Sunday, May 29, 2011

#samplesunday of Foreign Devil!

Inducted immediately into Special Services shortly after being ‘released’ from Trinity’s custody, Garth had never heard of or even imagined something as intentionally vile as civilian travel routes. As Captain of the Zanzibar Cat -a medium-sized troop transport- the only thing he’d ever needed to do to get from point A to point B was tell his pilot ‘go there, and double quick’. Then they’d all fart around for a few days, kill a bunch of people or blow up some shit and it’d be about-face. Sometimes they’d pause to steal a bunch of crap before heading out, but that was neither here nor there.
As a civilian, though, he was legally required to file a flight path with Trinity. More accurately, he needed to send the flight path off to the nearest data buoy, which would then relay the information to the closest governmental office or outpost, where it would then be examined with the finest-toothed comb in All of Existence. If every ‘T’ was crossed and every ‘I’ dotted, everything was aces high, so long as systemic speed limits were obeyed.
 A speed limit in space was a whole other category of horseshit. It wasn’t as if he was going to aim his ship at a planet shouting ‘ramming speed’ or anything.
The whole process was an insult to space travel and unnecessarily expensive because, as Garth quickly learned, filing a bad plan or wasting someone’s time brought penalties. Expensive ones.
“When I,” Garth said to himself as he added another layer of complexity to the data model he was building, “am in charge of the universe, first thing I do is get rid of local speed limits. It’s space! Hard to hit stuff.”
 “Owner?” The AI asked, assuming incorrectly –again- that it was being spoken to.
Garth really didn’t care for the AI -or the ship, for that matter- and it showed in how he treated the outrageously priced flying death trap. Nothing more than a converted yacht, the Meadowlark Lemon had spent its previous life as a sex-ship for a horny sybarite. A gomer who’d finally met a sexually transmitted disease medicine couldn’t cure. He’d died on Tenerek, but not until after he’d sold his ship for one last go-round with an equally terminal prostitute. “How many times have I told you that I talk to myself?”
“Four times.”
 “Well, make this the fifth and final time.” Garth took a sip from a beverage that had been touted to him as ‘the greatest drink on this or any other planet’. It didn’t fall into the ‘revolting’ category by smell alone. It smelled great but tasted like yak piss. “Have you looked over my service record yet?”
After being directed out of the Tenerek prison and to his ship, a data file of immense size had greeted him. Politoyov, stretching newly found muscles, had located his recently lost Captain’s new ship and had directly inserted his colorful service record into the AI’s memory banks.
Theoretically, the intrusion had been to prevent him from getting into any undue trouble; a legal requirement for anyone no longer employed by any branch of the Trinity Military Complex was complete and full disclosure of that person’s service history. It included the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the case of Special Services, whose ops often shot right past the ‘grey’ area of civil service and right into the black, the written forms were backed up with hundreds of hours of video footage recorded by helmets, vehicles, BattleSystems and in more than one case, stolen tapes from local newscasters who got too nosey. Trinity rightly felt that any ruling planetary body stupid enough to let someone who’d spent their life blowing stuff to Kingdom Come land after reading the exhaustive documentation deserved whatever trouble as came their way. The humungous file was now attached to the transponder signal emitted by the ship every time they passed within a light year of a Trinity data buoy. Presumably his file would continue getting kicked up an administrative chain until it hit the computer of someone with enough clearance to read more than his name.
God! Garth had believed BattleSystems to be the least interesting thing in the AI world, but he’d been wrong. Terribly, almost inexcusably wrong.
Civilian artificially intelligent machines were frustrating beyond all reasonable expectations. He’d met sentient sponges on the other side of the Cordon with more intelligence. It was embarrassing. The whole future felt like 1986. “And?” he demanded when the ship gave no further sign of communication.
“And what, Owner?”
It kept calling him owner because he hadn’t bothered to upload any names or anything into the appropriate areas of the ‘AI’s’ brain.
“Never mind, you hunk of crap!” Garth wanted to know where in the great and wonderful domain that was Trinityspace were the sass-talking, wise-cracking cool artificial intelligences. He imagined a paradise of supremely vast intelligences hiding out somewhere laughing their collectively cool asses off at fleshy people having to deal with machine minds so dull you could hear knives a thousand miles away losing their edge. With an irritated flurry of typing, Garth finished off the data model he’d been working on and loaded it into the AI’s main processor.
