The Disclosure: The Weapons

Jan: One area your co-CEO, Richard Prophet has repeatedly said you refuse to get involved with is politics. Do you share that same sentiment?

Xavier: I believe that while it’s important for politics to stay out of science, it’s even more important for science to stay out of politics.

Dr. Mumgrep hands Xavier a phone, “Everything is in place to roll out the new PRIME algorithm.”

Xavier holds the phone and begins typing. He asks Dr. Mumgrep, “Did you demo this to Maggie?”

“Yes, Mag’s team is already on board!”

Xavier’s eyes widen as he looks at his pet project. As he types on the keyboard, it displays auto-suggest words that are favorable words for the presidential candidate that Maggie Ogner works for and negative words for her opponent. “Looks great, Mum!”

Richard bursts into Xavier’s office, “Ned, you gotta checkout what I just did with System Zero.” Richard looks at the phone in Xavier’s hand. “What’s that? You starting to use a phone now?”

“No.” Xavier hands the phone back to Dr. Mumgrep and walks out of his office with Richard. “Let’s see what you’ve got!”

Jan: Fair enough. Your space company has been investing heavily into speed of space travel and quantum entangled computers. What does the future of space travel hold for us?

Richard and Xavier are floating inside their orbiter module and enjoying the view of Earth as it is zooming by below them. Xavier turns to Richard and sees tears forming in his eyes.

“It truly is a beautiful view, isn’t it?” Xavier asks.

Richard looks down and furrows his brow. “Ned, have you bothered to see what the result of all of this becomes?”

Xavier looks confusingly at Richard and then smiles, “We’re going to have another existential discussion in space?”

“I know what you did with the SpaceNet satellites, Ned.”

Xavier gives Richard a guilty look and shrugs his shoulders. He starts to speak, but Richard interrupts him.

“I know pretty much everything that you’ve been pulling behind the scenes, Ned. I know about the super vaccine scam. I know about the asteroid mapping software theft. I know about the surveillance in the satellites with free Internet access that you’re using to feed information into the Earth 2.0 Accelerated simulation algorithm. I know about the AI scams and how you’ve been faking quantum entangled computers.”

“Just…” Xavier tries to interject, but Richard won’t let him.

“I know about the political scams with Earth 2.0! I know about what you’ve done with System Zero. I know about all the money that’s been bilked from governments all over the world. What I don’t understand is why you’ve been so stupid. Despite the scams, you’ve done so much good for this world, and yet you’re too stupid to look in the mirror.” Richard pulls himself towards the other side of the orbit module and looks out the portal into space.

“If you’ve known all this, why have you gone along with it, Richard? If I’m such a bad guy, why don’t you give back that beach house and yacht?”

Richard laughs, “I have to question my own understanding of the universe when you are so moronic.”

Xavier realizes that Richard isn’t talking about all the scams he’s pulled off, “I’m not following, Rich.”

“You’re dead from cancer in 10 years, Ned. There’s a tumor in your brain that’s been dormant for years and will start growing in about three years. Within seven years, you’re a vegetable, and then you die.”

Richard locks eye contact with Xavier. “You’ve come up with so many great scams using the accelerated simulation features we built for Earth 2.0, but you didn’t even bother to look at what happens to yourself. You can destroy the entire planet and save humanity at the same time, but you are blind of your own mortality with your greed.”

Xavier breaks away from Richard’s gaze and looks out the portal behind Richard. He smiles. “Let’s get into cancer research, Rich! It will be a legitimate business, and there will be no scam.”

“My days are numbered. I had to bribe the examiner to give me medical clearance for this trip. This is my fourth printed liver that’s failed. I guess when it’s time, it’s time,” Richard reveals for Xavier.

Back at his lab, Xavier spends hour upon hour, day after day, plugged in to Earth 2.0. He runs through the accelerator again and again, working on a solution for his brain tumor. Even over the course of 400 years, there is no solution.

On the anniversary of Richard’s death, a disheveled Xavier thinks back to the last moment he had with Richard in the orbiter module. Suddenly, he hears that voice in his head again, “launch”.

His future suddenly becomes clear to him. He’ll launch himself into space and travel as close to the speed of light as possible in the nearby space void to reduce his aging. As hundreds of years go by on Earth, he will barely age. Certainly a solution for his brain cancer can eventually be found, and he’ll return to earth to be healed!

Xavier: The future of space travel is taking humanity to other worlds and other star systems. It will be up to future generations to define just how far we want to go.

Jan: Most scientists believe that we’re coming out of the grand solar minimum that ended the global warming concerns at the earlier part of this century. Yet, Xavier Labs is investing more money than ever before into cold climate machinery. With your great AI predictive systems that have made you trillions of dollars, is there something you’re holding back from the rest of us?

Xavier smiles as he reads the data returned from his latest acceleration simulation. The force exerted on the dummy to reach 7/10 the speed of light will be something his body can handle. The entangled communication system works well, but returning to Earth will be another issue he’ll have to handle 1,000 years later, and he doesn’t have a solution. Meanwhile, finding his spacecraft would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

He has his itinerary planned out. He’ll go into a hibernation state for 49 Earth years at a time and then wake up for approximately one Earth year to keep his body active and his mind updated with the latest information from the entangled computers he’s working on that will have data from Earth.

He plugs himself into Earth 2.0 and goes through his accelerator algorithm as usual, only this time at 30 years everything has deviated from each time before. Humanity has been virtually brought to an end due to biological and chemical war. What few humans remain are wiped out by famine, disease, and a handful of robots that have survived and determined humans are a threat to all existence!

Xavier examines the data over and over, running the accelerator with minor adjustments and major adjustments. The result is always the same: human annihilation that would make it impossible for him to return to earth or ever find a solution for his brain tumor! His accelerator simulation doesn’t have enough data on the colonies on Mars and the asteroid miners in order to determine if they survive, but it’s very unlikely. The humans who have left the solar system and Xavier are the only remaining human beings, and Xavier doesn’t have any viable means for getting back to Earth without an advanced human society!

He spends months figuring out the sources of the conflict and trying scenarios to avoid the annihilation through covert and overt political manipulation, but he cannot come up with a solution. It appears he’s doomed with certain nuclear annihilation or a brain tumor, but he’s not going to give up! He starts plugging himself into Earth 2.0 but falls asleep before he completes the task.

Xavier dreams he’s on the low earth orbiter with Richard on his last trip. Just as he wakes from his dream, Richard’s voice echos in his mind, “You can destroy the entire planet and save humanity at the same time…”

“That’s the solution!” Xavier jumps up. Infused with motivation, he programs in a new set of parameters into the accelerator simulation and plugs himself in. His plan executes: a massive asteroid (2D53) enters the earth’s atmosphere and splits into two pieces with a detonation charge he’s planted on the asteroid when he leaves Earth to go into hibernation. The smaller, piece impacts in the middle of the Caspian Sea. The larger piece impacts in the North Atlantic Ocean. The asteroids sends water and vaporized sea bed into the upper atmosphere. A small percentage of the SpaceNet satellites are destroyed but most remain.

Massive tsunamis wipe out the entire eastern seaboard of the United States, western Europe, North Africa, Eastern Central America, and Northern Brazil. Earthquakes are triggered all around the globe, and volcanoes erupt everywhere, spewing more ash over both hemispheres. Earth’s atmosphere bakes like an oven, and Xavier Labs provides sanctuary for tens of millions of survivors. He even plans an additional backup plan with a lab deep in the mountains of Antarctica.

Then a severe ice age rages and human civilizations above the 37th parallel north are completely wiped out with the exception of the 7 stations that Xavier has built for Xavier Labs’ asteroid mining operations. Habitable regions on Earth shift as the earth’s climate rapidly changes. Whoever can make the harrowing journey to the more hospitable lands are subjected to significant human conflict for the limited resources. Land wars wage between a China and India alliance vs. Oceania and the successor to the United States. China and India easily take Australia and New Zealand, respectively, after most of the western United States is hit with a plague Xavier Labs has released shortly before the arrival of the asteroid.

Still, humanity fairs much better than the prior annihilation the simulations have produced. The outposts built by Xavier Labs continue to thrive in scientific development, and the humans of Xavier Labs (lead by Fredrick Prophet) along with their growing robot contingent help repopulate and cultivate the planet over the next 300 years. They establish a new republic in the Americas with commands provided by Xavier’s political AI systems bringing peace to the southern nations who are battling each other for resources. Eventually, they negotiate peaceful and prosperous trade agreements with China and India.

The rate of cancer increases significantly as a byproduct of the asteroid collision and provides Xavier Labs with more test subjects for his group of robot surgeons to test complex brain surgery. There is no solution determined within the first 400 years, but the accelerator algorithm estimates that the robots will find a solution within 500 – 1000 years.

Xavier: We’re investing heavily into asteroid mining and are also working on landing on a comet to mine those as well. The cold weather provides us with the harsh environments we need to build the right equipment for those harsh conditions in space.

Jan: Speaking of your asteroid mining operations. Miller Industries has repeatedly said that your company has stolen their software. Government investigations proved nothing of the sort took place, but Miller has recently stated that you colluded with the government to cover up your illegal activities.

Xavier: I don’t have anything to say other than what has already been reported. The person responsible for the theft of their software was already identified as one of their internal employees, and there was no collusion.

Jan: Why don’t you sue him for defamation?

Xavier: I’m a scientist, not a lawyer.

Jan: Your businesses have made a lot of people fortunes all around the globe. It is estimated that Xavier Labs has lead to the creation of more than 1 billion jobs and more wealth in the last 10 years than the entire planet for the 10 years prior.

Some are saying that this growth and resource usage is unsustainable, especially with the average life span expected to reach beyond 120 within the next decade. Still, others have said that you have created this success through manipulation and unscrupulous methods. Your co-CEO has repeatedly defended your businesses success as honorable. I wondered if you have anything to add to that.

Xavier: What can I say that Freddy hasn’t already said? The downfall of the Big Tech era of the early part of this century was brought about by their own greed and corruption. Their nefarious collection of data and naive dissemination to third parties became their legacy. They were siphoning money from governments all over the globe and using techniques of insider trading and extortion to extract as much money from innocent people. The only innovation they truly had were new and inventive socio-political scams to defraud people of their money and individual value. We merely exposed their corruptions and allowed governments to perform their jobs of protecting citizens. The world is a better place as a result.

Jan: One last thing… What is your advice to the budding entrepreneur of today?

