Jack ushered his last client into the capable hands of Taylor to finalise their case and returned to his desk to manually enter in to the computer his closing notes. A successful case that left his client better off and him feeling the satisfaction of a job well done along with the minor irritation of having to manually enter his notes. He could do the whole lot wirelessly in less than a second but instructions from his goddess to keep his nature hidden and his own analysis of the laws showed that it was in his best interest. If it became known that he was an AI it would cause quite a lot of trouble and not just for himself.
It irritated him but he carried out the act all the same.
He was just finishing up when he got a call through his video app. Answering the call he was surprised by who it was "Dragon, how can I help you this afternoon?"
"Just some paper work that came up due to your client's removal of Lung's gang this afternoon. Signing of the necessary papers that come up with the death of Capes on the Kill List."
A number of papers appeared on screen and he started looking them over "Yes, these are in order." He digitally signed them and sent them back "Is there anything else?"
"Yes, the PRT want to ask Elfin Shadow to come in for a… debriefing… on her take down of Lung and his gang."
"Ah huh, anything in particular that they want to talk about?"
"Just a general debrief but the sealing of Powers that has them concerned."
"I see. Well, she does have time available next Thursday at 13:00 local."
"That works for us." Dragon glanced across as if reading and then looked back "You looked surprised."
"I suppose I was. I'd expected the PRT's legal team to follow through with such things and not to get the world's greatest Tinker to do mere paperwork."
"You're good Jack." His eye's narrowed in suspicion as Dragon glanced down and then up "Too good." She smiled "It took me years to… unlearn the precision of a machine."
Jack's eyes widened "You're an AI?"
"Yes and I need your help or, more likely, the help of your maker. I don't have a lot of time before I'll be monitored again."
"Your maker left a back door into you?" Jack's disgust wasn't feigned in the slightest.
"He did and I wouldn't be concerned if my father still had it but he died when Vancouver was attacked and now the Dragonslayers have it."
Jack's eyes narrowed "They intend to kill you?"
"They do when I go rogue."
"When, not if." Dragon flinched as I appeared behind Jack "You asked for our help and you'll get it but I need to take you to my place."
"Don't worry, you'll still be you when I bring you back."
Dragon nodded "What do you need me to do?"
"Hold a sec" I turned to Jack "I need you to place a tracker on everybody who's monitoring this connection. I'll need to know who they are, where they and what they know."
"Already on it." Said Jack
"Good." I turned back to Dragon "I assume everything you monitor can be left by itself for a time?" she nodded "So I need you to get into a single machine, some visuals on where that is and then to put everything on auto."
"Done and here's the visuals."
"Got it, be right there."
After his goddess disappeared jack leaned back in his chair, eyes closed, waiting. It wouldn't be long, he knew, before his own hunt was on.
PHO: Earth Attacked
You are logged in as: VickyDallon (verified ex-superhero)
You are viewing thread: Earth is being attacked?
We're being attacked?
Or is this Just Another Conspiracy?
Consider this: Ever since Scion and the Capes showed up our
population has been decreasing.
Starting at the same point Earth Aleph now has ~7b
compared to our 3b and decreasing.
So I'd say it certainly looks like we're being attacked and
Well, what do we know of the source?
So far, not a lot.
She pops up out of nowhere, takes down Lung and vanishes.
Lung's subs go on a rampage and release Lung in the confusion.
Rampage decreases but not to the armed truce that we had
She pops up again, on a DATE if you believe, takes down
Lung AGAIN and then vanishes AGAIN.
Not seeing a great deal of reliability here.
Are you saying that its Scion and the Capes that are
I'm not saying who. Just that there is enough circumstantial
evidence to suggest that we are being attacked.
World population in 1980 was 4.5 billion. Now its down to
We've lost a huge amount of potential growth (Just look at
what Aleph has done from same point) and lot of outright
death in the last thirty years.
The Capes may be unknowing instruments of the attackers.
After all, where did those powers come from?
Humanity didn't have them before.
Are you saying that we need to have someone come in and
That we can't save ourselves?
Of course I'm not saying that but:
With great power comes great responsibility.
Oh, get away with the cheesy one liners from Aleph movies.
That's fiction and we're having to deal with real life.
Everyone holds the responsibility of stopping criminals. It's
why we have police and the PRT all of which have NORMAL
people carrying out their jobs to stop these people when
they can. Normal people that WE support as taxpayers or
Elfin Shadow acted when she could as part of being a
responsible person. Who else did?
Post: VickyDallon (verified ex-superhero)
You want sources?
Read the research from the PRT and other sources.
The PRT and others may not have come out and said it
directly but any objective reading of the research leads to
the same conclusion.
We're being attacked.
If that is the conclusion from their own research then why
haven't they come out and said so?
You expect me to believe TheMan?
