Part the Third: Trojans
Disclaimer: still don't own...unless you count my DVD's and game copies....Colonial Battlestar
Galactica, location: previously uncharted system
“You’re sure about the whole not-a-Cylon thing, right?”
Had it been anyone else asking, KOSMOS would likely have introduced them to her tri-barrels. This was, after all, the thirty-ninth time she’d been asked this same question.
Only the fact that it was Sharon Agathon asking granted the reprieve.
The fleet had taken a short detour toward a nearby star system that had deposits of tylium in the asteroid belt. KOSMOS had noted the presence of that oh-so-critical mineral some hundred years before stumbling across New Caprica. The fact that it took them off their general heading and into an otherwise barren area was a plus.
KOSMOS estimated that the fleet would be able to mine at least a year’s supply from the asteroids before Raider sweeps found them again.
In the meantime, KOSMOS had been assigned to make sure that Sharon had no other buried sleeper programs.
It was bad enough for Sharon that a previous model had shot the Admiral. She’d spent every waking moment since joining the fleet trying to make up for something she hadn’t done.
So to find her hands suddenly moving without her control very nearly shattered her.
KOSMOS had seen the sudden flash of panic in the Realian’s eyes as her pinned opponent’s right hand flashed for her sidearm. The bullet that she fired smacked into her cranial armor and dropped away, leaving only a faint smear to denote the fact that anything had been tried at all. The programming had then tried to re-aim at other people in the room. KOSMOS had only five seconds at best to regain control of the situation.
It was three more than she really needed.
Dismissing the cannon, disarming Sharon and pinning the Realian to the ground took only a second and a half. It dislocated Sharon’s right arm and resulted in a severe compound fracture of her forearm.
KOSMOS had regarded the damage for one heart-stopping second before opening a skill set she had not used in centuries.
The blue-white halo of ETheR: Medica S surrounded Sharon’s injury and repaired it flawlessly.
Sharon had blinked in shock even as control returned to herself. “I couldn’t … my hands just…”
KOSMOS released a junction port from her headgear and held it out to the pinned Realian. “I require access to your systems. Where is a port?”
“Left arm, nerve junction,” Sharon muttered, still gazing at her right arm. She flinched as KOSMOS roughly grabbed, scanned, and connected to her systems.
The datascape that manifested in her mind was like nothing Sharon had ever seen before. Massive crystal pillars reached up into infinity, and the ground gave off musical chimes when she took a hesitant step. Wherever she was, it was not a Cylon network.
The air before her rippled and KOSMOS appeared. Or rather, Sharon found herself gazing first at the combat robot’s ankle.
Sharon tipped her head back, staring into the distant heights. Somehow, she knew that the size difference had nothing to do with KOSMOS being in control of her physical body. When the giant form shrunk down to her level, Sharon shivered. Despite the fact that they were both merely data manifestations, she couldn’t shake the impression that KOSMOS was far more real than her.
When KOSMOS finally made contact with her main level operating systems, Sharon knew that last for a fact.
The computer systems that made up the mind KOSMOS had more computing power than two fully staffed basestars. It wasn’t foolproof—Sharon knew that any system could be overwhelmed granted enough opposing force—but any lone Cylon that tried to hack the ancient being before her would be crushed. Accidental destruction would be the most likely, Sharon realized, feeling her data-self nearly shred from being subjected to KOSMOS’s main computer.
Cleaning out the recently used sleeper was easy. KOSMOS followed it back into the hidey-hole in Sharon’s systems that it had concealed itself in and destroyed it. Replacing the critical function it used to prevent discovery—in this case power regulation through the eyes—was a task so easy that thought was action.
However, as no other potentially buried time-bombs were breaking out, KOSMOS had to withdraw. Much more extended contact would cause permanent and non-repairable damage to Sharon’s systems.
KOSMOS did drop a locking routine as she left. It would freeze Sharon up if she was touched, and prevented her hands from operating if they touched a weapon.
The whirlwind of questions, answers, and orders that followed had swallowed up the next week. The Admiral had finally asked if KOSMOS would be able to locate, then isolate or destroy any further such programs buried with Sharon’s head.
KOSMOS remembered that conversation quite clearly.
She’d turned to the Realian. “Searching for such Trojan programs will be time consuming and highly invasive. I will become privy to all your thoughts, memories, and emotions. Whatever you have done in the past, for whatever motivation, will be an open book to me. Every secret you keep will be mine to know. Do you consent to this?”
“She’s an officer in the Colonial Fleet,” Admiral Adama began.
“And she’s a person,” KOSMOS cut him off so shortly that the Admiral should have bled out on the floor. “You were about to say that this would be an order for her to obey, yes?” At the Admiral’s nod, KOSMOS shook her head. “Realians may not have been born the same way as humans, but they were granted rights. Rights that were upheld through upheavals that nearly destroyed the galaxy.”