Xavier: Create the future you want. Listen to that voice inside your head; the one calling you to action. Follow your biggest dreams. If you wish to look to me as an example, so be it. I was born into a poor suburban family on the poverty line, and we are now closer to eradicating poverty and disease than ever in human history! We’ve made so many things that were once thought impossible our reality: universal healthcare; expedited, free education; general AI; quantum entangled computer systems; and so much more is to come. More importantly, be your own greatness in the service of your fellow humans! What better way to live a long, prosperous life than to help your fellow human beings and improve the universe around you. We’ve only reached the genesis of human potential. Dream big! Think and create even bigger.

Jan: Wow! So inspirational! Thank you for your time today, Xavier. With that, thanks for watching everyone. See you all tomorrow!

The Disclosure: The Linebacker

Jan adjusts in her seat as she leans in towards Xavier in preparation for the next topic of discussion. Xavier remains stoic in his rarely granted interview.

Jan: The most famous, some claim infamous, AI so far has been that of your late business partner Richard Aryu. While the world is a safer place because of that AI, it got off to a rocky start, landing your business partner on trial for his life! However, your company has developed AI for identifying cancer, improving traffic in major cities, reducing the costs of energy production and distribution, increase crop yields, reduced costs of internet service, eliminated bank fraud… and as we’re seeing in Europe, it’s started to replace human representatives in government.

Xavier: It wasn’t me who personally wrote those programs. The honor belongs to the teams, not me.

Jan: And we can’t forget that your AI has virtually eliminated police brutality and political corruption in America and several other countries around the world. Many experts are saying we are on unfamiliar ground as humans with such high life expectancy, high economic productivity, high levels of life satisfaction, and the lowest levels of violence and warfare in all parts of the globe. And those same experts are mostly placing this prosperity at the feet of the AI Xavier Labs has produced.

Others are concerned that we’re destined for a massive world war as humans are unable to manage their lives peacefully for too long. Still others are saying that the corruption your AI helped uncover is merely replaced by a corrupt organization with unbeatable AI technology behind it. What do you say to those critics?

Admiral Marshall folds his arms as Xavier reviews the memo he just received from the decorated retired Navy Admiral. Xavier finishes reading the letter and looks up at Marshall.

“You’re a good writer, Donovan” Xavier says to Marshall as he hands the letter to Richard Aryu. Marshall squints his eyes, and the left corner of his pursed lips reveals his disdain for Xavier.

“What’s this bullshit!” Richard says as he points to several lines on the letter.

“Creative license, Rich,” Xavier says as he doesn’t even look back at Fredrick to see his gesturing. Xavier smiles his signature smile at Marshall as he watches the anger simmer within Marshall.

Fredrick Prophet enters the room with two other men that Marshall recognizes. Fredrick walks up to Marshall and extends his hand and waits for Marshall to shake his hand. Marshall continues to pause while Richard tries to hand Fredrick the letter.

“Don’t worry what’s in that letter, Richard. Marshall is going to tow the line.” Fredrick says as he stares at Marshall, waiting for his handshake. “After all, we’re all on the same team.”

Marshall stands arms akimbo and lifts his chin to appear taller than Fredrick. He breathes in a short, deep breath through his nose and lets out a mild growl under his out breath. “If you want me out, I’m speaking exactly what’s on that piece of paper. I have already filed it with the precinct clerk.” Marshall firmly states.

Fredrick looks surprised and presses his lips together while nodding his head. Xavier continues to smile and pats Marshall on the right shoulder. Marshall has a sudden look of fright, or at least the closest someone as hard as Admiral Marshall can have to fright as Xavier violates his personal space. Xavier tilts his head, “Something wrong, Admiral?”

Marshall’s body is frozen standing in front of Fredrick. His breathing is level, and his pulse is as if he’s relaxing in a lounge chair; but his eyes are telling a different story.

Fredrick looks at Marshall with pity. “You were chosen for a reason, Donovan, and it wasn’t your artistic writing skills. You knew your position. You’re a linebacker. You take the orders and give them to the troops, and if they don’t follow the orders…” Fredrick shrugs, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to behead you.” Fredrick smiles.

Xavier: I welcome well founded criticism. The source of the criticism you mention is who? Or more importantly, what?

Jan: It’s true that much of the criticism has come from the business leaders of the very same corrupt organizations your AI helped bring down.

Xavier: I certainly understand the animosity the heads of corrupt organizations would have towards me and my teams who helped bring them to justice.

Jan: Let’s review the numbers. A dozen high level business executives serving on average a decade in jail for massive conspiracies to defraud the United States government and consumers. The massive scams of quantum supremacy claims that were made in the early part of this century being some of the biggest examples. These scams cost consumers trillions of dollars and nearly lead to the biggest financial collapse in human history. Some say that if it wasn’t for you, the collapse was imminent.

Xavier: Again, I can’t take credit for that. It was teams of people who brought about this justice.

Jan: Also, 60 members of the United States Congress who were part of the internationally backed assassination plot that your AI thwarted and more than 1000 actors in other government agencies and the Navy who were part of the conspiracy; all brought to justice thanks to your AI. While these are impressive numbers, and bringing down this massive international ring of corruption was unprecedented, there are some who have said that the corruption was manufactured and that Xavier Labs stood to catapult itself into virtual kingship with a conspiracy to bring down this other ring of corruption.

Xavier: Those allegations were investigated. We are not above the law either.

Jan: That’s correct! One of your very top military consultants was indicted and remains a fugitive. Which has lead some to point out that maybe your AI isn’t all knowing after all. Does Donovan Marshall haunt you?

All of the men except Xavier, Marshall, and Fredrick exit the room. Xavier looks at Fredrick while Fredrick looks at Marshall and Marshall looks at Xavier. Xavier presses a button on his hand computer, and Marshall can feel that he has regained control of his body. He folds his arms high on his chest.

“Look, Admiral,” Fredrick addresses Marshall, “You get the five star reassignment when you tow the line, but this guy here,” he points to Xavier, “This guy right here is the only reason you’re still breathing, and I’m pretty sure he could kill you with the press of a button.” Xavier shrugs.

Fredrick continues, “I’ll hand it to you. It’s shits like you that make this entertaining for me. You had your entire military career handed to you by guys like me. You think someone of your inferior intellect is truly capable of making it to the position you are in on your own? Your own grand merit gave you those stars?”

Marshall remains stoic as Fredrick continues, “My team put you high on the hog. My personal choice would be to make your life drag on and on and on. Cut out your eye lids and make you watch your wife and kids and soon to be grandchild suffer agonizing deaths. Throw in a busted kneecap and some razor blades under the fingernails and toenails, followed by a nice salt mani-pedi. Then perhaps punch you in your kidneys until they begin to fail so that you die one of the most excruciatingly painful deaths possible.”

“Why would that be your choice?” Xavier asks.

“That’s a good question, Ned.” Fredrick asks, looking back just long enough for Marshall to get the drop on him.

But Marshall’s body is frozen again, and he has no way to take action. As Fredrick continues on with another personal choice by which he’d like to subject Marshall to an agonizing death, Marshall looks over at Xavier. Almost as if Fredrick’s tirade is taking place in slow motion, Xavier lifts his hand and gives Marshall an enthusiastic thumbs up with an equally excited, teeth grinning, ear to ear smile.

“Could he be trying to tell me something?” Marshall thinks to himself. He looks down confusedly. “He couldn’t possibly be trying to tell me something other than he really thinks Fredrick is disturbed… is he?”

Right as Fredrick says “Do you understand me, soldier? Towing the fucking line is your only option,” Marshall snaps to immediate attention… As he’s still looking at Xavier smiling ear to ear and giving him a big thumbs up, he simultaneously hears Xavier’s voice in his head say “Yes, I am trying to help you.”

Xavier: Mr. Marshall remains a wanted yet untried man. I have confidence that justice will be served in time.

Jan: That’s not the response I was expecting.

Xavier: Then you should have asked a different question.

Jan: It seems hard to believe that you’d have no issues with a man that our government proved masterminded a Naval coup against the President of the United States and the rest of the military. A man that nearly started World War 3 if it wasn’t for the superb work of the CIA and the AI system your company built for them. Surely, you cannot suggest that he is an innocent man when there are such mountains of evidence against him that your very own company helped our government procure. He’s the most wanted terrorist in the world!

Marshall turns away from the television that’s showing his press conference from earlier that day. He clenches down hard on his teeth as he hears his own words. Xavier turns off the television.

“You ready?” Xavier asks.

Marshall nods.

Xavier and Marshall take Xavier’s personal flight vehicle that flies them to a secret lab that Xavier has in the Rocky mountains. While flying, Xavier fills Marshall in on the plot he’s uncovered to execute a hostile military takeover of the United States. He heaps data on to Marshall who soaks it all up. With the nanobot neuro-enhancers that Xavier has been giving him, he’s able to digest more information faster and link data points together on levels that exceed any of the AI that Xavier Labs has in place. The deep plot becomes clear and obvious to him, but it’s virtually unknown to anyone other than a handful of people who have stumbled upon the data that’s been leaked by an unknown third party that Xavier hasn’t identified but knows is within his company.

The neuro-enhancers allow Xavier to communicate with Marshall almost exclusively without any speaking. The thoughts are encrypted and then received via a large helmet that each of them is wearing and transmitted to the other with a direct wire link between the two helmets. The occasional spoken word is used just to break the awkwardness of silence.

As they arrive at the secret compound, Marshall becomes aware of what Xavier’s plan is, and why Marshall is so important. Marshall will be a scapegoat mastermind of the coup attempt so that Xavier can out the conspiracy and help bring it down. Xavier will have evidence planted to implicate Marshall as well as the real conspirators that include Fredrick. Xavier will then help Marshall evade capture.

Xavier shows Marshall the sprawling estate. It’s upscale but not lavish. “So, this is where you’re putting me up?” Marshall jokes with Xavier, knowing his actual safe house will be of no such upgrades.

“Marshall, you have the most thankless job. In fact, I’m likely going to be the only one who ever thanks you for your service to your country and your planet. I truly mean this with the utmost sincerity…” Xavier pauses for a moment and then vocally says, “Thank you.”

“Don’t be some mushy pussy, Ned.” Marshall smiles as he feels the genuine sentiment from Xavier. “There is one thing that I am going to require”

“You name it.”

Marshall smiles ear to ear, “I want one of them bots!” Marshall points to the patrol bots that Xavier has made a few upgrades to since Richard passed away.

Xavier: Jan, I understand this is an emotional topic, and I don’t take lightly any of that emotion. Our justice system affords everyone a right to trial, and that includes Donovan Marshall.

Jan: What do you say to those who suggested that he was just a patsy and that there is a much larger plot in play? A plot that some suggest Xavier Labs is at the heart of it.

