3 of 6 | Chapter 9

 

“Mr Steersman, I wouldn't be doing my job properly if I didn't keep track of what influence ASEC's activities are having. Being aware of this effect can help me make communications decisions that we can really benefit from.”

“Would you care to share your thoughts?”

“We have noticed some negative influences arising,” Trenerry began, “the development of which we might later have to face. They could even have some very serious negative consequences.”

“What do you mean?”

“There is a direct correlation between the appearance of the GlideCraft and the fall of energy company shares on stock exchanges around the world, as well as in the redundancy of some industrial concerns. Market restructuring has begun, the early influence of which is that companies are less likely to sponsor charities and do not support educational institutions with the willingness they used to have. In addition, PrEUST has also caused other institutions to suffer setbacks in its gathering of students and faculty.”

“We have taken this factor into consideration. This is why I don't wish to take more of a share in vehicle production. We only needed it to introduce the technology and spread it. The DCG does indeed mean a threat to the energy sources that the world uses now, mainly burning fossil fuels, which is obsolete, stone age.”

“I agree with that, but the ASEC's energy supply is vulnerable because of this, if I'm not wrong,” said Trenerry.

“You're not. This will soon change. The energy research unit has recently discovered a new property of the DCG spheres, to be more precise, in their interaction with each other. Two spheres began to circle each other in vacuum and gravity independent environment. Unfortunately, by themselves, they fell apart, but in a grid structure made up of these pairs the system remains stable and, more to the point, it produces energy. The head of the unit, Neil Gibbs will show you how it works.”

“And based on that, a power station will be built?”

“As long as there are no problems, then yes. The amount of energy produced, so far, depends on the grid's size. The research unit's job is to resolve the size issue. Imagine the possibilities of this new energy source being in such a form that could be installed anywhere.”

“This will put the energy industry out of their misery,” said Trenerry philosophically.

“Let's not be too hasty. There are still many questions that need to be answered.”

“Until then, we'll have to be ready for attacks if this becomes public.”

“Yes, and I expect to be informed of every detail that, as you have mentioned, will be necessary to continue our work effectively. The ASEC is not a company, it's an organization. The units of an organization can go only in one direction and this can only be achieved if everyone works together. Each unit performs a different function in its own field, but while working and experiencing, each gathers information that is useful to other units from a completely different angle. This information cannot be lost. None of it!” he emphasized. “If it gets lost then, at that moment, we ourselves become our own worst enemies.”

“That's certainly clear. A collective mind,” agreed Trenerry.

“As you say. This is why the CCI system is working to keep a diary, as it were, of what happens from many different aspects. Other units have access to it so that they can make use of it, even if it means just being aware of the information.”

“I see.”

“As your job is a specific one that others do not have to necessarily know about, your notes will be received only by me. Next time though, don't wait with your thoughts.”

“Agreed.”

 

The exception

After Trenerry had left, Steersman opened the only display that did not broadcast information, but received it. More identification was needed to get into it; the screen would only appear from its secret hiding place after the middle area of the console was completely reorganized. It was concave, the curved structure of the display embraced him. It was ivory in color, just like an old sheet of paper.

Colors appeared on its side, subdued, raw colors. Images and signs floated across to the middle to form symbols and morphed into an unrecognizable script. The perspective depth of the symbols seemed to hint at the deeper meaning they contained.

Steersman was using the symbols as a code language that he had developed, with a syntax that resembled a living language, though more rapidly evolving. Meta-commutation like tone and inflexion was being conveyed by color and depth. The faster he wrote, the further the symbols seemed to sink back into the screen.

With the help of this tool, he had managed to build a system for controlling robots and hardware that left no room for misunderstanding caused by inaccurate interpretation.

He had not given them artificial intelligence. He had only made it possible to give them instructions in the most precise manner possible, telling them exactly what he required of them, and now, he was able to do that far better that anyone else on the planet.

The sophistication of his code language meant that—with only a very few symbols—he could have sent his bodyguard to a grocery store to buy apple, as they had the ability to move and communicate; they knew where to find it, what apple looks like and they knew what to do in order to get it. However, they would not want to keep the apple because they had no need for it; they would not want to stroll down to the lake as they would not feel the desire for freedom. Their mission would end when Steersmen had the apple on his table, that's it. Of course, life itself was never that simple: what would happen if a discriminating shop assistant refused to serve it? Then it would certainly not bring apple back from that shop as it would know that it had not found apple. It would mean that—mission being uncompleted—the guard robot would go as far as it could find the requested object.

Steersman always stated that his instructions had to be achieved by peaceful means. So far, he had not needed to make exceptions or use alternative methods that would have put the implementation of his instructions morally in question.

That was the case till now.

 

Further developments

As soon as GlideCraft production commenced, further developments of the DCG sphere immediately followed. Alec Samuelson, the terrestrial vehicle development manager, and the head of the energy research unit, Neil Gibbs, together with the chief test engineer, Danny Hofferstein had been working on the new possibilities of the drive for nearly two months. They had discovered early on that size matters; the bigger the sphere, the more powerful its lift. The anti-gravity effect of the DCG units was produced by an obscure compound that rotated in opposing directions with a constant angular velocity and had a constant force, and that was determined by its size only. So in order to achieving a stronger anti-gravity effect without increasing the size, the drive was assembled from several DCG spheres, with three supplementary units placed around a bigger central unit.

“Maybe we should try this outside?” Hofferstein remarked. The others looked up at the ceiling.

“We'll close the lamellas if it moves too fast,” said Samuelson, pushing aside his apprehension.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH