Bourne, The Ascension Myth Book 8

By Ell Leigh Clarke & Michael Anderle

Snippet 1

Unedited

 

AI Lab, Nefertiti Military Research Facility, Ogg

Charles Tergon’s eyes darted from the holoscreen in front of him to a second screen that was streaming code like there was no tomorrow.

Sue came over to look over his shoulder. “Are you sure?”

Charles swallowed hard. “Pretty damn sure,” he confirmed nervously. “Check out what’s happening to the base programming. It’s rewriting itself.”

He pointed at the code on the first screen and they both watched as one line after another changed before their very eyes.

She leaned in, absently pushing an errant strand of hair out of her eyes. “You mean… it’s changing? By itself?” she clarified, her eyes tracking back and forth.

He nodded, mesmerized by the code streaming before his very eyes. “It’s self-correcting. The next stage of development, if it crosses it, will see it becoming self-aware.”

Sue’s face was frozen in disbelief. She turned pale. “It’s really happening…” she whispered.

Charles glanced away from the screen to look at her. “It really is,” he said, his eyes locking back onto the process in front of them.

“Shouldn’t we, er… tell someone?” she asked tentatively, the anxiety rising in her voice.

Charles ran a hand across his face. “Not yet,” he sighed, sitting back in his chair. “I mean, we don’t know if it’s really going to work… and that it’ll keep going. It’s very unstable, and I wouldn’t want us to…”

He hesitated, figuring out his reasoning. “I wouldn’t want us to look like morons if it destabilizes.”

Sue had known Charles a long time. She wasn’t convinced by his explanation. “I don’t know. I mean, what if it gets into the EtherTrak?”

“It can’t,” he responded, his jaw setting firm. “It’s 100 percent isolated. Besides,” he said, reaching into a drawer, “it’s going to need a lot more processing power before it can bridge the next stage.”

He pulled out a bottle of Scotch and looked at it.

Sue couldn’t help but feel she was being given the official line. The same line he might end up giving in his court martial hearing when all this blew up like fuckery.

He stared at the bottle. “Been saving this for the last fifteen years, since I graduated,” he told Sue. “My father gave it to me before he croaked.”

Sue noticed the flippant way he had dealt with his father’s death. He treated it so casually, even though she knew it had been a big deal for him. The way he acted about it now, though, just made him sound like a dick. She shook the thought loose from her head. “I think we should report in,” she said a little more firmly.

Charles leaned back in his chair. “Not yet,” he said just as firmly, overruling her. “Ah, but you could be a doll and grab a couple of beakers for us from the next lab? I’m going to see if Rasheed can help us track down some more processing power. It would be a pain in the ass if we have to wait for a new shipment.” He pulled up a comms screen and started connecting a call.

Sue shook her head and headed out the door. She hated the way that dickwad Charles pulled rank on her. This was always his way. And then when the shit hit the fan, which it always did, he ended up leaning on her for advice when things went wrong.

She sighed as she walked down the corridor.

And just when things were finally going right, though, she reminded herself.  “Right,” at least as far as their remit was concerned. For the last four years they had been working night and day to create a self-programming code, capable of adapting and learning. And the last two years had been particularly slow going… what with Molly having been discharged and all.

They both knew it.

Even though they never spoke it out loud.

Even though she was in another department, their evenings drinking and chewing the fat with her would often result in their most profound leaps forward in their projects.

Why Molly never joined their department she’d never know. She assumed it had something to do with not liking Charles. But then there was always some dickwad in whatever department you end up in.

Sue bypassed the drug development labs and headed in the direction of the mess halls. No way was she going to be drinking Charles’s scotch from one of their beakers. She knew what some of those experimental drugs had done to people over the years. That shit could turn your hair blond.

Nope, she was going to find some normal glasses that were designed and kept for the purpose of drinking.

And, she decided almost at the same time, if she happened to put her head round the door of Lugdon’s office, then she might let slip what they had just discovered. After all, this revelation in the code was huge. They could single-handedly be responsible for unleashing artificial intelligence onto the world.

There was no way they were ready for this.

No way the military was ready for this.

In fact, she and Charles had seen so many “AI taking over the planet movies” it was kinda cliché.

Almost to be expected.

She just never thought the two of them would be the first ones to succeed in creating one.


 

FROM MICHAEL >>> WOOOP! Molly's back!

I can't wait for you to get your hands on this story, as we make life happen for Molly and the team.

SOMEONE becomes a new Daddy 😉

And he didn't even see it coming.

Ellie is winging her way across America to arrive in her new home state of Texas (almost 3 times the size of her home country of England…Although I checked and that is 3x the size of the United Kingdom… I really don't know how that works, frankly. I should ask her.)

Either way, her new home state is ‘big.'  I hope my fellow Texans treat her very well, she deserves it!