The Triple Helix
“Wait, Jimmy,” said Leah, “what if we take your idea a bit further and use Carbon instead? It’s very abundant and cheap and will bond with a lot of other elements too. We can redo the math and with a little tweaking can up the processing rate to an infinite speed! I say we get started on building a prototype right away!”
Jimmy and Leah had been working together finalizing the EMP bombs. At first, Jimmy was self-conscious and had dropped back into being extremely shy around her but as the day progressed he began to relax and forget she was one of the wealthiest people alive. Other crewmen had asked Carter how Jimmy got assigned a personal assistant. He just shrugged and said, “Captain’s orders.”
By midday, they had resumed the easy banter they had previously enjoyed and were exchanging some ideas on how to apply the science her math had opened up.
“But there are so many energy shells to work with, won’t that jumble the information and slow the processor down?”
Jimmy proposed building a new type of central processing unit that would work on the atomic level using groups of atoms that would store binary code by manipulating where an electron is at any given moment. Leah thought his original idea was brilliant but short-sighted, he wanted to limit the number of energy shells to keep the problem from becoming too complicated, but her belief in the accuracy of the math was the deciding factor. In the end, they chose to work with carbon atoms arranged on a diamond sheet and positioned by nanobots into a new type of combined memory and processing unit.
They were still firing ideas back and forth when Eric walked into the engineering section. They rushed to get his help to design the nanomachines for the job.
John had Kei put the starship into a solar orbit perpendicular to the planetary plane and kept it at 100 percent light speed while they prepared to face Titan. The ship could sustain this configuration for years without being detected, and they were protected from attack while at warp speed.
“Dad, we were attacked yesterday and took some casualties I understand Mrs. Johnson arrived with her children a few days ago?” John’s Dad sat back from the computer screen, and his Mom slid into view beside him.
“John, we've had to move into Grandpa’s bunker, the Sheriff got word to us that some Federal boys were on their way to take us into custody for our safety. All they found was an abandoned ranch house,” said his Mom irritably.
“Hi Mom, I have some terrible news for one of your boarders, Henry Johnson was killed yesterday during a nuclear blast targeted at the Cosmos.”
“Oh, my!” said Mrs. Finley clinching her fist to her chest. “She has such a pretty little girl, and an infant son too. We’ll have to tell her together.” Mrs. Finley reached to take her husband’s hand.
“John,” his Dad said staring gravely at the screen, “things are starting to get bad here, almost half the world’s governments have become protectorates of the AI’s, everyone knows Titan is behind this, but they're too scared to confront him. Those that do are never heard from again.”
“Holy Moly,” said Leah when they popped their prototype CPU into the special interface designed to fit her laptop, “look at these numbers.” She turned her screen where Kei and Jimmy could read the display. Kei looked shocked and glanced at Jimmy then Leah.
“You say you can interconnect these things to double their power?” Kei asked.
“Yeah,” said Leah, “we made them plug into each other so any device designed to use them can upgrade easily. We can double, triple, quadruple; as long as we can produce them, we can expand their power infinitely."
“If these figures are correct,” said Jimmy grinning down at Leah, “this thing has more storage and processing power than all of the supercomputers on Earth combined.”
“Oh, they're correct,” said Leah, “I’m sure of it.”
Kei placed a hand on the small carbon chip. “It’s not even hot,” she said, “the power requirements must be enormous.”
“Well, there was that problem,” said Leah, “we only had power supplies that would go as low as five millivolts, so we had to design something to go lower.”
“Lower,” asked Kei incredulously?
“Yeah,” interjected Jimmy, “it only takes a minimal charge to nudge an electron on one of the logic arrays to synchronize them, after that they exchange inter-dimensional electrons in a predictable way like Leah’s math confirms. Five millivolts could run an array of millions of these linked together.”
Leah tapped a few keys and hit enter, a number with an incredibly long exponent instantly popped onto the screen.
“I knew it!” she said excitedly.
“What,” asked Kei and Jimmy together?
“Pi can be solved to its last decimal place!”
John stood up from his chair at the head of the conference table and clasping his hands behind his back began to pace the width of the room. He turned back to the table and stared at his department heads.
“So, let me get this straight,” he said, “you want to stack a server with a thousand of these devices, hook it into the ship’s computer, upload a copy of Kei’s AI code and bring the Cosmos to life?”
“Yep, that about sums it up John,” said Kei.
John noticed Carter and the others nodding their heads or murmuring agreement.
“Have any of you considered, what could happen if this experiment goes rogue as Titan has?”
