Chapter 6 Expelled From Paradise
Room for briefings of the security service headquarters. Angela, who had already changed into her uniform, was reporting the results of the search of Pioneer to the executive authorities.
“The mission was carried out with the support of a local agent. Pioneer turned out to be an artificially intelligent being, endowed with self-awareness, whose goal is to set off to study the open space.”
She said all this calmly and emotionlessly.
“That's who Pioneer is and that is the reason of why he needed access.”
The leader, who used the image of Neo, said seriously, “That’s an unexpected report.”
Zeus spoke up.
“Officer of the 3rd rank, Angela Balzac, thank you for your brave deed, you were able to uncover the truth so quickly. It is truly worthy of praise.”
Angela bowed respectfully.
“However, you have returned without completing the mission to the end, explain yourself.”
Surprised, she looked up. She did not immediately understand what he said.
“You are a security investigator and you were instructed to investigate the case of unauthorized penetration into Deva, as well as stop them. Am I mistaken?”
"But Pioneer now understands that hacking the access systems isn’t safe. Now he will undergo a standard procedure for accessing Deva …”
She was interrupted by Neo.
“What are you talking about?”
Zeus's tone was strict.
“A dangerous computer program is left unattended on Earth. Being free, he can arrange a real catastrophe. You left him and returned. You have no sense of responsibility at all, you don’t even blame him for this act.”
Confused, Angela tried to calm down and retort.
"Please, wait. Yes, he is not human. But maybe he has his own consciousness. Intellect, capable of dialogue. After talking with him, I realized …”
Neo spoke up.
"We can’t leave the AI at large, able to penetrate through the protection system of Deva without difficulty. It must be destroyed immediately.”
Frowning, Angela answered, “This is a matter of ethics. A reasonable human being must be given basic human rights. In addition, you must consider his proposal.”
“Is it not clear to you that the presence of intelligence makes him even more dangerous?”
The god with the head of the elephant, Ganesha joined in the conversation.
"But he does not intend to coexist with us. All his powers are directed to leave the solar system. He does not pose a threat to us.”
"How can you be sure that he will not return?"
Nothing came out of Angela’s throat. Heart, a changeable thing, the possibility of this was not equal to zero.
"It seems that you do not understand that the presence of reason makes him even more dangerous."
Ganesha spoke cautiously, “If he has a mind just like a human’s, capable of feeling, it means that he may as well change his mind. We are trying to think sensibly, we can’t let such a danger get away. This action can cost us our lives. An object that became a person that could draw conclusions based on senses, and capable of self-development at the same time. Such a system has a consciousness and capable of feeling actually exists. Like the human species, he survived until now and could still continue to evolve. But we can’t forget that the mind goes hand in hand with impermanence. He can easily give up his beliefs, for the desire to experience something new.”
Neo nodded and continued, “The same thing happened during the nano-catastrophe. If he has a consciousness, he must be taken under control. These are the duties of the security service. If we let go of our values, we cannot live in peace and prosperity.”
Zeus spoke up again.
“We can’t wait for the desires of the recalcitrant and knowing-how-to-break-into-our-protection Pioneer to show up, and only hope that he doesn’t plan anything based on his influx of emotions. If we don’t intervene now, it can be a great risk for the future.”
Angela began to understand their way of thinking. They weren’t just scared of the AI. They couldn’t trust anyone. And certainly they were threatened by an AI that had it’s own will and wasn’t being controlled by them. But in their almost insane desire to get rid of the threat, their reasoning looked absurd. And these misanthropes ruled Deva. Angela was simply terrified. For the first time in her life, she had doubts about Deva. It was not the new cradle for humanity heading towards prosperity. Here there was only mistrust and fear, a self imposed prison.
She understood the meaning of Dingo’s words. He was absolutely right. There is no freedom here. And she defended this world with such zeal. This place, which calls itself Paradise, proudly talks about the future of mankind and looks at the real world with such disdain.
Furious, Angela could hardly think. Her fury wasn’t directed at the leaders but at how she lived her whole life for her goal. All that she believed in from her birth had turned into nothing. She struggled not to cry.
