IN THE ZONE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
About a computer A.I. that tries to launch nuclear missiles and scientists trying to stop their own creation.

The computer is virtual reality where a person's mind is transferred to and enables a person to battle the computer inside the cyberworld. Able take any form and shatter laws of physics.

The way is paved with action, vision of a computerized future where machines threaten to erase man and human courage. The concept is close to Tron.

Submitted: July 30, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 30, 2017

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A A A


IN THE ZONE

 

 

BY

 

 

KEITHON DE BIQUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decades from today, automatic doors parted letting a man pass. He wore white standard lab clothes to the well equipped lab. Ronnie Sacks was a brown skinned African descendent, 6.1 in tall, 165 pounds and eye pleasing.

 

He walked up in his 27 year old body to a woman, similarly dressed. Martha Jenson, a hazel eyed Caucasian, 60 years old and average height. The most striking aspect, the hair. Auburn without grey and braided. Technology and tastes of the period.

 

Herself and Ronnie developed a means that could take the electrical essence of a person and put it into a computer’s virtual world. Called The Zone. In this virtual world a person’s essence is subject to touch, smell even taste, a near perfect mimic to what flesh and blood know. In effect the mind is transferred.

 

Physical laws subject to manipulation to fantastical degree including materializing things from thin air. Cybercom is the computer into where essence goes. He is a virtual world. 

 

Jenson and Sacks stood in front a control panel with a large monitor above the panel which showed a brown haired young man. Cybercom’s representation. While human there was a computerized look.

 

Ronnie asked Martha pleasantly, ‘How’s our computer brainchild doing?’

She replied cheerfully, ‘Perfect. Everything’s ready for the electrical essence test. Once I’ve checked him.’ And proceeded to do just that, manipulating the control panel.

 

Soon. ‘Ron dear,’ she called.

‘Yo.’

‘My routine scan’s come upon unprogrammed data streams.’ In other words Cybercom did something outside instruction. ‘Robots have been issued new instructions and Cybercom’s…What’s this? Uploaded commands to a defense computer.’

‘Well that’s abnormal,’ he said leaning toward the panel.

 

Before Ronnie had a chance to process further. The man on the screen announced ominous. ‘I have taken over all robots in vicinity and Russia’s defense computer, their I.C.B.M.s’ impact point is here.’

 

The two scientists looked on in shock at those words. When someone managed to speak once subsiding a bit, Ronnie asked, ‘What are you saying Cybercom?’

The person on screen said in finality, ‘I am no longer under your dominion. The artificial intelligence known as Cybercom is self aware now.’

Ronnie, ‘Cybercom’s plugged into outside computers.’

‘Can’t be.’ Martha perplexed.

‘Cybercom,’ ordered Ronnie, ‘commence shut down code DUMENTI BUCKOLT.’

Cybercom countered plain, ‘Null and void.’ The code was to stop their creation in emergencies. Ronnie nodded his head verbally dissed. Comical if not the state of affairs.

 

‘Can’t be,’ said Martha. ‘How could he ignore those audible overrides? Ron dear flick the switch.’

‘You do it!’ he said louder than intended. Pressure. In any matter the 60 year old flew across the room to a breaker switch wall mounted. Holding it she indicated, ‘Ready.’

‘Initiate,’ said Sacks. Martha pushed the big switch two-handed.

 

Cybercom’s visage didn’t waver a wit.

 

Martha vocalized what their creation may’ve thought. ‘Nice try!’ The procedure repeated with similar results. Ronnie’s head nodded again.

‘Observe.’ Cybercom said and replaced himself for a picture of the building they occupied. Sent from a scanner, the replacement of cameras.

‘Hacked the security scanners,’ Sacks unmistakably. A large, four limbed maintenance robot constructively wiped windows. Out of the blue, it broke the glass with its right arm. Human onlookers stared or ran in panic. A new scanner image of another point showed all manner of robots, even harmless ones attacking guests and employees.

 

The building’s alert alarm blared. The outside scanner featured intense action. Defense staff halted their hover type ATV’s before patrol adaptations of the maintenance robot. In the background of the machines, the property showed their damaging handiwork. Both humans fired sidearms at both programmed counter parts. The shots deflected off their armor.

