“Aziz, are we ready to start?”Jek-mar’s hands quivered as he uncoupled the ai’s power cable,The facsimile of a man wrought in sleek black plasteel hummed into life A dangerous red light glowed behind it’s eyes.
“Yes,yes I believe we are.” Aziz’s voice wavered, his discomfort Ill hidden.He scratched at a patch of bare metal above his ear,his cyberware implant hadn’t settled in as well as he had hoped, but it’s eidetic effect was certainly useful.
He sat behind his desk.The machine level with his eye, he could make out a warped image of himself within it’s glossy hide,he was old he thought , rubbing the crow’s feet beside his eyes , a few years and he could get mem-transferred to a new body,assuming all went to plan.
Across the room he heard the com feed chirping,Jek-mar answered it.The alien was chipper as usual, his mood was dark considering the implications of the machine that lay on the table before him.
He rested his head in his hands ,contemplating all they had done;this was the third attempt at a true AI , something that could evolve , could thrive without human intervention. That could lead as well as it could follow.The cross fleet project had taken the best part of 30 years,he’d been the lead since day one and now the machine across from him , Hyperion,was ready.The first prototype functioned on pure logic and collapsed in the face of illogical actions. The second hard-wired with the mind of a military strategist destroyed it’s self trying to save a dead comrade,too emotive. But the machine they were about to unveil , this was the ultimate ai ,based on the second prototype , but this one ,this one was different ;tempered with an Ento’s brain matter.They hoped that it would balance out and be the perfect military mind.
“The general's cruiser has arrived, are we ready to take him through?”Jek-mar perched on the edge of Aziz's desk pointing at Hyperion, the glowing behind his eye reaching it's peak , gently pulsing as the ai initiated.
“IT, that is no man Jek” Aziz rose swiftly from his seat lab coat flicking as he strode towards the table he lay a hand on Hyperion's skull , it was warm to the touch.
“Hyperion, stand” Silently the Ai rose , legs swinging gently around to touch the floor.It stood, red light pulsing up and down the length of it's body.It looked Aziz in the eye and acknowledged the command.
Jek-Mar watched the two of them, Hyperion stood stone still, Aziz shifted uncomfortably, scratching above his ear.Jek-mar reach for a holo cam, hastily snapping shots of the two very alien beings before him. A human and his creation. Frankenstein and his monster.
“This way Doctor”Jek-mar's translator mask amplified his emotionless speech ,although his orange chitin showed his excitement.
Aziz turned away from Hyperion's gaze ,looking at the holo cam, forcing a over wide smile. Hyperion followed suit, placing a hand on Aziz's shoulder with deftness that belied it's strength. Aziz’s tensed at the motion, he knew it was the ai adapting to the situation, but inside, he was deeply uncomfortable with how human it had become since it's inception.
He waited for the tell tale swish of the holo-cams sweep as the Infared beam scanned the two of them, being bounced off surrounding surfaces to form a hologram.
“Okay, it's done, now take one of me”Jek-mar moved towards the two of them handing Aziz the holo-cam.Aziz's dutifully stepped into place, far happier to be behind the camera.Hyperion this time placed a hand at the top of Jek-mars arm , he reciprocated.The two of them stood embracing like old friends as the Holo-cam captured the scene.
“Let's get it to the viewing gallery, wouldn't want to keep them waiting”Aziz lay the holo-cam down on the desk ,walking from the room he glanced over his shoulder to see that Hyperion was following him .Jek-mar locked the door behind them ,swiftly falling into line.
Aziz acknowledge the armed guards that lined the corridor, even though this lab was within the neutral territory security was paramount,no fleets truly trusted each other since the Fringe war decades before,but the multi-fleet staff was going someway to get past the post war tensions.
An Ento stood at the end of the corridor, staring out of a view port at the undulating nebulae before him,the effervescent blue light danced against his gloss chitin;the usually dead eyes swam with colour.
“Gentlemen, I assume that their won't be any issue with the Ai?” He said not breaking his gaze away from the view port.
“No captain, there will not, would you please open the door?”Aziz had never liked Arco-jan , the overzealous chief of the stations security. He was a trigger mad brute, at least so he had been told.