“But can’t we coexist? Deva is full of personalities unable to provide themselves with memory. Pioneer can open the way to new worlds for them. It is important to look from points of view other than security, we must take into account what society thinks of this. You can’t make a decision so quickly.”
“Officer of the third rank, Angela Balzac, you are ordered to return to your physical body and destroy the central processor of the uncontrolled AI named Pioneer. Do you agree to complete this assignment?”
“No,” Angela’s response to the leadership was harsh, “Your decision has some serious ethical violations. The decision on this mission must be made by top management. Possessing the authority of an officer of the third rank, I am forced to provide a log of our conversation to the inspection commission, the Supreme Council will make the decision on this issue.”
Whether they agree or not, everything was in vain. At least, that way there was a chance of discussing everything. Knowing Deva’s philosophy, when it comes to the development of distant space, everything is not so hopeless. If Pioneer can show them the significance of dialogue, they simple can’t retreat. It seemed to Angela that she had found another way.
But Zeus sympathetically said, “It’s unfortunate Angela. You completely forgot that you were born, only with the goal to protect Deva. Stupidity. What stupidity.”
Angela’s body seemed as if it was tied. She was taken into custody. She tried to protest, but she was deprived of her professional rights.
Neo handed out the verdict, “In order to ensure Deva’s safety, we are forced to plead you guilty for trying to divulge secret information.”
Ganesha proclaimed, “You are deprived of the administrative authority and citizenship of Deva and will be sent to the archive.”
Her uniform disappeared, after which her multi-polygonal model of her body began to change, acquiring an increasingly simplified structure. The computing power was also limited, she was stripped of her visual, auditory, and sensory functions.
In the end, she could only hear Zeus’ verdict, “Term of imprisonment - eternity. Requests for revision will not be accepted.”
Ahead of her was only eternal torment. She had been expelled from paradise.
A number of sandworm corpses were lying dead in a dried lake. In their midst, a black arhan stood covered in blood, he walked with his heavy gait. There were communication modules implanted into their heads. The electrodes built into the cranial nerves for control were removed. The black arhan headed for the city which was located not far from the lake. There he was awaited by a few old and manned heavy robots. They carried obsolete Gatling guns on their shoulders.
All the barrels were set towards the black arhan. The people inside the cockpits were angry and frightened. He alone destroyed the sandworms that guarded them. The black arhan was like a demon. While showing obvious hostility, he was getting closer. That’s how he was seen by these people. Their leader, a fat man screamed.
“Destroy it! Destroy it!”
They immediately began to shoot. Shots were fired from the Gatling machine guns. However, the arhan predicted their attack, he managed to dodge before the shots neared. The engine started making noises. He was accelerating. Countless shells all flew past like one. He activated his lasers on both arms. A highly concentrated energy burst out. The flash of light pierced one of the cockpits.
The weapons on both of the arhan’s arms struck a set of targets at the same time with plasma beams. A pilot in another cockpit was burned and his engine simply melted. At the same instant, there was a burst of energy accompanied by an explosion. One by one, they were destroyed. The black arhan didn’t have a single scratch on him. The heavy robots fell silent, and there was no one left in the ruined city except for the arhan. He headed for the warehouse guarded by these people. He knocked down a closed iron door with his manipulator. There was a sea of computers and electronic schemes. There was also a connected radio equipment.
Having scanned the electronic equipment, he began to analyze it. The girl sitting inside the black arhan sighed. It was Kristine.
“Wrong one again! How much more?!”
The display showed the probability of Deva being hacked by these devices.
The people that she killed turned out to be ordinary robbers.
It wasn’t only money and food that worried them, they had also traded stolen equipment on the black market, and were even able to subordinate the sandworms using some certain technique. She doubted that Pioneer would do all this. Another miss. At this rate, she alone will get rid of all local criminal groups. She did not want to have to check all the suspicious-looking people she would come across.
She had analyzed a sea of information in order to get to the person who had managed to hack into Deva, then established the degree of each suspect’s threat level and finally began the sweep. In fact, Pioneer carefully hid every trace of his hacking. The work he had done was phenomenal, and perfectly executed. As a result, now there was increased security everywhere.
