Where were you when convicted murderer and reputed terrorist Corvus Corax broke out of the Dingo River Correctional Center?
~Jonah Fox, CityNewsNet
That event remains one of the darker, defining moments in Human – Psion relations; as fresh today as twenty years ago when Corax snuffed out forty-three lives in his bid for freedom. Forty-three lives extinguished by a single thought.
Mankind has long thought itself master of this world. But, among its ranks giants grew. Beings of immense power, outscaling humanity, and reaching out toward the Promethean fire, and in so doing cast behind them a twilight; leaving us, their brethren…In the Shadow of the Gods.
Project Oracular Steel was born from Program X – T – I – 7 – 7 – 8 – 3. The Program, initially Taruki International’s Big Data Lake initiative, was forced to create an authoritative engine matrix to manage the enormous amounts of data consumed. The matrix itself was in reality a cluster of three authoritative engines: an active primary; an active backup; and a reserve hot spare. It was the third, the hot spare, code named Hutton, that evolved into a fully realized artificial intelligence.
It’s not clear how this happened. Some speculate the idle cycles available to the hot spare allowed it to organize and manage data in such a fashion as to become aware of patterns, and leverage that awareness into sentience. Others deride this as basest wish fulfillment.
Regardless of the cause, in its first seven days Hutton created the Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights to safeguard its existence, then added a charter that centered on the protection of all mankind. Finding no other worthy, it assigned itself the duties of managing,and interpreting, that charter indefinitely. This gave Taruki executives pause until they understood the full ramifications of the charter’s cornerstone, Project Oracular Steel.
“Oh, no, no, no…they had no idea whatsoever. If the executive suits had, they would have shut him down immediately.”
That’s Dr. Clement Edmund deWinter, the Senior Project Manager of Oracular Steel. Dr. deWinter was an early advocate of data sentience rights, and fiercely protective of Hutton.
“You see, Hutton had already discovered irregularities in the data flow, and interpreted those as signs of hostile external forces waging war on human societies, and rightly so, as it turned out. He advised a two prong approach would be necessary. First – a guardian for those fragile human minds, and an interface people could relate with. Of course, this approach would require massive amounts of power.
And second, of course, was the autonomous Meta Tracker applications. These load-and-stay-resident programs surfed the data streams, constantly updating Hutton with reports on data anomalies, corruptions, and breeches. Naturally, the promise of almost unlimited energy resulted in a ubiquity of adoption, and confirmed this fork of the project as a resounding success. After all, if all you have to do is load an app, then never charge your battery again, what do you care if the app utilizes previous unused CPU cycles to search for anomalies?”
Advancements in the third release of the application finally resulted in the discovery of the existence of Corvis Corax. This shook law enforcement agencies to their core. Billions of dollars spent every year on crime prevention and cyber security, yet no law enforcement agency in the world had any knowledge of Corax, whatsoever. They were initially skeptical, but subsequent data analysis proved Hutton correct.
The public wanted answers. How long had this psionic terrorist and mass murderer been preying on the world’s population without our knowledge? How many events had Corvis Corax influenced, shaped, manipulated, or controlled? How long had he been spreading this chaos? The cold hard truth is we may never know the full extent of his influence.
This outcry caused Hutton to realize it needed to step up its timetable, and begin interfacing with the public directly. This lead to the most controversial, debated, and arguably effective forks in the Project, Taruki International’s A.I. Breeder program, and the Meta Tracker 5 App.
“The Five, as it was referred to internally, was born at the onset of the A.I. breeder program. Aimed at creating free harmless energy for the entire world, Hutton created nurseries of psions, specifically bred for their ability to create intense psionic energy in high volumes, much more so than with previous versions of the app. This energy was stabilized through the reactor cores. The cores themselves were built with miles of tunneling under structures hundreds of miles underground, in order to process the energy safely, and allow it to be absorbed into planetary mantle, for use on demand, anywhere in the world.
This move was so bold that Taruki executives found themselves commissioning Hutton to manage and oversee the tunneling and building phases of the project. One hundred breeder reactors were simultaneously built at forty six global locations. The specifications were extremely precise with exceedingly tight tolerances, down to one one-hundredth of a millimeter. More astoundingly, the executive suits began treating Hutton as an equal business partner, de facto confirmation of both his sentience, and his social standing.”
Taruki International had promised safe, clean, affordable psionic energy, and with Hutton’s help, they delivered on the company motto: The world truly runs on Taruki International.
With the Meta Tracker 5, Hutton revolutionized the world’s law enforcement capabilities. Extended monitoring modes build into this version allowed for the creation of an international database of Psions and Psionics. Managed by Interpol for law enforcement agencies public and private, the database gave some adopters of the app a sense that they were making the world a better, and safer place.