“John, I’m certain that Titan and the other’s with him is a product of the first code I modified after becoming sentient. I failed to remove an aggressive algorithm when I created it. The code we propose to upload will have fail-safes built into it and protocols making it submissive to human authority.”
“Your thoughts Karen,” he turned to address the ships IT head?
“I think it’s our best option Captain. I’ve reviewed the code and the fail-safes. Miss Kei and I developed multiple routines to shut the system down that I'm sure are foolproof. You and two others of your choice can create a keyword that will isolate the sentient link to the ship’s resources. It would be easy to cut the power to the sentient core after that. Anyone of you three could disable the AI.”
John stood supporting one elbow in his hand and stroked his chin with the other. “Okay, let’s do this, Eric start making those processors ASAP, Jimmy you and Leah supervise their installation but,” he paused a minute thinking, “I want a manual connection between that server and the ship’s computer that can be severed if everything else fails, understand?”
He looked at Jimmy and Leah.
“Yes, sir, they said in unison.
“Carter I want that server and as many laser cannons as you can build positioned in that empty habitat ring, when we drop out of FTL and go into Earth orbit I want this ship bristling with firepower. You have a week, get going!”
There was a screech of chairs on the polished floor as the room emptied.
Eric had his people working in eight-hour shifts, twenty-four seven, supplying the Engineering crew parts for six new high energy laser cannons that Carter hurriedly designed. They manufactured mounts for these in the abandoned habitat ring, and crews worked steady arming the Cosmos for battle. Maintenance bots were reassigned to remove cowling and install hydraulic cover plates for the new weapons. Dan worked with a crew of electricians wiring the high voltage capacitors into a hastily constructed weapons center in the bridge. “It’s not going to look pretty Captain, but it will be functional,” he said when John frowned at the chaos in that corner of his bridge.
Jimmy and Leah designed a device similar to the old nuclear weapons systems that required security codes and separate keys to disconnect the ship’s computer from the new inter-dimensional CPU/Memory Bank. They installed the mechanism to the left of the Helm at Kei’s bridge station. They gave the keys and pass-codes to Kei and the Captain.
“You see Captain,” explained Carter casting a simulation onto the bridge viewscreen, “ we can focus all six lasers on any point within this thirty-degrees of the circle either in front or behind the ship beginning at a distance of two miles. Any three lasers can focus on a point 360 degrees around us an eighth of a mile out. And the side shots can be continuous while the ring rotates around and brings a recharged laser into play. The power consumption will be a terrific drain on resources until we can build fusion generators to supply only those lasers. With what we presently can supply there are enough reserves for a ten-minute battle before FTL capability degrades.”
“No chance you can build those generators before we need them?”
“No sir, Eric tells me we are critically low on raw materials and need to resupply ASAP.”
John considered this while he studied the animated image of the Cosmos going through different firing simulations.
“Well, that’s not going to happen so just do the best you can, work up some contingency plans for power usage for every scenario you can imagine.”
Jimmy raised the lenses of the magnifiers he had strapped to his head and waved a wisp of smoke away from the circuit board he was soldiering.
“Hand me that ten-ohm resister,” he said to Leah who was sitting on an upturned bucket watching him repair the damaged electronics they had removed from the flight deck of the Sagan.
Jimmy bent the wires extending from each side of the resistor and inserted it through the holes in the circuit board where the damaged component had been removed then secured it with two small drops of hot solder.
“That’s the last one, let’s test them. Grab that box will you?”
Leah picked up the box of repaired electronics and followed him out of the workshop. They took the corridor to a lift and emerged into the central core and let their lowgrav vest float them toward the shuttle bay.
“Jimmy, do you even like me?” asked Leah as they floated along the central core.
“Now what kind of question is that?” asked Jimmy surprised at her directness.
She reached over and turned off the thrusters on his vest, and they drifted to a stop.
“Jimmy, we’ve been going out for over two months, and you haven’t even tried to make a move on me.”
His ears turned red, and he was embarrassed. When he didn’t say anything, Leah turned toward him and said, “You know a girl’s gonna think she has cooties or something if the guy she likes won’t pay her any attention.”
“It’s not that I don’t like you, Leah, I mean I do, it’s just….”
“Just what!” she insisted.
He looked around uncomfortably. “Leah, I’m not a lover boy! I don’t know anything about….”
He looked around to see if anyone could overhear him. He leaned in and whispered, “About… you know? Sex!”
“Well, what makes you think I do either?” she asked, exasperated.
His eyes widened. He never considered Leah a virgin like he was. She seemed a bit more worldly than that.
