decided to break down a couple of rusted nails. He took out one of the storage units and flipped the lid off, dripping a glob of nanites on a nail. He clicked the molecular deconstruction icon and a shape of a nail popped up. This surprised him a little bit, he did not think the nanites had any way of telling what object they were touching. He twisted the face of the smart watch and saw as the object changed from a nail to a plan with a wood texture. This was the same texture as the railing that the nail was sitting on. One more turn showed an option to cancel the command. With seeing each of the options he cranked the smart watch face back to the nail and clicked the touch screen. The screen changes to a popup asking for confirmation of the irreversible action of deconstruction. Upon clicking on the confirmation, the nanite spread out to ingulf the nail. A percentage popped up on the smart watches display. Trace suspected it would take a little bit for the nanites to do their thing, so he went back inside.

After an hour he got a notification saying that the nanites were finished with the molecular deconstruction. He arrived back outside and saw the nanites he left on earlier sitting in a pool looking like black mercury. To the right of the puddle was a pile of rust colored dust and a pile of shiny steel dust. This amazed trace that the nanites could differentiate between different materials when breaking down the objects.

Another icon appeared on the smart watch. This icon had the appearance of an object two thirds of the way built on a blueprint. Upon clicking on this new icon Trace saw the name of the app as Construction. The name disappeared and then an outline of a nail appeared on the smartwatch with two separate options. The first option was a rusted nail, and the second option was a nail that was made from steel. Trace clicked on the steel nail and saw a prompt for nail size. If he twisted the nail it would change the size of the nail proportionally. Along with the size of the nail changing so did a label called bill of material. The bill of materials showed each type of material needed to create the object and the amount available all in millimeters cubed. The size of the nail produced was not very large due to the volume of the original that had been turned to rust by the weather. With confirmation on the steel nail, another percentage displayed on the watch. Once again Trace decided to go back inside.

While the nanites were building the nail outside Trace and the AI were analyzing the data that was generated during Molecular deconstruction and the data being generated during the Construction process. He figured out that with a few more nanite clusters, the Ai could utilize both the deconstruction and construction subroutines to repair objects. He theorized that it could even analyze the original makeup of the material during deconstruction and then Repair the object like it was new again.

During the time it took the Clusters to build a new nail, the production line was able to increase the number of nanite clusters to a couple of hundred. This tripling of nanite Cluster count enabled the AI and Trace to implement the new Repair subroutine.

Once the Clusters finished constructing a new nail, Trace took the new clusters to test the Repair subroutine. The biggest thing he had to test the cluster on was an old, rusted fire barrel. He popped the cap off two of his nanite storage units and tossed the nanites on the barrel.

Trace clicked the Repair icon and a synthetic voice spoke from the smart watch. The synthetic voice asked, “What object would you like the Nanite Clusters to Repair?”. Traces jaw dropped wide open. He had not expected for the AI to be able to speak. He closed his mouth and then responded with “The fire barrel will be a good test!”. The synthetic voice once again spoke “Ok the Nanite Clusters will start repairing the barrel. It will take a while to repair the barrel.”.

Trace returned inside trying to wrap his mind around the AIs and Nanites growing abilities. All he could think about was the nanites collectively moving towards the barrel. Upon reaching the barrel the nanites had started moving down the side of the barrel leaving a laser cutout where it had removed rusted material.

After several more hours the synthetic voice spoke saying “ Barrel material exhausted! Please designate a new source of material.”. Trace had produced another 100 clusters of nanites giving a 50 percent increase in processing power for the AI. Trace collected the new clusters and took them outside in a large water jug.

Upon arriving outside he saw that the barrel had been deconstructed and from the bottom up about a third of it was shiny as the day it had been delivered. Trace looked around until he spotted another few barrels that could be sourced for material. He then tossed a couple globs of nanites on the barrels and then said, “Those barrels should do for materials!”. The nanites in his jug slithered over the edge and then made its way to the barrels along with the other groups of Nanite Clusters. As each group of nanites reached the barrels they started deconstructing the barrels. The percentage on the smartwatch started to progress again.

Once again Traced moved back inside to wait for the nanites to finish their work on the barrel. He started working on plans for upgrading the smart watch to enhance his ability to control the nanites, a storage unit that would be both mobile and further enhance the nanites capabilities.

The new design for the smart watch, which would add cameras and gesture controls, was complete. Trace uploaded the new design to the smart watch and the Nanite clusters that had been produced jumped into action. The nanites reached his leg and slithered up his pants. It felt like the feeling of kinetic sand sliding across his skin, it was cold but not slimy. The nanites exited the sleeve of his arm and looked like a time-lapse of a tattoo moving across his arm. The Clusters engulfed his smartwatch and started upgrading it to the Nanite Cluster Controller Version 1.0.

Once the nanites had finished with the upgrade they retreated the same path it had taken to get to the smart watch. A synthetic voice spoke from the Nanite Cluster Controller saying “ Hello Trace, my capabilities have increased sufficiently to provide full voice and gesture commands. What would you like to designate the Nanite Cluster Controller?” Trace thought for another moment before he said, “How does ‘Ellie’ sound?” Ellie’s response was “You are the creator; I am just the non-sentient AI!”. Trace then said, “Well Ellie it is.” Ellie said to Trace, “I would notify you when the barrel was finished”.

Right as trace was finishing the nanite storage pack prototype, Ellie spoke to him and said, “ Barrel Repair has been finished.”. Trace proceeds to go outside to see the final work of the nanite clusters. Outside stood a fully repaired barrel that looked like it had just been shipped for the first time. Though it was not an exact replica because the Nanites could not reproduce details that were no longer there. For this the barrel only had one of its initial engraving on it and that was just the initials of the original words. The barrel spelled out GOOP. Trace thought for a second and then gave Ellie a word of praise, “Ellie you commanded the Clusters well, and those letters that you were able to reproduce gives me an idea. I will call the nanites collectively Black GOOP!”

Ellie asked in a less robotic and more feminine voice, “Where did the Black in Black GOOP come from?” Trace responded, “The nanites look black because they absorb all of incoming light. So, what happened to your voice sounds very human-like, compared to how metallic and synthetic it sounded earlier?” Ellie said, “As the number of Clusters increased so does my processing power. If I have enough available, I can sound just like you, but if too many are being used; My abilities will change accordingly.” At this point Trace decided he was prepared enough to go rescue his brothers.

science fiction

About the author

Ricky Tucker Jr

I will be feeling my stories with amazing adventures fueled by all the intangible ideas that float through my mind.

You can leave comments, help shape my adventures or buy me a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/rickytuckerjr

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