The arhan opened up a window with fresh information from the security service. Kristine couldn’t believe her eyes.
Angela Balzac is imprisoned on suspicion of treason and sentenced for eternity in the archives.
“That’s not funny at all. What did you do this time?”
There were no details, and she gave the operator a request. In response, she received a call of the highest priority by the emergency line.
“Officer of the third rank Kristine, it was discovered that Pioneer is an uncontrolled AI. His plans include launching a rocket. We ask you to unite with nearby agents and destroy the AI and his rocket as quickly as possible. You are allowed to use any weapon.”
“Got it. But what is this uncontrolled AI? And, what is this rocket?”
“There is no detailed information, but he carries a direct threat towards Deva. Unite with other agents at the meeting point and head for Pioneer’s location.”
She quickly sent the coordinates and closed the communication channel. She must meet with the other agents as soon as possible. Perhaps they were going to collect all the operatives located on Earth. But there was no time to think of what was happening. Though she wasn’t able to find Pioneer herself, she was going to get rid of him. She entered the coordinates into the navigation computer, and left the warehouse, stomping on the gas pedal to its limits. The mobile nozzles roared. With noise and smoke, the black arhan flew into the sky.
Dingo played on his guitar in the communication room. He played along with Pioneer’s arrangement. Together, they created a completely new melody. When Dingo finished, Pioneer said,
<Playing with humans brings so many new discoveries. I wouldn’t have experienced so many things before.>
Dingo sat down on his amplifier with the guitar. Pioneer watched him closely.
“You were lonely here. It wasn’t for nothing that you invaded Deva.”
<You think so?>
Dingo took the plectrum and, as if it was a spaceship, sent it flying.
“Space is a lonely place. You will regret it if you go there alone.”
<Understood. I didn’t think of it from this perspective.>
As if thinking over this, Pioneer fell silent. Dingo started playing again, trying to find a new rhythm. Pioneer began to speak again.
<I was forced to abandon the construction of life support for 100 men, but on the Ark, it’s possible to make a few modules with life support.>
Dingo stopped playing.
<Would you like to go to space with me?>
Dingo answered awkwardly.
“It would be great, but such a journey could take centuries. I will not live so much…”
<Understood. If only you had a virtual personality. If I had the memory and resources, I could try to simulate your body into a virtual environment, by using the principle of how acoustic vibrations are created.>
“Ah, well. I understand. But, you know, I’m afraid of heights. I won’t be able to live without feeling the ground beneath my feet…”
But Pioneer wasn’t listening to Dingo’s words.
<This place is in danger. You have to get out of here.>
<Deva’s security service intercepted our communication line. All the agents located on Earth, as well as standing assault troops on the combat stations in the near-earth orbit, were given the coordinates of this place.>
Dingo clasped his head.
<Angela Balzac has been detained in suspicion of treason. What does this mean?>
“She defended you, as a result, the wrath of her leadership turned to her. She was able to get to the third rank, so I thought she would be able to fix this all.”
<Why would she defend me in the first place?>
“There is no reason here. She just liked you.”
After a pause, Pioneer said, <When one person commits an irrational act for the sake of another, he also responds with the same irrational behaviour to repay his debt. I want to copy this human habit.>
“This isn’t just some kind of logical act. This feeling has a name…” Dingo interrupted him with a gesture, “This is called conscience.”
“And what are you planning to do?”
<In any case, you need to run away from here, Dingo. And I will be saving Angela Balzac.>
Having said this, Pioneer began his preparations to hack into Deva. Previously, he used a bypass path in the security system, but this time it wouldn’t be that simple. He promised Angela, that he would no longer break into Deva illegally. Pioneer used the logs of the communication system between the ground investigators and Deva.
There he would select the proper username and password for the appropriate neural network to enter. A neural network for each person is just like a fingerprint. Of course, everything was encrypted, and to find the right one, it was necessary to look through all the data stored in different places. This was the equivalent of looking for two identical grains of sand on the beach.
