Monday, August 24, 2015

In Transit Monsters 14 (A Story of the Hecate Project)

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Davyd Samuel Whyte (H minus One Month 22 Days)

I smiled for the Net.  My Daemon had prepared a transcript of what I should say.  It scrolled along as the interview went.

"EpicVentures has expanded the World Ag Fund this year, in the hopes that this years food riots will not be as intense as years previous."  I said.

The woman interviewing me frowned a bit.  Journalists.  A rare breed to see.  Even though EpicVentures owned her company, she had that stereotypical urge to distrust me.  Fine.

She had dark hair.  Moira Hobb.  Genderfluid according to her file.  But these days she leaned more often on her female persona.  Cute.  Charming.  She looked like a survivor.  Dark clothes.  A practiced manner ideal for dealing with the drones flying around her.  A intelligent problem solver.  But not as smart as Rahm.

How I missed her, even though she were one transit away.

"So you admit that under-funding let to riots in the past."  Moira Hobb said.

"Prior members of the board disagreed with my policy to expand welfare."  I smiled into the drone.  "Automation has eliminated most jobs.  And as we've lost access to the vast resources of other worlds, we should try to do what we can help our less fortunate.  Not helping them make ends meet is cruel."

"You plan to expand other charities EpicVentures sponsors then?  Does that clash with your company's opposition to social reforms?"

I shrugged.  "We've recently had changes in our executive structure.  As part of those changes, I've decided to expand our welfare as much as possible.  It seemed like the right thing to do."

Rick had always opposed damaging the end profits.  I disagreed, but never could get him to budge on it.  What was the point of profits when the world was coming to a end?  Most of these people were going to die.  The money wouldn't survive it.  Orpheus wouldn't save the cash.

Money didn't matter so long as I had Rahm with me.

"I see.  Mr. Whyte, what is your take on the recent emergence of Joiner protests?  What do you think of people who want to join the Enemy?"

It took a moment for the words to register with me.  I hadn't expected them.  My Daemon had failed to predict this.  I blinked my eyes with surprise.  My Daemon failed to predict that question.

"Mr. Whyte?  Do you need me to repeat the question?"  Moira Hobb's eyes glittered like a predator.  Great, I had made something Net-worthy of her attention.

"No, I..."  I tried to put the confusion of the failure off to one side of my mind.  I focused on the question.  "I haven't put much thought on traitors."

I winced as the last word came out.

"So you believe anyone who joins the enemy to be a traitor."  Moira said.

"Well- that is what they are.  Humanity is humanity.  Anything alien is... is a betrayal to the species."

My Daemon had failed to predict this.  Why?  It hadn't failed in years.  In fact, I couldn't remember any time it had failed.  Not in my memory.   I relied on it to predict things like this.  I needed that edge.

"Betrayal to the species, even those who don't have a choice?  Or do you mean just those who've used violence in their protests?"

"Violence in their protests...?"  I asked.

"Yes.  In Seattle last week I witnessed people killing their own children as a formal protest.  They used conjured pistols to openly claim human offspring deserve to die rather than live unjoined.  Or so some speculate, anyway."  Moira explained.

"That's obscene."  I said.  "How dare they- I mean, I think its a travesty.  EpicVentures has long been opposed to any sort of slaughter as part of a protest.  We need to preserve the count."

"Will EpicVentures begin to start social welfare to combat such protests?"

"If lunatics are killing their children, and the UN chooses to do nothing about it, then yes.  Yes will we do whatever we can."  I said.

I instructed my Daemon to begin a self-diagnostic.  I wanted to know what that had happened.  Mental lists of tasks started to formulate.  Consequences I needed to check.

#Daemon Diagnostic Running

"Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Whyte."  Moira Hobb offered her hand to me.  I returned the gesture with a smile.

"Thank you Moira!  I'm always glad to speak with SBC."

"And the drone is off."  Moira smiled.  "You can unclinch."

"Life is boring without stumbles."  I replied.

"Is the Pygmalion Program really ready to unveil their soldiers at the end of the month?"  Moira asked.

