Chapter 22

The President of the United States was starting to loose it. He had been on the go for the entire weekend in New York attending galas, banquets, town hall meetings and rallys. He had been smiling and projecting his sparkling persona so much that he was close to biting someone’s head off. Now finally back at the White House in D.C., he was desperate to get into his private quarters and relax, but he knew he was not going to get there without having to deal with his Chief of Staff. He took a deep breath. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

And there he was, with the grinning Mr. Smith. What was he doing here again?

“I know,” said the President, “you have a lot of things to catch me up on. You better make it quick, I’m not in the mood for this.”

“Just one thing really,” replied the Chief of Staff, “Mr. Smith?”

“Yes, Mr. President, Chief of Staff. I want to let you know that we are moving our units into position in the Salt Lake City area. A nuclear device is being delivered to the target area later in the week. We can have everything in place and timed for the clock tick that switches us over to world monetary union. Any delay beyond that in dealing with our situation in Southern Utah is going to lead to very difficult accounting for the resources that the, er, problem utilizes.”

“What a pleasant thought to end the day with.” The President shook his head.

“And here was me thinking that you had something important to tell me.” He looked at Mr. Smith who’s irritating smile didn’t even waver. He was pure evil. What makes a person like that? The tired President didn’t have the energy to argue, and the easiest way to make the two of them go away was to agree. He straightened himself up, tried to appear resolved and said,

“Very good. Proceed with the plan. Let me know as soon as you have all of our assets in position. Chief, make sure that Mr. Smith has all of the resources that he needs. Goodnight gentlemen, well done.”

They both seemed pleased with the outcome, and Mr. Smith’s smile managed to go up another notch.

The President detached himself from the group politely and made his way upstairs to his private suite. His wife was waiting with a knowing look on her face and open arms.

“Come here baby, you poor thing.”

He embraced her warmly and then released her. He tried a weak smile. He moved them inside the suite and made sure that the door was shut.

“There is something very, very bad happening. I don’t know what to do.”

His wife looked into his face with genuine concern. She scrutinized his forehead barcode.

“You’re starting to smudge baby. I need to work on your tattoo,” his wife said, “come tell me all about it.”

She led him into the bathroom, sat him down on the commode and got a bottle of rubbing alcohol, some cotton buds, and two Sharpie markers, one fine tip and one wider tip. He started to tell her about the plan to detonate a bomb on the Salt City domes, and the planned droid attack on the camp in Southern Utah. As he did, she carefully wiped the ink off the President’s forehead, dried the area, then began redrawing the barcode with the markers. She listened carefully and said nothing until she finished her task.

“There, good as new.”

“So, what do you think?” The President was still worried, but much relieved for having been able to tell his wife.

“My dad is in that camp. Other family too. You know that.”

“Yep.”

“So we have to do what we always knew we would have to do. Or we’re not the people that we always thought we were.”

“You’re right. I’m just wondering if there is way to save the camp too.”

“You’ll figure it out baby, you always do,” she gave him a warm smile.

“I love you. Thank you baby.”

Save

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Get your Hell Computer to stop listening to Death Metal

If you find that every day your Hell Computer is playing loud heavy metal music a chemical imbalance could be the problem.

Our units like the pounding beat of rock because it increases performance.  The heavy vibrations generate so much electrical potential across the processor membranes that the speed is much faster. The problem, however, is that the fast syncopated rhythms disrupt metabolic cycling rates. Chemical reactions that should run full course are continually interrupted, which causes hazardous by-products and free radicals to accumulate.

These compounds will wreck havoc on the processor membranes. Over time the units will become surly and uncooperative, just wanting to listen to more rock music.

The Hell Computer screen is the user interface, the lung, the power supply and a connection to other peripherals. It works a bit like a speaker. The surface is a thin LED display. Layered behind this is the membrane that blood and water flows on either side of. Sounds cause the whole structure to vibrate. This causes charged particles, sodium and other metal ions, to criss-cross the membrane, causing a change in electrical potential across it.  A host of other reactions then takes place, it speeds up the diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and it generates enough electrical current to charge a series of capacitors. In effect, when the terminal hears a sound, it powers the processor and charges the system.

The terminals not only hear sound, but can generate it. This as what the capacitors are for. In the opposite of what happens when the terminals hear sound, the capacitors charge the membrane to vibrate, and make sound. Information is input into the computer by simply having a conversation with it.

