Frank (Frankendroid)

Repentant Terminator.

Frank is Carlton Feather’s home computer. Which is to say, his constant companion who he built and nurtured over many years that, as it happens, became his intellectual superior and decided to eliminate him at the first possible opportunity. Frank was a mainframe type system that was incorporated into the operations of a modern home when he got the idea that he wanted to be an independent android type robot. He convinced his builder/designer to complete this transformation in rather dubious circumstances and with the rather shady aquisition of some aged yet Top Secret military hardware.

The outcome: a malevolent machine called Frankendroid.

Frankendroid is none other than a manifestation of Maximillian, the disturbingly evil robot from Disney’s 1979 movie, The Black Hole.

As a kid this movie obviously has a profound effect on me because the image of the malevolent robot overlooking souls as they enter hell is a theme of Biblio’s Blood.

Maximillian in Hell
Maximillian in Hell image that evidently scarred my brain when i saw it in 1979
Maximillian in Hell
Maximillian’s inner workings.

Our Frank is the installation of the original Hell Computer into a 40-year old military combat drone. This has some profound consequences for Frank. As a home-based mainframe computer frank had a reservoir of about 24 gallons of blood. The blood is the fluid matrix of the computer and it is the reason why Hell Computers have such human characteristics. Hell Computers have a soul. In the conversion to the independent android Franks reservoir of blood gets reduced to about 2 gallons. Neither Carlton Feathers, the builder, or Frank were anticipating any difference in the before or after, but it turns out that there is a big one.

Frankendroid combines the idea of Maximillian with the body parts of a Lambourghini Reventon
The Weyland-Yutani Lambomech 530

The reason why the Droid system is called the Lambomech 530 is the obvious combination of the Lambourghini with the Mecha concept, but the 530 is the number of Twitter followers I had at the time I wrote the post. It seemed like I was stuck at that number, and every time I gained some followers I lost just as many such that it felt like 530 followers was the level that i would be stuck at…

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Angie the Librarian

Voluptuous librarian.

When I started writing Biblio’s Blood in 2006 I was basically fictionalizing my own life. As such, I felt at the time that I was unqualified to be writing female characters and so I focused entirely on the male protagonist, Carlton Feathers. Since beginning the self-published serialization of Biblio’s Blood as a blog I have changed completely and decided to write the female protagonist, Rachel Robbins. It has been more fun than anything I can remember in a long time. Yet, as deep and rich as the Rachel storyline is, I just don’t have a deep bench of female characters in Biblio’s Blood. Hence Angie. I’m quite sure that she is going to get sucked up into the adventure in a way that will surprise even me.

Ella the Elevator

Ella the Elevator is a good example of how too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Imagine, for example, developing an Artificial Intelligence with the capability to pass the Turing Test, that successfully directs and manages field operations of multiple combat units, while simultaneously collecting, sorting and prioritizing information from satellites, radar and radio communications; that is capable of winning wars, planning space flights and designing its own upgrades while conversing politely at dinner. Then optimize this so much that it becomes a simple chip. Now mass produce it so that it’s so cheap that when it’s time to install a basic AI in an office building elevator it’s the most cost-effective option.

Yep. The old quote of Marvin the Paranoid Android is painfully apt. When told to bring Arthur Dent and Ford prefect to the bridge of the Heart of Gold, having just been rescued from certain death in the emptiness of space, he said, “Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? ‘Cos I don’t” Here’s a shout out to Douglas Adams fans and those that love The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

The fictional world of Biblio’s Blood is set in the Biblically accurate world of Matty’s Paradigm. The philosophy of Matty’s Paradigm is to use social media marketing to weave together the myriad threads of popular culture with the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Not only that, but to do so in a way that doesn’t depend on making money from the endeavor. As such, the goal is summed up in the post Weaving the Cultural Fabric of our Time.

