Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Last Piece

Sometimes it just comes down to a single die roll.

Phillips was confident that Bowles had pulled it off.  ADA was dead, whatever that means to a computational intelligence. Her ghostly voice would still play in the Scanner, helping the unwitting Ingress ‘Agents’ collect XM, but for all intents and purposes, she was dead.  Really dead this time, not just cordoned off somewhere, hiding in a Los Alamos supercomputer cluster.  Dead.7r2kpn78oecy4t

And from what he could tell, pacing through the control room, avoiding the corpses of a pair of dead techs and their expanding pools of blood, Bowles had done something else, too.  He’d tricked 855 into putting on the helmet.  855 seemed inert, a zombie. A slow trickle of saliva was running down the left side of his chin.  Phillips saw an opportunity here... An opportunity to undo so much, to hit the big reset.  If 855 were also dead, two of his primary problems would be gone, whoosh, vanished. He could breathe freely for the first time in over three years.  And he would have Omnivore. Free of the burden of containing ADA’s near constant expansion, the system could be pushed to its true potential.  And he would have the NIA. A shell of its former self, but still, he would have it. Unfettered by ADA or 855, he could rebuild.  

The trouble would stop.ec81225a6c9f77c62d7f574cbb59d5d12eyq7z5x4m

The fear would stop.

The stinking, paralyzing feeling of hiding and constantly fixing the damage from the nightmare that the Niantic Project had been.

If he killed them, he would have some explaining to do, but he was good at that. You don’t make it this high in the NIA without knowing how to talk yourself out of a corner.  And besides, if he went down, a lot of secrets spilled.  It wasn’t in anybody’s interest – even Ken Owen’s, to see him go all the way down.

All he had to do was get across the room, seize 855’s gun and kill them both.

But that would only work if 855 really was a zombie.

He had to know how much control Bowles had over 855. 

Bowles looked up. Their eyes met, and for a second, Phillips could hardly recognize him. There was something different in Bowles’ eyes.  What was it? Power. For the first time in his life, this code-jockey controlled killing power. Or was it fear?  Did he know what Phillips was about to do?

Phillips couldn’t tell, but instinct kicked in.  Long dormant instinct from his military days, from his wet ops days.

He made his move.

He rolled the die.

His last piece was in play.