KOSMOS narrowed her blood-red eyes. “I will not
do this to her, strip her bare of her personal privacy, if you order her to do so. And I assure you, the first thing I shall do will be to thoroughly search her reasons for allowing me access of this nature. And if I find that you used your command authority do this, I will leave. Leave this ship, leave this fleet, and find my own way back to Earth.” A mirthless smile quirked her mouth. “That course of action would actually increase my chances of survival by an order of magnitude. Not having to risk myself in combat for anything but me actually decreases my survival chances to a mere 3.45 percent.”
Which had brought her to this point. KOSMOS had indeed exhaustively and ruthlessly unveiled every thought and feeling Sharon had experienced in regards to this hunting that KOSMOS was currently engaged in.
The defector had felt that it was owed by oaths she’d taken to the Colonial fleet to do this despite her reservations of having all her privacy stripped away, but in the end the deciding factor had been KOSMOS herself.
The flat declaration that it was Sharon’s choice had touched her deeply, and since KOSMOS had made sure to pull Sharon along with her while analyzing that decision tree, Sharon knew herself that it was indeed her choice.
KOSMOS sighed, and pulled some data from her memory files rather than answer Sharon yet again. Old files these were, dating from the first years of her existence so many eons ago.
From model-specific write-ups on Realian technology, to general datafiles, to the many scans KOSMOS had run to verify her initial findings, Sharon got a very in-depth look at what Realians had been made for.
KOSMOS then turned Sharon’s thoughts to the Cylons.
An artificial intelligence civilization, machine based creation only, and at the tech level of the Colonies the machines had actually began creating biological variations of themselves? The jump was too great to have accomplished without aid.
And proof of that aid was what KOSMOS was really searching for.
Along the way KOSMOS had unveiled much about Sharon that the Realian didn’t like. Little jealousies, angers, and several flat-out hatreds were uncovered. KOSMOS had given the data equivalent of a shrug.
Realians were found to be just a prone to such as the humans they were originally based upon, she sent to Sharon. That’s the real difference between AI’s and Realians. An AI is just an intelligence. It spits out formula, solutions, and probabilities. Realians are more correctly referred to as an artificial sentience.
KOSMOS continued along, isolating and recoding a Trojan that was targeted toward contaminating the water supplies. It had never activated; like most of the sleeping time-bombs in Sharon’s mind, the needed triggers had never been met.
And then she found what she was really looking for. Immediately KOSMOS brought the full might of her immense processing power to preventing the activation of the dormant program she had just found.
After all, if it was ever found while still quiescent, that still meant that someone knew it was there and looking for it. The installer would need to be notified. Program Canaan struck hard against KOSMOS.
Outside of the datascape where combat had just been joined, Kara Thrace was joking idly with Lee Adama and Karl Agathon. The sessions between KOSMOS and Sharon had all taken place in the infirmary; the better to ensure proper care was available if something went wrong.
Kara had laughed at that. KOSMOS had healed Sharon’s arm with a wave and a few words that had later been explained as an access code to prevent accidental activation of something called an “either.”
But when Sharon suddenly screamed and fell over, and KOSMOS jerked like she’d been shot, all amusement left the three pilots.
Cottle shot over. Marines notified the Admiral. The next few minutes were the longest of Kara’s life. She’d never realized that she’d began to see Sharon as someone she cared for, be it ally, friend, or just a comrade.
But all anyone could do was try to hold Sharon in place. The data cable connecting the two could not be cut, and everyone by now knew that bullets were about as usual as feathers when it came to KOSMOS’s frame.
So when the two finally relaxed and the cable disconnected, Kara let a sight of relief flow out. Seeing KOSMOS call for a Medica L All though was quite the experience – the energy was not a simple blue-white glow around an injured body part. This time it was a flood of energy that hit everyone within twenty feet of the android.
Seeing both of the previously distressed females apparently all well again pushed the fact that the persistent dull ache in Kara’s knee was gone from her mind.
“Well,” KOSMOS said lightly, running a quick hand through her hair. “That could have been worse.”
“Worse?” croaked Sharon in a cracked voice as Karl cradled her against his chest. “How could that be possible?”
KOSMOS sobered. “We could have tipped him off to my continued existence. He’ll learn anyway—it can’t be helped if I’m going to be more than a passenger helping you to Earth—but at least we have a little more time.”
“Time for what?” grated Admiral Adama. “And who are you hiding from?”
KOSMOS shook her head. “Time to prepare for a battle that would have crushed both the Colonies and the Cylons in a single afternoon before the holocaust three years back. As for hiding, like I said, he would have known sooner or later. And it’s someone I know fairly well. You never forget the beings who threaten to destroy all life in the galaxy as part of some plan to make history constantly recycle.
“He’s the one who gave the Cylons Realian technology. He’s the one who masterminded my creation as part of his plan to have everything under his control. He’s the one I turned my back on and rejected, destroying the programs that he’d implanted to enslave me.
“I know him by the name Wilhelm, but the Cylons call him “god.””