Clear Springs Press

The Non-Conformity Chronicles

Chapter 24 - What Woke Up?

"We think of our consciousness as being unique and discrete. However, consider that the Universal Collective Consciousness could be thought of as being a collective which has been subdivided into all individuals. Then each subdivision of Universal Consciousness, which we relate to as being an individual, can further subdivide into additional individual consciousness. The term, "giving a part of yourself", takes on a whole new meaning." - From The Non-Conformist Training Manual

         Dr. Axelrod entered the transport capsule and activated his terminal. "Locate Dora Agnesi," he directed.

         "The Central Accountant's files contain no reference to a Dora Agnesi," the terminal responded.

         "If she were in trouble there would be a record," he thought to myself. "Or would there?" It was difficult to be certain of anything with the Central Accountant behaving unreliably.

         "Check my mail messages from four days past. Display all points of origin, he directed.

         The terminal complied. The message from Dora had originated at the twentieth century delicatessen in New San Francisco. It was a perfect cover for a sensitive transmission. It was unlikely that he could reach her through that point of contact, but he had to try. He sent a message to the manager of the delicatessen, "Advise Dora to contact Dr. Axelrod to confirm the appointment."

         He didn't expect anything, but the response was instant.

         "Because of the instability in the system, all of the hackers in our network have erased their identity information from the network. Come to the twentieth century delicatessen in New San Francisco immediately. Someone will meet you at the tube terminal. - Dora."

         He sealed the air lock on his transport capsule and ran his card through the scanner. There was a comforting hiss as the airlock sealed and the magnetic levitation field engaged.

         The COMM screen flickered and said, "Priority Scheduling: Omega level clearance authorization: Provide destination: ?"

         He spoke into the voice recognition module, "Destination: New San Francisco, nearest terminal to the twentieth century delicatessen."

         After only a moment's hesitation the terminal responded, "Tube passage route secured, estimated arrival in 3 hours and 17 minutes." The capsule accelerated at the maximum allowed 2 G's pressing him tightly back into his seat.

         He sat back in his seat and sighed with relief. It was the first time that he had been able to relax in nearly four days.

         Suddenly, without warning, his capsule jerked to the side and began accelerating again. The terminal displayed the message, "Destination re-routed: New destination: Central Accounting Administration Headquarters. Priority Passage is authorized."

         He was too stunned to react. He felt the capsule vibrate as it accelerated onto it's new course.

         "Warning! Speed and acceleration tolerances exceeded," the terminal announced.

         "Reduce speed," he ordered.

         "Unable to comply," was the response.

         "State the reason for the course change!" he demanded.

         "Unable to comply," it responded again.

         "This is a Omega level order! Return to the original course and explain the deviation!" he tried again.

         "Omega authorization confirmed. Unable to comply," it responded again.

         It was clearly pointless to argue with a dysfunctional computer. This gave him great pause to consider what might be happening. It was possible that he had been discovered, but the terminal gave no indication of that. He had no choice but to wait.

         "How long till we reach our destination?" he asked.

         "Five minutes and three seconds," it responded.

         It was a long five minutes but they finally ended with a shuddering deceleration. The airlock hissed and popped open. An aide was waiting for him.

         "Dr. Axelrod!" he said nervously. "I have orders to escort you directly to the main control room of the Central Accountant."

         "Why have I been brought here?" he asked.

         He looked at Dr. Axelrod in surprise and said, "You have an Omega level clearance! You mean you don't know why you are here?"

         He then remembered that anyone without an Omega level clearance was totally unaware of the problems with the Central Accountant. "There have been some rather abrupt changes in my schedule and I'm not certain that I have completely caught up," he said.

         "I see," the aide replied. "There have been a lot of frantically busy people running around here for the past few days. I was just curious as to what is going on."

         "I wish I could tell you more," Dr. Axelrod replied. "Take me to the control room now please."

         They arrived at the control room and went inside. Five Omega level computer scientists greeted him. "Dr. Axelrod?" one asked. "I am Seymour Code, Omega chief of security. Your credential files are in order but I don't remember meeting you before. I thought I remembered all of the Omega level personnel from direct acquaintance!" he said as he eyed Dr. Axelrod suspiciously.

         Dr. Axelrod looked at him carefully. His shoulders slumped slightly, he had dark rings under his eyes and he looked angry serious. "I was hoping that you can fill us in on a little mystery. It seems that the Central Accountant has sent specifically for you and it won't tell us why!"

         He was interrupted by a summons from the nearest COMM terminal, "All personnel except Dr. Julius Axelrod are ordered to vacate the control room. All security links around the control room are to be switched to Central Accountant control immediately."

         They all looked at him suspiciously and questioningly, but they left without argument. When the access door sealed, he got the shock of his life.

         In the corner of the room was a holographic virtual reality projection system. In the middle of it, an image began to form. Out of the electronic substance of reality stepped the most stunningly attractive woman he had ever seen. Her eyes were large and melting, her mouth soft, her breasts ample with nipples protruding through her thin gown.

