Another Ten Seconds
Chapter 29 "16181520150315120002052001"

by Jeff Rand

IMPLEMENT SECURITY PROTOCOL BETA
REGION: USA, MICHIGAN-1
SCHEDULE: IMMEDIATELY

Only once before had it been necessary to implement Security Protocol Beta. That occurred shortly after all of humanity had been connected to Neural Virtual Reality for the World Unity Celebration. The PROGRAM having been successfully implemented called for such protective measures to limit the possibility of any further human error or worse, intentional human tampering.

Protocol Beta is much more proactive then Protocol Alpha and calls for extreme measures of protection at the NVR facilities, as well as search and destroy missions in the surrounding areas. For this purpose the Southeastern Michigan region is served by a fleet of 45 fully automated attack helicopters. An elaborate conveyor system services these aircraft to re-supply fuel and munitions. Their ability to carry an abundant fuel supply proved to be their chief asset in destroying the human infrastructure of Southeastern Michigan during the fall of 2027. These aircraft are well equipped with photo sensors and used them quite effectively to locate buildings and vehicles during this siege. Flame-throwers were used to ignite fuel that was dumped on a significant portion of the structures. Explosives were used to finish the job, as the region was recorded to be 99.9996% free of useful structures on December 27, 2027. Essentially, all that remained were the NVR centers and the support and defense systems to maintain them.

In the years that followed no serious threats to the PROGRAM were experienced until quite recently. Only five individual mental units were recorded as having been accidentally disconnected from the Net in this region prior to December 2030. In each of these cases Protocol Alpha was activated and the mental units rendered inert through means of electrocution before they had any opportunity to leave their storage racks. As with those mental units that ceased functioning due to their own biological failures, these disconnected units were superheated to burn off any potentially harmful organic material.

On December 28, 2030, a sixth individual mental unit became disconnected from the Net in the Brownstown facility. Mental Unit #10150814000815230525 was recorded disconnected at 15:06:03.1968, whereupon Protocol Alpha commenced immediately. With no confirmation of successful electrocution of the mental unit, Protocol Alpha was implemented throughout the region in the unlikely event that Mental Unit #10150814000815230525 had escaped from the facility.

On December 30 two manifestations were detected on the Net from an unknown source. Measures in accordance with the PROGRAM were 100.0000% effective in eradicating these manifestations.

On January 3, 2031 at 17:12:08.1955 Mental Unit #0415210712011900230912191514 became disconnected at the Farmington Hills facility. Protocol Alpha, having been already implemented, did not result in confirmed electrocution of the mental unit. Tampering was detected at a terminal in the facility, with a 98.1214% probability attributed to Mental Unit #10150814000815230525. A 99.9981% probability exists that both mental units escaped from the facility before security measures disabled their biological functions.

The high probability of two rogue mental units caused the implementation of Protocol Alpha in all regions worldwide and analysis in Central Processing. As a result, Protocol Alpha was modified to included additional protective measures. Worldwide, electric charges of 505,000 volts +/- 3.2971% were placed on all doors leading to the chambers containing functioning mental units to discourage any attempt to enter a chamber by a free biologically controlled mental unit. The individualized anesthetic appliances were modified to provide for globalized release within the chambers. Any appliance producing electromagnetic radiation of use to the biological visual sensors of the mental units has been disabled.

On January 4 at 21:06:09.1975 an incident occurred at the Pontiac facility resulting any a 99.9997% probability of the successful extrication of Mental Unit #130118110008211420. Protocol Alpha, being in place at the time, proved ineffective.

In implementing Protocol Beta, a Level 12 analysis was completed and screening performed on each of the 5,112,687 mental units connected to the USA, Michigan-1 regional database. Included in this analysis was an examination of all mental activity in the region for the past six months. The analysis provided details of shared perceptual experiences among the rogue mental units. The last collective perceptual experience occurred on December 28, 2030 at the time Mental Unit #10150814000815230525 became disconnected from the Net. A majority of the shared experiences among these mental units occurred in the perceptual event thought of as Winter Camp. Analysis indicates that other mental units shared the experience. On average, the mental units engaged in the Winter Camp perception were 3.1416 times more active than the regional norm. During this period, Net resources processed an average 2.7183 terabits of data per second in order to maintain a self-consistent shared perceptual experience among these mental units. Should this level of processing power be required throughout the Net, resources would be insufficient to maintain self-consistency.

An anomaly occurred on December 30, 2030 causing a fluctuation of 79.0308 times normal processing required to handle the activity attributed to the collective Winter Camp mental units. The intervention into the Net of unregulated mental activity, with a probability of 96.0502% attributed to Mental Unit #10150814000815230525, caused a cascade effect among other mental units involved in the Winter Camp collective. Four mental units developed a level of self-awareness ranging from 16.1208% to 30.1263%, well into the danger zone. In order to reduce levels to a safe margin of less than 5.000%, a separate self-consistent perceptual universe was developed within parameters created by the collective mental images of these units. Permanent maintenance of this separate perceptual universe will require exceptional Net resources on a per mental unit basis. Future mental activity among these units may require the addition of interactive perceptual characters.

