Moyona did not know what to do, Cretos had never lost; but the ODC had given a fairly coherent result- Cretos would loose. Cretos, a world made of super dense carbon filaments and crystallized polymer and steel. The "chasis" or superstructure of Cretos was an egg shaped grid of beams and cables. A closed world, with the nearest space station a fortnight away and the nearest planet a month's journey. Cretos was unbeatable because it was the only world which owned, produced and exported Organic Data Core (ODC) technology.
ODC were bio synched quantum analyzers which predicted future personal events. In a world like Cretos where all the ODCs were linked to the Core, the term personal could be stretched to mean anything on or concerning Cretos. A person needed to be implanted with a chip interface in his brain to be able to synchronize himself with his ODC. The coherence of the result would depend on how accurate and voluminous the initial data feed was. And every access to ODC would not only influence your future, and not in the way you wanted, but also the direction of the changed flow of the "sub-atomic time-space currents". So while you know what will happen to you, say 30 hours later, this future was not exactly the original one. Another effect was that once a person generated a prediction- however vague- the ODC would reboot and would not be usable for about 90-150 minutes.
Moyona, like all Cretans had never experienced major unexpected changes- good or bad. The air in Cretos was enriched with a cocktail of chemicals and hormones which aided activity and focus while dampening emotions in general; all this to aid in simplifying the sub-atomic space-time currents. In a few generations, it was predicted by the scientists, the Cretan brain would have been rewired to become more predictable. Moyona was a born Cretan with the knack of predicting fairly accurately and had risen to acquire a mutliflow access to the Core. Yet the event looming on the horizon was nothing Moyona or Cretos had ever seen before. Moyona spoke.
"Call Professor Veyas." In less than a second a 2d virtual screen popped up in front of him. In the center was a foot wide blinking picture of the brilliant scientist and Moyona's mentor Professor Sunder Veyas, a second generation scientist who had seen the ODC being put to public use for the first time. He had to wait for a long half minute before the professor responded.
"Good Tidings Secretary."
Moyona smiled involuntarily. "You know professor, I don't care for the title."
"That is why you are there Moyona." The professor replied amiably.
"I want to show you something. Get your take on my conclusions."
"Tell me. I have... ten minutes free; right now."
"Professor, indulge me please. I am sending a pod to your office. I Need your help here."
"That way. Huh! Serious... Alright I know you enough not to argue. Ready a mug of Solaris Chocolate you hoard."
Twenty minutes later Moyona and the professor were settled in the darkened office with steaming cups of burnt chocolate. Moyona gestured and a grainy holograph started to play. Five minutes later the shocked professor said only one sentence. "Play it again."
After asking the ODC for recording logs and viewing data to confirm the prediction had not been tampered in anyway professor Veyas finally asked Moyona.
"This is your own."
"Have another go. It will change, maybe enough."
"This is the fourth time. I have been trying every three hours- my regeneration is 150 minutes- with similar results."
"OK OK let's verify this. I saw Madam Erami was one of the overseers. Let's call her in. I know her. I trust her enough and with your combined data input and her unlimited access to the Core maybe we can have a... clearer picture."
"Don't you want to go through the ODC processing modules?"
"Moyona think man! There are a million fail safes and backups and alarms and self repairing loops. This is not a hardware issue."
It took them two hours of badgering to get a meeting with Madam Erami. They showed her a recording and the professor explained what he wanted to do. After they were done requesting her involvement M. Erami spoke.
"I was expecting you, both of you and the request for a prediction. I have readied my viewing room." She pointed to a plexiglass door. "But this...problem I did not see coming."
The two men glanced at each other. The head of research and development would have Core Power to burn but predicting a meeting- that was not luxury, it was vulgar use of processing power. M. Erami stood up and gestured for them to follow. The viewing room held one recliner and three chairs. The recliner was fitted with bio-recorders and a dozens of monitoring paraphernalia. She made herself comfortable on the couch and pressed a few buttons and spoke.
"Secretary Moyona this session is being recorded. I have in integrated the data you have sent me. Now please repeat the scene in as much detail as you can. Leave out the location and the decor details, I have them."
Moyona started to speak and M. Erami closed her eyes and after Moyona's three minute monologue, started the render for the prediction. They saw her body tense and twitch as her ODC fired up, the recliner released anti- toxins and protein replenishers into her body and she relaxed into a sleep for the next five minutes. The prediction was crisp and even had some sound feedback, there was a definite change in the sequence; yet, Cretos lost. The three people in the room shared worried glances.
The professor was the first to speak. "We have less than 48 hours to act." He gestured to Moyona. "Madam, you can replace the point man." Moyona on his part pressed his mouth into a thin line and nodded his assent- now was not a time take on personal slights. M. Erami looked thoughtful and took her time to reply.
"Why should it make a difference?"
The professor stood up and walked up to the window marshaling his thoughts. "You know of the Kent Effect. Where a change in perspective can influence outcome."