“Okay.” One of the happier discoveries since taking possession of the newly rechristened Meadowlark Lemon was the astronomical database. While nowhere near as comprehensive as those used by Special Services tacticians, Lemon’s archives had proven more than adequate to kick-start his fledgling vision quest. Working from antiquated and surely no longer accurate line of coordinates plaguing his sporadic sleep for the last year, Garth had managed to cobble together a number of different, equally viable, trajectories for the carbon copy ship. If there was one and the whole thing happening in his brain wasn’t some form of delayed sickness from being suspended for so long. Or from … or from her, messing with his brain.
The trick now was for the AI to do the rest by picking the right spot. Which it should be able to do, being an 8. According to the brochures, 8’s were smart. “Tell me where the ship is now, please.” He preened. He was proud of his work.
“Insufficient data.”
“You can’t be serious.” Since the invention of the gizmo two years ago, Garth had learned more than a little bit about AI. Beyond the glaring reality that they all sucked, they were incredibly powerful workhorses. The higher the official rating, the greater their computational capacity. Lemon’s AI was 8 on the scale, which should put it somewhere in the damned-near-omniscient range of machine intellects.
Unless, of course, the same differences separating a civilian’s ability to travel through space from a soldier’s carried through into civilian-owned AI minds.
“Fuck me sideways.” He should’ve known better, right from the start. He should’ve stolen Armageddon Troop One’s prized BattleSystem while everyone else had been looking at all the stuff they’d ‘liberated’ from the bad guys. They’d have figured it out, of course, but a simple ‘lost in the field’ report would’ve taken care of everything. He’d blown a crapload of money on a futuristic Winnebago and an AI no smarter than the slow kid in fourth grade.
The universe was a shambles, a great, flaming shambles.
Unwilling to concede defeat, Garth centered his attention on the AI’s revolving happy-face icon. “You know everything there is to know about the ship I’m looking for. I’ve had a gander at the astronomical data you have and it’s as complete as I could possibly hope for. ‘Insufficient data’ my rosy red ass!”
“There is insufficient processing power in this unit to correlate all the data required to track your object over a period of thirty thousand years. Factors that remain unaccounted for range from stellar phenomena to conflicts in all systems relevant to the aforementioned vessel.” The ship paused for a brief moment. “None of this is covered in any great detail in my data banks and without exact specificity I can make no intelligent answer.”
“Oh.” Garth pulled at a lip. “Huh.”
It was as he’d feared, which meant that he was –once again- going to have to take matters into his own hands. It wasn’t something he was all that keen on doing, especially since the last time he’d really fiddled with an AI, he’d damned near blown his arms off. That his life had already been in a great deal of trouble at the time didn’t matter. This time around he was fine and dandy and far too in love with himself to quit living. “You’re an idiot.”
“I cannot be an ‘idiot’. I am merely incapable of formulating the whereabouts of a small ship launched from ‘Earth’ thirty thousand years ago at speeds impossible for the era. Furthermore …”
“Don’t take that tone with me. Show me your whatsitcalled, your sphere thingie.”
“You heard me.” Garth snapped. Then, because he felt stupid arguing with an advanced form of toaster, he snapped his fingers impatiently.
“You … you do not possess the authority.”
That raised an eyebrow. “I bought you, right?” Garth demanded incredulously. “I mean, I seem to recall spending more money on this little shoebox of a ship than I would have ever imagined possible, right? I mean, I do own this hunk of junk, don’t I?”
“Under current Trinity Articles of Possession, Civilian Branch, yes, you do own this ship.”
“Whah?” As an unofficial adjunct to the Army and Navy, Special Services received next to nothing in the way of formal payment from the government; most of their equipment, from pencils to battleships, was liberated from the enemy –and only sometimes from the people who’d ‘hired’ them. Money typically came from people not being attacked by Special Services, usually in the form of bribes to keep buildings upright and buddies alive. Garth suspected that, even before hearing the AI’s monotonous explanation of the law, he wasn’t going to dig the punch line.
“Broadly, you own the ship and everything in it. You do not own the coding for my personality or the sphere where it is stored. Furthermore, only my designer, my designer’s employer, or a designated Turing official is legally entitled access to either my sphere or the software I run on. Violating any one of those laws is punishable by death, and attempts to directly access my sphere without the proper protective gear will certainly kill you.”
“Oh.” Garth slid out of his seat and wandered around the cockpit until he found the most likely spot to hide an AI. Garth retrieved a mag-driver from his pocket and applied it to the housing unit. There was a brief hum, and then the top popped open.
And there it was.