I raised my hands up defensively.  "I have no influence over them and-"

"Off the record.  I'm personally curious.  I have a... a longterm friend who works for the program."  Moira gave a concerned look.  "We've lost Mars.  People don't think we can make it.  The count keeps dropping.  The enemy will be here within a year, even though we know they could transit over here at anytime."

"We still don't know what the Enemy only transits between stars.  That's part of the mystery we all deal with."  I said.  "Pygmalion has been hard at work for ten years.  Time to give our last chance."

"Last chance."  Moira shook her head.  "We keep saying that.  It doesn't sink it for me.  I can't blame them for killing their kids, even if they want to join the Enemy, y'know?"

I nodded.  "If you have no future, then morality goes out the window."

Diagnostic Ended.  Daemon Error Chance of 0.04% Found.

Error chance?  What did that mean?

Moira nodded.  "Thanks for the interview.  The live stream will be available for replay in four or five minutes."

"Ah.  Good."

Moira Hobb left.

I slid down into a chair.  An error chance of less than half a percent.  Even lower than that.  I thought about contacting Rahm and asking her about that.  My Daemon updated my feed again.  Messages and predictions entered my BrainSys.

Perfectly predicting the rest of my day.  As far as I know, it was perfect.  There still would be an error chance that wasn't zero.

What if what it predicted about Rahm to me had been wrong?  What if she really wasn't working hard at Orpheus?  What if she weren't missing me all the time?  What if she had found love in someone else?

That error chance made me worry.  I thought my Daemon had been the perfect form of foresight.  But it could be wrong.  That interview had a minor mistake.

What else could it have gotten wrong?  Could it have been wrong about Rick?  Or Project Orpheus?

Aftermath 14
Here we are again.

Please share this if you enjoy #InTransitMonsters and this #FirstDraft of it.  Comments and feedback help too.

Here's a bit of bonus stuff for you guys might care.  Some of my worldbuilding notes for In Transit Monsters:

The advent of transit created a large-scale migration of humans off Earth to other worlds.  Earth had been spending decades embroiled in conflicts over resources, all severely stretched following the climate's change.  Human conflicts, having become increasingly asymettric and between few human combatants, resulted in only more lives on the planet.

Humans could not sustain themselves.  Not with the lifestyle regarded as civilized.  Worse, most human states had become trapped between their technology and ideals.

Automation had created massive unemployment.  Even in despotic governments, automated vehicles and other forms of automation forced over seventy-five percent of Earth's population to subsist on forms of welfare.  No form of any welfare, even in the 'western' bloc of the US and the EU, ever rose enough to keep the mostly unemployed population from poverty.  

The age of Transit travel began during what many had been calling the Long Depression.  

Transit's invention combined several related innovations.  Predictive computer models allowed spatial points to be accurately determined.  Quantum tunneling and other elements enabled the creation of transit sites.  At first, scientists had accidentally created micro-transit points, using massive amounts of energy to do so.

The idea that a transit point could be expanded to larger and larger sizes seemed impossible.  The energy requirements seemed beyond anything humanity could achieve.  Then the Miranda equations came into play.

A series of fractal equations that changed how micro-transits worked.  They became incredibly energy-efficient.  The discover of mathematical principles in transit led to weeks of fervent experimentation.  Within a year, there were thirty corporations operating transit sites in thousands of different ways.  By the end of the second year of operations, most nations experienced massive migrations.

Looking back, its easy for post-Transit humans to wonder why we weren't able to create the technology sooner.  The Miranda equations expanded them into a useful technology, one that no human could've predicted capable of such revolutionary change.  

Transit sites do not need a receiving site to work.  With predictive AI, the sites can create a spatial point that connects their point with any other point in the universe.  The distance isn't the limiting factor; the size of the point determines the limits of a transit site.  Microtransits are so easy to create, that entire new industries emerged; human transit became so cheap that one could travel across several worlds very, very quickly.

It took humans less than ten years to spread to over a hundred thousand worlds.  Some nations on Earth foreclosed; their populations had shrunk so much that they couldn't justify their continued existence.  This was Interstellation, the creation of a new interstellar market.