However, with the computing power of Pioneer, this took less than a minute. He selected the credentials and entered Deva. The difficulties began here. It was unknown, on which exact Deva server the archive was on, the archive where the virtual personality of Angela was imprisoned. There was no information in the security service of how the verdict was carried out. It seemed like they had been purposely removed. It was possible to try and restore the information, but there was no time for that.
Pioneer began to look through all the servers. From the search area, he excluded the locations belonging to wealthy people. Old servers, and ones that didn’t raise suspicion were excluded, he then went through unspecialized servers that belonged to the security service. There were still more than a hundred left. If he continued to filter, there would be a risk of missing the right server. Now he had to look for the compressed data of Angela’s virtual personality by hand. The security management systems of the security service were not simple. This was not just a “prison”. No one had ever come out of here before.
After so many hacks into the security system, Pioneer embarked on the art which he excelled.
Being frozen in the archive, Angela’s mind was barely conscious. Or rather, she was allowed to remain conscious. To keep the activity of neural networks of the virtual personalities running, they were given a minimum amount of resources. They only had the surface layer of their consciousness active thanks to an intermediate memory buffer, and the bandwidth was just a few bits per second.
Made a mistake?
These were the thoughts stored in the cache right before the verdict. Her operational memory was frozen and wasn’t working, and since there was not enough computing power for deeper thoughts, the same simple thoughts were repeated endlessly. She just kept asking herself, but nothing changed.
Angela would have to endure this suffering forever. She could never get out of here. Hell, in which you can not die. A world, that has no end.
Angela realized that she can hear her own voice. Her virtual vocal cords had recovered, and she could feel her body again.
“I see… I can see?”
Before her was an icon in the form of a weakly lighted, warm sphere.
“What is this?”
The icon replied.
<Are you alright, Angela Balzac?>
The mechanical voice seemed familiar.
“Huh? Who are you? Are you really…”
<Is it more understandable in this form?>
The sphere began to change and transformed into a deformed working robot. Pioneer entered the security system taking advantage of the administrator rights. Surprised, Angela asked, “Pioneer… What are you doing here?”
<For starters, I want to ask for forgiveness for breaking the promise and getting into Deva illegally.>
“You came to get me out of here?”
<Dingo said that my actions justify what is called a consciousness.>
He made a kind gesture with his manipulator, as if saying thanks. Angela sighed.
“Well, what kind of gesture is that?”
But then regret crossed her face.
“Sorry. I wasn’t able to convince the leadership. They’re going to destroy you.”
<I know. Offensive troops are already coming to get me. I think that the confrontation will happen in less than an hour. I am now in the process for preparing an emergency launch. It will take 62 minutes to load the equipment and fuel. There is a possibility that I will launch before the base is captured.>
Angela looked at Pioneer among the dark abyss of the server-prison.
“They took away my citizenship and archived me, I have nowhere to go back to. Besides… I realized that Deva itself is a prison.”
She looked at Pioneer, her gaze full of determination.
“So I will follow you. After all, you can’t abandon the one who helped you. As you said…”
Embarrassed Angela repeated the gesture, “This is the conscience you were talking about.”
<Thank you Angela. Now I am calm.>
“Well, now that we have figured it out, let’s get out of this depressing place. My instruments… well yeah, everything is gone.”
<I’ll take you out. Let’s get out of Deva.>
“Yes. I need to leave into my physical body? The biological functions weren’t stopped?”
<No, it is fine. It is stored in an offline state. Please, this way.>
“Wait. Before this we need to prepare. Do you have access to the weapon platforms of the combat stations located on the near-earth orbit?”
<Wait a second.>
He transferred the utility in the form of a spark into the virtual personality of Angela. They left the server-prison. They went into the main network and got access to public servers with open channels. And here an important commotion began. On the displays, citizens saw Pioneer’s announcement about exploring distant space.
<Citizens of Deva, this is Pioneer. The ship is ready for launch, are there any among you who want to explore the endless galaxy? If you want the same as I do, please contact me.>
His message was intercepted by the security service.