“Good,”He turned and walked toward the door that separated the scientific portion of the lab from the general purpose are,his leather jacket as his kangaroo-esque feet padded across the floor,something which for some reason made Ento somewhat less intimidating than they would he would have liked.
“Right then,just so you know , once it is on stage ,you are to demonstrate it to the audience,and then it is to leave and assuming it all goes to plan, it is to be de-activated and then loaded aboard the cruiser that is waiting in the primary loading dock”The Ento's translator removed the malice his matte black skin implied.
Arco-jan stared warily at Hyperion, while tapping at the keypad attached to his skeletal wrist.
“I assure you that I will be of no trouble”Where a man's mouth would be was just light , pulsating with each syllable as Hyperion's clipped,measured speech echoed down the silent corridor.
Arco-jan's chitin flicked from Matte black to a sickly green
“Right...It speaks?” his discomfort at being addressed by the machine was clear, he warily eyed the three of them as the door opened behind him revealing yet another dank corridor awash with misty blue light.
“Yes, now will you be getting out of our way?”Jek-mar's display of confidence was deeply out of character ,the Young Ento's skin flashing bright red clearly he had grown bored with the captain.
Arco-jan stood abashed for a moment, taken aback at the younger being's display of brash arrogance towards him. After a second that felt like a year the older Ento moved back to his position before the view port .
The trio begun walking down the corridor, Aziz again leading the other two following closely behind him. Eventually they reached their destination. Aziz held his hand to a panel and the door hissed open. Inside was a the stage on which they were going to be presenting Hyperion,at it's centre was a simple metal chair and a console built into a sleek plinth.
“I assume the chair is mine?”Hyperion sat on the chair , reclinging in a thoughtless motion , calculated to put the crowd at ease with him.
“jek-mar,attach the uplink ,i'll raise the shields.”Aziz wasn't keen on taking any chances , not after the second gen had decided to destroy it's self so ,immpresively.
Aziz tapped away at the key pad glowing on the plinth , the stage was enveloped in a cold blue glow.
“Uplink active Doctor”Jek mar stood opposite Aziz , taking a cursive glance at Hyperion he sat ,legs hanging from the edge of the stage .He unclipped the translator mask that hid the lower porition of his face , revealing an ugly , spider-like maw.
The harsh clicks and rasps of jek-mar's personal dialogue reverbetated around the auditorium,making the empty room seem full of insectoid life,he pulled a slip of cloth from within the fold of his lab coat , and gently cleaned the array of wires and aural uplinks.He spat a yellow gunk onto the cloth before tucking it back within his coat.He stood , forcing the mask onto his face.A whizz and clunk indicating it had synched with his alien mind.
“Are we ready to begin?”Aziz asked , eyes never leaving the display in front of him,he dared not let any of Hyperion s systems fail at this crucial point , the ai was as close as they could come to infallible,the hands that built him , less so.
“I believe so , we should run a quick diagnostic just to be sure” Jek-mar moved to stand before Hyperion ,watching the ai for any twitch , any sign of a flaw.
“Yeah , i'll monitor the systems , you ask it the questions.”Aziz slipped into a pair of haptic gloves , and begun to gesture above the screen , the faux-hologram provinding the depth he required to properly assess every aspect of the ai's status.
“Very well,Hyperion , I am about to ask you some simple questions , answer honestly ,without bias and without any attempt to alter the impressions we have of you , do you understand”Jek-mar knew the answer to the question , the ai knew perfectly what was going on.
“Yes”Hyperion shifted slightly , emulating a human to a tee.
“What are you?”JEk-mar paced the stage , only breaking his vision to take cursive glances at the console Aziz was intently watching.
“I am an AI , designed by a coalition of matirach fleets and independent corporations , to be used simultanouly as a military commander and solider, I am equally capable of fleet command and terra-forming operations , but my express purpose was to be a military force”
Aziz nodded to jek-mar , all the numbers were fine , and everything seemed to be within acceptable parametres.
“Who is the current Admiral of the Pan-european fleet?” Jek-mar stared on impassively , watching the red light within Hyperions head glowing , appearing like a heartbeat.