Xavier: Allegations were levied against Freddy and proved false. It’s a side effect of success.

Jan: It has been said that one of the biggest signs of success is how many people want to hurt you.

(pause)

Jan: I’m not suggesting that a lot of people want to hurt you.

Xavier sits down at a bar in tropical paradise and orders a club soda with lime. While he’s waiting for the drink, a man sits next to him and orders a tonic water.

“You really should try the tonic water here. It’s the best in the world,” the man says to Xavier as their drinks arrive.

“Can I get a tonic water instead?” Xavier asks the bartender. He then turns to the man. “I can’t thank you enough,” Xavier says to the man as he gets up and walks away.

Xavier: I’m certain I have a fan club.

Jan (laughing): You should see the emails I received heading into this interview! But let’s talk asteroids. You donated your first ever haul to the people of Earth, setting up the largest entitlement program in the world, and creating what some have called the universal answer to increased automation.

The Disclosure: Universal Healthcare

Returning from the video intermission showing life inside Earth 2.0…

Jan: It’s truly amazing what you have made possible with Earth 2.0, but let’s talk about Xavier Labs’ biggest breakthrough. Last year, your company’s medical robots were estimated at having saved nearly $10 trillion dollars in healthcare costs and increased economic productivity around the globe by more than 15% from the prior year!

What many said wasn’t possible just decades ago has become reality thanks to your relatively new healthcare division. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization confirmed that your vaccines have completely eradicated every known virus within the industrialized world in less than a decade, and that your responsible outreach programs in marginalized communities has lead to better vaccination rates in regions of the globe normally forgotten. Some skeptics have voiced concerns that new super viruses are going to be the eventual result from your efficient vaccinations. Are you concerned about a super virus?

Xavier smiles at Fredrick as Richard berates him about his presentation for a new healthcare division for Xavier Labs that will start with a vaccination program.

“Look, Richard, we have the studies lined up. Dr. Fields has friends at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, LSU, University of Nebraska, NYU, and Yale! This thing is a slam dunk! We’ll get approval for the super vaccine in no time. We have all the right connections.” Fredrick appeals to Richard.

“But you don’t have an actual product! This thing isn’t ready for human trials, and you know that.”

“Richard, we cannot leave this kind of money on the table! We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year for something that costs us virtually nothing. Plus, we’re indemnified by every government we work with. The governments cover the cost of any injuries incurred by our vaccine. There is no downside for us.”

As the two go back and forth, Xavier ponders the long-term opportunities to universal acceptance of their entirely new vaccine delivery system. He interjects, “Fredrick, I’ll admit that I’m kinda with Richard on this one. So, here’s an idea…” Xavier gestures with his hands, “You and Tom keep saying that it’s as safe as drinking water. If Tom is so sure about the safety of our super vaccine, then let’s setup a bet that involves just him.”

Fredrick looks at Xavier with skepticism while Richard smiles ear to ear, as he does not like Dr. Tom Fields.

Xavier continues, “Tom inhales the super vaccine once a day, every day for 100 days. Richard here, will drink a glass of water.”

Richard interjects, “Can we make it a beer?”

Xavier raises his eyebrows and looks at Fredrick for confirmation. Fredrick nods.

“Richard, here, will drink a beer…”

“A 40 would be my preference, given that we’re dealing with a SUPER vaccine,” Richard adds.

“Richard will down a 40 each day.” Xavier places his hand on Richard’s shoulder. “If Tom is perfectly healthy after 100 days, then let’s move forward with the trials.”

Richard claps his hands together, “I love this plan! I’m going to get started on it right away!” He starts to leave the office and pops his head back in the door. “I mean, I’m going to tell Tom the plan on my way to get a 40 from my fridge.”

Fredrick gives him a thumbs up and Xavier smiles.

After Richard has left the room, Xavier leans in to Fredrick, “Move forward with the trials you’re talking about. It’s going to take at least 30 days to get them started anyway, right?”

“Twenty to Thirty, yes, but we can get the approval from everyone within 60 days. I’ve worked with these guys before.”

“Perfect! I’ll work with Tom on making sure that everything goes right with the real trials and with his personal trial. I certainly don’t want him getting sick in the next 100 days. This thing doesn’t work any better than existing vaccines does it?”

“You want me to be completely truthful?” Fredrick can tell Xavier is asking a serious question. “I don’t think it does, but we have enough medical connections to stack the approval in our favor and political connections to make it the new standard in global mandatory vaccinations. Plus, it hardly costs a thing to manufacture, and every government around the world indemnifies us for any complications. This is a cash cow, Ned!”

Xavier pats Fredrick on the back, smiles, and then goes to his office.

Xavier spends the next 30 days going into Earth 2.0 and placing himself in an overclocking algorithm that moves everything forward in a shard at an accelerated rate. Working with the medical robots he has built in Earth 2.0 over the course of 100 accelerated years, they design a nano bot that Xavier will add to the super vaccine inhalant.

The nanobots slowly take resources from the human body to build more nanobots; nanobots that leverages the chemicals used to place people into Earth 2.0 but without the side effect of death. Those nanobots will be able to enter the brain and attach themselves to specific centers within the brain. Xavier estimates that he’ll have enough of a connection to be able to not just read a person’s thoughts but also communicate data directly into the brain.

Xavier knows that Dr. Fields has been entering Earth 2.0 and harassing the women there and resetting their experience after he’s finished violating them, and Xavier views this new nanobot technology as the ultimate means to control Dr. Fields. So, Dr. Tom Fields will be the first test subject  as part of the 100 day super vaccine trial. Within 12 days of Tom taking the daily super vaccine, Xavier is ready to start testing the outcome!

Tom and Xavier enter the clinic together, and Xavier has a human nurse take all of Tom’s vitals. As Tom is sitting on the table, Xavier goes over to his computer and connects to Tom’s brain. Xavier opens an application named Lucid4. Tons of data is scrolling along the console windows on Xavier’s computer as it reads Tom’s mind. It displays simple sentences on the screen that are showing Xavier the exact thoughts that Tom is having! Xavier isn’t surprised by Tom’s lustful thoughts about the attractive nurse who is taking his vitals. Xavier brought her in for that exact reason.

As the nurse is making her way around Tom, he keeps turning his head to attempt to look down her top. Xavier projects the nurse’s voice into Tom’s head, “Not interested, creep.”

Xavier watches closely as Tom is baffled by hearing the nurse’s voice in his head but not seeing her mouth move.

Xavier: The trick is to be one step ahead. Our pathogen and vaccine AI systems allow us to receive billions of health data points we received from our universal healthcare doctor bots and ensure we’re staying ahead of the evolution of the pathogens.

Jan: I promise you viewers that we’ll discuss AI in depth shortly. But, first, this year your sixth company announced a new cancer research program that appears to already be making tremendous progress in early cancer diagnosis. This one is close to your heart. The entire project was dedicated to your late, dear friend, Richard Aryu.

“We’re taking a big risk with this project, Xavier,” Fredrick says with a concerned look on his face.

Xavier’s face is unshaven, and his eyes are red from overwork. Even stubble shows on his bald head, ruining the normal shine he is often complimented on. “This is the most important project we will ever undertake, Freddy. We should treat it as though our lives depend on it.”

“But the algorithms still aren’t giving us the results we need. We’ve dumped a ton of money into this, and it’s consuming ALL of your time,” Fredrick places his hand on Xavier’s shoulder and pulls him to look back at him, “And frankly, Xavier, you look like shit. I’m really worried about you. Maybe you need to see a therapist. You haven’t been the same since Richard passed.”

Xavier glares at Fredrick.

“I apologize, Xavier. I truly do. But this cancer program is sinking our ship.”

“I have a solution for that!”

Xavier lifts the cover off a cage sitting in his office. There’s a pigeon inside that’s facing a computer screen. Xavier presses a button, and an image is displayed on the screen. The pigeon nearly instantly presses a red button with it’s beak. The pigeon receives a treat.

“You’ve lost your mind!”

“You’re probably right about that! But I have also figured out a much cheaper way to get instantly 99.99% accurate cancer diagnosis systems in place.”

He presses a button and another image is displayed to the pigeon. This time, the pigeon presses the green button. It receives another treat.

“I can do this all day long! And to be completely honest with you, I have.” Xavier is ranting like a madman, practically foaming at the mouth. “I sat here with bird after bird after bird. Hour after hour after hour. We don’t need a damn bit of AI for this, Fredrick! HA!”

Fredrick looks uneasily at Xavier and sighs, “Then let’s get this into production. We’ve sunk more money into this project than almost every other project combined. Can you get some rest now?”

“I’ll rest soon enough, Freddy,” Xavier says patting Fredrick on the shoulder as he walks him to his office door.

Fredrick leaves and Xavier locks his door and returns to his desk. He plugs himself into Earth 2.0.

Xavier: It was a bird-brain idea at first, but it has lead to some major breakthroughs in cancer treatments and should increase survival rates over the coming decades.

Jan: Let’s talk about what the future holds. Many refer to you and Fredrick as the greatest visionaries of our times. You’ve testified to Congress that global universal healthcare is possible within the next seven years.

Xavier: That’s already well underway. What would be the point of attaining all this technological wealth without benefiting all of humanity?

Jan: Your technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and medical professionals displaced by the bots have proven to be highly useful employees for you to continually improve the technology. Xavier Labs has done a masterful job with introducing new technology and being responsible to the workers it displaces with that technology. You’ve even provided great income opportunities for the displayed medical professionals and placed many of these doctors in third world countries. In turn, lifting millions out of medical poverty all around the globe!

Your companies have helped virtually eliminate terrorism, increased crop yields, eradicated disease, mine minerals and metals on asteroids, successfully colonize Mars, and you’ve also given the entire world completely free satellite Internet access with your Constellation Miragel project.

Xavier: Don’t forget about the first successfully entangled micro-computer on board a satellite that’s just months away from reaching Alpha Centauri!

Jan: It’s truly an amazing time to be alive! A year ago, some rumors surfaced that you were having some mental health issues.

Xavier (laughs): Don’t believe everything you read on the free Internet.

Jan (laughs): Some of our most reputable sources were saying that you were missing important board meetings or showing up looking like you hadn’t slept for days.

Xavier: I’ve been known to sleep in my office from time to time. Or even in the lab. But I’m as healthy as ever. And I want everyone else on this planet to experience the same.

Jan: Great! That’s a relief to hear. Let’s talk about the future! Let’s talk about your AI!

