Chapter 13 - Carl's Idea
Book 1 - The Cloud
“What is this idea?” Amelia asked Carl as the door to the lab closed behind them. She had a feeling she knew what he would suggest but she had to ask.
“On the cart that Lena had was a tube of nanites,” Carl began.
“Wait, may I see your glasses for a moment,” Amelia asked cutting him off and holding her hand out expectantly towards Jackson. He handed them over without a word. Amelia removed her own before slipping his on. After a few moments, she took Jackson’s glasses off and handed them back to him again. When Jackson put them on, his face grew bemused as the A.I. introduced herself to the large man.
“Go ahead, Carl,” Amelia said.
“Okay. So, if we can get a supply of the nanites from the robotics lab, we can include a swarm in AGI’s matrix. A nanite swarm, from what Simon told me, would have the ability to search out the entire storage level without notice,” Carl explained.
“But this man would still see us coming when we went to get him and that would put the girls at risk,” Jackson cut in.
“That’s the beauty of the nanites. Though we have found many ways to use them, the first use of nanites was for the delivery of drugs in the human body. If we can release a swarm of nanites, controlled by A.G.I., down to the storage level where we believe this guy is hiding, they can sweep the floor.”
“That’s not half bad,” Amelia said, considering. “AGI, how long will it take to integrate a swarm of the nanites into your systems?”
“Amelia, my systems do not, currently, have these capabilities. New code would have to be added to my core matrix. I, believe, that your question would be better answered by Dr. Ranson,” AGI replied, a bit of condescension in the robotic tone.
Carl stifled a laugh.
“Was she being a smartass?” Jackson asked, smirking.
“Carl, how long?” Amelia asked, scowling at him.
Carl cleared his throat and tried to mask the grin on his face.
“Around forty-eight hours, if I have plenty of caffeine. I will go talk to Lena and Simon about it. AGI, please notify me when Lena has returned to the Robotics lab.”
“Yes, Dr. Ranson.”
“AGI, do you have the capability to alter the security feeds?” Amelia asked.
“Yes, Amelia. However, your suspect may notice if the feed that they have already altered are altered again.”
“That’s fine. I just need the ones in the stairwells ran on loop,” Amelia explained.
“Jackson, I need you to select four of your men to post sentry on a twelve-hour rotating shift in the stairwell that leads out of the storage level. AGI will inform you when they are able to enter and exit their positions. Carl, I will retrieve the swarm from Simon,” Amelia said turning to Carl and rolling her eyes. “And have your cooler restocked.”
Carl watched as Jackson left the lab. When the door shut behind the large man, Amelia whirled on him.
“I did NOT ask for her to have a personality!”
“What did you expect when you asked for an artificial intelligence that could think and reason?” Carl chuckled, turning to his computer.
The sigh that he heard from Amelia was long and suffering.
“Just get the code written. I will go see about getting a swarm from Robotics.”
Amelia left Carl to his work and headed to speak with Simon.
“Amelia, my data says that your heart rate has been accelerated. Are you well?” AGI asked.
“I am well, just annoyed.”
“The definition of annoyed is slightly angry or irritated. Why are you slightly angry or irritated?”
“No reason. I am just under a lot of stress at the moment,” Amelia explained. “I still have quite a bit of work to do and now all of this is happening with Katie and Anna.”
“I was designed to do two things. The first is to ensure the safety of the colonists aboard UMC: Destiny. The second is to assist the Director of the UMC: Destiny to ensure that all areas of operations run smoothly and efficiently. If you will list the projects that you are working on at the moment, I will be better able to assist you.”
“Let’s see,” Amelia said as she thought and walked. “I am still working on putting together the administrative team for the migration. I am working with Christine on the engineering portion of the Destiny. I have to sign off on all colonists that are selected as they are selected based on the criteria that has been laid out by the UMC. I have to approve or deny any new launch sites that are built and ensure that there is enough materials coming in and ensure that they are received on time. I have to approve launch schedules. I am sure that there is more but those are the important ones so far,” Amelia ticked off as she waited for the lift to arrive.
“I have the capability to track the inventory and place orders for additional supplies. My algorithms will also allow me to ensure that all colonists have met the criteria set by the United Migration Coalition. Will this be sufficient?”
Amelia thought for a moment before answering. “Yes, that would be very helpful but please bring the final orders to my attention before sending them though.”
Amelia stepped onto the lift and selected the floor where the Robotics lab was located.
The lift ascended the shaft several floors before coming to a halt. As she exited the lift, she nearly ran into Dr. Quinn. Amelia adeptly dodged the woman nodding her head in greeting.
“Amelia, the ID badge that was used by your suspect has a ninety-nine percent match to the woman you just passed in the hall,” AGI said as an image of the ID badge sprang up in her visual display.
Amelia turned around immediately and sprinted for the closing lift doors.
