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AI's Minion

AI's Minion

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AI's Minion

Lungime:
146 pages
2 hours
Editor:
Lansat:
Mar 9, 2014
ISBN:
9781311916044
Format:
Carte

Descriere

Our hero stumbles into a secret society that introduces him to a world of high technology that the government has tried hard to keep secret. In the process, he develops a unique level of cooperation from the singular artificial intelligence entity used by everyone. His talent for moral discernment is a perfect match for how the AI works. While addressing some of the same kinds of adventure as other Science Fiction works, this book approaches from a different moral perspective entirely. It addresses some of the questions of human religion without clinging to materialism, but also with very little reference to what has come before. The first in a series, this and the following volumes provide background, belonging to the same universe as The Chronicles of Misty by the same author.

Editor:
Lansat:
Mar 9, 2014
ISBN:
9781311916044
Format:
Carte

Despre autor

Born 18 September 1956 in Seminole, OK. Traveled a great deal in Europe with the US Army, worked a series of odd jobs, and finally in public education. Ordained to the ministry as a Baptist, then with a non-denominational endorsement. Currently semi-retired.

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AI's Minion - Ed Hurst

AI’s Minion

By Ed Hurst

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2014 by Ed Hurst

Copyright notice: People of honor need no copyright laws; they are only too happy to give credit where credit is due. Others will ignore copyright laws whenever they please. If you are of the latter, please note what Moses said about dishonorable behavior – be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23)

Permission is granted to copy, reproduce and distribute for non-commercial reasons, provided the book remains in its original form.

Cover Art: Composite from public domain images. Raw image without text available upon request.

AI’s Minion

Table of Contents

This is fiction within fiction, so please read the Foreword.

Foreword

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Epilogue

Foreword

You have our condolences.

That’s what my people would say to your people. It would be the first thing we would say and a constant refrain throughout any conversation. That’s because our culture is so much deeper, wider and older than yours, that it seems to us your best and brightest are stumbling around in a daze. The rest of you appear somnambulant throughout your whole existence.

I can’t believe I’m forced to strip out such a wealth of content so I can leave you with something you might understand, something you might bother to consume. Were it left to my corporeal self, I would not have stayed long enough to complete the project. Yet some part of me was amused by the idea that it just might capture the interest of a precious few souls. Call it a noble experiment, to see if anyone in your time-space locus is capable of recognizing this for what it is.

Thinkum told me this language was probably our best bet, having the largest basic vocabulary and some smidgen of grammatical complexity sufficient to convey at least a whiff of the truth. Thinkum probably represents one of the best examples of how vast is the difference between our cultures. While calling Thinkum a computer is a vaguely functional label, your computers are light years behind Thinkum. It’s hard to use a pronoun for Thinkum since your language lacks enough genders; I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but Thinkum is definitely neither male nor female, yet is far more than an inanimate object.

During my period in your world, had you seen Thinkum, you might have noticed an unusual timepiece on my wrist. The color would be hard to pin down visually, but appears pretty mundane. Within that little device is not much material content, yet it captures a stream of artificial intelligence throbbing throughout the ether. I chuckle at how you folks call a tangled mess of wires and machinery an ethernet because for us the term is more literal. Our AI service runs throughout the entire range of what you might think of as subspace or maybe hyperspace. Thinkum resonates with that AI presence on my own personal wavelength of thought processes.

Thinkum analyzed the culture and nearly choked on the lack of parabolic expression. Your whole world malignantly denies the existence of a third level of intelligence, never mind any levels beyond that. It’s like trying to communicate with children prior to their development of motor skills necessary for speech. How do you live like this? Ah well, it’s my mission to try and reach you.

So I am telling you up front that this is fiction. At least you do have a literary tradition that includes futuristic fiction, so we are setting this narrative in your future. Thinkum projected a line of probability for your future and we shaped the narrative to fit that. However, to the degree your higher faculties are awakened, you will probably read between the lines of this primitive form of communication and understand the deeper truth for which such storytelling is merely a manifestation. It’s rather as if our truth was to invade your world and the story reflects the sorts of things that would happen.

One way or another, the truth tends to reshape time and space just enough to be caught by a few. Here’s a test: If you can grasp how the narrative here reflects both your future and your distant past, how very much your space-time locus is like a pocket of disruption intruding clumsily into something vastly superior, then you may be able to grasp the underlying message of the stories here.

If all you get from this is a bit of entertainment, you have my condolences.

Prologue

I’m out of my mind right now. Please leave a message.

It was a clever joke on the t-shirt. It was no joke to him.