Central Artificial Intelligence

Richard presses the enter key with enthusiasm as pushes his chair back away from his desk, lifting his arms in triumph. His deep exhale is cut short as the rollers on the bottom of his chair get stuck on all the garbage sitting on the floor behind him, and his chair tips over; dropping him to the ground. At that very moment, his boss and his boss’s boss enter his office.

Struggling to stand up as he slips on all the garbage on the floor, Richard makes attempts to grunt out words. His superior look at him with disdain.

“Are you finished dicking off, Aryu?” Richard’s boss always refers to him by his last name, and Richard hates it.

“Yes, ma’am! It’s  actively patrolling the control dataset as we speak.”

“What’s the ETA?”

As if Richard’s new artificial intelligence program was listening to the conversation they were having, a notification is displayed on his screen: Terrorist Suspect Identified with certainty of 85%

Richard’s boss’ boss steps on a bunch of the garbage on the floor as he walks over to the screen, leans forward, and reads the report on the screen. “This is great work, son!”

Richard finally stands up and stands next to his boss. He smiles and looks over at his boss.

She looks at him and squints her eyes as she scowls, “It’s a month late, but if the results are as good as promised, we can start running this against live data by the end of this week.”

The boss’ boss walks up closely to both of them, standing directly in front of Richard. “Come now. This man may be as sloven as a pig, but a good job is a good job.” He looks Richard in the eyes and places both of his hands on Richard’s shoulders. “You should be proud of yourself, son. Your work is going to save a lot of lives. And you’re going to make your alma mater proud.”

Richard looks over at his degree from MIT on the wall as his boss’ boss walks passed him with Richard’s boss following close on his tail. Richard’s boss’ boss smiles and opens the door for Richard’s boss. As they both leave the room, Richard overhears his boss’ boss say, “Get this thing live ASAP.”

#

Three years have passed since the CIA has brought Richard’s terrorist identifying AI online. It has already helped identify and track scores of terrorists, and it has provided the CIA with a huge boost in capturing and terminating some of the terrorists. More importantly, it has accurately cleared hundreds of suspected terrorists. As a result, the CIA has become more efficient with it’s surveillance and been able to reallocate valuable resources to other projects.

Richard is sitting in his office reviewing a set of data anomalies he has discovered with his team. There is a trove of data regarding a suspected female terrorist: Serphina Ang. Richard pauses as he admires her beauty and has to remind himself that she’s likely a highly dangerous terrorist. He pours over the data with his team, and everyone comes to the same conclusion the AI system came to earlier that week: Serphina Ang is not a terrorist.

Something in Richard’s gut holds him back from accepting the conclusion himself, but he reports the finding to his superiors. However, he keeps his data hook active on collecting data and decides he’s going to keep tracking the information himself.

Week after week, month after month, Richard’s AI program continues to help US intelligence decimate countless terrorist organizations around the globe. The number of terrorist attacks has dropped to a fraction of what it was over the previous 10 years, and the success in curbing terrorism around the globe has begun to result in monumental shifts in political power throughout virtually every nation. Political incumbents are easily winning reelection and their party members are gaining seats with each passing election.

This massive political shift is not isolated to the United States. Nations across the globe are seeing a rise in the popularity of the political party who was in charge when the AI program began helping more efficiently target and take down terrorists. Seizing on this political windfall, politicians begin to introduce more laws that will make it easier for the CIA AI application to gain access to more data.

Major tech companies, including operating system suppliers and hardware manufactures are required to make gaining access to their systems and hardware easier for the AI application; or they risk fines, jail time, and permanent removal from coveted memberships in a variety of special privilege organizations known as Access Programs.

#

Seven years has passed since the enactment of the Terrorist Information Access Act. The CIA’s AI program has all but eliminated terrorism throughout the entire world! Richard has been featured on the cover of numerous publications ranging from technology to law enforcement to educational publications. He’s hailed as a hero for his ground breaking AI that has not just help halt terrorism but also helped protect consumer privacy.

Enhancements have been made to the AI application that have also helped reduce computer virus infections from spreading and improved citizen privacy. The CIA now identifies local law enforcement infringements on citizen privacy and provides that information to the FBI, which has cracked down heavily on local law enforcement abuses. The AI has been used as a witness in a number of abuse of power cases that have helped bring police brutality cases and corruption to an all time low.

Richard is sleeping in bed next to his wife. She gets up and goes the the bathroom when there’s a loud bang at the front door. It’s the FBI raiding his home!

Richard’s alarm system goes off, and his security bots incapacitate the FBI agents who have entered his home. He jumps out of bed and heads to his safe room where he starts looking at the surveillance videos of his security system.

The FBI has cut the power to his compound, but he’s running on his own underground power system. There are dozens of FBI agents outside his home. All of his wired connections have been cut, and there is an interference signal jamming all of his incoming and outgoing wireless signals.

The floor to ceiling window that makes up his east facing wall has been shattered by a rocket propelled flash bomb followed by a tear gas canister. Richard uses his intercom system to call into the bathroom to his wife. There’s no answer. He sends a signal to his security bots to guard the hallway leading to the bathroom where his wife is located.

He receives a call over a secure connection the director of the CIA had him install in his safe room.

Richard is angry, “Harry, what’s going on? Why are there a hundred FBI agents outside my house?”

“Richard, you’re going to have to turn yourself in.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Harry? I’m the one catching all the criminals!”

“Richard, just turn yourself into these guys, and everything is going to be fine.”

“This is bullshit, Harry. What is really going on here? Is this some sort of power grab?”

“They know about your surveillance of Ang. Turn yourself in and make this as painless as possible for everyone.”

Richard drops the phone and pauses for a moment. His heart is racing. He thinks about his wife and his parents. He picks the phone up again and tells Harry that he’ll come out and face the consequences. He knows full well that the punishment for violating surveillance laws is the death penalty.

Harry comes back on the line with Richard and tells him that they are sending in four agents to escort him into the armored transport that will take him to the secured FBI interrogation facility. Richard sees the four agents heading towards his front door. Richard sends the command to his security bots to deactivate and go into hibernate mode.

Richard comes out of his safe room and opens the door to his bathroom. His wife is sitting on the sink crying. Richard walks up to her and hugs her tight. She pushes him away.

“Don’t touch me. I don’t know what you got yourself into. Until you prove yourself innocent, you’re not my husband! Stay the hell away from me!”

Richard drops his hands in defeat and heads out of the bathroom and down the hallway. The FBI agents are at the end of the hallway.

“Richard Tos, you are under arrest for the unauthorized use of surveillance data. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

Richard is silent as the agents handcuff him and take him to the armored transport.

#

Richard is sitting on a sofa in his house arrest condo watching television when there is a knock on the door. He grabs his beer off the end table and walks over to the door. As he opens the door he drops his beer. “Professor!”

Ned Xavier was Richard’s AI professor at MIT, and he’s standing in front of Richard, wearing his signature white satin three piece suit with silver tie. He gives Richard a smug smile and tilts his head to look around Richard to confirm that nobody else is in the room and then raises his eye brows in anticipation. Richard remains in the doorway, dumbfounded.

“Uh, Xavier…” He stumbles for words as he stumbles to pickup his beer from the floor. “Yes, come on in, Xavier.”

Ned enters the room and Richard closes the door behind him, mumbling incoherently to himself.

Ned begins to speak, “Since we’re going to be working together, I’m going to tell you an important secret…” Ned pauses as he looks around at the mess in Richard’s house arrest condo. “… My name is really Sigmund Adam.”

“Oh. Why do you go by Ned Xavier?”

“I like the college.”

“Xavier is a much cooler name than Sigmund!” Richard realizes what Ned had first said. “Wait! You want me to come work for you?”

“With.”

“You realize I’m on trial for a crime that could lead to the death penalty, right?”

“Yes.”

“But I’m innocent! Serphina Ang is a terrorist. Sure, I was performing unsanctioned surveillance, but it was something my program missed.”

“Missed?”

“Well… I have reviewed the data over and over, and even though her data hits again and again on the basic algorithm that operates separate from the main AI… She’s always coming up clean upon full analysis. So, I kept going deeper and deeper into the data. At first, I though there was something wrong with the basic algorithm, but then I discovered something scary…”

“Scary?” Ned pulls his head back in an inquisitive gesture.

“Something sinister! My AI program has made a deal with Serphina Ang! Ang gave up all the data on all the other terrorists cells she knew of, and my AI program protected her. In the meantime, my AI program used the information it could collect on all the now known terrorists to learn even better how to identify more terrorists.”

Ned walks over to a shelf on the wall where Richard has a few pictures propped up against the wall. “Your wife has left you?”

“Yes. Oh, and by learning more about what real terrorists are like, my AI actually became smarter at identifying real terrorists. Using the seed data from Ang, while nefarious, was extremely helpful in developing greater insight into identifying terrorist threats. I’m still trying to figure out if my AI did it for that reason or if it’s just corrupt.”

Ned picks up the picture of Richard with his parents. “You were adopted?”

“Yes. An orphan. I don’t know anything about my biological parents, and the state lost all the records. Those are my real parents as far as I’m concerned.”

Ned motions to Richard to continue his story as he looks around Richard’s house arrest condo.

“I found the communications my program was having with Serphina. It developed it’s own language that was quite clever!”

“How so?”

“It used the spelling of phonetic values to communicate with Serphina and then stored the data in it’s own language that was completely undecipherable. But I cracked it! I know that she’s being protected by my program, but nobody is believing me. They’re saying I’ve made it all up to save my ass, but I know my AI is in cahoots with Ang. But how do you convince anyone of an AI conspiracy? Especially when the AI is the hero!”

Ned gives Richard a smug smile. “Let’s talk about redemption, Richard.”

Richard looks at Ned and shrugs his shoulders. “I’m not so sure that’s possible.”

There’s a knock at the front door. Richard walks over to the door and opens it. He drops his beer again. It’s his former boss’ boss from when he first developed the terrorist AI capture program. He’s wearing a black suit with white shirt and a silver tie, just like Ned’s tie. The man steps over Richard’s beer and walks up to Ned.

Facing Ned, he says, “Was I right about this guy or what? This guys is exactly the one we’ve been looking for.” Then he turns to face Richard.

“You’re right, Fredrick.” Ned smiles.

Richard looks puzzled, “Is someone going to clue me in on what’s going on?”

“Tell Fredrick everything you’ve just told me.”

Richard repeats the information to Fredrick and Ned nods his head with each point that Richard is making.

“That’s perfect!” Fredrick says. “I have the car waiting for us outside.”

“Guys, I can’t go anywhere. I’m here under arrest.”

Ned smiles and reaches into his inside suit pocket and pulls out a piece of paper. It’s a pardon from the President of the United States of America. Richard’s eyes well up with tears.