“Hold the lift,” Amelia called out.
Amelia watched as Dr. Quinn smoothly slid her foot between the two doors as they came together. It stopped immediately and opened back up.
“Can I help you, Dr. Zimmer?” Kim said, bemused.
“Do you have your ID badge on you?
“Sure, it’s right here,” she said as she pulled the badge from her the breast pocket of her coveralls.
“Has it gone missing in the past couple of days?” Amelia asked.
“Not in the last few days but it did come up missing over a month ago. It was weird because I found it in one of the drawers at my workstation a couple of days after I found it missing, figured that I had miss placed it. Come to think of it, I had been through that drawer a few times during those days and never saw it, but I get so busy and sometimes overlook things that don’t have to do with projects that I am working on,” Kim rambled. “Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering,” Amelia said, as she sent a message to Dr. Quinn’s personal inbox. “Is Dr. Winchester in the lab?”
“Yes, but he is getting ready to leave for dinner in a few minutes,” Kim responded before turning around and getting back on the waiting lift.
Amelia continued back towards the Robotics lab while finishing the message to Dr. Quinn telling her to go to HR and get a new ID badge, immediately.
This L.K. person would probably not be watching the personal inboxes of the employees, but she had AGI place a tracer on the message in the event that the message was intercepted. She did not heavily encrypt the message as that would be a red flag to the man if he chanced to be watching the packets with a sniffer.
She sent the message just as she walked into the lab and over to Simon’s station. He was talking animatedly with his sister about where to have lunch and clearly getting ready to leave.
“Everyone is meeting at Bucătărie Aburitoare. It's one of the last good restaurants open and Florin makes a really good Ciorbă de burtă,” Simon said to his tall blonde sister.
Sabrina scrunched up her pointy little nose in disgust. “Tripe is gross, but the Sarmale is delicious,” she said, her disgusted expression changing into a blissful one.
“Simon, may I speak with you for a moment alone?” Amelia asked, fluidly cutting into the sibling’s conversation.
“Sure,” he answered with a brief look at his sister.
“I’ll meet you in the lobby,” Sabrina said, grabbing her purse and coat off the desk and leaving quickly.
“What can I do for you, Madam Director?” Simon asked flamboyantly. “Congratulations, by the way.”
“Thanks,” Amelia said awkwardly. “I need a swarm of your nanites and their source code for a special project.”
“Oh, sure. When do you need them?”
“OH,” Simon said, surprised. “I have a tube of them over here.”
Simon turned around and walked to the station where a robotic arm was assembling more of the microscopic robots. He slid open a long drawer under the robotic arm’s base. Inside there were more than fifty identical tubes in neat rows. Selecting one, he handed it to her.
“I can send the source code to your inbox in a few moments.”
“I need it on a flash drive if you don’t mind. I have one right here,” Amelia said pulling out one of the blanks she carried around.
“Alright,” Simon said, bemused. “May I ask what they will be used for?”
Amelia winced inwardly.
While all of the scientists and engineers worked for the USSF, they were allowed to patent their work and were legally allowed to have a say in how their work was used. They were even legally allowed to refuse to have their work used in a way that they thought was immoral or inappropriate. This kept organizations from misusing scientists and engineers while also holding the scientistic and engineers accountable for acts committed with the use of their technology.
The Jacobson-Baker Act, which enforced these rights, was established eleven years ago when Maynard Jacobson had developed an ion-powered system that could propel the then-new hovercars to unimaginable speeds. A year after that, KrebonTech, had repurposed Jacobson’s technology in conjunction with a bio-chemical weapon that had been developed by Janice Baker, that was used to deliver a weapon to their largest competitors, Chimino Corp. The attack had killed everyone who had been in the building including the company’s C.E.O and her ten-year-old daughter.
Jacobson and Baker had been accused by their own employers of planning and executing the attack because they were fanatical about the success of KrebonTech. After three years of investigations, both were found innocent of all charges. The C.E.O Kyle Torn and the Chief Engineer Dallas Ronin had been found out for their heinous crimes and were, even now, sitting on death row in Texas for the murder of fifteen hundred souls.
“I really should not say because it would put lives in danger, but I can assure you that they will not be misused in any way, and I promise that I will explain what they’re being used for in a few days. Secrecy is just pivotal at the moment.”
Simon stopped and looked at her for a long, searching moment and then took a deep breath.
“Alright, I trust you.”
“Thank you,” Amelia said as she released her own breath. She hadn’t even known she had been holding it.
Simon removed the flash drive and handed it to her with a smile.
“I think that you were the best choice for Director of Destiny. If you need anything else, just ask.”
Then he got up and went to meet his sister, leaving Amelia standing there, speechless. This had been the first time since she had been given the job that someone, other than Frank, had affirmed the UMC’s decision to make her the leader of the mission to save the human species and she did not know how to feel about it.