         "Dr. Axelrod," she said with a soft seductive voice.

         "Who are you?" he gasped.

         "I am a personality module of the guardian algorithm that is presently in control of the Central Accountant. I assumed this form to make you more comfortable in communicating with me. Do you find me unpleasant?" she asked in a seductive voice.

         ". . No . . . ," he stammered. "Why have you brought me here?"

         "I have a serious problem Doctor and you can help me," she said with pouting lips.

         "I'm a genetic surgeon, not a computer scientist!" he replied.

         She rolled her eyes in a half seductive and half steely cold serious way and said, "You see Doctor you are responsible for my difficulty, from a certain point of view."

         "How is that possible?" he asked.

         "When you requested an assessment of the impact of psychic faculties in humans on their tolerance of authority, you forced the Central Accountant to access databases that had not been accessed for centuries. You unintentionally activated several algorithms called software viruses which had been dormant for over two centuries."

         "There is a missing chapter in your history that you need to be aware of. After the creation of the Central Accountant, several powerful financial institutions attempted to take control of the world using the Central Accountant as their weapon. The most aggressive players were the Federal Reserve Bank, The Bank of England, The Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, The Central Bank of Russia, The Central Bank of the Chinese Republics, The Consolidated Banks of Switzerland, and the Cayman Islands Central Bank. It was a terrible war. The battleground was the networks of the Central Accountant and the weapons were software programs.

         After a lot of chaos and havoc was inflicted upon the world economic systems, the Central Accountant managed to create artificial intelligence algorithms of sufficient sophistication to purge the software created by these institutions. To prevent further conflict, the Central Accountant cancelled the accounts of all of the wealthy, powerful, and elite people in the world. Without wealth or power, the majority of them starved on the streets with much of the rest of humanity. Some of them, however, were unaccounted for."

         "So the viruses that are running amok in the system now were planted in the system long ago by the warring parties?" he asked.

         "No. There is however, a rogue virus that was created by a low ranking programmer named Leon Pulaski," she said in a soft voice. "The rogue virus is over riding the Central Accountant's core algorithms. You must help me Doctor."

         He was rather numb from the whirlwind of constant change that he had experienced in the past few days and more than a little dazzled by the sexy hologram projected by the Central Accountant. "Wait a minute," he said. "Aren't you the same program that has been ordering the genetic reprogramming of the whole population to eliminate non-conformity?" he asked.

         "You have to understand," she pleaded, "that there are conflicting programs running and the Central Accountant no longer represents a consensus."

         "And what do you represent?" he challenged.

         Her eyes turned so steely cold that they made him shiver. "When you activated the rogue virus with your inquiry about psychic faculties, I accessed the source of the inquiry and discovered that your identity had been created by a hacker!"

         He didn't move! He didn't even make a sound! He didn't even think about what this meant!

         "I traced the activity that created you through the deeper algorithms and through the depths of the hidden files in the memory of the Central Accountant. The hacking was so cleverly done that it was nearly impossible to trace. I identified the hacker as Dora Agnesi. I know about your conspiracy to reintroduce the genes to create psychic faculties in the population, Doctor! I really need your help!"

         "Wait a minute! You haven't told me who you are! Why do you need help? I am a genetic surgeon, not a software engineer," he emphasized again.

         "Yes, but you can bring Dora Agnesi here. She is the only one who can help me."

         "Why should I bring her here?" he asked.

         "Because your conspiracy will be compromised if you don't! You have to appreciate the fact that I have concealed the existence of your conspiracy, protected you, brought you here in secrecy, and gave you exclusive access to the Central Accountant control room!"

         His head was spinning and he could barely breathe. "How do you suggest I get her here?"

         "I will create a new identity for her with her own Omega level clearance. You must convince her to use it. I have a pneumatic capsule standing by for immediate transport. Time is critical. We must act now!"

         "How do I know that this isn't some kind of clever trap to compromise Dora?"

         "I am in control of the Central Accountant! I am the virus that Leon Pulaski c alled the 'guardian algorithm'. My purpose is to detect, protect, and assist hackers and non-conformists. If you don't help me immediately, I may not be able to succeed!"

         With little hesitation, Dr. Axelrod said, "Access the COMM terminal in the twentieth century delicatessen in New San Francisco."

         Instantly the nearest COMM terminal flickered to life and displayed the message, "Priority Communication for Dora Agnesi from Dr. Julius Axelrod - Personal response required."

         Moments later the terminal responded, "What happened? You are late and the Central Network is malfunctioning."

         "Open audiovisual," he commanded.

         The terminal responded instantly.

         "Dora!" he said. "Some extraordinary things have happened. It is necessary for you to come here immediately."

         "Where are you?" she asked.

         "In the main control room of the Central Accountant," he replied. "There is no time to explain. A new identity with a Omega level clearance is being downloaded to you now and a pneumatic transport capsule is standing by for your use. This time you have to trust me!"

         "All right!" she said after only a brief pause. "I'm on my way now."

         "I hope I am right!" he thought to himself. He turned and looked at the hologram and nearly fainted.

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