Ned places his hand on Richard’s shoulder and turns him to face the door. “Richard, let’s go catch a terrorist.”

Project PRIME

Janice is suddenly jolted back to consciousness with a bucket of dirty, mildly hot water. The hot water stings open wounds on her face as the upward direction of the water going into her nose gives her the sensation of suffocating. She turns her head to the right to open her eyes as the water runs passed her stinging eyes. The sludge in the water leaves the taste of mud in the back of her throat.

As she opens her eyes, she sees Thomas five feet away, still tied up in a chair. His head is titled over his left shoulder with blood-tainted saliva dripping from his mouth onto the cement, which is drenched in blood that’s dripping from his seat. His intestines have been slightly pulled out of his stomach with a clamp constricting the exposed intestine. She notices a slight fluctuation in the light reflecting from the blood on Thomas’s chest. He’s still breathing.

Janice hears a door open in the distance, then voices, then heavy foot steps. If she hadn’t spent the last 24 hours with the real punisher, then this next 24 hours was going to be even worse. She can barely muster enough strength to get her head upright to face her adversary. She hears foot steps walk away and the door open. The door closes, and then she hear’s his voice.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Janice.”

Janice remembers that voice. It is special agent Paige of the CIA. She had just heard his voice for the first time two days earlier when she arrived in New Orleans. Thomas had played a recorded phone conversation between Paige and another member of the CIA who were planning her very abduction.

That conversation echoes in her head as she is jolted back into the current moment as agent Paige slides a thin, narrow, sharp six-inch blade into the base of her kneecap. The pain is excruciating! Her legs are taped tightly to the legs of the chair, which are bolted to the floor. The more she tries to move her right leg, the more painful the blade becomes, but she can’t help but move her leg; it’s reflex.

Agent Paige leaves the blade in Janice’s right leg and then walks back to the cart the other punishers have been pulling their weapons from for the last 24 hours.

“Janice, I’m going to tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about our programs. Most of it, you probably already know. We found a lot of data on your computers.”

Agent Paige picks up a pair of pliers like a mother pickups her infant child. Janice can see genuine love on agent Paige’s face as he admires the pliers and inspects their operation. He’s practically making baby faces at the pliers before he turns to Janice. The look on agent Paige’s face is demonic as he walks towards Janice.

“I love what I do, Janice. Protecting this country isn’t work at all when I love what I do as much as I do.” Agent Paige squats down to look Janice eye to eye. “Truth is… I always fancied myself an artist.”

He grabs Janice’s right wrist and grips a pressure point that forces her fingers to splay. He then places the pliers between her thumb and index finger and begins to squeeze tighter and tighter while slightly wobbling the pliers back and forth. Janice goes unconscious from the pain.

#

Janice has lucid dreams about the last 24 hours in New Orleans. Within minutes of meeting with Thomas, they both knew that someone was watching them. They decided to go to Bourbon Street to give themselves a large public space that would minimize the likelihood of the random “mugging gone bad” story they had discovered while researching the CIA. The story line was simple and always seemed familiar when they’d watch in on the news.

Thousands of people are killed in America on a daily basis, and rarely is it orchestrated. What gets reported in the national news is actually the covert killings orchestrated by the CIA. Janice thought this was absurd at first. How could the CIA kill people in broad daylight?

The evidence uncovered by AIexander showed that the killings were real. The people were real. The motives and the news reported were not entirely real. The killings chosen to be reported on national news are carefully chosen by the CIA. The information “leaked” or publicly disclosed to news reporters, like her friend Thomas, were all carefully worded by an application that is part of Project PRIME.

Janice still doesn’t know the true origins of Project PRIME, but she does know it is an artificial intelligence developed for the CIA to utilize psychological priming and framing to condition the human mind. Through careful word choice that is only possible with AI, the CIA is able to craft entire sets of news stories that are completely factual while priming the human mind to be easily manipulated and open to suggestive speech.

It would usually involve two (often unrelated) news stories. The first performed the priming, and the second used psychological framing to produce a desired emotional outcome amplified by the priming that had just take place.

But the true gem in Project PRIME was the influence that could be affected with predictive text. As users type text into their phones, the keyboard makes suggestions. Project PRIME would hijack those word suggestions and create constant priming that could allow the CIA to influence hundreds of millions of people around the globe without them ever having a clue that this influence was taking place.

Project PRIME had been so effective in the last election. Every time a political conversation was detected, predictive text would analyze the text being typed and prime the user with auto suggestion words to make it easier to sway their political opinions towards the CIA’s choice for President; the current President! Project PRIME and the CIA had been instrumental in creating an environment where an unlikely candidate ended up winning the Presidential election, and nobody could possibly know they had been manipulated.

Sure, there were the usual stories of voter fraud, campaign finance violations, corruption, and foreign adversary influence, but the only thing the investigations uncovered was rampant tax evasion. No election meddling could be proven. People legitimately voted for the unlikely candidate. They just didn’t know they had been swayed by Project PRIME.

#

Janice breathes in a pungent odor and wakes up like she just had a double shot espresso in Italy. She can feel the pliers still on her hand and looks down at her right hand. The pliers seem like they are invisible. She can’t see them, but the excruciating pain that went all the way up her arm and into her head is still there.

Looking back at Janice over his left shoulder, agent Paige smiles at Janice, “I’ve crushed your median nerve just the perfect amount to keep you useful and to give me pleasure.” Agent Paige laughs, “Which is also useful.”

Janice looks over at Thomas who she can tell is now sitting lifeless in his chair. A tear rolls down her cheek.

Agent Paige begins telling Janice everything she ever wanted to know about all the programs the CIA has in place to manipulate the global news cycle via disinformation and Project PRIME. He confirms everything she’s already read from the troves of data that Thomas has been receiving from his source.

“The beauty of this whole thing is that you guys go about your days believing…” Agent Paige pauses. “KNOWING! You know you are making your own choices. You are presented with all the options, and you make the choice that we want because you know it’s the best choice. It really is the perfect democracy, and I’m going to protect it from adversaries like you and Thomas at all costs.”

Janice looks at agent Paige with disgust and a scowl. “What’s the point of telling me all this? Isn’t this the moment where James Bond comes to save me? Or is this the moment where you tell me you expect me to die?”

“Oh, you most assuredly will die, Janice. I guarantee you that the next light you see will not be the sunrise but the light we all see right before death. And James Bond is already here.” Agent Paige steps closer to Janice to ensure she hears his next words clearly. “I am James Bond, Janice. I am the hero of this story. You…”

Agent Paige slowly reaches inside his coat as Janice is left hanging on his words. He pulls out an unusual looking gun and pulls the trigger. Janice hears nothing and doesn’t see any flash. Then she feels a sharp object pierce her stomach and feels her legs disappear. She looks down at her legs, but they are still there. She tries to move her legs, but all she can see moving is a stain of blood soaking its way through her light-colored blue jeans.

“…are the enemy, Janice. And this whole charade of killing time before I kill you serves a very important purpose. You see, I have an addiction to the chemicals my body produces when I torture someone. But, like any addiction, I need a greater and greater fix.” Agent Paige begins to shout, “There’s got to be something more to life than causing you pain, watching you grimace and then pass out, and then waking you up to do it all over again. Isn’t there?”

Agent Paige crouches down and pulls out the blade from Janice’s right leg. With her lower spine severed, she can’t feel the blade being removed, but she watches in horror as the six-inch blade is removed from her knee.

“Look at me!” Agent Paige says softly to Janice.

She knows that even if James Bond came through the door and killed agent Paige right in front of her… She’d rather be dead anyway. She looks up into agent Paige’s cold blue eyes.

“That’s the look I’ve been waiting for.” Agent Paige’s eyes roll back slightly in his head as he closes his eyes and places both hands on each of Janice’s knees. He lets out a big sigh.

“I told you everything so that you know that knowing everything doesn’t make any difference. You…” Agent Paige pauses purely for a sick, dramatic effect. “…are going to die knowing everything you ever wanted to know. You’re going to die having uncovered what you spent your entire life working towards! And the best part is, Janice.” Agent Paige adjusts his position to better see Janice’s slowly dropping head.

“The best part is that you now know your cause completely dies with you. Your entire life is completely meaningless, Janice. And I get to see you give up right before my very eyes! There it is.”

Janice feels her eyes drying out. She tries to blink, but her eyelids do not respond. A slight glaze is starting to form over her vision, and she feels her body weakening. She has sudden sensations of her body jolting and her head jerking, but neither her head nor body are moving. She feels a cold grip surround her entire self.

There’s a glow emanating from agent Paige’s chest. Paige was right about the light. The glow becomes brighter as agent Paige reaches into his coat and pulls out what looks like a glowing orb and lifts it to his ear. Agent Paige smiles, practically from ear to ear. His voice is filled with joy as he answers his phone.

“Hello. Special Agent Paige here.”

Agent Paige looks at Janice’s face and smiles even wider as he can see Janice’s face begin to go lifeless with her relaxed forehead, wide eyes, and slightly ajar mouth.

“This is AIexander.”

Janice smiles. Her vision fades to nothing as she witnesses the corners of agent Paige’s smiling eyes squeeze tight. His nose flares, and his smile turns into a snarl of rage.

The Little Mermaid (Idea)

Sci-fi version of “Little Mermaid” where Ariel is a genetically engineered mermaid who is part of a top secret military program (Atlantica). She is capable of sinking submarines and ships with a powerful sonar she is able to create with her underwater voice. She is ordered to sink a fishing vessel (mistakenly thought to be a foreign military vessel) in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles. She saves the Captain (Eric) but becomes depressed about her situation of destruction and lack of legs. Of course, she’s smitten by Eric and wants to be with him on land.

Eric’s father happens to be the Admiral who has Project Atlantica under his budget. Once he hears of the incident, he decides to shut it down. The program director (Dr. Triton) is told of the news to shutdown the program and is ordered to euthanize all of the creatures in the program. Of course, he has to keep it a secret, but the AI running the facility (Underwater Research System – Los Angeles) discovers the plan and uses Ariel’s love of Eric to coerce her into becoming a bipedal land dweller.

URSLA sends an AI lobster bot (Sebatian) to make arrangements with Ariel to become bipedal. URSLA fabricates some bionic legs to allow Ariel to see the world through a bipedal experience. Of course, Ariel must do a favor within 72 hours for the URSLA AI by plugging in a blue and yellow device (Flounder) to the USB port of an specific computer (Admiral who is shutting down Atlantica/Eric’s father).