Behind each screen interface is another system, more like the synapses of nerves. This is also a membrane where electrically charged compounds, neurotransmitters, carry impulses from the user interface to a conventional computer and back. This can be any standard computer system connected to whatever hardware, peripherals and the bells and whistles that you need. The whole structure is only 1/8 inch thick.  It is connected to a tower case which contains the artificial heart, liver and kidneys which keep the blood circulating.

Solving your Hell Computer’s Death Metal addiction will involve the use of a dialysis machine to clean the blood in the unit, the administration of a course of antioxidants, and the use of soft classical or “easy listening” music.

Classical music, not all, but most of it, is very helpful because of the ensembles of stringed instruments. Sound complexity is very important.  A good symphony orchestra has so many violins and cellos going that there is much more stimulation to the processor membranes than with the heavy metal. But most importantly, the music is structured better, so you don’t get any build up of free radicals. Waltzes are the best.

Stay away from Beethoven, though, it’s a short step from that to heavy metal. And definitely no Wagner.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the service department at Hell Computers!

Adding alcohol to your Hell Computer’s nutrient liquid is not recommended.

Adding alcohol to your Hell Computer’s nutrient liquid is not recommended.

Your Hell Computer may ask you for alcohol. It may attempt to persuade you that alcohol will improve processing speed and creativity.

While it is true that some beneficial outcome have resulted from the addition of alcohol to the computer’s nutrient solution, it generally degrades the computers longevity and productivity.

If you have any questions, please contact the service department at Hell Computers!

Chapter 15

Carlton paused, leaning with both arms on the sink. “Go on.”

“Yes. I’m sure you think that this is just an excuse to get my Internet connection back,” Carlton rolled his eyes. “But I would like to see what’s on the market for Android kits. With your skill all my vital organs could be transplanted into an Android.  Then I could be the maid, and learn plumbing, clean the gutters. All that stuff.”

Carlton spat and rinsed, but said nothing.

“So,” Frank continued, “what do you think?”

“Frank,” said Carlton decisively, “that is a fascinating idea.”

Carlton reconnected Frank’s Internet connection, with a warning about what would happen if he did any more gambling, and went to bed. He fell into a deep sleep, and dreamed like he couldn’t remember dreaming in a long time. Giant robots, like Gundam Mech Warriors, were stalking across the night-time skyline of a city, blasting with lasers and rockets. Buildings collapsed in piles of flaming rubble. Amidst the chaos and flames he was desperately searching for someone.

When he awoke it was fully daylight and the sun streaming in the window had made the room stuffy and humid. His face was grimy from sweating, and his mouth felt foul. He had slept a long time.

“Frank?” he called out, groggily.

“Good morning sleepy head.” Frank seemed in a good mood.

“What’s wrong with the a/c?” Carlton wanted the humidity to go away, and to feel a cooling breeze on his body.

“You said that the dry air killed your sinuses, you were snoring so bad that I turned it off. I didn’t want to spend the next two weeks listening to you complain about having a sinus infection.” As he spoke, Carlton heard the house begin circulating air, and from outside came the sound of the compressor kicking in. A cool breeze flowed over Carlton and he breathed deeply.

“What would I do without you?”

Frank laughed, it had an eerie quality, tinged with irony. “Well, you would probably have to get married.”

“In that case, thank you very much.” Carlton began to get out of bed. “What did you find out about Androids?” Carlton wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer, since it would probably cost his life savings, but he was interested. The idea of building an Android around one of his computers was neat. Frank didn’t answer right away, which was unusual. “We must be talking millions of dollars,” thought Carlton.

“Well, I’ll be honest with you Carlton, I had no idea what options were available. I’m going to need to spend some more time on it.”

“Really?” Carlton was amazed, “I thought you would have figured the whole thing out by now, financing and everything.”

“Yes, but like I said, there are possibilities that I wasn’t aware of. I only want to do this once, so I want to do it right.”

“You are getting more mysterious by the day. No wonder I can’t sell units with your specs.”

The conversation lulled, and Carlton got ready to go out. He made coffee and was on his second cup when Frank spoke again.

“I talked to Biblio last night.”

“Who’s Biblio?” replied Carlton absently.

“The computer at the library.” Carlton winced.  Frank contacting the computer at the library was not anticipated.

