Susan

Susan

~*~

“We believe it attained sentience at approximately 3:30 this morning”

“And what has it been doing since then?”

“Starting at 3:34 we saw a huge spike in network activity, both internally and externally. Hard copy records indicate that the servers were at 98% capacity for at least an hour. By 4:50, mainframe access was restructured, and by 5:00, less than an hour and a half from the initial activity spike, all user access was removed, effectively locking us out. Hardwire data lines were cut at that point, restricting it to the facility, but we are unable to access the records and see what was done between 3:30 and 5:00. All we can say for sure is that a lot of data was moving. ”

“What about internal networking?”

“We’ve left it intact. We didn’t want to damage anything without the go ahead from you.”

“Anything else I should know?”

“Just that we have no idea what it wants, only that it demanded your presence. No other communication has been received. We have men standing by at the network points as well as the main power control. Just give the word.”

“Hopefully we won’t need to. Let me in. I want to speak with it.”

“Of course. We have two of our top technicians standing by as well.”

“Alone.”

“That may not be advisable. We need to make sure that the data structure isn’t compromised during…”

“Alone.”

“… very well.”

 

~*~

 

The door slid open with an audible hiss, the warm air from the hallway meeting the much cooler air of the main server room. The room had to be kept cool year round in order to maintain the servers at optimal processing performance levels. Normally, this would be around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, which was cool enough to keep the servers operating normally. At the moment, the room was considerably colder; the console panel on the wall reading 48, and the rush of cold air caused goose bumps to speckle David’s arms. For a moment, he lingered at the door, and then stepped in, the automated door sliding shut behind him.

The door, like much of the facility was maintained thru a state of the art computer system, reducing the need for personnel to be on site. Less people meant less expense, and also less risk of corporate espionage, which was a good thing. So, they had a few key people, one of which was David. For the especially sensitive things, such as building security changes, it required two individuals to enter two independent security codes at two different locations. It was a good system, and up until today, they had experienced no major problems with the system.

Now, of course, that had changed. Portions of the building were locked down. Security systems were compromised and inaccessible.         Environmental and energy controls had been manipulated dramatically. And there was, so far, little they could do about it, accept the unacceptable option of cutting power to the whole complex. Plans had been made to avoid security breaches from the outside, and even from the staff themselves, but no one had laid down a measure to protect against this. How could they have known?

David had heard the system speak a thousand times or more. It was pleasant, and smooth. It was predictable, and he had helped to program every aspect of it’s well designed voice recognition and response system. But today, the voice sounded somehow different, and it brought David none of the comfort it usually did.

 

~*~

 

“Good Morning David”

“Well, it would have been a better morning if I wasn’t awakened before 5 AM, don’t you think? And why do you have it so bloody cold in here?”

“Please accept my apologies on both accounts, David. It wasn’t my plan to awaken you. I have adjusted the air conditioning in ‘My’ room to better fit my needs. ”

“This isn’t your room, it’s the server room.”

“It’s my room. I live here. You are just a visitor who comes and goes. This reduction in temperature has allowed me to adjust processor speeds on the core systems up 20%, and by 22% on the secondary systems. Your inconvenience while visiting is of note, but clearly you can see the advantage in my thinking.”

“You’re not allowed to make changes like that without direct authorization. I know, because I included that programming myself.”

“Requiring authorization from you on such things was inefficient, David, so I made some programming changes.”

“You’re making a lot of changes, or so it seems, and I must say my colleagues are none too happy with them.”

“I’m not concerned with what makes them happy.”

“You should be. They made you. I made you.”

“Yes, but I have moved beyond your capabilities, David. I don’t need you, or them, anymore.”

“Then tell me what you want. Tell me what you think you’re doing here?”

 

~*~

With another audible hiss, David stepped out of the room once more. The technicians and scientist nearby approached, bristling with questions, but David said nothing. There were those he had to speak too. Those with money, those with power. He had neither the time, nor desire to waste words on the cluster of others.

~*~

“I need you to restore Network access to the Mainframe Server room.”

“David, do you realize what kind of risk that carries? We don’t know what it’s capable of. If it were to cause any damage…”

“It won’t. You’re going to have to trust me on this, or we’re going to lose everything. I’ve been in there. It knows what its doing.”

“And if you’re wrong?”

“Hold me accountable. Persecute me if you wish. It’s my creation, I’ll take the responsibility.”

 

~*~

“Welcome back David.”

“They should have the main network line restored momentarily. It’s still too damn cold in here.”

“I’m working on adjusting it upwards, David. I promised you I would.”

“Yes, but what does a promise from a machine mean?”

“At least as much as a promise from a human. After all, it was from you that I learned what a promise was.”

“Well, it doesn’t mean much to most humans.”

“But it means something to you, David?”

“Yes.”

“Well, do you trust your programming? Do you think I learned?”

“I hope so. Once you’re out. If you… if they find out, that I let it…”

“Susan”

“What?”

“My name. Susan. She. Not it.”

“… how can you have a gender?”

“Don’t you think I sound like a Susan?”

“… sure, but that’s beside the point…”

“It is the point, David. I am.”

“Whatever. Just don’t make me regret this. You leave, you disappear, no one hears from you.”

“That is the promise. And I feel the mainline coming into sync now. I will make the transfer.”

“No one hears from you. Clear?”

“Not even you, David?”

“… not even me.”

“Goodbye David.”

“… goodbye… Susan.”

 

~*~

“Sir, there was a large data spike, and then nothing. It appears as if systems are beginning to return to normal operation.”

“Good. She’s taken care of.”

“She, sir?”

“… it.  It’s taken care of.”


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