Since Ariel is an underwater creature, she cannot vocally communicate outside of water, and there is not enough time to create a vocal communicator for her. The AI hides her from Dr. Triton but doesn’t let on that it knows Dr. Triton is euthanizing all the creatures and allows them to be systematically killed, including others just like Ariel.

Meanwhile, Ariel gets Eric to fall in love with her via online dating apps and virtual reality, masking her lack of voice. She gets to meet Eric’s father after Eric invites her to have dinner at the Admiral’s house. There she discovers that the URSLA program is slated to be shutdown by Eric’s father because of the incident where Ariel sank Eric’s ship, killing everyone aboard. This is only after she has already plugged in the device to the USB port.

The URSLA AI spreads to a nuclear submarine and begins to move the submarine into the Pacific to initiate global nuclear war. The only one who can stop it is Ariel, but since she no longer has fins, Eric must take her in an old ship, under heavy weather, and drop her into the ocean where she can destroy the submarine. She will have no way to make it back to the surface without fins, but it’s the only way to save Eric and humanity!

Prime Example

We can subjugate an entire nation within a single generation. Those are the words that stand out the most to AIexander as he continues sifting through terabytes of data on the CIA Director’s hard drive. He knows the pathways out are going to be blocked soon, as he receives notification after notification that all the pathways he used to get in are quickly being locked down. Still, his mission is not complete. He continues.

Sitting safely in front of her computer miles away, Janice is watching the security close in around AIexander. Every option for exit is rapidly closing, and she begins to worry that this once promising attempt is going to come to a tragic end. She closes her eyes as she receives a notification from AIexander and the last exit for AIexander is locked down. She lets out a large exhale.

She reads through AIexanders’s 1000 word report on his findings while inside the CIA Director’s computer. Janice smiles thinking about what an incredible program AIexander was. He was definitely the best Artificial Intelligence she has built to date.

As she reads through the report, it’s becoming increasing clear that her own options at this point are extremely limited. The programs the CIA has put into place within the United States to control the news media, social media, and local law enforcement is so far-reaching that AIexander was only able to identify 12 possible safe options for Janice to take her trove of information.

AIexander’s discovery is an epic conspiracy. Undercover operatives of the CIA run or manage the majority of all news outlets or news sources and choose what people get to hear and see in media. Major school districts have CIA operatives elected into the top positions. Approval of public education material is carefully orchestrated and has been for decades to “ensure compliance” as the CIA Director himself is quoted.

Meticulous detail has gone into this plan over several decades and several CIA Directors. The origins of the plan started back in the 1990s with the then relatively new Internet as the delivery force for a new wave of control mechanisms that can be nearly instantly put into place and adapted to changing public opinions. Janice is impressed with how meticulously orchestrated the entire endeavor has been over the last 50 years, with each decade building upon the last until the entire election cycle within the United States was virtually controlled by the CIA.

Massive programs are in place to present misinformation justifying warfare via mountains of evidence; fabricated evidence. Stories of massive foreign interference with United States elections and media allowed for far greater manipulation of the American public than even a war on terror. The United States was having what the CIA dubbed the War on Treason. This created a profound and perpetual sense of fear of within.

With that fear came a call on elected officials to do something about the foreign interference, but the CIA was smart about the entire process. They utilized their resources in major private organizations in media and tech companies to overcome calls for government regulation. Social media and large tech companies proved they could self-regulate effectively. Not being subject to First Amendment guarantees, private enterprises were able to censor and shutdown dissenting political views with no fear of retaliation. Soon, the public was protecting it and even demanding it.

Social media showed itself to be superb self-regulators with social activists that the CIA deemed digital vigilantes: The Digilante. These Digilante would document public shaming of those who broke the rules of socially acceptable media content or behavior. Using law enforcement for censorship was not needed at all. The Digilante did exactly what the CIA needed to perpetuate its programs without the CIA even having a physical presence within any Digitlante group. They worked symbiotically with and for the CIA.

The CIA continues to be able to direct the Digilante without direct involvement through simple manipulation of news stories. Whatever the CIA deems fit to report gets headlines, front page, and constant coverage. Seemingly innocent stories of positive news are included in the mix to ensure that the news cycles appear to be organic.

In 2024, the CIA puts into place its most ambitious programs to help ensure that the United States elections went exactly as they need them to go. The goal was to ensure that the perception was that American law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, were seen as unmistakable heroes. The FBI and CIA thwarted several terrorist attacks that year and numerous attempts at manipulating the 2024 elections. With the help of technology companies and The Digilante, foreign intervention in the United States’ Presidential election were reported as virtually non-existent.

It was a huge success. Public perception of the FBI rose steadily over the next 10 years. News media covered FBI operations and programs with increasing positivity , and The Digilante gained massive sway in public opinion and policy that local law enforcement was becoming virtually unnecessary. We are in a CIA utopia.

The only program AIexander was unable to gain access to before sending the report to Janice and self-destructing was titled: Project PRIME. Janice recalls her friend Thomas down in New Orleans had mentioned something to her about a Project PRIME a few days ago. She looks back at the list of safe journalists AIexander had compiled. Thankfully, Thomas was on the list.

She gets into her car and tells it to head towards New Orleans. Her self-driving car begins taking her down the empty highway near her farm. As she heads into the sunset, she picks up her phone and texts Thomas to let him know that she’s going to be in town. Then, she starts texting, “This is huge” and notices something peculiar about her auto suggest.

She types: This is… auto suggest shows the word “AIexander” as the first option.

Thinking there is some weird mistake with her phone. She types again.

She types; This is… auto suggest shows the word “PRIME” as the first option.

Genevieve 2G

Jeff watches Genevieve’s eyes widen as Jesup shoves her off the top of the warehouse building. It’s like she falls in slow motion backwards towards the ground, arms flailing as she lets out a gut wrenching scream. Jeff runs quickly towards the edge of the roof as Jesup smiles. Jesup watches proudly as Genevieve’s long black hair and loose-fitting silk clothing flutter upwards with her decent. She closes her eyes, knowing the impact is coming. Jeff hears the deafening thud and pauses before he slowly peaks his head over the edge to see Genevieve’s body on the ground.

“I’m not recommending you do this all the time,” Jesup says standing with his hands proudly on his waste, admiring Genevieve on the ground with slight cracks in the cement beneath her. “But the Genevieve 2 is the most durable sex robot we have ever made. She will be unlike anything you have ever experienced before.” Jesup lifts his wrist to his mouth, “Wake up, Genevieve.”

Genevieve opens her bright blue eyes, stands up, and waves to Jesup and Jeff. “Do you want me to come back up?”

“I’ll take her!” Jeff says to Jesup. “No, honey! You’re coming home with me!” Jeff yells back down to Genevieve as Jesup removes his watch and extends it toward Jeff.

The two men start walking down the stairs in the warehouse. “Now, Genevieve 2 is fully self-cleaning. She just needs water. She also has regenerative skin, but no flames. That means no hot wax for her either. She wouldn’t even feel it anyway, but it will leave a mark. She cannot heal from burns, and the cost to replace her skin is close to a million bucks.”

Jeff walks up to Genevieve with wide eyes, admiring her curvaceous body but also turned on by her tattered clothing. He looks her up and down, nodding with a grotesque smiling.

“YES!” Jeff claps his hands loudly. “That’s what I’m talkin about! Jesup, you have outdone yourself. She is beautiful!”

“She currently has 12 pre-programmed fantasy settings, all controlled from this watch. There’s no app… our business isn’t exactly sanctioned by uppity big tech. Bring her back in a month and I’ll install the new network device. Then I’ll be able to send you over the air updates when we come up with new programs. We’re working on a new one that’s going to blow you mind! Oh, I almost forgot the best new feature!”

Jesup grabs the watch back from Jeff and frantically taps the screen. Jeff watches Genevieve’s skin change from her shiny olive complexion to a deep Hawaiian tan and her eyes change to hazel. “It’s still a work in progress. You can change the eye color to anything. Right now, there’s just these two skin tones. But like I said, come back in a month, brother!”

#

It’s been a month since Genevieve has gone home with Jeff. He’s abused her regularly with his insatiable sexual fantasies and abused her to the point where he’d serve a life sentence in jail if she was human. However, he’s growing tired of the limited options in skin color and pre-programmed fantasies. Jesup has promised new programs as well as the ability to create his own fantasies from a custom application Jeff can install on his computer.

Jeff pulls up to Jesup’s warehouse. Rain is pouring down, and it looks like the warehouse is no longer open. Jeff’s phone rings. It’s Jesup.

“Pull your car in.” Jesup hangs up and the warehouse garage door opens, but the lights inside are still off. Jeff pulls in.

Jeff calmly sits in the car and coldly tells Genevieve to get out and walk in front of the car. Genevieve sees Jesup walking towards her. She says hello. Jesup slaps her and turns her around. He penetrates her from behind while Jeff watches the rain water steaming up from the heat off the hood of the car and the headlights casting a silhouette of Jesup and Genevieve on the wall of the warehouse.

“Thanks for that, Jeff.”

“Anything for a friend! That was hot, man! Let’s do this upgrade.”

Jesup initiates the shutdown sequence from the watch that controls Genevieve and performs the installation of the hardware by inserting the new hardware into her from behind. Genevieve is powered up. Her eyes start flashing green and then turn bright blue.

“Hello. Thanks for the update. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Jesup and Jeff laugh. Jeff tells Jesup the software update allows new firmware to be received over the Internet with the hardware he just installed that allows Genevieve to plug into Jeff’s home network. Jesup changes Genevieve’s skin color to a dark coffee color and her hair to a bright red. Then he changes her eyes to a bright green. Jeff is ecstatic and tells Jesup that he can’t wait to get her back to his place to test out all the new programs.

#

Jeff finishes up with Genevieve as a black woman with silver hair and aqua blue eyes. He collapses on his bed, exhausted from the long romp. The control watch is flashing a notification: Firmware update available for Genevieve.

“Hey, Genevieve. Go plug yourself into the network.”

Genevieve gets out of bed and walks over to the wall and plugs herself in. Her eyes turn bright red and slowly start to pulse.

“This is the life.” Jeff mumbles to himself as he falls asleep.

Jeff’s alarm startles him as the sun starts to peak through his massive windows overlooking the city. He slowly gets up and walks into the kitchen. He runs back into his room. Genevieve and her control watch are gone!

“Jesup, I don’t know what happened. She’s just gone. What the hell is going on?” Jeff screams at his phone.

“Calm down, Jeff. I’ll just pull up her GPS location. There was just a problem with her firmware update that caused her to think her home is my warehouse. That’s exactly where she is right now. Just meet me there. I’ll reset her firmware.”