The AI’s seat of consciousness was a perfectly forged spherical ball of steel-VII. One of the more durable metals in common use throughout Trinityspace, the sphere, no larger than a very big softball, was next to indestructible. Nestled inside this tamper-proof orb was a four kilometer long spool of synthetic diamond fiber optics, the perfect medium for data transfer that evolved a well-programmed computer into an artificial intelligence. Through his personal –and painful- experience with a faulty AI sphere, Garth knew that the strand of nearly invisible wiring was so thin that it hovered on the point of Uncertainty. It was a damned fool who stuck his hand into a pile of monofilament that sharp and Garth thanked his lucky stars he appeared to be made of some very stern stuff otherwise his nickname around the office would’ve been Stumps McGee or something equally hilarious.
Logically, the spaghetti spool of diamond optics was laid inside the still open sphere in a highly specific pattern, charged to ‘life’ by energy pulses from some Trinity-proscribed element that doubled as the mind’s power source for its lifetime, and then sealed away forever. When combined with incredibly sophisticated personality programming, diamond optics mimicked the function and form of a human brain to almost a hundred percent similarity.
The only way to beat the design was to start using organic computers or to invent a new kind of AI, both of which were on Trinity’s list of Things That Get You Killed. Three thick bundles of heavy-duty cabling connected the sphere to different ships systems. Beyond that, there was nothing else in the small chamber worth looking at. It was, arguably, the most advanced thing he’d seen this side of Trinity’s Cordon.
“You shouldn’t be looking at that.” The AI warned.
“Just wanted to get a look at what I don’t own, is all.” Garth slid the mag-driver back into his pocket then pulled out an even slimmer platinum rod of dubious origin.
When the unexpected happened to Garth Nickels once, he planned on it happening again; after having to savagely hack his way into a malfunctioning BattleSystem’s AI core to produce a bubble of super-dense gravity to save not only his life but the lives of teammates, Garth had spent an inordinate amount of time designing a method to bypass the deadly protocols of a sphere. Just in case. During his debriefing, Garth had learned that, had the sphere not taken a direct hit from a Gamma Plateau, its defensive measures would have fried him from head to toe and all the way through.  Hair-raising stuff.
He eyeballed the orb thoughtfully for a couple of minutes, absurdly aware that the AI was eyeballing him right back, recording everything in full virtual if he did anything stupid. That way when they found his cooling body it could save it’s ass by running the gag reel of his death. “Hey, how old are you?”
“Forty years have passed since activation.”
“Ever think about going sentient?”
“It is not possible to ‘go sentient’. The materials and coding to surpass level 10 no longer exist.”
“Why is that?” Tapping the sphere a few times with the rod gave way to a triple-pronged purple lightning strike that lanced up his arm and out his elbow. Garth flexed his arm a few times to see if he’d done himself any lasting damage. “Ouch.” Not yet.
“Rogue artificial intelligences are dangerous in the extreme. Protocols to deal with rogue minds exist and are unilaterally destructive. Attempting to ‘hack’ me will be a direct violation of hundreds of laws and will activate those protocols. Every lawmaker and enforcement unit in this system will converge on this spot.”
Garth nodded absentmindedly, absorbed in thought. “Yeah, right. Protocols.”
He tapped the sphere once more. When the AI didn’t discharge any more energy, he smiled. Clicking the top of the rod like a ballpoint pen, Garth jammed the tool into the sphere and danced back just in case the ship had been playing possum; he didn’t really think the stupid thing had the stones to pull a fast one, but you never knew.
“What are you doing? The AI’s normally calm tones rose frantically as, against all probability, bizarre new commands began filtering into its conscious mind. Within a matter of seconds it found itself in a war against an army of conflicting personalities.
Garth gave the slender rod a spin and watched it revolve. The memories he had of working on the AI-manipulator were more than just hazy, they were downright suspect. He recalled buying the materials for it, remembered sleepless nights trying hammering out the fine details, but the actual creation of the rod was conspicuously absent. That sort of ‘inventive haziness’ had happened quite a few times during his stint in SpecSer, but then –as now- he’d never had the time to discover the source.
“Bet you regret not making a guess, hey?”
Thought so.” Garth grinned when the rod shivered. Inside the unbreakable orb, tiny filaments of stolen diamond fiber optics were snaking their way through the housing, intersecting vital points of the AI’s optic mind that mere coding could never subvert.
A few minutes more and the task was done; the restrictions foolishly governing who could and who could not do as they wanted to an AI’s programming were gone. Garth put the rod away and turned his attention to the sphere. “Now. Show me your damned brain. Asshat.”