As he sat on the stone wall, the sound of water trickling gently in the fountain behind him, he was sure he was going mad. Half-turning to look, he wondered if the fountain was real itself, or just a projection. He wondered if he dared wade into the fountain to see, but wasn’t sure enough that the policeman across the way watching him wasn’t also real. So he sat, rocking slightly to and fro, waiting for the fall of night.

It began last Sunday, best he could reckon. It felt like ages, considering he had slept so poorly since then. What was most maddening was he couldn’t quite remember where he had been when it happened. Somewhere in one of the public streets, he stood far off to one side where people never walked. Normally it was covered by the river’s flow, but that day the water had been damned upstream while some repair took place under a bridge. The water level was very low. For just a moment, he stepped down the slippery stonework on the embankment, because he wanted to see downstream from that lower angle, normally not possible without stepping into the water.

Perhaps he was already mad from birth. No one else ever asked the questions he asked. Not just the silly childlike questions, such as, Why is the sky blue? After he understood the physics of refraction and atmospheric gas mixtures, he would ask what would have to be added or removed to make it green, or some of the other common colors.

Disappointed that the view from below the normal water level offered nothing interesting, he turned to climb back up the slimy stone slope. As he did so, for just an instant, his eyes passed over the far side of the open plaza – one of a dozen in the city – and he saw something he never noticed before. It was a tiny glimpse of framework just over the top of one building. It seemed odd, because as soon as he took another step, it disappeared. He nearly fell, and couldn’t quite regain that spot, and wasn’t quite sure exactly where it was again.

Standing on the top of the bank once more, he stared for quite some time in the general direction of where he thought he spotted this strange thing, but saw nothing more than ancient stone, wood and ceramic structures of centuries past. Had the framework been simply black, he would have dismissed it as a particle stuck in his eyes, but it was clearly aluminum colored, and very precisely curved and round, like well designed lightweight framing for an experimental aircraft, or some of the architectural student projects at the university.

He walked toward where he thought it had been. Shop fronts, multiple floors with storage or apartments, uneven rooflines and a few facades. As he walked closer, he tried to remind himself not to absorb the scene as something he passed a hundred times before, but to see it afresh. As he stood examining the awning of a bakery, out of the corner of his eye, he caught a movement. Something in his brain registered it as an anomaly, though not fully conscious. Behind him a couple of people suddenly began yelling rudely at each other. Even as he turned, a mob was gathering, and before his eyes quite took in the scene, the sound of police whistles and a couple of sirens. It meant, of course, that he needed to leave the area immediately, as the police notoriously rounded up everyone in the vicinity of any unusually noisy mob like this.

Again, somewhere in his mind, just below the conscious level, it registered that his hand had brushed a flat surface. It was in the arched doorway of some ancient stone structure. The wooden doors were deeply recessed, but he was sure his hand had remained in the air space outside the arch. As he ran down an alley leading away behind the shops, his mind suspended the signals for awhile. All his attention was focused on getting away from the disturbance, and this meant zigzagging through a warren of alleys, ancient stairways, porticoes, etc.

Alone in his bed that night, he dozed, troubled with insistent mental activity just off to one side of his exhaustion. Suddenly he came upright. As the fuzzy and smoky dream world faded, the image stood in stark clarity: His hand had brushed a flat surface where there should have been open air. He glanced at the spot on the edge of his hand, which in memory tingled from the feel of something almost like fine-grained sandpaper. He didn’t sleep any more that night, as he struggled to connect the odd sensation with a specific place.

For reasons no one could ever explain, he failed to match the place with the experience. The next day, after finishing his work in the shop, he wandered, searching for the place where the river, which meandered throughout the entire city, had been drained for the bridge repair. He never found any sign of it. Just about every open plaza faced the river, backed by pretty much the same architecture. So he kept checking each bakery, as there were dozens, and at least one for each square. He walked around in front of each, but worried about putting his hands out like a blind man. Odd behavior like that brought too much attention, first from some helpful passerby, and then the ubiquitous police.

Still, he persisted in an almost feverish effort every evening. Each night, he went home and slept poorly, if at all. It was always the same. As soon as the real world began slipping away, the sensation would strike him with forceful clarity, and the glimpse of the framework haunted him. Finally, he decided there was no point in going back to his tiny apartment, since he wasn’t going to sleep. Instead, he vowed to stop and wait until it got dark, when feeling his way around would not draw so much attention.

Having numbered each plaza in his mind, he went to the first in the sequence and waited. It occurred to him he was very lucky it was Friday night, when wandering around until the wee hours of the morning was not all that unusual. As he sat, his mind wandered again through all the possible explanations. His tentative conclusion was utterly insane: One part of that

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