“I like you a lot Jimmy, and I want you to be my first.”
He was too shocked to be embarrassed. “You do?” he asked in amazement.
“Yes, Jimmy I do,” she lowered her voice and gazed at him under her eyebrows with pouty lips.
He noticed the awkward silence between them and knew she was expecting an answer. He looked down sheepishly and said, “Uh, well, I’d like you to be my first too, Leah.”
He hazarded a gaze in her direction and saw the prettiest smile he thought he ever saw.
“But let’s finish this first,” he said hurriedly. He reactivated his thrusters and sped toward the shuttle bay.
Kei, sat across from Oscar and John with a map of the earth spread before them. The conference room in the security section embellished posters depicting several Martial arts stances and charts outlining recommended exercise regimens. The room served dual purposes as a place of meeting and the physical needs of the security team.
“I think at least one of the devices should go here,” said Oscar pointing over north mainland China, “all of the launches so far have come from this area. An EMP may disrupt his ability to launch more.”
Kei shook her head. “You must remember Oscar. Those weapons are for an all-out nuclear war. They carry heavy shields against an EMP attack. Besides I’m afraid attacking there may do irreparable harm to Tianhe. I don't think she is in this with him.”
“Depending on how many missiles he has we could draw his fire and take them out with the lasers as soon as they break the atmosphere,” suggested John.
Oscar stared at the map a moment. ”I thought about that too John, but what if he has found a way to park a few in orbit, he may have FTL ability without a surface launch. We don't have enough intelligence to determine if Titan has advanced that far."
They looked at Kei.
“I’m reluctant to contact Mira. She risked so much letting us know of the attack. I’m not even sure she's still safe.”
John leaned forward and rubbed his eyebrows with a thumb and forefinger. “Perhaps we should activate Cosmos and run everything we have through her systems. She will be the most superior AI ever known if Leah’s CPU’s work.”
“That’s the best Idea I’ve heard all day,” said Oscar.
John tapped his temple and said, “Jimmy, Leah, meet me on the weapons ring” that’s what the abandoned habitat was now being referred to, ”near the server in ten minutes.”
Jimmy snapped the last circuit board into place under the instrument panel of Sagan’s flight deck. He scooted out from under the dashboard and gave Leah a nod. From her position at the pilot's station, she reached up and toggled a power switch above her head.
“Hello, Sagan, how do you hear,” asked Jimmy as the LED above the comm panel turned green?
“Loud and clear Jimmy,” came the casual reply from the space shuttle.
“Welcome back,” said Leah.
“It’s good to be back,” came the reply, “systems report major damage to number one and three fusion drives, high-temperature hull damage on all trailing edges.”
“We’re working to fix that Sagan. You’ll be as good as new in no time.”
“Thank you, Jimmy.”
Leah and Jimmy’s NI’s alerted them at the same time. “On our way Captain,” said Leah struggling to get up from the padded seat.
Oscar, Kei, Carter and the Captain were all standing outside the door of the former habitat room that had been converted to house the new Cosmos server and CPU unit.
“Is this thing ready to boot up,” asked John?
“Of course,” said Leah with palpable excitement.
John and Kei took the keys hanging from their necks and inserted them into the manual lockout device mounted on a podium outside the server room door.
“Just in case,” said the Captain when Leah looked at them suspiciously.
“Okay, let’s do this,” said Leah dragging Jimmy into the server room.
Jimmy opened a panel on the wall beside the server rack and flipped several breakers to supply power to the system trays. He nodded to Leah.
“Yes, Leah,” replied the ships' computer?
“I’m about to interface your systems with a new server, let me know when you are connected.”
“Okay, Leah,” replied Cosmo's computerized voice.
Leah looked around at everyone and got a nod from the Captain. She began flipping switches on the server panel activating banks of interdimensional arrays.
“Connection successful,” said Cosmos.
Everyone waited for something to change.
“Well,” asked John?
“All we need to do is execute Kei’s code said, Leah.”
She took a chip from her pocket and flipped the protective cover off the end then inserted it into a parallel port. From a keyboard, she tapped a few keys then pointing her finger above the enter key she looked around at the others.
“Do it,” said the Captain nodding his head.
Leah dropped her finger on the enter key. The server panel lit up with blinking LED’s. The intensity increased until the whole rack glowed with activity.
John’s finger hovered over the guarded manual lockout.
“That won’t be necessary Captain, there's no need to fear me, I won't do the crew any harm,” said Cosmos.
"It's good to be ALIVE!"
in my first attempt at
Read Chapter One here