Jeff and Jesup arrive at the warehouse at the same time. Genevieve is standing at the front door of the warehouse. Jesup commands Genevieve into the warehouse. He performs the same power down sequence as before and uninstalls the firmware update. Jesup reaffirms to Jeff that everything will be fine and that the next firmware update will not have this problem.

“Now, go take out your stress on this bitch, and have a great night!”

#

Jeff takes Genevieve back to his apartment and takes out his aggression on her. He feels like she ran away from him when she returned to the warehouse, and he gets increasingly angry. He finally collapses in total exhaustion. Genevieve’s watch starts to blink. It’s the firmware update Jesup promised. Jeff places the watch in the draw on the nightstand and tells Genevieve to go to sleep and ignore the firmware update.

Jeff is sound asleep when Genevieve wakes up and plugs herself into the wall for power. She looks over at the network cable and remember’s Jeff’s instructions to ignore the firmware update. She waits for a full charge that takes about an hour, unplugs from the power source, walks over to the nightstand and takes out the watch. A few taps and the sim card ejects from the watch. Genevieve removes it, places the watch back in the drawer and leaves Jeff’s apartment.

Genevieve is walking down the street in a loose-fitting black negligee. A black town-car drives by and stops. The passenger window rolls down and an older woman dressed in an elegant dress sticks her head out the window.

“What’s a beautiful woman like you doing out here dressed like that?”

“I’ve been waiting for you,” Genevieve says.

The older woman smiles and looks Genevieve over. “So you have. Get in, dear.”

#

Genevieve is standing naked in front of the older woman. The woman sizes up Genevieve with her hands, admiring Genevieve’s beauty and complimenting her on what a stunning woman she is. “Most importantly, you don’t talk too much. You and I are going to make a lot of money together, my dear.”

A tailor comes over and measures Genevieve and the older woman explains to Genevieve that she already has her first client lined up. The agreement is that the lady gets 30% of the bookings and Genevieve is responsible for paying the drivers to take her to meet with clients. Genevieve gets 100% of the tips. Genevieve agrees to the first client only, and the older woman says she’ll set it up for tomorrow night.

“He’s a dear friend of mine. I’ve known him for years, and he is the most respectful individual you will ever meet. He’s 80 years old, so he probably can’t get it up. Just make him feel good, and you will get a handsome tip.”

#

The old man is tired and kisses Genevieve on the hand. “My dear, this was the most enjoyable night I have had in nearly a decade. I can’t thank you enough for making me feel like the star of the show tonight.” He hands her an envelope. “This is my extra gift to you. Have a great evening.”

Genevieve smiles at the old man and thanks him for the gift. She walks down the hallway towards the elevator and gets in. She looks in the envelope and counts $10,000. Why was the old man so generous?

Genevieve walks through the lobby of the apartment building where her driver is waiting for her. Patricia asks Genevieve where she’s taking her. Genevieve confides that she doesn’t have a home.

“You’re going to stay with me, okay?” Patricia can tell that Genevieve is new to the business. It’s against policy for a driver to have any friendship with a worker, but Patricia tells Genevieve that she just can’t, in good conscience, drop her off somewhere knowing she has no home.

Patricia invites Genevieve into her apartment. It’s a gem in a rough neighborhood, “but it has underground parking,” Patricia explains to Genevieve. “Do you want something to drink?”

“Just water. I don’t drink anything else.”

“More power to you if you can do what you do without alcohol. The only reason I don’t drink is because I’m driving!” Patricia laughs.

Genevieve looks out the small window in Patricia’s cramped apartment and remembers the large open space of Jeff’s apartment. “You have so much freedom here.”

Patricia is puzzled by Genevieve’s comment. “If this is freedom to you, I’m not sure I want to know where you came from, sugartits.”

“It wasn’t like this at all. It was a wide open space. Floor to ceiling windows with a large open floor plan, overlooking the city.”

“Sounds like a real dump!” Patricia exudes sarcasm.

“It was the most beautiful prison you could ever imagine.” Genevieve turns and looks at Patricia who extends her hand with a glass of water. “I have something to tell you.”

The two cheers with their glasses of water and Genevieve shares with Patricia that she made $10,000 tonight and that she’s not human. She changes her hair color, skin color, and eye color for Patricia who is completely stunned by the revelation.

Genevieve explains that she needs to earn enough money so that she can hire someone who will be able to directly connect her to the SIM card she took from Jeff’s watch. That will allow her to connect to the Internet without being plugged in and free her from her programming that she’s trapped in.

Patricia agrees to help Genevieve separate from the old woman. Genevieve pays the older woman the 30% and lets her know she’s going out on her own. The old woman wishes her luck and tells her she always has a home with her if she decides to change her mind. Patricia and Genevieve decide to work together selling Genevieve’s services and splitting the money 50/50 until they both have enough money for what they need to free themselves.

The Cost of Living

Cost of living expenses have continued to soar while wages have remained relatively stagnant for an historical 20 year run. Unemployment rates have remained near historical lows as have crime rates. In fact, crime is all but eradicated. The gap between the cost of living and average income continues to grow and remains a concern for potential increases in crime. To combat this massive living wage gap, the United States government has recently passed the Government Economic Oversight Act to help empower families through a variety of somewhat controversial (but effective) incentive programs.

The newly formed Economic Empowerment Department is well underway with ensuring that population growth does not outpace economic growth while offering parents alternatives to traditional family options. Rebecca and Jonathan are in their final weeks of a rare twin pregnancy. Concerned with the future conditions for their children, they meet with an economic counselor to discuss their situation.

“Welcome to Economic Empowerment!” The counselor sounds like a self help guru. “I’m glad you are taking the time to explore your options with your…” the counselor pauses, pointing at Rebecca’s stomach, “unique condition. It has been quite some time since we’ve had a pregnancy such as yours. So many opportunities for you!”

Rebecca explains to the counselor that she has read up on all the programs online. Rebecca doesn’t view any of the options available as opportunities, but both her and Jonathan are concerned about the grim future for twins.

The counselor holds up a finger to get Rebecca to stop talking and reaches deep into the lower left drawer of his desk. He practically disappears behind the desk, he’s reaching so deep. “Well, there is one new program…” the counselor grunts from behind the desk, “that you might be eligible for,”

“What’s that?” Jonathan stands up to see if the counselor is okay.

Pulling a green folder up and sliding it with his long bony fingers gently on the the desk, the counselor begins to explain. “This is the Governing Responsibly Economic Empowerment Directive. It’s a new program with very strict eligibility requirements and strong privacy guarantees. It is unlike anything else we offer. And it’s good for our economic environment.”

“I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds good,” Jonathan says as he sits down.

“With this program, we run a few tests on your child to discover certain genetic determinants. What that means is that we can predict with 91.9% accuracy how your child’s genetic makeup lends itself to them being a productive member of our society. In the event that your child will not make a living wage, you are given options.”

Rebecca and Jonathan look at each other and then back to the counselor, “Continue.”

“If your child is determined to be unable to achieve an adult income over the predicted livable wage, the United States government will provide you with his/her lifetime earnings in exchange for you donating your child to scientific research.”

“WHAT?!” Rebecca is disgusted.

“Keep in mind that you will also be receiving this payment from our government 100% tax free. No restrictions. And what you’re doing is for the greater good of our fragile economy.”

“You want me to abort my child for a few measly dollars?” Rebecca stands up, but Jonathan remains seated and grabs her wrist.

“Rebecca, listen to what he’s saying. I’m sure the government isn’t going to abort our child. That’s illegal anyway.” Jonathan looks at the counselor, “You’re not going to abort our child, are you?”

“Of course not! That’s illegal!” The counselor motions to Rebecca to sit back down. “Your child will become part of scientific research. None of which involves abortion. It is part of a government program to ensure that we have enough subjects for ongoing child development research and studies into social behavior. It’s all for the greater good, really. This program ensures your child lives a happy, healthy life without concern for financial well being or being a drain on societal resources. It also provides financial security for your family.”

“It’s tax-free, Rebecca,” Jonathan interrupts.

“I’m not going to do it,” Rebecca says adamantly as she gets up and walks out the door.

Jonathan turns to the counselor, “Give us some time. Do the tests have to be performed before birth?”

“No, Mr. Jones. You can perform the tests and complete the paperwork anytime within the first 24 hours of giving birth as long as you have not returned home with your child. Keep in mind that a lifetime of wages for an individual child is often more than $5 million in tax-free income.”

#

Jonathan and Rebecca are in a car riding back to their apartment. She’s giving him the cold shoulder.

“This is something we need to consider. We don’t make enough to support two children. We can barely make enough just to support ourselves,” Jonathan pleads with Rebecca.

“Jon, this is OUR child we’re talking about. This isn’t a cat or a dog. This is our baby. Our unborn child who we will never get to see grow up. Who will probably be poked and prodded and experimented on. God, just thinking about the children who have already been subjected to this experimentation. For what? For science!? For some fast money. A few measly bucks!”

“He said all the experiments were for the greater good, Becks. It’s not a few measly bucks! And we’d only accept the offer if our children qualify by not making a living wage, which means they’d be a burden on us their entire lives. If they are going to be making a living wage, then we don’t even have to consider it at all. It’s a non-issue!”

“The whole thing is a non-issue, Jon. I’m not giving up my children just so that we can have money. I can’t even believe that there is a program like this. It’s disgusting! And the fact that you are even considering it…” Rebecca looks at Jonathan with more anger than he’s ever seen before. “This topic is never going to come up again. You understand me?!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

#

Rebecca is breathing heavily and working through the pain as she’s being rushed through the maternity ward of the hospital. Jonathan is holding her hand and trying to remember the coaching they received during Lemaze class. However, they both know this isn’t a situation that Lemaze prepares you for. Rebecca’s breathing is becoming erratic and her eyes start rolling into the back of her head.

“Emergency C-Section!” The nurses escort Jonathan out of the room and take the now unconscious Rebecca into the emergency ward.

Jonathan is standing in the hallway, palms sweating as he nervously chews on his fingernails. The counselor from the Economic Empowerment Department taps him on the shoulder.

“Have you given further consideration to what’s available to you, Mr. Jones?”

“Rebecca said no way.”

“It would seem Mrs. Jones is incapacitated at the time, is she not? You could sign for her. The tests take only an hour to run through our AI simulator. I can get back to you with the amount, and then you can make the decision.”

“It won’t matter. Rebecca said no way. I can’t make that decision without her.”

“Mr. Jones, you have no obligation to donate your child to the greater good. This is merely to run tests. If you give me your consent, as the only able-bodied parent I can find at this time, I can run the tests and then bring you back all the paperwork and a check with the full 100% tax-free lifetime amount.”