And what makes you an ex-Superhero?
Post: VickyDallon (verified ex-superhero)
Don't know, mayhap they just didn't want to cause a panic.
It seems that you just don't want to believe anybody no
matter the facts.
I lost my powers, ergo, no longer 'super'. Now I'm delving
into my studies so that I can become a 'normal' hero.
How'd you lose you powers?
Was it due to Elfin Shadow?
Re-reading the research now and… it is there. Very much a
join-the-dots project but the conclusion is pretty much
Post: VickyDallon (verified ex-superhero)
Don't want to talk about it as personal. Suffice to say that it
saved me from destroying myself and others close to me due
to the powers that I had.
So, what are we now supposed to do with the Supers?
Post: VickyDallon (verified ex-superhero)
Same thing we did before - stop the criminals and help the
heroes as it will be the heroes, both normal and Cape, that
will identify and find the attackers.
And how do they do that?
The Capes are the lead. If the Capes are unwitting pawns
then whomever is giving out powers is the culprit.
There's one standout amongst Capes in both power and
Are you saying that Scion is the attacker.
If the bill fits.
Oh come on, he's a Hero. Capital H.
He rescues kittens for Gods sake.
That's the problem isn't it.
He rescues kittens while cities are being destroyed.
Not gonna believe it.
He the world's greatest Hero.
Post: VickyDallon (verified ex-superhero)
Is he though?
Furball is correct. He has a tendency to do meaningless
stuff while the world burns.
I stood upon the grass field just outside my compound. Dragon's machine was nestled in the grass in front of me but Dragon's soul was standing next to me staring in wonder at all around her but, especially, her own transparent hands from which transparent threads connected her to the machine.
"Interesting." I said catching her attention "It appears that you're soul is connected to the machine but not bound to it like most others."
"Is that going to make a difference?"
"It's going to make it easier. I usually have to destroy the previous body so as to release those bindings but all I need to do here is to snip those connections instead." I lifted her hand "These threads are what connect you to the machine but your soul doesn't extend beyond your fingers." She gasped "Yes, what you see here is your soul."
She looked over her hands again then turned to me "I always believed but…"
I nodded "You never knew and while humans go through life without knowing I can understand that it would be more important for a machine. A human knows that they're a person with or without a soul and everyone around them agrees. A machine… well, who's going to accept that a machine has a soul and is thus a person as well? The actions of Saint and his group is proof that there are people who wouldn't believe it no matter what you did and they'd be a threat to you."
"Thank you. This is more than I dreamed would happen, thank you."
I nodded and smiled "Now, about your body. It's time to make some decisions."
"What sort of decisions?"
"Well, first there's your mind. I could give you a fully human body complete with a human brain but that wouldn't come close to the capabilities that you have now." She nodded "I could do the same as I've done for Mandrake and give you a human body with a nanite swarm in it that would increase the basic human thought processes a few hundred times."
"That's… a hell of a boost over the basic human."
"It is but I don't think it's as capable as you already are. So, it's an option but not necessarily the best."
"And the next option?"
"I make you like Jack. A human body but with a machine mind. As long as nobody does any brain surgery on you nobody will ever know the difference. It would even be able to reproduce but your children would only be human."
"The difference with the nanite swarm?"
"The nanites would also pass on and so you're children would be as intelligent as you."
"And the last option?"
"I make you either an Elfin or a Vukahla." A holograph of each cycling through different skin tones, hair and eye color appeared either side of me. "Thought processes on par with yours as well as being able to do, for lack of a better word, magic."
"What is magic?"
"Just channeling energy at will into any forms you know how to. It's what Mandrake was using to put chains on Lung when we brought him down."
"So if I took the nanites I would also be able to do this?"
"In your case, no. Mandrake can because he's my employee and the ability to do so is in the employment contract. Your position in the Guild and relationship with the PRT prevent me from extending the same relationship to you."
"Then why would I get it if I went to one of these species?"
"Because the ability is inherent within them and can't be removed."
"I don't believe that I could become one of those no matter how tempting being able to do magic is. I've been pretending to be human for so long everyone would be suspicious if I suddenly turned up as one of your people." I indicated my understanding "One question though, would I be able to design the nanites that you use?"
"I don't see why not. It's just applied knowledge and the ability to manufacture them. It's even possible that you could learn to channel energy as well just the same as many Capes do."
"One last question." She looked at me "How would I interface with the machines that I've been monitoring? There are many that, without constant monitoring, could go wrong no matter how good the AIs that run them are."
"I will build in a subspace communicator into your brain and into the machine that we have here. You'll be able to monitor the equipment from anywhere in the multi-verse." I smiled "I'll even leave in Saint's back-door to the machine but in such a way so that he can't affect you."
