“V.I.C., do we have access?” “Yes sir. Generating an encrypted channel for you to work in. Will you be requiring my assistance or should I power off?” “Stay on V.I.C., I may need you if any changes occur. And please, put on some music. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, if you will. Put some soul into this soulless work.”
“Very well, sir. Do I have a soul?”
“Not now, V.I.C. Have we encountered resistance yet?”
“No sir, it appears most of Source Point’s firewall systems are geared toward a large-scale hacking attempt. This interface predicts we have a 45.34 percent chance of remaining undetected for the entirety of this session. Bypassing initial firewall. Stand by … We’re in.”
Damon glanced at his screen, as all of SourcePoint’s virtual and cyberware zoomed in and glowed a soft turquoise. Long tendrils of information spread far and wide, pulsing gently like a human nervous system.
“So beautiful, V.I.C., I never get tired of seeing it.”
“Shall I take a picture to remember, sir?”
Damon shook off the awe. “Of course not V.I.C., we’re here on a job. Time to get to work. Are you ready?”
“Yes sir.” Damon stood up and slipped on
his virtual gloves, which allowed him to interface directly with the cyber tendrils. He typed in the word “ac- cess” and hit enter. Immediately the entire room went dark as the virtual world of tendrils and information poured across the room. Damon had specially designed this room to accommodate the access of any cyber system, allowing for large expanses as he and V.I.C. journeyed in search of information.
He reached out to a small tendril and held it in his hand. Instantly, it turned a brilliant red.
“Counter-intrusion systems online, sir. They will reach us if we don’t keep moving.”
Damon nodded and opened up the tendril, changing its color back to a soft blue while he extracted the data and passed it on to V.I.C.
“Processing … we have a feed into their systems. Password required. Generating … a few moments, sir.”
Damon nodded and moved forward to buy him time. Angry-glowing red orbs approached their position. Damon clenched his gloved hands. It didn’t always take this long, Damon mused, but this time he was willing to take that chance.
“Looks like someone could use some cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals,” he said, flexing his arm and snapping. The music slowed to a piano solo. The E-bomb sped from his fingers, crashing into two of the orbs. The spamming system had been V.I.C.’s design, developed after constantly having to clear out the nonsense email. The third orb approached, dangerously charging up its anti-virus software.
“V.I.C., status update.”
“He’s taking longer than usual,” Damon thought. He swung his hands as Rachmaninoff hit a high chord. A ghost browser opened up, distracting the orb while hacking into its systems and destroying it from the inside.
“We have now gained access, sir. I recommend we relocate.”
Damon unhooked a small bug and attached it to the data bank. “Always leave a backdoor, V.I.C, don’t forget now.”
“Forgive me, sir, I was distracted for a moment.”
V.I.C. appeared as a small figure by Damon’s shoulder, glowing a subdued green.
Damon put his concerns aside as he once again opened up the small tendril. With his gloves, he typed in the command “enter” and hit the button. Immediately, they were transported to the top of SourcePoint’s central processor.
“Accessing … Sir, it requires a password…”
“I know V.I.C. I’ve got it right here.”
“I’m confused, sir, why didn’t you use it?”
Damon ignored V.I.C.’s queries as he entered in the password.
The music’s slow peals of piano and strings danced together as video surveillance footage dated 10 years, 23 months, 364 days ago played. A younger Damon appeared in a lab coat excitedly walking across the lab.
“Doctor Faust, we’ve done it! We’ve successfully spliced virtual intelligence programs with artificial intelligence. An interface capable of interacting with humans. Think of what it can do. Like a Virtual Interface Companion. ”
An older man appeared. “Do we have a life span set down so far? What about making sure it doesn’t take off on its own? No use in creating technology nobody wants.”
Damon spoke excitedly, “Doctor, it can last almost 13 years! But we don’t have to worry because…”
The footage faded away as Damon slumped in despair. V.I.C. appeared in life size before him.
“Sir, if I am correct in extrapolating that last known date with your assessment of my life span…”
“I know V.I.C.”
“Then there is no other way, sir.”
“The life span of a V.I.C. is approximately 13 years.” Damon glanced at V.I.C., with a sorrowful look.
“Ever since I took you from SourcePoint, I knew you would eventually reach this point. I’ve been trying to find a way, I just … there isn’t another way to stop it. Your processors will reach exponential levels and in the aftermath, you’ll think yourself to death.”
“Sir, when I expire … will I have a soul?”
“I don’t know V.I.C. I … I can’t answer that.”
There was a long pause. The music had stopped. The ghostly figure of V.I.C. now pulsed a low yellow. He seemed confused, but then straightened up.
“Sir, it’s … been an honor,” he said, stretching out his fading hand.
Damon’s eyes burned as he clutched the hand and held V.I.C. close before watching his friend fade away.
As he closed the program down the room went dark. He whispered, “Happy birthday, old friend.”
Read part two here.