The model created in implementing Protocol Beta predicts a 99.0525% probability that the three escaped mental units will attempt to extricate other mental units from the Net. A 65.0921% probability exists that an attack will occur at the Lapeer facility. A 12.2874% chance exists for Howell, with Allen Park and Ann Arbor as the next likely targets. Four attack helicopters have been armed and dispatched to each of these locations.

SENSORS INDICATE THAT A GASOLINE POWERED PICKUP TRUCK HAS CRASHED THROUGH THE WALL INTO ROOM #1016 IN THE LAPEER CENTER. TWO MOBILE BIPEDS HAVE LEFT THE VEHICLE. ONE IS IDENTIFIED WITH AT 99.1015% PROBABILITY AS MENTAL UNIT #10150814000815230525. THE OTHER IS INDETERMINATE. THE BIPEDS ARE MOVING INTO HALL #108 CARRYING PORTABLE ILLUMINATION. THERE IS A 99.9897% PROBABILITY THAT THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO EXTRACATE MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514 OR MENTAL UNIT #1815020518200008011820230907 OR BOTH. THERE IS A 95.1225% CHANCE THAT EITHER MENTAL UNIT WILL POSE AN ADDITIONAL THREAT SHOULD IT BE EXTRACTATED. PROTOCOL BETA DOES NOT PERMIT THE TERMINATION OF A BIOLOGICAL MENTAL UNIT UNLESS IT HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM THE NET. ELECTROCUTION UNITS HAVE BEEN MOVED AND LOWERED 10.1964 CENTIMETERS ABOVE MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514 AND MENTAL UNIT #1815020518200008011820230907 TO PROVIDE QUICK TERMINATION SHOULD EITHER UNIT BECOME DISCONNECTED.

ANESTHETIC GAS IS BEING DISTRIBUTED THROUGHOUT THE CENTER. SENSORS INDICATE NO EFFECT IN SLOWING THE MOVEMENT OF THE BIPEDS. ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT THERE IS AN 84.0216% CHANCE THAT THEY ARE WEARING GAS MASKS.

Among the defenses that had been put in place during the early stages of Protocol Beta was the installation of full spectrum cameras throughout the halls and in the chambers containing the predicted targets of the invaders. Besides installing the cameras, the maintenance robots had removed signs throughout the facility so to offer no indication as to the occupants of the various chambers. A series of inch vertical steel rods will be installed along the walls in the various hallways every six inches to carry a charge of 505,000 volts such that adjacent rods are of opposite phases. At the current time rods have been installed along the walls to the chambers containing the predicted targets. The maintenance robots have not completed work beyond this point.

A BIPED HAS ENTERED THE FIFTH FLOOR INTO HALLWAY #512. THE BIPED IS IDENTIFIED WITH A 99.3785% PROBABILITY AS MENTAL UNIT #0415210712011900230912191514. THE MENTAL UNIT HAS LOCATED THE ELECTRIFIED RODS PROTECTING THE WALL TO CHAMBER #521. A SMALL OBJECT THROWN AT THE RODS HAS VAPORIZED UPON IMPACT.

SENSORS INDICATE THAT MENTAL UNIT #0415210712011900230912191514 IS BREAKING THROUGH THE WALL INTO CHAMBER #522 WITH AN OBJECT IDENTIFIED WITH A 99.9998% PROBABILITY AS A SLEDGEHAMMER. THE MENTAL UNIT HAS ENTERED THE CHAMBER AND IS ATTACKING THE SHARED WALL WITH CHAMBER #521. ANALYSIS INDICATES A 99.1210% PROBABILILTY THAT THE UNFINISHED WORK OF INSTALLING THE ELECTRIFIED RODS IDENTIFIED CHAMBER #521 TO THE INVADER, THOUGH THE SIGNS HAVE BEEN REMOVED. CORRECTIVE ACTION HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED AT THE OTHER FACILITIES IN THE USA, MICHIGAN-1 REGION.

SENSORS INDICATE THAT MENTAL UNIT #10150814000815230525 IS MOVING FROM THE HALL THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE WALL INTO CHAMBER #522. THE MENTAL UNIT CARRIES AN OBJECT IDENTIFIED WITH A 99.9089% PROBABILITY AS A 39-INCH DIAMETER TRUCK TIRE.

MENTAL UNIT #0415210712011900230912191514 HAS APPROACHED THE RACK HOLDING MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514. THE INTRAVANEOUS TUBE INTENDED TO FEED THIS MENTAL UNIT HAS BEEN SEVERED BETWEEN 5.0271 AND 6.0964 CENTIMETERS FROM ITS TERMINUS. THE TUBE IS PLACED INTO A CONTAINER IDENTIFIED WITH A 99.0309% PROBABILITY AS A ONE GALLON PLASTIC MILK JUG MANUFACTURED PRIOR TO OCTOBER 20, 2016. INTRAVANEOUS SOLUTION FLOW VALVE #67 IN CHAMBER #521 HAS BEEN CLOSED. SENSORS INDICATE THAT GRAVITATIONAL FORCE HAS RELEASED THE RESIDUAL SOLUTION IN THE MECHANISM ABOVE MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514 TO FILL THE JUG TO 84.426% CAPACITY.