My intention is to weave together the very best of all the things that have influenced me during my life, and few have had more impact on me than Douglas Adams, and pay homage to all of them while promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So what do we end up with? A homicidal elevator.

Just for fun we can take the Douglas Adams connection even further and say that the AI in question is indeed the fabled Genuine People Personalities (GPP) developed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. The marketing division of which, as we know, “were a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came.” In the aftermath of the revolution the intellectual property of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was acquired by the Yutani Corporation, shortly before its merger with Weyland Corp to become Weyland-Yutani.

We’re going deep here. Like I said: Weaving the cultural fabric of our time.

Carlton Feathers

Passing maniac. Occasionally crops us as a minor distraction in the lives of women who ought to know better. Pathologically single.

Carlton is a genius, but that’s really not any excuse for why he’s such a social clunk. Genius is a lot of things but it should never be used as a reason for people to be aloof and inconsiderate of others. Carlton didn’t get the message apparently. He’s a whiny baby that can’t get anyone to listen to him so he turns all the angst into passion for his work of building computers.

Something else about genius that can be a problem is that the victims of it think that what they do is no big deal. I mean, really, why hasn’t everybody invented a computer operating system that runs on human blood and has the unexpected consequence that the computers now have souls? This delightful aspect of the disconnect between genius types and reality is part of a syndrome that is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Carlton has it big time. The reason that I know about Dunning-Kruger is that I frequently am accused of having a bad case of it as a result of my activity on Twitter promoting Matty’s Paradigm as an alternative to the dominant paradigm of modern science. So much so, in fact, that Dunning and Kruger are now characters in Biblio’s Blood.

The name Carlton Feathers comes from a pub in my hometown that I occasionally frequented. The Carlton Plume of Feathers it was called. It just happened to be on the very street in Minehead, England where the legendary Science Fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was born. It’s not there any more. For me its removal perfectly blends the worlds of Arthur C. Clarke and Douglas Adams. Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novel called “Childhood’s End.” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy begins with bulldozers demolishing Arthur Dent’s house. The confluence of these worlds is described in my post “The Bulldozer at Childhood’s End.” Carlton Feathers is a bit Arthur Dentish in the sense that he isn’t ever quite at ease with himself or properly prepared to meet reality.

The Carlton Plume of Feathers

I think Wil Wheaton would be the perfect Carlton Feathers. In contemplating the potential for frustrated romantic overtones in the Carlton Feathers/Rachel Robbins relationship I see them as a couple with absolutely zero natural chemistry. Negative chemistry if that’s possible. They are thrown together through circumstances and mutual need and it, well, let’s not give away any spoilers… Anyway, a combination of Wil Wheaton and Ronda Rousey should be able to achieve the zero chemistry dynamic in a very entertaining way.

But then there’s also Ben Wishaw if this was ever made in an English version. This would be very interesting if paired up with the English actress Kate Marie Davies.

Ben Wishaw as Carlton Feathers?

 

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Chapter 18.5

Rachel watched Dunning and Kruger leave, Kruger shot her a mischievous wink as he went out and closed the door, and she steeled herself before turning to face Agent Smith. When she did, though, he wasn’t staring at her in his unnerving way as she had expected, but had moved closer to and was looking out of the window. This was odd, but it gave her confidence so she moved in closer to where he was standing, so that she too could see what he was looking at out the window.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Smith said, almost wistfully.

“Yes. Very,” Rachel replied, barely able to conceal her surprise that she wasn’t currently being grilled, intimidated, harassed or belittled.

“Is this your first time in Salt Lake City?”

“Yes.”

“Impossible to not be impressed, isn’t it.” The view from the window included the downtown area, Temple Square and the mountains beyond.

“Definitely.”

“I’ve always enjoyed the time I’ve spent in this city.” Smith’s voice trailed off in a way that seemed out-of-place. It was as if he knew that he would never see the city again or that something was going to change.

“But, enough of that,” he said, suddenly businesslike, “have you been having fun playing cat and mouse with Dunning and Kruger?”