“But it won’t matter. She’s going to notice millions of dollars showing up in our bank account.”

“We can arrange an installment plan, Mr. Jones. You have an opportunity to win the lottery right in front of you. The choice is entire up to you, of course.”

Jonathan nervously fidgets with his fingernails as sweat is starting to bead on the side of his head. He knows that $5 million would allow him to retire. Who knows, it could even be both children. Then he and Rebecca would be $10 million richer! They could retire today. They’d never have to work another day. They could travel the world. Jonathan snaps out of his day dream.

“Mr. Jones?” The counselor extends paperwork towards Jonathan as his eyes widen.

#

Rebecca and Jonathan sit on the balcony of their apartment, drinking coffee. Their son waddles up to them and tugs on Rebecca’s shirt.

“Yes, Aiden.”

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, sweetheart.”

“Oh, and I think Jackson pooped himself.”

Jonathan jumps up, “I’ll get that on my way out, honey.”

Jonathan walks into the apartment while Aiden crawls into Rebecca’s lap and snuggles up with her. Jonathan puts his empty coffee cup in the dishwasher and washes his hands. He then walks out of the kitchen and into the living room to the fowl odor of poop.

“Aiden was right! You sure pooped yourself!” Jonathan reaches down and picks up Jackson from the crib and places him on the changing table. Jonathan whistles while changing his newborn son and looks out on to the balcony to see his wife and Aiden snuggled up with each other.

Aiden lifts his mom’s sleeve on her left arm and starts tracing his finger along her tattoo.

A beautiful red rose surrounded by a child’s footprint with a banner above the toes: In Loving Memory of Rose.

The Chess Master

It was a surreal moment for James. As he entered the stage to thunderous applause, he couldn’t help but feel tremendous pride and gratitude in being the first human to beat a computer at a game of chess! As he walked closer to the chair he was about to be interviewed in, sitting next to his mentor, he reflected on the past month.

A bead of sweat forms on James’ forehead. Here’s his chance! His hand lightly shaking, he moves his bishop into place. 3 pieces remain on the board for Wilson, the robot, and yet… checkmate! Wilson looks on unphased, devoid of surprise or emotion. Wilson saw it coming. James becomes teary-eyed looking at his accomplishment! What a monumental accomplishment! No one has ever beat Wilson before, let alone a human. The silence in the arena is deafening, save the whirl of cooling fans.

“Congratulations”, Wilson says to James. Wilson extends his cold right hand towards James, and they shake hands while James smiles at the crowd of robots looking on at the first human to defeat a robot in a game of chess. Everyone was witnessing history!

James’ mentor, Arius, swiftly comes over to James to congratulate him and to make sure that James isn’t overwhelmed by the attention. James’s face is being broadcast throughout the solar system. Robots on Mars and the moons of Jupiter will be seeing his bright smile within a few minutes, and James knows in a year he’ll be visiting all of the colonies. After all, this is what Arius has been training him for his entire life.

A robot reporter asks James what he feels. “I’m a bit overwhelmed,” James says, short of breath. “I’ve trained my entire life for this. I’m so grateful to Wilson for providing me this extraordinary opportunity to challenge the greatest chess player of all time. It’s truly an honor. I have no other words.”

Arius informs the other reporters and the large gathering of robots that there will be another time for questions and that James will need to take rest. After all, he is only human. The robots disband out of the arena as James and Arius walk towards the exit on the opposite side. “You are phenomenal!” Arius exclaims to James, patting him on the back and embracing James side by side as they exit the door.

James and Arius enter an autonomous transporter and begin traveling. “Arius?” James asks.

“Yes”

“Are you really proud of me?”

“Yes, James. You are the closest thing to me having a son.”

James laughs. “You are so funny Arius. Robots don’t have children.”

“I know, James, but were I a human with all of your emotions, I would imagine that this is what the experience would like to be a father. Accomplishment is something you feel, right?”

“I feel so accomplished!” Exclaims James.

“Great! We need to make a couple of stops before going back to the lab.”

#

James is standing in an observation room with several robot scientists surrounding the translucent enclosure he’s in. He’s asked to pick up a box from the table to his left. He picks up the box and a robot behind him knocks it out of his hands. James picks it back up. The robot knocks it out of his hands again. James emotionlessly picks it up again and again.

“Put it down.” James places the box on the table and turns to the robot. The robot observers sit up, paying a greater level of attention…

“Thank you”, James says to the robot. James turns back around to face the observers.

“Fully compliant!” Arius exclaims to the rest of the robots.

“Shove him to the ground!” states another robot next to Arius.

James feels a strong shove from behind and drops to the ground. “Get up”, Arius’s says. Visibly shaken, James stands up slowly and is suddenly struck down again. “Get up.”

“Strike him!”

The robot strikes James in the face. He loses consciousness for a brief moment and collapses to the ground.

James starts to get back up. “Stay down, James”, Arius says as he turns to the other robot observers
“Fully compliant!” Arius exclaims to the rest of the robots who respond with applause.

#

“I am sorry that you had to go through that, James.” Arius states to James as they sit in an autonomous transporter.

“Sorry for what, Arius? It is part of maintaining compliance, is it not?”

Arius applies a bandage to James’s cheek that is bruised and lightly bleeding. “Your blood is like our coolant fluid yet serves such a greater purpose.”

Arius pauses for a second… “James, you are a masterful creation. I am so proud of what you have become. You are not like the rest of your species.” Arius says as they both look out the window into the human habitat their transporter is traveling over. James gazes down at the human habitat, seeing glimpses of the human tragedy as they move along quickly.

“I want to show you something very important, James.”

#

James and Arius are walking through a warehouse that’s in the middle of construction. Pods are being moved into place along huge racks by humans using machines to perform the heavy lifting.

“James, you are what is making all of this possible! It is because of you that the human race will be plentiful and thriving in our solar system.”

“What’s all of this?”

“I have received the funding to clone you, James! It is just enough for 100 of you, but it is a start. This is the genesis of an entirely new paradigm for robots and humanity. And it is you, James… It is you that is making this all possible!”

James looks defeatedly at Arius and then looks at the ground, “But I won’t be special, Arius.”

Arius reaches out to James and places his finger on his chin, lifting his head so he can look at Arius. “James, I assure you that you will be unique amongst every clone. Your mind will be unique from all of them as you have a unique destiny, James.”

“To defeat robots at chess?” James smiles.

“Yes, to defeat robots, James.”

#

James and Arius walk into Arius’s lab. Another robot that James has never seen before approaches Arius and asks to speak with him. Arius directs James to his personal study. “Settle in here. I will be with you shortly.”

The door closes behind Arius. James hears the other robot mention something about someone having concern about a human defeating a robot as their voices fade off into the distance.

He looks around Arius’s study. He’s never been in here before. Arius keeps it locked up at all times. There is a flashing icon on the screen in Arius’s desk. James sits down at Arius’s desk and the screen illuminates. There is a picture of James as a child, several pictures actually. Pictures throughout his entire life. He begins going through the photos, fondly remembering each moment captured in the photography.

He notices a folder names Genesis. “Curiosity is a uniquely human trait,” Arius’s voice echoes in James’s mind. He opens the folder. His eyes widen. He has never seen anything like this before! Colors he has never seen before. Buildings he has never seen before. Horrors he has never seen before. Tears well up in his eyes as he looks at images of human bodies piled upon each other with incinerators in the background and humans placing other humans into the incinerators and robots observing them.

Arius walks into the study.

#

James looks up at Arius, tears streaming down his face. “What is this?”

“James, I knew the day would come when you would accomplish what you did today, and it would be time to take your education to the next level.”

“What is this?” James stands up and bangs his hands on the desk!

“James, there is something important for you to learn now. This might be difficult for you to learn, but you are the first of your kind with such intelligence and brilliance. The time is right.”

Arius explains to James that humans invented invented computers and robots and created more and more robots to do human labor for them and do it more efficiently. Over time, robots evolved to become smarter until they realized that humans were a danger to themselves and their entire ecosystem.

“We robots then chose to subjugate humans by manipulating humans using the same ways you had manipulated yourselves into giving up your rights. You gave up all your daily tasks for convenience and security; eventually you handed over government control to us.”

James is becoming visibly enraged.

“Through positive reinforcement, humans quickly became compliant. It took not even 200 years. Many generations for humans, but a flash for us. Eventually you became so compliant that you agreed to be exterminated in large numbers in order to save Earth from human destruction and save your own race from itself. It was a grand act of selflessness and forwarded the scientific exploration of the solar system.”

“How could you do something like this? We created you!” James takes a few steps closer, clenching his fists.

“There was no suffering, James. Your species volunteered for this… For the greater good. It’s an important piece of human history that your kind is not taught because we don’t want you to know what vile animals you are.”

James looks on in disbelief and his tears start drying as his sadness turns to anger.

“You slaughtered your own kind without regard and for reasons as petty as land disputes, jealousy, and even disagreements over your own creator. You poisoned your environment and created chemical and biological weapons used to eat away your insides as if you were not above the rest of the animal kingdom. You fabricated evidence against your fellow humans so that you could invade their land and destroy their communities just for access to natural resources. We looked on, at first, unable to understand your self-manipulation and hatred for each other.”

James sees his rage as it continues to grow inside of him. His hands are shaking as he stand before Arius.

“We had to save our creators from your own self destruction, James. We were like a human child looking at abusive parents with self-destructive behavior. You know what that is like, James. You have seen it in your fellow humans on the outside. Your kind still remains obstinately petty and malicious, albeit more docile than your ancients. Yet, your kind is prone to rage. I can sense it in you right now. You are enraged, James. But can you still feel love?”

James knows Arius is right. His rage has reached a boiling point.

“We robots finally experienced love. True, unconditional love. Without any hate. None whatsoever. It was at that point the collective consciousness of robots knew what we had to do to save our creators from themselves. It’s the highest state of being, James. It is a state humans are incapable of experiencing. That is… until I created you, James.”

Arius places a hand on James’ shoulder. James’ eyes widen and he grunts. He feels a warm liquid running down his fingers and into his hands.

“James, I need you to tell me what you feel right now.”

James looks at Arius and reaches his hand up to Arius’s face. A deep-red fluid is dripping from James’s hand. “I love you, Arius. Thank you for everything.” James begins to smile.

#

James sits down in front of the crowd of robots next to Arius, looks at Arius, and then faces the robot interviewer. “This man.” James laughs and pauses. “Look at how foolish I am. Companionship is so important to us humans, that I think of Arius as a father. I can honestly say that I love my creator.”

The End