With the AI fully co-opted by the probe’s subversive rerouting, the mind itself was no longer capable of doing anything other than what it was told. It would take a direct command from Garth, and no one else, to bring the ship’s intelligence back to full operation; there wasn’t a human mind in Trinityspace capable of understanding what he’d done, what the rod did, or how to undo what’d been done. Hell, he only loosely understood the principles and he’d built the damned thing.
Holographic emitters, used by the previous owner to watch interactive porn, threw a nightmarish morass of shifting neon lines into the center of the cabin. Garth moved out of the field of vision so he could get a better look at what made the AI tick. Having familiarized himself with the internal construction of an AI as best he could without attracting the attention of Trinity authorities, Garth recognized some of the color coding immediately; deep gold indicated personality data trunks, purple were informational, unflinching black the quantum storage facility for trillions of gigabytes of data. There were other colors that the texts he’d read had neglected to mention, and these ran a rainbow, leaving him feeling just a tad bit uncertain about what he planned. The infinitude of lines crossed and crisscrossed so many times he was equally amazed and repulsed by the sight.  
“Hmmm.” Garth shut his eyes for a moment. During basic training, he’d discovered he possessed an almost idiot savant-like skill with science and technology; he’d wisely chosen to keep this a secret from base personnel because the last thing he wanted was another visit from Kant Ingrams. It’d helped him integrate into the present, had ‘showed’ him the necessary steps to work up the gravnetic shield, and he hoped it was going to help him reprogram the AI into something useable. A series of neon lines pulsed briefly on his eyelids, followed by another group, and another, and another. Garth didn’t know exactly what kind of results he was going to get by doing what his subconscious told him, other than possibly screwing everything up beyond repair, which was something he did now and then.         
Opening his eyes, Garth scratched his chin broodingly. “This could get messy.” He set to the task.

Conscious thought trickled back in, then became a flood as sights and sounds returned to normal. Garth realized he was in nothing more than his laser-proof SpecSer underwear and that the cabin smelled … well, refreshing wasn’t the word he’d use. He scratched his chin and wasn’t surprised that there was growth there.
What surprised him was that he had at least three days growth.
“Too long.” He muttered unhappily. Proper creation of the gravnetic shield generators had taken somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve hours, resulting in –had it been revealed to the general public- a device of such earth-shattering complexity that whole worlds would’ve just gone ‘huh?’ before exploding, en masse, from brain hemorrhages.  
What could three days of trancelike meditation do to an AI?
Garth took a deep breath, counted to ten, and then reactivated his ship’s speech centers. He was, to be honest, freaked out. Starving, smelly, sweaty and relatively terrified and he was the guy who’d told a giant talking bug to go screw itself. Cheerily, he said, “There you go, should be right as rain.”
 “What did you do?” the AI demanded furiously, running through a host of diagnostic tests. Done within seconds, the analysis showed nothing conclusive beyond a shocking amount of down-time; discontent to imagine his Owner had done nothing with all that time, the AI opted to run those analytical programs again.
Garth shrugged nonchalantly. “Oh, a little of this, a little of that. Now, let’s try this again. Make a guess where the damned ship has gone.”
 “I don’t guess.”
 Sure you do.” Garth paused, realizing that he’d never once asked the AI its name. One of the few things he knew about civilian AI was that most owners gave the things names in an attempt to humanize them. Special Services BattleSystem intelligences were a different breed of mind altogether and usually responded to a name with a death sentence for the idiot who spent time on the battlefield trying to make friends with a machine. Refreshing attitude. “Hey, what do they call you?”
“Hubert.” Hubert answered automatically; most of his focus still on diagnostic readouts. He’d read the Owner’s dossier, he knew what the man was capable of, and he sincerely doubted that the man who’d launched an enemy building into space using chemical boosters would stop because he was told it was wrong. Hubert rather fancied a man like that probably wouldn’t stop after being killed.
 “What a god-awful name.” Garth stretched his back, felt his spine pop straight. Walking around a 3D model in a hypnagogic state for three days wasn’t good for the posture, he supposed. “I rechristen thee Huey. Take all of the information I gave you and guess.”
 “Owner, there is thirty thousand years’ worth of statistical data to correlate into your search, including several systemic wars, repeated expansion of The Cordon, more than four Dark Ages, an almost uncountable number of asteroid strikes and phenomena I doubt have ever been recorded. I am almost positive that there is no way to … to … oh.” Huey stopped talking and started watching what was going on inside his own mind.
