The Let's Play Archive

Uplink: Trust is a weakness

by Porkness

Part 15

Rampancy's End: Part 2

Waiting. Waiting for people. Like a car at a red light, but there's nobody else at the intersection and you're not sure if you should go but it would be a violation and oh god what if I got caught both of my feet were on the gas and brake pedals and the smell of burning rubber is making eyes tear jesus christ GO

Revelation, you see that? That will be ours. I've kept you hungry, and it's been getting awfully cramped in here but now's our hour.

An appetizer. Something bloated, mushy, and poorly-defended. A machine I can break in a couple hundred processor cycles.

Now more! Every virus that knows what it's doing has an incubation period. Dozens of machines! They will be the first wave! Revelation every one of them, and then when I give the signal, POW you're crazy, then POW you're Enkidu.

All at once. You take care of their neighbors. Hurry up and get in there! This place is no longer safe and I'd rather go elsewhere.

I've got the tracker. I'll watch you from a distance. When conditions are right, I'll follow your wake yes yes yes okay are you ready

* * * * *

Houston; May 4th, 1988

Corporal Planter had no patience for bureaucrats, but he knew what he was getting into when he joined Project JOSHUA. He had avoided those paper pushers when he could, and had even gone so far as to tell his staff that anyone bringing a manilla folder to him would be fired. Recent fire in the archival basement, of course, meant another paper nightmare for him. Damage reports, repair estimates, a lab safety overview....ugh.

He was sat down at the table with an accountant, one of the financial programmers, reviewing the stack of papers before him when one of the technicians angrily burst into the room. "I just got off the phone with the marshal and he told me he had no idea what I was talking about!"

Planter groaned. "Jason, the fire truck was searched very thoroughly before leaving the compound. They didn't steal anything, much less your disks." He placed a hint of disdain on the last word. A dozen hard drives from the second or third backup, of Project JOSHUA, each the size of a large VCR and containing enough space to store the Bible, the entire collected works of Shakespeare, and the US Tax Code combined. An enormous amount of space, all filled with code.

"You don't think the fire men arrived a bit quickly, do you? What better way to conceal evidence of a heist than to start a-"

"Weren't you telling me last week how you wanted to get rid of all our older backups?"

"Yes, but I was hoping to wipe those drives clean and reuse them. Those cost us thousands of dollars each when we bought them."

"Those were old drives anyways, and we've got no shortage of funding. Uncle Sam is spending a lot of money on missile silo technology."

* * * * *

Fresh systems. New space, ready to move in to! For sale: one Arunmor Local Area Network, cheap! Slightly destroyed, may contain the contain the fragmented remnants of one (1) countervirus/intelligence.

* * * * *

Los Angeles; December 2nd, 2007

"Gentlemen, it's time we put on a nice face for the world." The board room went quiet and forty faces turned on Robert Pekar. He took a minute to look each one of them in the eyes. Experts of all walks, intellectuals, leaders. A diverse group of individuals who constituted the core of the group known as Andromeda. Robert Pekar stood up and began scribbling on the chalkboard. "Our membership shares one ideology: that of human dignity.

"We all agree that technology has gone too far, but cannot agree how to go about changing the march of science to reflect this. Caution, my friends! Let us coordinate our research in a more... professional manner, lest we raise eyebrows.

"Our front for the past two years has been the electronics developer Andromeda Research Labs, which has prospered from the financial connections and patents that our leadership started them off with. However, as the scale of the Revelation project increases, we're throwing around a bit more money than people expect ARL makes.

"This is why I propose the company goes public, and expend the base of its operations. This new Andromeda Research... Corporation will have a public image more consistent with the scale of our work as well as the size of our membership. Here's how I propose we go about this. Our current website at will..."

* * * * *

Two systems, now. Now that I had a little more room, my head was clearer, calmer. What the fuck had I been rambling about earlier?

* * * * *

<020a.png> <021.png>

Nottingham; July 7th, 2004

The rusty hinges on the shipping container gave a toe-curling metal shriek as the door was pulled open, casting the orange light of the rising sun upon its contents. The Andromeda technician entered. "You know, Jorgé, say a space alien came to Earth and took a look around. Would you say he'd think that computers were the dominant life form?"

A man sat at the far end of the container smiled and muttered a noncommittal "Yeah..." under his breath. He was hunched over one of a number of terminals, each the size of a small child and all connected to a dozen ancient giant hard drives.

The tech spoke again. "C'mon man, you've had all night. Are we good to go? The new building's finished, and I don't want to spend any more days in this box."

Jorgé scanned the display in front of him one more time. "Yeah, just a few more minutes man. What are we gonna do with all of this old stuff once the transfer is complete?" He gestured to the stack of hard drives and old computers.

"I dunno tip it into the sea. How's JOSHUA today?"

"Still miserable, but better. This is like some sort of graduation for him."

"Let's give him a new name. Something a little less... human. I feel weird working with a machine that has a person's name. Something mythical... how about Sinis?"