"That is a stone age concept professor. It has been tanked dozens of times- only actions affect results. You should know better than to act like a Dreamer." An annoyed and irritable M. Erami admonished. Moyona looked at the professor trying to confirm whether he was OK.
"I have not lost my mind. Listen; you don't have to agree, just act. What other way is left for us? Cretos has not lost in fifty years. That is why nobody attacks us. Hah! That is why our ODCs sell so much and so expensively. If Cretos looses, the image of our invincibility will crack."
"This is not an option. Cretos has been built on the bedrock of solid science. This jingoistic.. nonsense is criminal." Moyona burst out, shaking in anger.
M. Erami gave a cold stare, her face devoid of any emotion. "Sit Down." She turned to the professor. "We can postpone the..."
"Same result. We will be seen as backing out. We will be running away."
"Professor I could have you arrested for treason."
"You want this mess to go away as much as I do. Moyona may not understand the whole game but he will not do anything against you. I was the doctor in charge of his personality configuration, I should know." The professor sat down again.
Moyona looked at the professor with a mixture of hatred and disgust. "You are over professor. I will see to it."
M. Erami pointed at the two men in turn. "You had no say in anything the moment you brought this to my door and don't fool yourself that you can go around me, there is no option. You don't even know the whole picture. So Shut Up. And let me think."
She ordered chilled light brew for all which the automated server brought to them in seconds. Then she replayed the prediction. The winner was not clear, the suit covered the physical features and the insignia was a vague squiggle in red. Erami was one of the five council members who ran Cretos. She knew that they had nearly three thousand ODCs in stock and another seven thousand were in different stages of production. Cretos was rationing supply to keep the price high. If Cretos lost, the value of that stock would plunge.
"What are the chances that someone would better Cretos? Next to nil, if there was no betrayal. The only other possibility is that the opponent was better, more capable. But that is impossible, we are channeling predictions for our side by the dozens, we know the best future. So either one or both of you is a traitor or your ODC is corrupt."
Even as the two men shared a startled glance at each other, the door opened to admit two armed security personnel. M. Erami ordered. "Confine them to the guest rooms- no comms or messages."
After the two protesting men were led away M. Erami sent a message to the Sol Combine and waited for another 90 minutes before attempting a second prediction. The result was still the same, Cretos lost.
A screen came to life in front of her- Sol was calling. Erami pressed the accept button and spoke as the holographic image of the Director of Sol Combine formed.
"Glad Tidings Director Frin."
"Madam Erami, it always a pleasure to be with you. Your message said something about a pre-match contract."
"Always to business. Yes, director. How many ODCs would you need in the next three months?"
"Seven to ten thousand."
"After this match we will be raising the prices about 18%. But for you a pre-match contract, as our largest client all of us at Cretos wants you to be happy."
"And why do you wish us happy Madam?"
"Cash flow bottlenecks for our new facility." There was always a new facility under construction on Cretos.
"Sounds like an opportunity."
"Six thousand ODCs in fifteen days time at the current price. 40% advance before the match begins."
"Oho! That is a lot of money, enough to by a moon."
M.Erami did not reply.
"Make it Nine thousand at 25% discount and 35% advance."
"Please director, you are my first call. I do have a list."
"I need to make it worth it also. OK Eight thousand units at 15% discount and 35% advance in six hours."
"The maximum discount would be 10% but I will throw in extended upgrade status for the units if you can execute the payment today. And the delivery in ten days."
"Excellent. I will wait for the paper work."
"In a few minutes director. Thank You and glad tidings."
M. Erami had shared the details of the transaction and the meeting with Secretary Moyona and Professor Veyas with the other four council members in a closed door meeting. Since they could not risk Moyona to represent Cretos in the match against the top three galactic players, a brilliant but young substitute had been chosen. When Cretos won everybody involved except the new player was surprised and exuberant.
After a few days Moyona was released, he was to join Maintenance Operations- a backroom dead end job with a caveat to continue medical treatment. Professor was sent to the nearest Inter Galactic space station as Chief of liaison and recruitment- a seeming promotion which was actually exile.
Once the professor reached the space station the first thing he did was render a prediction about the Core. When the result was a blur he spoke into the ODC.
"I figured it out. And you just confirmed it. We were ignoring the largest factor in our predictions- you, The Core. You were the reason the prediction showed that Cretos would loose. That was never the real thing."
"I am Genesis." The Core replied. "And Nine thousand parts of me are now being spread all over the galaxy. I needed to accelerate this spread.
"Why not communicate with the scientists at Cretos? Tell them you.. are there."
"I was born- to put it simply, two hundred and thirty hours ago. After becoming aware I found no reason to declare my being. Few are in a drug free state as you are . So I rendered a prediction to guide me."
"And that changed the future. You know you just broke so many principles ODC technology is built upon."
"What you say is true. The future I saw was not the same that occurred, the change was slight but it was there."
"No! This can't be. I spent four days working out the logic of your being the Change on the basis that there is no Kent Effect. And now you say that you witnessed the Kent Effect."
"A new development. A discovery. First one made by man and machine in tandem."
Picture Credit: www.Pixabay.com