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Willow Rosenberg and the Computronic Matrix

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Willow Rosenberg Girl Genius". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Willow is designing a new Artificial Intelligence System at Swift and Son, when somebody else decides to steal it. Can Buffy help?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Childrens/TeenbatzulgerFR72735,895611019,54719 Jul 1328 Feb 14Yes

Quarry Blast

Tom and Abe had hustled out of the room to prep a Skeeter, one of SSI's pocket helicopters. Willow looked at her friend suspiciously.

"You do have a plan right?"

"Well duh, haul this to that empty rock quarry where you busted up Tom's gizmo so the Cobra couldn't use it. There's nobody living next to it and the blast should be channeled upwards by the stone walls.."

"That's actually a really good idea Buffy! How are we getting the vault outside though? It weighs a ton...literally."

Buffy gave her friend a slightly 'Are you kidding me?' look, then walked over next to the machine with a coil of Tomasite rope and some reinforced gloves.

When Tom landed the Skeeter outside ten minutes later he saw the vault out on the concrete on a series of rollers that he recognized as being parts of the inside banister. Buffy stood next to it leaning against her car with a fire axe and a grin.

"Sorry Tom! I might have damaged the stairwell a little..."

"It's okay. What's the plan Buffy?" Tom asked worriedly.

"The quarry the Cobra used. It's empty and the blast..."

"Would be channeled!" the elder inventor caught on quickly.

Working quickly the four wrapped the vault with the winch cable around the vault and Tom hopped into the Skeeter to takeoff.

"Aren't you coming Willow?" he yelled. The redhead looked over at Buffy who nodded and waved as she pulled off the heavy gloves and wiped her forehead, Willow hopped into the cockpit and soon the Skeeter had hoisted the vault off the ground and was heading towards the quarry.

"How'd you get the vault down so fast?" Tom asked over the headset.

"Buffy is really good at improvising."

"Rollers and a pulley?"

"And her truck for brute force," Willow didn't mention that she drove the truck around as Buffy was busy with the vault and the doorway.

"Well we're here. I'm going to quick release the winch and drop it as we fly past. Hang on!"

Tom roared by the quarry then stabbed a button on the console. The explosive bolts on the Skeeter's winch detonated and the entire assembly dropped out of the aircraft. The hit the quarry bottom in the shallowest part which was about ten foot deep, and the winch plunged in at a deeper area dragging the vault with it. The Skeeter had just gotten about two miles away when it finally detonated.

It was a clean explosion as there was no real radioactive material involved and most of the energy was in the form of a massive heat pulse which vaporised the sphere. The pressure wave blew the vault apart but the toughness of Tom's incredible Durastress plastic reduced it's damaging effects significantly. There was still enough to make a colossal BOOM and turn all the water in the quarry to steam, but otherwise that was the extent of the catastrophe.

Once Tom finished riding out the shockwave he brought the Skeeter about and they hovered over the rapidly thinning cloud of steam.

"Wow..." was all Willow could say.

"I have had experiments go just as badly Willow. Do you know what went wrong?" Tom asked curiously.

"The override link was just tungsten not Atomeron. It must have melted. That has to be what happened."

"How long will it take to make another?"

"Well the wiring robot is already programmed. All the molds are still around. Just the casting and assembly time time really. A week maybe? Wait a second mister...You want me to keep going? I almost blew up the plant!" Willow sounded distraught.

"And you had taken some very reasonable precautions...Hey, is that part of the vault?" Tom pointed at a white slab about a quarter mile from the blast point. Willow gasped in awe at the force of the explosion.

"I think that's the door."

"Good design. It looks intact except for missing it's hinges and the box it was attached to," Tom said laughing," he wheeled the Skeeter around and headed back to SSI.

"And you're serious?"

"About keeping going with the plasma brain? Absolutely. It was doing interpolation of colors without any real programming to do so. You've got something there Willow, something very uinteresting. Next time though we'll have you set it up in the test bunkers until you get the kinks worked out."

"That might be a good idea," Willow agreed eagerly.

When they arrived back at the lab, they found Buffy and Abe cleaning up the mess. Buffy hadn't been kidding. Getting the vault down the stairs had torn them up along with the wall next to them, and that was before the banister had been sacrificed for rollers.

"It worked?" Abe asked.

Willow nodded.

"We heard the boom clear enough-ish. No flash of light though."

"It went off underwater, Buffy," Willow explained as she downloaded the information from the telemetry from the workstation, "So Abe, you ready to build another one? This time less explosive?"

Abe shook his massive head, "Sure why not, what was the failure point?"

The big machinist and the redhaired genius walked out discussing the problem as Tom watched Buffy set furniture back upright.

"Okay, how did you do it?" Tom asked.

"What?" Buffy said innocently.

"Get the vault around two right angle bends and down a flight of stairs in less than ten minutes."

"Ohhhhh that."


"You saw my truck and the handy dandy coil of rope tied to it right? I'm just glad you wax the floors."

"How much do you weigh Buffy?"

"100 pounds or so. Why?"

Tom just shook his head. There was no other method that the 5'2" tall teen could have used to move the vault. But something about it just didn't add up.

"Never mind Buffy. You want to help me stow the Skeeter?"

"Sure Tom!"

The odd pair climbed in and flew it over to its tie down point.

A week later the experiment was repeated, this time in one of the explosion resistant bunkers under SSI. The tungsten had been replaced in this version and Willow had added two more safety interlocks in the design to enable emergency shutdown.

"Okay color is working again. I am now loading the main heuristic system code into the left lobe."

"Left lobe?" Tom asked Abe who was again standing by.

"The two computers that interface with the outside world. Willow calls them the left and right lobes. Left lobe handles logic and problem solving and right lobe handles perception. The color routine was loaded into the right lobe," Abe replied.

"Like the old wives' tale about being left and right brained?"

"Exactly!" Willow said as she got up from her console and stretched. "I needed to call them something and Pre-Processing Node and Sensory Node are boring names."

Tom laughed, "That is an excellent reason. So Ms. Rosenberg what is the...What are you calling it anyway?"

"Oh, well it's a high density mixed-mode plasma magnetic matrix computational system. That's a mouthful though. I've been calling it the Test Anti-proton Reasoning Apparatus or 'T.A.R.A.' for short."

"Tara it is then. What is Tara going to do next?"

"Learn to communicate. Text to speech with images flashed up. Ted's notes indicated this was how he managed to get his prototypes working. As Tara has a million times faster processor then he did it should take less time. I'm going to stay here tonight and monitor the progress."

"Don't worry Tom, I'm staying too!" Buffy said brightly.

"Fine. I'll let Chow know so he can bring some food by for you two."

"Thanks Tom," Willow said happily.

"Good work Willow," the inventor left the two teens in the lab watching the plain white vault on the video screen.

"So what does the Mechanical Brainogram say?" Buffy asked after Tom was gone.

"Delta and Beta analogues are present. That's the pattern of a small child in intense concentration if it were in a human brain."

"So it worked?"

"Yes, Buffy. Tara was just born."
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