“Currently, the admiral of the Pan-euro fleet is Nickolas johansson,who has been in his current position since 2902 , following the impeaching of his predecessor and mother , Helena Carter.”
Hyperions face glowed as he spoke , the red heartbeat shifting into rhythm with his words.
“Describe the military positions of the Rio,the pan Euro and the Hakobune fleets.”#
Hyperion , sat silent and still for a moment , Aziz's readout showed he was rendering massive amounts of data, ranging from mad Fleet-net ravings to top secret inteligence bearue dossiers.
“Briefly hyperions if you will.”Jek-mar glanced across , to Aziz , seeking affirmation
“The largest army belongs to the pan euro fleet, number around 1 million professional soilders and roughly 7 million auxiliaries,they also have access to the most powerful electronic warfare divisions. The rio's military consists of countless militias, controlled by the captains of each inidividual ship , some reports consider this army to be the most dangerous due to the erratic nature of the tactics employed by each militia. The Hakobune's force consists mainly of cyber-samurai , as they have become know , number roughly 500000,they are more a defense force, owing to the neutrality of the Hakobune , but they are renowned for their urban war-fare capability”
Even Aziz allowed himself a rare moment of pride , the Ai , seemed to be functioning perfectly, but the military simulations will be the ultimate test.
“We should get something to eat before the guests arrive, I predict that this is gonna be a long night.”Aziz stetched as his spoke , his words stretching with him.He twisted his hands out to the left, then counted to 4 on his left hand , three on his right,Hyperion deactivated in the chair before him , the room noticably quieter without the gentle thrum the ai gave off, Aziz was so used to the noise by now the room felt bare with out it.He slipped out of the gloves and made for the door.
“seems like a plan doctor,i suppose we should change into something a bit more formal as well”Jek-mar followed him , the door sealing behind them.
Aziz scanned the corridor for the security staff , two burly guards sat leaning against a view port , arguing over double-g rugby tactics and who would win this years inter-fleet trophy.
“Guard this door , no one except myself and my college is permitted access “Aziz pointed at the door behind them as if the they were unfamiliar with the concept. He was happy to have some muscle protecting his creation , the space station was like a fortress , but a human touch always re-assured him.
“I'm going to the bridge , probably best to let the captain know that the Ai is active” Aziz turned to Jek-mar
“Take this back to the lab , load it with a kill code , just in case” He handed him a sliver of plas-tec ending in a barbed spike , a rapid access protocol insertions spike, rapist ,to the testosterone fuelled soldiers, Aziz was eternally baffled by the stupidity of the r'n'd guy's naming department.
“Will it be necessary?” Jek-mar took the spike , tucking it within his coat.
“I am still not entirely comfortable with the ai ,and the last thing I want is it deciding to go rogue on board a space station full of military leaders, at least with this we can destroy it without a lot of hassle , should the need arise.”
“Very well Doctor “ Jek-mar strode of down the corridor , his loping gait propelling him with an uncomfortable swiftness.
Aziz went the opposite direction towards the bridge,the security prenence was notably higher here, a whom Aziz didn't recognized in a Pan-euro uniform stood chatting to one of the station guards .Both turned to face him.
“Evening Doctor”The station guard smiled,
“Private,Is the general inside?”
Yes,I believe he and his staff wished to see the bridge before your presentation.”
“Great”Aziz went to the place his hand on the scanner that sealed the door,A gloved hand seized him by the wrist.
“I want to search you”The Pan-euro soldier’s mask hid his face , his glistening white and black armour shone under the harsh light,Aziz searched for eyes behind the mask but found nothing.
“What?”Aziz ripped his hands away from the soldier,again moving for the scanner.
“He created the ai , what possible threat is he”The Station trooper was visably abashed at the zealous nature of the Pan-Euro soldier.
An acknowledging grunt issued from the mask , the soldier begun to murmur into his mic, allowing Aziz to open the door at last.
Inside,the room was full of more identically armoured soldiers,all now cautiously eyeing him. For a moment Aziz stood and eyed the room , picking out the General and the Captain amongst the White and Black was a simple task , the two men , stood leaning on a balustrade overlooking the stations circular operations deck.