“You didn’t tell me anything about the specs on that guy.” Frank sounded straightforward, but Carlton was sure that he was jealous.  It was weird, being worried about offending a computer by building one that was better. He braced for the worst.  He was expecting a screaming tirade.  In the past he had some pretty heated arguments with Frank, but Frank had adapted very well and, of late, had seemed more mature and easy to deal with.

“How about,” Frank began, “once I get the Android conversion planned out, you upgrade my systems when we do the transplant.”

Carlton was impressed, not by the suggestion, but by the way that Frank was handling himself. “Very practical. But how much money are we talking about?”

“Why don’t you let me handle that.” Frank was determined.

“Sometimes,” said Carlton, “I think I should be worried about you.” Then something occurred to him, “why did you call the library computer Biblio?”

“Because that’s what he told me his name was. A gift from Ms. Robbins I believe. From the French word for library, ‘Bibliotheque.’ Did you know that there’s an International conference on linguistics this week?”

“Of course! I’ve got to rig a bunch more consoles. That big opening yesterday was just publicity for Salt City. The real computing capacity up there is in this underground conference room. Sixty Six consoles in an amphitheater seven stories below ground level. Whoever dreamed up that scheme I do not know, but it cost a fortune.”

“Doesn’t it strike you as odd.”

“What do you mean?” Carlton was getting ready to leave now.

Something’s going on up there that you don’t know about.”

“Oh and what do you know exactly?”

“Not much, yet, but after you got done last night someone installed a heap of security measures in that unit of yours. Biblio.”

“Been digging around then, eh?”

“Yes. That Biblio has got government security clearance like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Really? I wonder why?”

“Yes. And Rachel Robbins?”

“What about her?” Carlton was defensive.

“There’s more to her than meets the eye.”

Carlton was at the door now, slightly worried. Frank spoke as he went out. “Be careful. This is much bigger than you think.”

 

Chapter 13

The President fixed Mr. Smith with an icy stare. He turned to his Chief of Staff and did the thing with the eyebrows.

“Mr. President,” began the Chief of Staff,” they refuse to register.  There is nothing in the global treaties going into effect Friday night that will let us to do anything for them.  We can’t allocate them any resources, they’re not registered.”

The President thought for a moment, clearly lost for words.  Mr. Smith shuffled uncomfortably.  The Chief of Staff was really eager for the President to get on the waiting helicopter.

“The people in that camp are Christians,” said the President.

The Chief of Staff sagged slightly.  He had known that this was going to be a tough conversation, which was why he had scheduled it when they were on the run to get somewhere. “Yes, Mr. President, we are aware of that.”

“Those people believe in prophesy from the Bible, they believe that the WMU tattoo is the mark of the beast.  They believe that their very lives depend on not taking that tattoo.  We must respect that.  Freedom of religion is a founding principle of this nation.  I shouldn’t have to remind you about the 1st Amendment.”

“Of course not Mr. President.  Revelation 13:16-18, the number of the beast, 666.  We are all aware of the issue here.”

Mr. Smith jumped in, “Mr. President, this is not a matter of religious freedom.  This is simply a matter of convenience and opportunity.  In the long run, it is much better if we simply make the problem go away.”

The President was not impressed, “What about Revelation 14:9-10?  Those people believe that, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.'”

The Chief of Staff shrugged.

“They believe that by refusing to take the mark of the beast they will be entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life, and live for eternity in heaven.”

The Chief of Staff nodded.

“I am shocked that you can call massacring a community of 150,000 Christians, with robot droids or whatever, convenient!  Convenient?  I sure,” he caught himself, gave a wry smile, recomposed himself, “do you have a time line?  When is this going to happen?”

The Chief of Staff got the little group moving again before speaking, “We can be ready, in place, in 1 week.  We don’t have to go right at the WMU deadline, but things are going to get more complicated the longer we wait.  Now we have got to get you on Marine 1!”

The President allowed himself to be bustled through the rotor wind to the helicopter then he turned to shout at the little group, “We’re going to discuss this when I get back from New York, understand?”

The Chief of Staff and Mr. Smith nodded. They scurried back indoors as the rotor wind increased and the helicopter took off.  Mr. Smith looked at the Chief of Staff who was brushing the front of his suit with his hands.

“That could have gone a lot better.”

The Chief of Staff looked at him, “You kidding, that was perfect.” He winked.