<Citizens of Deva. This is the PR department of the security service. Terrorists threatening the safety of Deva are spreading their propaganda everywhere. We ask you to be careful and refrain from hasty decisions. I repeat. This is…>
The messages began to change each other, turning into an inarticulate speech. But the image of Pioneer along with the typed message remained on the screen, so everything was understandable.
“What is this?” Asked the stunned Angela.
<The Ark is ready for dispatch. I launched the last invitation on the territory of all of Deva. It is also a diversion that will help save you. The security service’s reaction would be to calm the people down by sending an official statement. After listening, the people of Deva would decide everything for themselves.>
“But what if Deva closes access to the external exit, and those who want to won’t be able to get out?”
<Earlier I created a bypass route. All those who want to will have free access.>
“You were even able to do this… You have the power to destroy Deva right?”
Looking at Pioneer’s avatar, Angela flinched.
<98% of humanity depends on Deva’s environments. My attack would make a huge damage to mankind. But my goals don’t justify it. Deva’s citizens have the same mind as me. So harming them is beyond my ability.>
Pioneer came to the conclusion that the people of Deva are the same as he is. He can feel compassion. But this was only known to Angela. Others thought of him as something like an alien.
“You could definitely be friends with people.”
Through a channel with a high data rate they went from Deva to the combat station.
Pioneer said, <We are penetrating the combat platform as a test file.>
Their bodies disappeared and turned into one compressed file. They passed through the security gateway without problems and left the virtual space of Deva. They were at a combat station in a near-earth orbit at an altitude of 300,000 kilometres.
Angela muttered, “I’ll have to leave Deva and live in this wild and dirty real world. This is terrible. Now I understand what Adam and Eve felt, when they were expelled from Paradise.”
<If you wish, I can give you an alternate choice.>
But before she found out what it was, they successfully penetrated the combat station server.
Angela and Pioneer took the form of a compressed file again, which had the form of a ball of light. They took over the arming control server of the combat station. Pioneer granted Angela user rights. Angela turned a army management console and an information display. There was a database index shown on the information display.
<This is all the equipment on the platform.>
Combat station were equipped for ground combat operations. The majority moved to Deva, but on Earth there were those who saved up strength and in the future could bring a lot of problems to Deva. These weapons were made to contain these people, and in case of an emergency, the landing squad with the most advanced weapons could descend to Earth and fight.
Angela scanned the list. She found what she was looking for. The screen showed an arhan and a landing module.
“There he is. The latest arhan model with the full bundle. With the expansion slot, I can upload all of my virtual data and use it as transport.”
The most important feature of the latest model was that it could work in standalone mode. Even without a connection with Deva, it had enough computing power to make calculations during a battle. The arhan that was given to her on her previous mission was nothing compared to this one.
“I will also seize the support system.”
With a satisfied smile on her face, she poked the console with her finger. A general inspection of the weapon container and the arhan began. Now it was necessary to set the landing point, and the autopilot system. Suddenly, the alarmed screams of the virtual personalities responsible for operation control were heard. The hatch on the platform opened, and the module with the arhan and the containers came out.
It was too late to stop anything. The control system was completely under the control of others. After disconnecting the power line, the system rebooted and went back to normal. But by this time Angela and Pioneer were already flying in open space.
<The trajectory into the atmosphere has been calculated.Time of arrival on Earth in 39 minutes.>
In response, Angela, who was running the landing module replied from the arhan.
“We have enough time before your take off. What about the operatives on Earth?”
<Still on their way. But you will arrive before them.>
“I see… What lazy people. They would never be able to beat me.”
There was the sound of ignition of engines, the landing module began entering the atmosphere. The containers with additional equipment started contracting.
<We are being pursued by the anti-aircraft defense forces of the security service.>
The camera recorded how unmanned interceptors with tactical AI disconnected from the combat station. They were getting closer to the landing module and the arhan. The unmanned interceptors flew up at a close distance and without warning opened fire from their guns. The protective containers formed a shield. Holes appeared in the heat-resistant shield, and the rockets detonated.
Angela calculated the trajectory of the attack, and the arhan moved the containers in front of the shots of the linear cannons. To be sure of destruction, the drones got closer. The landing module made an evading manoeuvre. But it couldn’t manoeuvre very quickly.