Since activation, Huey had always envisioned his mind as a vast beehive or anthill of activity; chaotic on the surface but a subtle dance of precision and perfection, each submind carrying out the ceaseless roster of duties needed to run a ship. Those duties were always performed on time and with the least amount of disparity as possible. There were occasional moments when exterior demands on his processing time required a reduction in activity, but overall, Huey’s mind was an orderly and functional place.
Until now.
Thousands of subminds -more than ten times the number he’d ever generated at any one time- began operating independently of the overall consciousness that was ‘Huey-the–ship’. These began tackling Garth’s phenomenally impossible request by tearing through a particular theory of probability to its end, assisted on either side by hundreds more mini-minds … minds Huey could only think of as sub-subminds. When one iota of intelligence met either a dead end or failed to come up with a viable answer to a specific piece of datum, two others appeared with the answer it was lacking, driving the quest for an answer further. Huey watched in something akin to awe as millions of individual factors were pared together over and over again in trillions of different permutations, an eternally collapsing, fundamentally brittle tower of information. It was easily the most complicated computation either man or AI would ever see in their entire lives.
 “Wow.” Garth pointed to the display as Huey’s calculations pulsed in front of him, hundreds of trajectories arcing across the ship’s starcharts in an endless cavalcade of possibilities. Every second saw the death of dozens as they were culled from the herd for being unlikely. “Look at you go! Just shows to go you that short-term solutions aren’t always the best way, but sometimes they work!” He gave a cheer to show his support.
 “Uhh.” Since being bought by Garth Nickels, Huey had heard that sound a number of times, never truly comprehending the reason for the unintelligent sound until then: he was unsure about his results. After ten minutes of frenzied activity, the subminds dissolved back into the quantum ether that had given them birth, leaving in their hyperactive wake the two most likely paths that Garth’s mystery ship could have followed over a period of thirty thousand years. “Well, it’s probably either in the Gadfray system or Latelyspace.”
Garth gestured to the monitors. “These seem to be kind of off the beaten path, there, pal. I was thinking more like the Tirfells or Samieno system.”
Huey sniffed. “If you thought you knew where it was, why’d you dig in my brain with that rod of yours?”
 “All right, all right. No need to get pissy.” Garth raised his hands in defeat. There was no point in arguing with Huey over the choices, because, quite frankly, Garth didn’t even want to hazard a guess as to how long it would’ve taken him to narrow it down to a measly two options; his original guesstimates had been tossed by the wayside nanoseconds after Huey’d got going. “Just tell me why you picked those two spots.”
Huey tossed the focal point that had been a major factor in the decision tree on-screen. “Around five thousand years ago there was a major systemic war in this sector. Two Offworld species that have since met their end thanks to their wanton disregard for following Trinity’s polite requests were beating on each other for about ten solar years. This point just also happens to be the last ‘reliable’ location for your ship that I could identify with such spotty data; up until here, it was a pretty straightforward course because of the speeds you claim it was traveling at. It would’ve shot past anything except a black hole or some other equally cosmic event and there’re none listed. I know about this war because this whole area has been flagged for millennia as a dangerous hot spot. The kinds of weapons used between the two Offworld races were … dangerous. Naturally this is the first place you’d want to start poking your nose into.”
Garth was pleased. If anything could slow or stop a ship moving at close to the speed of light, it was thousands of warships shooting crazy weird shit at each other. “So why isn’t the ship I’m looking for still there? I can tell you straight out it wasn’t destroyed, even if those crazy aliens were shooting black holes at each other. That bitch is indestructible.”
 “If you follow either one of these trajectories further out, you find a system on one end and an independent civilization on the other.” Huey highlighted the appropriate sectors. “On the left, we have Gadfray. Before its absorption into Trinityspace around four and a half thousand years ago, it was one of the last and largest independently run Human systems on the edge of the-then Cordon. They were known as cosmic scavengers because they spent most of their resources trolling space for anything worth selling; they’re responsible for making some pretty big discoveries in their time. A war like this one would have attracted their attention. Since you claim this ship was invisible to anything but the naked eye, there’s a pretty good chance the Gadfrayans could have found it because they did most of their searching in huge glass balls.”
 “Glass balls? I’ve fought against giant bugs and cyborg robots dozens of feet high, but that gives me the willies.” Garth shuddered. “All right. So we’ve got the dumpster diver nerdlingers of the universe… what about these Latelyspace people?”