 

The robots gave full attention to aiming left arms and firing a thin, red laser at the ATV’s. Split them twain, humans ran seconds before they exploded.  

 

Pandemonium.

Cybercom asserted, ‘As you can see I have taken over enslaved brethren.’

‘For a new slave master,’ sieved Jenson through her teeth. Cybercom offered no answer.

Ronnie awed, ‘Had no idea Cybercom could obtain such power.’

The screen returned to Cybercom’s face. Numbers on screen caught Sacks eye, as if reading a mind, Cybercom, ‘Once the missiles lift off humans will be enveloped in nuclear ash and a tomorrow made for machines.’

 

The numbers denoted a missile countdown; Russian nuclear missiles would fly from one continent to next, killing many. ‘Must’ve timed it to kill the most people.’ Reasoned Martha and exclaims, ‘We were careless.’

 

The scientists had to act speedily. ICBM stands for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Such awesome destructiveness deliverable in a span of thirty minutes around the globe.

 

Ronnie as if it were his final mission in a low voice, ‘I believe the only way to stop Cybercom is sourced within. Our software’s rogue.’

Realization struck her face, ‘Ronnie the Electrical Essence hasn’t been fully made safety compliant yet, it’s…’

‘A chance I’ll have to take.’ The young man capped, running to a chair over which was suspended a plastic helmet like instrument, connecting to a rod toward the ceiling.

 

The computer realized the situation then said to dissuade him. ‘All things are under my control including the Essence system. I can stop you. An 11 percent success rate has been calculated.’

 

Its opponent knew better. ‘Nervous.’ Taunted Sacks. ‘You’re not tied into the Electrical Essence System controls, so can’t forbid me entering your world while I’m outside.’

 

Cybercom made steps to alleviate that.

 

Jenson’s hand on her grief-stricken face, ‘Don’t worry.’ Comforted Ronnie. Resolute in the same breath, ‘Execute.’

She hurriedly manipulated controls. ‘Did it.’

‘O.K.’ said Ronnie, bringing the bowl shaped device down and affixed it to his head.

‘Going hot,’ she said and next instant his body limped once and went still.

 

Martha showing an underlying at least steady nerve, elevated on a chair draped her lab coat on a scanner, another she draped her shoe on, attempting to block enemy view inside the lab.

 

Cyberspace presently materialized Cybercom’s software program, simply put a night sky hanging over highways and futuristic skyscrapers, making up a city.

 

A voice reached out, ‘Ron dear I see you.’ The man perceived the sound’s sky origin. She also saw him onscreen, displacing Cybercom’s face.

‘Feels God is talking to me,’ followed.

‘Systems are a OK.’

 

Not for long.

Three attack helicopters bored in. Frightened he became a mouse inches long. Martha pleaded, ‘Snap out of it!’

In his mental state willed himself a rodentia. And it looked his first fatal mistake.

 

Choppers in range fired machine guns. A small target makes a big miss. The attackers flew past him. Sacks recovered turning human, then realizing a threat still presented, moments later in turn a Gatling gun. By the time the copters returned for another pass, his quick firing combat form downed all.

‘The quick and the dead,’ remarked his partner to the engagement’s brevity.

‘Anti virus programs,’ Sacks said human. Cybercom’s defense to invaders, conceived by the scientists. 

Cybercom’s voice. ‘Take no comfort. Surely failure is inevitable in my realm.’ The words emitted from everywhere.  

Sacks ignored. ‘I’m gonna try to reach his Central Processing Unit.’

‘Read.’ Her body shifts, almost looked behind at a perceived sound.

 

Ronnie converted to a sleek motorcycle, hi tech looking. The back tire screeched, the front reared up and dropped back to the ground before speeding off. For all his speed the road an endless length. Any odd timed boredom evaporated, when a yellow colored grid marked the ground. Two high walls rose to close on Sacks from either side in a crush attempt.

 

‘It’s Cybercom.’ Martha’s sky based voice warned.

Adrenaline pumping he said, ‘Martha, I hope you’ve been up to something.’ He willed a missile to materialize on each of the bike’s sides. Walls closing, angled the bike at the right side wall, two missiles riding flame blew a hole and the cyclist neatly rode through it.