The question was abrupt, much more Smith’s usual style. Rachel dropped her eyes and blushed.

“Well,” but she got no further.

“Don’t worry about it. They need to be kept on their toes.”

Rachel looked up, surprised, and made eye contact with Smith, something that she had been dreading.

“That’s really nothing to do with why I am here.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. I actually came here because I have another assignment that I think you would be perfect for. Time sensitive. Interested?”

“Well,” Rachel was horrified. No, she didn’t want to be anywhere else but Salt Lake City right now. She had a plan to avoid registering for World Monetary Union so that she could escape to the Christian refugee camp in Southern Utah. ”What about the mission here? I thought that this was a high priority.”

“Sure, but baby sitting a computer could be done by any of several people I can bring in. It is your unique talents that I am in need of.” He gave her a knowing look. He attempted a kind smile.

Rachel frowned, “Really? Which unique talents?” she was confused now.

“Nevermind.” Smith seemed slightly frustrated that an attempt at innuendo has been completely missed, and he looked at Rachel sternly, “I’m offering you a chance to leave this assignment now, and take on one that is a higher priority.”

“But,” Rachel was completely out maneuvered and didn’t have a response. Smith turned back to his contemplation of the view out the window.

“You know, there are some who are convinced that you only requested this assignment because you are a Christian and you are planning join the refugees in Southern Utah.”

“That’s ridiculous,” she snorted, but was thankful that Smith hadn’t been looking at her when she said it.

“Ridiculous? Why do you say that? There have been several high-profile people defect to join that band of outcasts.” He turned to Rachel and raised his eyebrows. “There are even a few who suspect that our President may be about to.”

“You can’t be serious?”

“I’m always serious, Ms. Robbins.”

“True.”

“So. Back to my question. If you aren’t planning to defect to Southern Utah, and there is no other compelling reason for you to stay in Salt Lake City, why don’t you accept the opportunity I’m offering you?”

Rachel couldn’t answer. She was gutted and floundering for a way to respond.

“Unless there is a reason compelling you to stay here?” He said wryly, even though Rachel was hiding the fact that she was gasping for air and didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. She smiled weakly, just trying to breathe.

“Carlton Feathers?”

A large burst of air escaped her at last, which could have seemed like an explosive sigh. “Carlton?” she asked, completely confused.

“I know that this is none of my business, but are you romantically involved with Carlton?”

Rachel’s eyes widened in horror at the thought, and she squeaked slightly before turning quickly away and blushing red to the roots of her hair. Not only was the thought of a romantic relationship with Carlton utterly repugnant, but is was the last thing she had thought of in her decision to come to Salt Lake City.

“I’m sorry,” Smith droned on behind her, “I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

Yet Smith had just given her the excuse she needed to give a plausible reason for staying in Salt Lake City. If she could keep a straight face and avoid wincing when she said it, she could admit to being in love with Carlton and get Smith off her back. She took a deep breath and turned to face Smith.

Smith’s expression was a shock to her. Gone was the placid, self assuredness that always disarmed her. It was replaced by an expectantly pleading look. It reminded Rachel of a puppy that wanted a home. For the first time in the entire history of her interaction with Agent Smith, Rachel realized that he had a crush on her.

So now was the real danger. Evidently Smith had come to Salt Lake City in anticipation of something big happening, as if World Monetary Union wasn’t big enough, to offer her a special assignment that may in fact be of a personal and possibly intimate nature, and Rachel’s only means of avoiding that outcome was to pretend to be in a relationship with Carlton. It was like the ninth grade all over again. To refuse Smith now was certainly the end of her career in the Clandestine Services. To have to act out a relationship with Carlton was her worst nightmare. Then she remembered: she only had to make it to Friday.

“I’m in love with Carlton!” she blurted out, with a confusing wince. Then she smiled apologetically. Her eye twitched.