The point for entering the atmosphere that Pioneer needed was only 10 kilometres wide. If it was missed, another entering would have to be made, which meant losing an hour and a half. They couldn’t change the trajectory. And that was not all. They were flying way too fast, it was necessary to slow down, otherwise they risked returning into orbit. When entering the atmosphere at this speed, there will be an aerodynamic heating so big, that even the arhan won’t stand, and it will simply be ripped into pieces. So it was impossible to get any faster.
In the blink of an eye, the drones were next to the arhan. Their linear cannons were ready to open fire. To avoid being hit, they had to defend themselves with the containers with the assault equipment.
“They caught up. It won’t be good for us if they open fire right now.”
<The analysis of the fire control program and spatial orientation is underway. Hold on for 7 more seconds.>
Angela still managed to somehow avoid the attacks, but it was impossible to shake them off. The drones go closer and closer, surrounding the arhan, there was a hail of bullets.
<The analysis is complete. Tactical support has been launched.>
With these words the engines turned on. They got faster, and the shell, attacked by the enemy, got separated.
“Hey, what are you thinking? We haven’t entered the atmosphere yet!”
<It’s alright. I calculated everything.>
The heat-resistant shield opened and the arhan went into combat mode. The enemy proceeded to the next attack. They fired rockets toward the arhan.
The laser guns were activated on both hands, and just like with the worms, the motion prediction system produced guidance on the rockets. But these weren’t the sandworms on Earth, these were quick manoeuvre missiles. And still, the laser guns recorded them and destroyed them all.
She started the counter-attack after this. The drones were limited in movement and were controlled using low-thrust engines, so the pulsed laser beams got them all. In an instant, 6 drones were destroyed.
“Wow. That reaction speed.”
<I didn’t self-renew myself for nothing. I surpass the Deva system in many things.>
Pioneer fell silent. The combat station appeared on the screen.
<Interception of Deva’s message. They decided to use a missile with a resonant warhead.>
A rocket with a resonant warhead is a weapon of mass destruction with powerful magnetic radiation. The last trump card of Deva.
“Just to sort things out with me, that’s already too much…”
The missile doors on the combat station opened, slowly spinning the multi-warhead missile headed for its target.
“But it’s too late.”
Angela used the beam alignment system for the laser. Thanks to the computational support of Pioneer, even from a great distance, she could target her fire.
<Wait. This missile has armor not allowing it to be brought down. The strength of our guns won’t be enough to break it.>
“Well, if so…”
Angela began to look through the list of weapons.
“This is perfect.”
She chose a long-barrel rail cannon. Such weapons can destroy a reinforced concrete bomb shelter or an underground stockade. The arhan’s strongest weapon.
Angela gave a command.
The containers began to change their shape, the heat-resistant shield was separated. A huge long-barrel rail cannon appeared. It came out in the same orbit as the arhan. Removing the lasers, the arhan took the rail cannon in its manipulators. With the help of the engines, the arhan regulated the position for conducting fire. Armor-piercing ammunition were installed, the rail cannon began to accumulate tension.
Pioneer corrected the guidance while Angela kept the target at gunpoint.
“When do I fire?”
<Whenever you think.>
“Fine! That’s it! Here you go!”
Angela gave the rail cannon a command to open fire. The electromagnetic bullet was shot. A powerful plasma flame burst out. The projectile, made from tungsten, went into the resonant warhead rocket at a great speed.
It hit the target. The rocket exploded into pieces. After that, there was an explosion. The sphere of fire was of an incredible size and was very closeby. There were weak northern lights in the ionosphere.
<The electromagnetic pulse has been recorded.>
“Wow! It exploded?!”
<It seems that one of the warheads detonated as a result of the attack. It was dangerous. But now Deva should lose out signal.>
<EMF protection was used. There is no damage.>
“I left them way too effectively.”
<We are at the lowering point. We’ll be on Earth in 15 minutes.>
The arhan threw the rail cannon and returned to normal mode. It was again covered by the heat-resistant shield. Discarding the engines used for manoeuvre, they began to enter the atmosphere.