The two men turned , alerted to a new firgure by the creaking of a dozen soldiers shifting towards him.
The captain and the general were polar opposites, the captain a rakish man , left weak by a lifetime of low gravity and illness , the general looked like he had been built for war, blockish features ,a face covered in scaring.
“Evening Doctor” The captain lent turned, his back now against the balustrade, a pair of ice blue wet-ware eyes surveyed Aziz, checking every nuance of him.
“Aah ,you must be Doctor Azrael , is it , no Aziz.Nice to meet you”Aziz shook the generals outstretched hand, it was cold and strong, military grade cybernetics most likely.
“General Barca, pleasure to meet you” Aziz hated the inane small talk that always accompanied these meetings, he'd rather get done , at least then the first hurdle was out of the way.
“This will work won't it Aziz , I've heard stories of your previous attempts”Barca was asking what most were thinking, the Pan fleet coalition weren't going to accept another failed ai.
“Yes, this Ai is different, better than anything I've ever seen or created.”Aziz tried to believe his own words, but after two failed Ai's he was sceptical at best.
All eye's turned to the door as it hissed open, a petite woman stood before them , hair pulled back , uniform immaculate.
“What is it Jenna?” Barca looked peturbed by her presence.
“The representatives from the Hakobune and the Rio and the Indo-russian alliance are here”The woman retained ultimate poise, continuing on as though she couldn't hear the protestations of the general as he left to go and meet his counterparts from the other ark fleets.
“I had better go prepare”A nod of approval from the captain and Aziz left, into the now swarming corridors, he made his way. straight to the Auditorium.
When he arrived techs were sweeping the seating, Jek-mar had re-activated Hyperion, who was now following him around the stage as Jek-mar read a tirade of inane questions to machine,who answered ,giving clipped and each time correct responses.
“Are we ready to go”Aziz , sat in the chair Hyperion would occupy in moment, considering what was to come,
“Yes,will it work” Jek-mar's ebbing chitin betrayed his trepidation,last minute nerves that Aziz was thankful he could hide.
“I believe so,still have the spike?”
“Yeah,just in case” Jek-mar slipped it from his jacket and casually tossed it into the air, catching it as it twirled back down.
“Should I take my place”Hyperion was now stood before Aziz, his relaxed posture a chilling mimic of human pose.
“If you would Hyperion” Aziz left the seat ,Hyperion patted him on the shoulder.Though he knew the move was a simple emulation og normal behaviour , it chilled Aziz to the core.
He and Jek-Mar took their positions at opposite sides of the stage, each at control panel.He padded a message and sent an announcement around the station, informing the dignitaries and their associated beurecratic cohort that the presentation was ready.
Some time later the hall was full,he could just make out faces in the murk of the crowd,the captain was sat at the back, a line of security staff flanked the seating,observing the movements both within the crowd and on stage,a plethora of armament ready to decimate any threat.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,we stand today on a precipice, as humans we have sought to evolve,to survive all that has come before,to bend the very universe to our will.WIth the Ento , we have seen war, become peace,have broken down the barriers of hate and forged an alliance stronger than any of the early colonists could have ever imagined.And now,we once again,stand ready to alter the face of the universe.This is the human opus,in days to come , the universe, the fleets , the extent of human wonder will pale in comparison to what we have created here,and though we have not been without failures ,what great feat hasn't, and now, I present to you, Hyperion!”
The AI stood, arms out streched, scanning the crowd,the red glow that stood in place of a face pulsed,the stream of new data causing his processor to thrum .
“Hyperion,what are you” Aziz turned, the first time since delivering his introductory speech,to look at Hyperion, to appreciate all they had done.
“I am an Ai , created by a team of Scientist , lead by you Aziz adasar , and the ento Jek-Mar.I was created to serve in combined military and fleet command capacity”
“Correct”For the next few minutes Aziz and Jek-mar probed and pried every aspect of the Ai's personality , knowledge and build , pushing all he was to the limits,the final test was the most important, though in theory in he was certain to succede, as he had in previous, less public thests, Aziz's anxiety was gnawing on him.He tapped a keypad on the console and a video demonstrating Hyperion's physical capabilities, corporate images of him breaking blocks and punching through metal plates, coupled with a biref clip of a portrait, painted by the AI.The video continued projected over the stage, providing a curtain behind which they could prepare.