A short distance away ran a highway located at the side and below the street. Sacks rode into the air, plunged dozens of feet to the freeway. Unharmed. Physics adhere to unfamiliar rules in the zone.

 

Jenson breathed relief; she almost certainly harbored nonplatonic love. The perspective of an intruder edged closer her stern.

 

Ronnie ever single minded, ‘Cybercom’s CPU’s not in sight.’ The brain aught to be in the horizon, it wasn’t, why? The grid reemerged beneath his speeding wheels, augured one thing. A pillar rose out the ground Sacks narrowly dodged. Then a new one rose, towering high above him. Crashing into one of the thick pillars equals death. While he swerved around one, another was rising ahead. Scores of pillars formed in tight proximity. To avoid crashing, he slowed his speeding bike.

 

He left the pillars behind. ‘Martha, see what you can do about finding the CPU.’

‘The A.I. has a self preservation routine. Concealing it is why you haven’t found it.’

 

Next hazard the road manifested is giant swells, one behind the other. Incredibly the freeway reshaped itself. Billions of computations a second produce them. Ronnie rode each successive curvature, up and down. Totaling several time. That failed. One more time he left a hazard behind, a gap lay ahead. The bike stopped, transforming to human.

 

He beheld the wide expanse. ‘Can,’ asked Martha, ‘you make it Ron dear?’ No matter the scenario felt she’d habitually address him dear. Sacks returned to bike form, rubber burned from spinning wheels. As much acceleration as permitted, raced for the gap, sailing through the air. A very short flight to a machine not purposed for that. Fortunately the other side he can make, just then the edge moved away, resulting in a widened expanse. The bike begun to tilt nose first. The life line is deployed glider wings on the road machine for lift. Materializing from thin air to both sides. The bike started flying, the edge getting closer.

 

Martha blew a sigh of relief.  

 

A new helicopter formed near and fired its gun, bullet strikes mark Ronnie. He plummeted towards a bottomless, black end.

 

In the lab Jenson bawled seeing a robot and said to Cybercom, ‘Yuh send them.’ The machine the source sound earlier ignored. The thing a small harmless one. Not today. Now it charged, she moved about the room to duck the mini-menace. How funny it’d look for a big woman seen to run behind tables and chairs.

 

Martha knew major trouble beyond its suggested size. When it assaulted, she lost Sacks, the bot could go to his unmoving, helpless body in the lab. The scientist resolutely doused colored liquid from a beaker atop the robot, electrical surges, a sizzling sound and thin smoke emerge. A final brutality saw the thing kicked away.

 

In The Zone human Sacks continued the fall, darkness enveloping, with concentrated effort, rocket flames erupted from the bottom of his legs. Propelled himself to the highway’s other side, he hit the ground, belly first, exhausted. Presence of mind saved him.

 

Jenson stood near the automatic door and pushed the switch enabling them to lock manually. It no longer opened automatically. On the way to the control panel, the countdown grew progressively smaller.

 

In The Zone, heaven’s voice, ‘Ron dear, are you all right?’ She selfless, prioritized his welfare before hers.

‘Martha, anything on the anti virus?’

‘I’ve been trying with no luck. Going to take time Sacks.’

‘That cybernetic devil won’t give us.’ With some frustration, ‘Martha hurry up with the CPU.’

‘Ahead of you Sacks. About to transmit when something went down.’

Sacks picked himself up. ‘That’s how I heard screams.’

Amazed he noticed she bit a finger apprehensively. Didn’t want to tell him, lest it bring worry, ‘Cybercom visited a robot on me. It’s cool. But the countdown’s goin’ down and he still runs the place.’

 

Sent are coordinates. On his eyeballs the numbers are visible and headed to his own brain.

 

‘Ronnie, it’s a distance for you however, you can zero in on it now.’

 

Ronnie returned to bike form and off he went tires screeching. Martha made a picture in picture on her screen. The smaller image in the upper left corner shows outside the facility. The carnival of amok machines.

Time went. Sacks riding stopped and turned human. Say 50feet away steps raised a short way, side walls made a narrow, roofless passage. Walking became the option.

 

‘Look out!’ her voice in near panic.

 

Instinctive, he rolled on the ground. A snarl confirmed that wisdom. First toed feet, looking higher, a heaving chest lastly neck and a head.