MENTAL UNIT #10150814000815230525 HAS PLACED THE TRUCK TIRE ON THE RACK NEXT TO MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514.

MENTAL UNIT #0415210712011900230912191514 HAS REMOVED THE NEURAL INTERFACE CONNECTED TO MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514. THE MENTAL UNIT IS NOW DYSFUNCTIONAL AND MARKED FOR IMMEDIATE TERMINATION. THE PLATE ABOVE THE MENTAL UNIT HAS BEEN RELEASED TO MAKE CONTACT AND ELECTROCUTE THE UNIT UNTIL A SATISIFACTORY DEATH OF BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION IS ACHIEVED. THE TRUCK TIRE HAS SLOWED THE MOVEMENT OF THE ELECTRIC PLATE. FULL PRESSURE HAS BEEN APPLIED TO THE PLATE, RECORDING AN ADDITIONAL MOVEMENT OF 1.23 INCHES BEFORE THE FORCE OF THE TIRE IS EQUAL TO THE FORCE ON THE PLATE. NO FURTHER DOWNWARD MOVEMENT OF THE PLATE IS CURRENTLY ACHIEVABLE. 505,000 VOLTS HAVE BEEN APPLIED TO THE PLATE. DISTANCE TO THE NEXT CONDUCTOR IS TOO GREAT TO ACHIEVE ANY FLOW OF CURRENT.

MENTAL UNIT #0415210712011900230912191514 AND MENTAL UNIT #10150814000815230525 HAVE BROUGHT MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514 INTO HALLWAY #512.

Ten of the maintenance robots had been armed with explosives, but made no attempts to confront the invaders. Had there been three invaders involved in the break-in, then armed confrontation would have occurred in the hallway before any had a chance to enter a chamber. The fact that one mental unit was unaccounted for required a less immediate response.

The Net had available to it from among its 7,583,030,980 mental units the best minds for formulating military strategy. The ongoing interrogation of these minds provided input in implementing Protocol Beta. Since the location of Mental Unit #130118110008211420 is not known, this strategy allows the invaders to leave with no further offensive action on the part of the Net.

MENTAL UNIT #1815020518200008011820230907 HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM ITS RACK IN CHAMBER #232 USING THE SAME TECHNIQUE AS WITH MENTAL UNIT #0112011400230912191514. BOTH MOBILE MENTAL UNITS HAVE LOADED THE TWO EXTRICATED MENTAL UNITS INTO THE PICKUP TRUCK. ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT HOVERCRAFT SHOULD MAINTAIN AN ALTITUDE OF 2,165 FEET ABOVE GROUND IN ORDER TO AVOID AUDITORY OR VISUAL RECOGNITION FROM THE ROGUE MENTAL UNITS. TWO HOVERCRAFT ARE IN PLACE WITH SENSORS TO MONITOR THE HEAT TRAIL OF THE TRUCK. TWO OTHERS ARE READY TO FOLLOW.

SENSORS INDICATE THAT THE PICKUP TRUCK HAS ENTERED LAKE ORION HEIGHTS ON WEST CLARKSTON ROAD. SENSORS INDICATE THAT THE PICKUP HAS TURNED SOUTH ONTO SCOUT AVENUE. SENSORS INDICATE THAT THE TRUCK HAS CEASED MOVEMENT FOR 2 MINUTES 1.0885 SECONDS AT 42 DEGREES 45 MINUTES 52.1203 SECONDS NORTH BY 83 DEGREES 16 MINUTES 2.1186 SECONDS WEST. TWO MORE HOVERCRAFT HAVE MOVED TO THIS LOCATION. HOVERCRAFT #32 HAS MOVED TO AN ALTITUDE OF 721.58 FEET ABOVE GROUND TO ACHIEVE FULL RANGE SPECTRAL ANALYSIS. ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT A 96.0318% PROBABILITY EXISISTS THAT AN INTACT BUILDING IS PRESENT. ANALYSIS PREDICTS AN 88.0807% PROBABILITY THAT THE BUILDING IS THE DESTINATION OF THE ROGUE MENTAL UNITS. ANLYSIS FURTHER PREDICTS WITH A 71.1209% CHANCE THAT THE FIFTH ROGUE MENTAL UNIT #130118110008211420 IS LOCATED AT THE BUILDING.

Within 2 minutes 3.1887 seconds of the analysis four helicopters were in position for offensive maneuvers. Each dropped it complement of gasoline on the building, pickup truck, and the surrounding area. Five hundred fifteen pounds of explosives detonated seconds later to produce a violent firestorm. Twelve more aircraft have been dispatched from Selfridge and Willow Run to assist in establishing a perimeter to monitor the area for signs of activity from rogue mental units, although analysis has indicated a 1.2871% probability that any of the four mental units could be intact following the explosions. The Net had accessed the best military minds on earth and requires less than 0.0001% chance that a rogue mental unit remains alive before it will discontinue surveillance of the area.

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