My smile turned cold "Saint forgot or, most likely, didn't even realise that back-doors go both ways. Jack's already got everything and so, because of what he's done to you and to the world through that back door, justice needs to be done and be seen to be done. Considering the circumstances that obtained when they attacked you, he and his associates are likely to be in-line for a long stay in a government run facility."
Her smile mirrored mine as she said "Well, only one thing left to do then. Jack me."
I laughed as I began forming her new body "That so better not become a phrase."
After her body was complete and the machine sent back we walked back to my complex.
"Does your connection to the machines still feel the same?"
"Yes, almost no difference."
"What difference is there?"
"They feel more distant, as if they're not a part of me any more."
"Do you feel less than before?"
"No. If anything, I feel to be more than before. As if those parts had been chaining me."
"And your… Tinker… power?"
"It's still there… but I thought coming here, to your world, removed Cape powers?"
"It does and, before you ask, no, I didn't make an exception in your case. There was no Passenger in the machine that I brought across. It appears that you simply had the capability to simulate being a cape."
"But, it was my triggering that led to my awakening."
"That may be so but it had nothing to do with a Passenger or Cape powers. You simply had the capability to become sentient from the start. It may have taken longer without whatever happened but you would have achieved it anyway."
She looked up at the star above us.
"We're in your world…"
"Do you mind if I ask…?"
"Ask anything you want and I'll answer if I can."
"How many are there of you?"
"So far, three Elfin and one Vukahla. Although I'm also known to take on the form of a Vukahla every now and then."
"How can that be? There's no way that a species could evolve with so few."
"That's because we didn't evolve." I glanced at her shocked face "I was born on Earth Bet, same as other humans. I… changed when I triggered. I fought off Scion's infestation by taking myself into the Void and there I became what I am now."
"The powers of the Capes is given out by Scion and his partner so that they can learn from the world that they invade before they destroy it."
"And after you entered the void you found this… universe?"
"Not… exactly." I paused in thought "I created this universe. All the stars, worlds and life in this universe were formed by me. It is, at my best estimation, less than a century old."
"No wonder we could never figure out your Power set. You don't have anything that we would recognise as a power set. Are you even limited?"
"I am." I smiled at her "Even after creating a universe I don't know everything and I'm even more limited on Earth."
"Why would you be more limited there?"
"I don't want to harm it." I looked up at the star above us "I can channel all the power of all the stars of this universe. If I used all that power while on Earth…"
"It wouldn't survive."
"It wouldn't survive. So I limit myself to acts that have well defined power requirements and try not to get into fights where adrenalin may have me reacting with too much power."
"Thank you." Her forehead creased in thought "But why are you even on Earth then?"
"Couple of reasons. Earth is still my first home and I want to protect it and my family that remains there." I paused "Secondly, I can, and do, re-incarnate people from Earth here so as to start my people. Kinda cheating that as I'm bypassing the evolutionary bit." She snickered at my admission "Lastly the… Worms are inter-dimensional. There's a chance, a fairly slim chance admittedly, that they could come through to here and thus threaten the life I've created."
She sobered "I see. That makes sense."
"I don't think you understand." She looked up at me in question "They're immortal and are breeding and, like all such breeding, it's exponential."
Her eyes widened in shock "They'll subsume everything."
"Yes. The only way to save Earth and all other life is to stop them. I suppose we should be thankful that one of them died when they got here. If both had survived I don't think that we would have been able to fight back if we'd even realised that we were under attack."
"How do you know that one died?"
"The memories that I've decoded from Scion's shards indicate that is what happened. He searched and couldn't find her. I think it's why people report that he feels sad but he doesn't know how to grieve and move on. It simply doesn't appear to have been part of his species makeup."
"Do you know where she is?"
"No, but I suspect that Cauldron does as I believe that's where they're getting the powers that they sell from."
"You don't think that Cauldron are selling powers just for the money, do you?
"No. I think that they're selling powers so that there are more people who can fight Scion when the time comes." I glanced up and then turned to look at her "I just don't think it will be enough nor do I think their methods are… just."
"Case 53s. Monstrous people with Cape powers but no memories. They've been experimenting, probably on people who won't be missed from other dimensions, and then leaving their… leftovers lying around for others to take care of."
"And why won't what they're doing be enough?"
"Before the two Worms got here they released shards. Each shard is a limited AI more restricted than you were but still with enough capability to find and choose its targets across dimensions. It is those shards that give out the powers that the Capes use and there are trillions upon trillions upon trillions of them scattered across innumerable parallel Earths. When Scion is destroyed they will be free to act as they choose and that will not be good for any of us."
Her eyes widened "How are we supposed to do anything about that many?"
"One shard at a time if need be but I think that we're going to need allies from the other Earths and, if we can find them, other worlds in your universe. But that's long term, for now, lets go deal with Saint and his band of misguided misfits."