“This is going well”Jek-mar slid the neural uplink cable into Hyperion, the red light flickered, but otherwise nothing changed.
“It could all still fall apart,this is where things get risky” Aziz said shifting a second chair a copy of the one Hyperion occupied, but designed for human occupancy and uplinking, concious of the video ending.Both men moved back to their respective consoles,within moments a projects was again displayed , although this time, Hyperion could be seen through the electric shimmer.
“Now,i will subject Hyperion to a military simulation,this wil be a completely new scenario, unlike any we have subject this iteration of the Ai programme to before.”
On screen a metropolis dominated the view, glass and steel superstructures towered in to the sky, but the focus was on the tallest building, a monolith amongst the skyscrapers,the camera moved inside a floor plan was displayed each floor was shown, most were unoccupied, the building was a shell , only the top half was used.
“Our station's chief of security will command the defenders, who will have the numerical and technical advantage”From the crowd a man in a shirt and combats emerged, and stood beside Aziz at the console.
“Hyperion will take on the role of the attacker.Would you please take a seat commander and my college will intergrate you into the programme”Aziz motioned to the chair, Arco-Jan acknowledged and sat, Jek-mar placing a disk of silver on each of his temples , cable running into the body of the chair,
Now , both sides will have time to prepare, so as to simulate real conditions, Hyperion will be given an inaccurate description of the defender's force, coupled with a data file of the planet and his mission log.
For a while both they sat,Arco-jan placing men and machine, traps and spreading misinformation within this fictional world.Once he was done it was Hyperion's turn , the crowd gaped awestruck as he begun to assemble his attack force for the assault.
The video was brutal, Hyperion's first move was to have an a single assault drone under his direct command air drop onto the roof, it mades it's way into the body of the building, slaughtering any he found, leaving a wake of gore and decimation.The commander responded by detonating a mine a floor above , collapsing the ceiling above the drone's head.The drone was destroyed but the damage was done, the commander's men were on edge, made vulnerable through apprehension.
For hours within the simulation their was nothing, no attacks, no intimidation.Night fell and the building glowed into light, the men inside maintaining their vigil.The second assault was a surgical strike, a sniper begun to fire at any man he could see , further spreading panic amongst the men.
The simulations went on for hours , time after time , the Ai won, commanding fleets, single man assasintions, even planetary invasions, the assembled generals were awed.The decades of failure and expense had come to fruition,the ultimate commander,the perfect soilder , was here.
Even Aziz allowed himself a smile as the Ai lifted it's self from the chair and stood beside him.
“Did I perform as well as expected”Hyperion's clipped tones over shone the crowds dull roar,
“Even better” The Ai turned to face Aziz, the light behind his face fading , replaced with a blue hue , Aziz glanced to his right , and got a shrug of confusion from Jek-mar,
“Monster” Hyperion's hand tapped Aziz's exposed wet-ware , and in that instant Aziz saw all the Ai knew, every battle , every memory, every emotion,then nothing,cold blackness,
Blood fell from Aziz's ear, crimson marring his flawless lab coat, Jek-mar cried out , chitin a mess of colour,the data spike in hand, shots begun to fly towards the stage , hyperion barged the ento , snatching the spike from his hand , he ran from the stage , cracks of gunfire following his steps,
On stage Jek-mar was still, a wail of bestial anguish left his mask,he looked down at Aziz ,falling to his knees he looked into the dead eyes, the maelstrom of chaos around him a mere afterthought.
The Arco-jan broke his torpor, a pair of black claws grabbed his lapels and hauled him to his feet
“What the fuck is going on “The Arco-Jan screamed at Jek-mar ,his translator adding a rage to his voice..
“I don't know , do I fucking look like this was planned”Jek-mar wrenched himself free from the commander's grip
“Well what the hell are we supposed to do about it ,Doctor?” The commander was already moving away as Jek-mar attempted a reply
“Destroy it before it gets off station”