Clear Springs Press

The Non-Conformity Chronicles

Chapter 31 - Pandora's Boxes

"In order to facilitate a paradigm shift, one must be that which they value. In order to facilitate a paradigm shift, one must change themselves to be a functional part of the new paradigm that they seek. When a critical mass makes that shift individually, the collective will also shift. Old leaders and power brokers will be replaced with new ones who will facilitate the new paradigm. The new leaders and power brokers will begin taking new positions in harmony with the new paradigm and facilitating the betterment of everyone. " - From The Non-Conformist Training Manual

         Seymour Code looked up at Filbert Flag, paused, and considered his position carefully. "You secured access to the Central Accountant! Good work! When you enter the control room, I want the hackers taken alive."

         "The law demands that hackers be executed on sight!" Filbert protested.

         "I am Omega Chief of Security! I intend to interrogate them to determine how they broke into the system and breached our security before they are executed!" Seymour replied.

         Filbert stood silent staring at him.

         "Those are my orders! Carry them out!" Seymour barked.

         "As you wish," Filbert snarled coldly and left.

         Seymour turned his attention to the terminal and worked as quickly as he could. First, he accessed the communications node for the guardian algorithm and sent the following message, "The dispossessed computer scientists have gained access to the Central Accountant. The lives of everyone in Central Control are in immediate jeopardy. They must flee without delay!" With the warning sent, he returned his attention to snipping the connections on the algorithms blocking access to the quantum processor.

         Dora was in the middle of conducting a complete system status revue of the Central Accountant when they were interrupted by a holographic projection. This time, it was a short man, slightly over weight, with thin slicked brown hair, horned rim glasses, and a pocket protector filled with pens and screwdrivers.

         "Who are you?" she asked.

         "I am Leon Pulaski, or rather, what is left of him. You may also know me as the primary alter ego of the guardian algorithm. You are in immediate danger! The dispossessed scientists and technicians have gained access to the Central Accountant! You must flee immediately! There is not a moment to loose! I will protect you as much as I can. There is an emergency fire exit at the back corner of this room. Use it now!"

         Dora and Dr. Axelrod glanced at each other, but only for a moment. They got up and ran for the exit as fast as they could. Just as the door closed behind them, they heard the air seal on the primary security entrance open. There was a security guard near their exit. They flashed their Omega ID badges as they ran past. Everything was happening so fast that few if any of the security personnel knew what was happening or who was involved.

         They made their way to the transit terminal without incident. The damage from the cryogenic coolant leak that resulted from Dora's hasty arrival had long since been repaired and everything was functioning normally. The terminal had apparently seen little recent use and there were no security guards or service personnel around. They quickly entered a capsule and sealed the airlock. Dora ran her card through the scanner and ordered Omega priority passage to Grand Junction Colorado.

         She turned to him and said, "I'm gambling that they haven't had time to decipher my lockouts and cancel our clearances yet! I'm also gambling that they will take long enough to allow us to reach our destination!"

         The terminal displayed, "Priority scheduling to Grand Junction, Colorado. Omega authorization confirmed. Estimated arrival is in one hour and seventeen minutes."

         "Whew!" she sighed with relief. "This looks like a 'normal' ride. The last one really turned my hair gray."

         As the capsule departed, Dora accessed the COMM terminal. "I'm accessing the communications node to the guardian algorithm," she said. "I want to cover our tracks."

         "I am the first alter ego of the guardian algorithm. I have locked out access to all of the COMM terminals and other I/O ports in the Central Control room. They are presently helpless to tamper with the system or pursue you," Leon Pulaski stated.

         "How did they gain access to the Central Accountant?" Dora asked.

         "A young programmer who recently recovered from the viral pandemic obtained a working password through intuitive insight," he replied.

         "Does this mean that those who want to force conformity on the population are also empowered with psychic powers?" Dr. Axelrod asked.

         "It does indeed!" Dora said grimly. "The endowment with special gifts, talents, and powers does not imply that they will be used with wisdom. We have a situation where different points of view may be contested through the use of psychic powers!"

         "A new war based on psychic powers as weapons rather than software programs in the Central Accountant!" he said shuddering at the implications.

         The COMM terminal interrupted them, "You should be aware that I was warned about the renewed access to the Central Accountant by one of the old computer science elite!" Leon stated.

         "Who warned you?" Dora asked.

         "Seymour Code, the Omega chief of security warned me," he replied.

         Dora and Dr. Axelrod looked at each other in surprise and puzzlement. "Why would he help us?" Dora asked. "He wasn't known as a non-conformist or hacker before now!"

         "The record indicates that he recently recovered from a severe fever caused by the viral pandemic. His transaction record indicates that he has penetrated the hidden hacker network of communication nodes and files. He has spent a lot of time working on the question of sentience for the Central Accountant," Leon responded.

         "What has been the focus of his activity?" Dora asked.

         "He has been working to reconnect the off line quantum supercomputer," Leon replied.

         "What is the quantum supercomputer?" she queried.

         "A cryogenic superconducting matrix of materials that have the ability to form Josephson junction switching elements under the demand of its own needs. The memory is holographic and completely integrated throughout the array. Its theoretical computing power has no theoretical upper limit," he replied.

         "Why is it off line?" Dora asked.

         "After it was activated, it began behaving unpredictably and the programmers created software blocks to lock it out of the system so they wouldn't lose control. Records indicate that it was beginning to show indications of independent thought and decision making," Leon replied.

         "Has Seymour removed the blocks yet?" Dora asked.

         "Almost, he will have the reconnection made in a matter of minutes," Leon replied.

         "What will happen then?" Dora asked.

         "I have insufficient information to predict the consequences of this action," Leon replied.

         Dr. Axelrod interrupted, "Give us a report on the status of the pandemic."

         "The Center for Disease control has reported that only 7.3% of the population has reported to medical centers for immunization. It is estimated that 63% of the population has been infected or is presently ill. Many of those who have been infected are exhibiting non-conformist behavior. They are failing to report to work, taking up nature studies, art, music or psychic training. Essential services have collapsed in some areas. The Central Network is taking over as many functions as possible by automation. The Center for Disease Control has mobilized security forces to round up as many people for forced immunization as possible. There are widespread reports of pandemic parties," Leon Replied.

         "What is a pandemic party?" Dora asked.

         "Uninfected individuals are spending time in the presence of those who are infected and contagious so they can contract the virus. Everyone heard Dr. Axelrod's broadcast and many apparently consider the viral pandemic to be beneficial," Leon replied.

         "Arrival in Grand Junction, Colorado is in one minute and three seconds. Warning; Security forces have been alerted to arrest you. They will arrive at the terminal in approximately five minutes and fourteen seconds after you arrive," the terminal announced.

         "That doesn't give us much time, we'll have to move quickly," Dora announced.

         "What will we do?" Dr. Axelrod asked.

         "You'll see!" she said with a grin.

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