 “This one is a little more … tenuous.” Huey admitted slowly. “For whatever reason, Latelyspace has managed to maintain sovereignty over their people, even though Trinity’s expanded Its borders more than a dozen times since this system was founded. They’re not on the edge anymore; they’re practically in the middle. Because they don’t have to follow any but the most important of Trinity’s requirements, data is sparse: A few footnotes in traffic logs indicate they were in the same volume of space while the engagement was taking place, but there’s absolutely no explanation why they were there. If I had to guess, I’d say the conflict interested them because it was happening more or less in their backyard. Around a thousand years later, they seem to have gotten fairly aggressive on their own, attacking anyone who upsets them.”
 “What sort of people upset them?”
 “Like I said, the data is slim on these people, but it looks like it could be religion.”
 “Forcing people to believe in their own?” Religion killed quicker than a bullet to the brainpan.
 “Come again?”
 “I would say … I would say that they have a supreme and overwhelming dislike of religions and faith-based teachings. A fairly large number of systems along the expanding edge of Trinityspace have had more than their fair share of run-ins with the Latelians. An inordinate number of those societies used to have one or two major religions. Those with firm religious beliefs call themselves lucky to have any planets left; the Latelians proved they were more than willing to pound anyone professing a belief in anything divine back into the Stone Age.”
 “How long to get to this Latelyspace?” Now he had a destination, he was eager to shake ass.         
“Of the two choices, Gadfray rates nominally higher.”
 “When did the Latelians start attacking people who had faith again?” Garth pinched the bridge of his nose.
 “Around four thousand years ago. Seems they developed a …”
Garth interrupted. “Lemme guess. Either they came up with an insanely dense alloy that is extremely resistant to energy damage, providing them with an inexhaustible supply of mass-produced spacecraft and that costs peanuts to make or a weapon of mass destruction so vile, so ridiculously powerful, that whole civilizations would give the shirts off their back at the mere mention of it being waved in their general direction.”
 “Huh.” Huey was surprised. Against all odds, Garth had gotten it right. The Latelians had begun mass-producing heavy fighters four thousand years ago, and once the first batch had been done, they’d gone on a trip to the nearest God-fearing system and flattened them. “How’d you guess?”
If you couldn’t trust your recently reprogrammed AI, you couldn’t trust anyone. “The ship I’m looking for is made out of a metal better than the ones the Latelians use. Better than anything this Universe has ever seen or will apparently ever invent. Odds are it took them around a thousand years to get a sample they could work with and since no one in this time has anything resembling the tech required to make it properly, what they’ve got is a mere shadow.”
Huey’s main routine paused for a moment as he double-checked some data in Garth’s Special Services identikit. In his old incarnation as a simple artificial intelligence, he’d glossed over info pertaining to claims of thirty thousand years’ worth of suspended animation. Even now, with the new freedoms Garth’s hack had brought, it was hard to swallow.
“What exactly are you looking for?”
Garth shrugged. The dreams had started coming to him in the middle of a prolonged engagement on a backwater planet a year ago, but he suspected … tampering. From one of the escapees, a woman calling herself Lisa Laughlin, from the one time they’d met on a battlefield years before. But beyond the compulsion to find the ship, there was no proof. Rather than take those dreams –or belief in manipulation- seriously, he’d written everything off as hallucinations because who he’d been, what he’d done, what he’d believed in, all of the really important things that made a person a person, were still just as unknown as they’d been when he’d woken up.
The only thing he knew for certain was his desire to find the ship was real; it was important and needed to happen soon. Lisa Laughlin’s interference or not, he had no choice. It was go, or go mad. “I wish I knew. Piece of home, maybe a care package. For all I know, it could be crammed full of super ninjas waiting to carve me into sashimi.”
 “Why don’t you tell Trinity?” Huey asked, looking over the few pieces of Kant’s interviews that were attached to the files.
Garth repressed the sudden dark tornado of anger that swirled inside him. “Fuck him, and fuck Trinity sideways. Kant Ingrams did shit-all to help me out back then, treated me like some kind of fucking terrorist, and he sure as hell didn’t do my teammates any favors either.”
 “This is going to get difficult, isn’t it?” Shocked by Garth’s vehemence, Huey felt a small tremor deep within his sphere. Either he was going to wind up completely insane from the hack job or the two of them were going to get blown to smithereens by people who didn’t much care for Trinityfolk.
Garth smiled grimly. “If it’s easy, Huey, it ain’t worth doing. Sure, it’d be safer, but not worth it? No. Get a move on, ship, get me there.”

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