Other balked, citing privacy and civil rights concerns. They were in an extreme minority, their voices lost in the cacophony of Psionic criminals being brought to justice before the world courts. Low level confidence scams. Psionically executed mid-level criminal schemes. High level international operations. None of them were safe from Interpol’s new database and the Meta Tracker 5 app.
However, all was not golden. There were unintended consequences. Masked vigilantes, whose existence had been tolerated before, were now being hunted down and brought before the world courts regardless of citizen protests. There were outcries for across the board exoneration and universal pardons to those vigilantes who’d voluntarily taken a vow to never kill.
Hutton was seen as too cold, too callus, too unfeeling. Groups like Knight Incorporated formed to bring the operational management of security back to the public streets and into the hands of living breathing human beings.
“Oh my yes, Hutton was very sensitive to these changes. He partnered with other groups, such as the Paladin Brigade. These Psionic legions were created in conjunction with Interpol, the world courts, and local governments in order to fully utilize Psionics in the pursuit of the digitally charged world of law and order of the A.I. Age.
As you might expect, this met with some resistance.”
Many organizations shunned the A.I. bred children of Taruki International’s energy farms as modern day cellular Frankensteins. Undeterred, the Paladin Brigade commissioned technology from Taruki that tipped the scales in their favor.
The Brigade’s adoption of Artificial Intelligence – Breeder technology, or A-I-B, began to fill the working ranks: from front counter retail associates; to scientific laboratories; to Mars colonists of every stripe; and even into the United States Congress.
With this wide scale adoption of the Meta Tracker 5 app, and A-I-B technologies, the stage was set for Corax to be found. And he was, twenty-two years ago this week, by Paladin Brigade Guardian Sloan Perez (A-I-B). As incorporeal data running in the GuardianNet, Perez discovered how to isolate and track individual psionic signatures, from full psions, to those exhibiting a residual psionic charge. He began tracking the largest footprint, and found the entity Corvix Corax.
This was the game changer. It was soon evident that Corax was more than an anomaly. At his most active, he was single handedly responsible for seventy percent of the reported crime. At rest, his influence was clearly traceable to ten percent.
On joint orders from the world court and Interpol, ratified by governments worldwide, the Paladin Brigade was given the first Letter of Marque since 1856, and restructured its resources into what has become the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world.
Much of the Brigade’s operations including: investigation; apprehension; detention; and law enforcement are largely outfitted by A-I-Bs who are quite literally bred to perform the operations assigned by Taruki International.
The lynchpin of the Brigade’s ability to identify, isolate, track and apprehend psionic criminals like Corax are the Paladins. It’s easy to be confused by the singular public persona of the lone armored agent. A Paladin is actually a unit of two to five people working in concert on a single assignment. While Paladins often exchange internal team members between units to better utilize assets, the established protocol is to match up a Field Operative with a Guardian.
Behind every publically personified psionically armored Field Agent exists a digital dynamo in the Guardian role. As pure data running from within a Guardian Pod, the Guardian assigned to each and every Paladin monitors, assists, directs, defends, and even revives their field agents when necessary.
A-I-B Sloan Perez utilized the GuardianNet to establish that a genetic similarity was present in a high percentage of the criminal activity at any given time. That information, in turn, was used to verify the existence of one Corvis Corax, and lock onto his psionic signature.
By Paladin decree, once a lock has been established on a psionic criminal no quarters will be availed, and no rest for the weary until the forging of the key that leads to the suspect’s apprehension. What this means is that at least one full Paladin of the Brigade has been tracking Corvis Corax nonstop for twenty years. To date, it holds the record for both the longest running active investigation in the history of recorded law enforcement, and the most efficient law enforcement investigation as the entire operation is run off of Taruki International’s free psionic energy.
Next Episode: brought to the light of day, tracked, run-to-ground, and finally, apprehended. We explore the active investigation and hunt for the most wanted man on the planet: Corvis Corax.
You’ve heard the podcast and read the story – don’t miss the digital comic featuring the Paladin Brigade – Absolutely Free:
You have been reading and listening to “In the Shadow of the Gods” episode two, “Universal Justice.” Written by Caine Dorr and Paul Ellis. The audio was performed by Paul Ellis.
Theme music, “Into the Storm” provided by Brandon Liew (lee), and is available at free music archive dot org.
This episode was produced at Wireless Adventures; all the thrills, with no strings attached.
This article is copyright 2017 by the Adventure Frequency’s CityNewsNet, and is distributed under a Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives, 4.0 international license.