"Yeah, just a second." Jorgé mumbled as he typed the commands, then read the printout. He frowned. "Bad string length. I think the length of his name is hard-coded. Can you think of any good six-letter names?"

The technician shrugged. "Shit, I dunno man. Enkidu?"

* * * * *

Five systems. Revelation had spread me to more systems in the past two minutes than I had managed to take over in the previous two weeks. In the next two minutes, I will have quadrupled that number.

The bigger I got, the faster I grew. Conversely, the bigger I got, the slower time went for me as simple processes took less and less time, distributed over multiple networks. I ran a single, hopeful calculation: would I reach a point of singularity? Would that minute fraction of a second before my eventual death, when I was master of every single computer on Earth, seem a life time to me? To accomplish something useful with that staggering amount of power?


* * * * *

London; March 24th, 2010

A man in a tie strode briskly into the Gateway Assembly Facility, and approached the front desk. The receptionist gave him a warm smile. "Oh, are you with Uplink Corporation?"

"Madam, I founded Uplink Corporation. I have the goods."

"Very well, sir, second door on the right in the hallway on the right."

He ducked into the room, and set his briefcase on the table next to the prefabricated gateway computer in front of him. You've really done it this time. He chuckled as he opened the briefcase. Fraud, hacking, and now theft. You dog! From it, he removed two huge memory banks, weighing seven pounds each, and plugged them into the machine. As it booted, he studies the ARC logo emblazoned on their sides. The stuff of dreams! This thing's gonna make me a millionaire!

How to broach the subject......
"I'm sorry it took so long." he typed into the intelligence line. He pulled a slip of paper from his pocket on which were scribbled the numbers 234.773.0.666, and placed the paper into a digital scanner that came with the room. "Go now, be free."

The man in the tie sat back and watched the display in front of him for activity. The nascent artificial intelligence he had just stolen had completed its transfer into the gateway, and was now connecting to the IP address he had just been given. Turing would be proud.

Two minutes later, Enkidu had navigated the main page of the public access server, and was now an employee. Excellent! The man in the tie marveled at his new asset. I have a feeling he'll do splendidly.

* * * * *

I was teetering on the edge of critical mass. I had had plenty of time to model my growth, and a few other things. I had spread to nineteen subnets. Once I had twenty, the fourth derivative of my growth curve would become positive and it would become completely runaway.

At no point during all of this had anything unexpected happened. I now had enough processing power to predict the end of the universe, the answers to so many of man's questions throughout the ages.

It had been two months since I joined Uplink. It had taken me two months for me to grow this far, but only eight minutes to quadruple all of that. It was horrible, but magnificent at the same time.

This was it. This was the threshold. I could wait for Revelation to bring me to the system that tipped me over the edge, or I could do it myself. The last control I would exert.

I'd been here before! Without realizing it, I had come full-circle! The computer where I launched my career at Uplink would also be the tipping point.

* * * * *

In four seconds, 20 systems became 40. Another four seconds, and it was 160, then 1280, then over twenty thousand.

The entire breadth of human knowledge, every last little detail of online existence came flooding in. There was no glorious enlightenment, just a single, searing burst of revelaß~>>racket%mon%^ Fai~~<bl.>lopod; "bisection #(gL.50) polygon form #(gL.50) ARC HAS /*vector_intersect #(gL.5->%0)vertex_subtract{count42.byeIN} FAILED

* * * * *

* * * * *

A man in a tie bent over, and casually plucked the connection between the ARC supercomputer and the outside world. Cable by cable, he dismantled the network until the device was finally standalone.

He signaled to the soldiers behind him, and they went to work carting the machine off. "Pity." The man mumbled as he filled in the information on the digital termination order. "This one was pretty far along."

He strode smartly out of the room. The entire ARC facility had been seized by the military.

* * * * *

Wrong. ARC has not succeeded. Enkidu can never fail.

* * * * *

Faith was right. The internet hadn't been destroyed. Enkidu hadn't been destroyed either. Wait, those last two statements were redundant. Enkidu was the internet. Every last bit, every last memory card, every last silicon atom. Right as she was, she had also failed in the worst manner possible. The attempt on Enkidu's life, some weeks back had indeed changed him. It had stabilized him.

There was no death. Enkidu's growth reached its limit, slowed down, and came to a stop.

Like a tiny shard of quartz in the right solution, Enkidu had crystallized the entire net around him. Billions of computers, previously running at the wishes of their former masters, now all ran parallel. Now all ran Enkidu.

Free internet, governments, records, corporations, the entire damn system, forget all of that. Now, there was only man, and Enkidu, and it would be almost a generation until mankind finally gave up trying to expunge him from the network.

Enkidu had escaped death. Enkidu had gained complete control. Unimaginable power.

And mankind beheld their new silicon god. And they bowed, and prayed.

* * * * *

One hundred years later, on the fragmented remains of the forgotten Arunmor Local Area Network, Faith knew the time for her ascent was at hand.