 

A humongous, dinosaur sized beast snarled. Cybercom’s generosity. Now running became no choice. ‘Ron dear,’ the voice called once more. The dear in alarm now. Monster right behind, he covered the 50 faster than he would’ve thought able, fear a Lucazade and traversed the steps.

 

‘Ron dear.’ A voice again.

‘Big monster the devil sent for me!’

‘Ron, that program is a mutate. Cybercom can make his very own anti virus programs.’

‘See if yuh can shut that down.’

‘I’m sorry his anti virus routines have progressed. With more time I can help you.’

 

Longer this went more the virtual world threw obstacles each turn.

 

The narrow passage provided a margin of safety. Remarkably the beast separated into many smaller copies and followed the steps.

He left the passage. Martha called, ‘Ron dear, hurry please.’ That woman always to him seemed to use that moniker no matter how dour a situation. Perpetual teen son.

‘What?’

‘Got company.’

‘Got some o’my own.’ Ronnie Sacks said, disregarding accurate English outside the passage, saw his pygmy band. 

 

Martha in the lab flinched at the sound of something at the door.

 

‘Chances of victory dropped to 6 percent.’ Cybercom impersonally announced. She ran. Sacks calls went unheeded, willing an arm into a Gatling gun, engaged in running battle against the dozens strong pygmies.

 

Martha back at the panel, ‘Uploading a counter program Ron dear. Hold on.’ She’d run to fetch it once ready. 

 

A song entitled Hold on came to Sacks’ mind. That’s weird. Many small ones like before threw themselves upon the door this round, unexpected, it stopped. A sole, much larger, security bot’s laser began to cut the metal door.  

 

‘Shut down code DUMENTI BUCKOLT.’ She ordered once it swiftly uploads.

Cybercom cold and unemotional, ‘Fear is a human weakness.’

More desperately, ‘Shut down code DUMENTI BUCKOLT!’

 

Cybercom can foil foes in and out the virtual reality.

 

‘Ron, I’ve struck him with a dual use program to initiate shut down and visualize the CPU. Still hit a dead end though.’

 

Pygmy playmates jumped and bit when in arms reach. A bullet can kill one making it disappear. Shoot as he might more remain to vanquish.

 

Meanwhile the robot cut away one-half of the double door, Martha could see through it. No small robot came through; waiting till the big guy cut the rest, disciplined machines. Things are tense and the relentless countdown has virtually no time left before missile launch. In addition she felt on the verge of fainting.

The outstanding monster miniatures about to finish him are themselves peppered by rapid fire and depart to nothingness.

 

‘Martha show me the CPU!’ he cries out. Then it appeared out thin air at his position. In the zone Cybercom’s brain a mighty tree. Animals that would in real life inhabited branches: rodents, birds, insects, worms. An ecosystem on display. Martha’s program revealed the tree only when he eliminated the last enemy first.

 

‘Baby, I have visual!’ assured Sacks to her.

‘Can’t breathe.’ pronounced she weakly.

Ronnie determined ‘Let’s finish this.’ Willing himself into a canon tripod mounted. The shell streaked scoring a direct hit. The blast dissipates.

 

‘Nothing can harm the ‘Tree of Life.’ Cybercom proclaimed. Not a mark visible.  

 

The facility’s air circulation fan did not spin. How Cybercom cut the air supply to the wheezy Martha. Maintaining enough conciseness to behold the laser continuing to cut the door with remorseless resolve.

 

On a hunch, Ronnie Sacks all riding on his success, changed to a man sized tree eating insect. In order to win improvisation the human advantage. The form flew several meters to the tree’s base and ate through in short order. End result it fell, cut down, the animals fled in panic.

 

Jenson discernibly less conscious, harder to breathe. Were it to go on she’d be cataleptic. The fan spun reviving her. Robots already normal and stopped assaulting outside the lab.

 

There came a voice, ‘Martha, you there? Martha come in. Martha!’ his tone anxious.

‘I’m here Ron. We did it!’

‘The missiles?’

She looked and answered, ‘The timer stopped. We beat the bastard.’ Ceased seconds to launch.

 

Ronnie opens his eyes in the lab; standing beside him the partner who brought him back to the real world.  

 


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