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Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - It's a [Nanotech] Bugs Life [5.6]

Quantum Fire

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Alexandra was one of the most capable minds on the planet, perhaps even in the galaxy, for that matter, even considering all of the possibilities, she was reasonably sure that her mind moved on a level even other super intelligent species could find remarkable, within the entire universe. Understanding the nature of taint and it's imbalance, as well as both what Qi Meng and Chrysalis were about, as two of the most complicated aspects of the nova age were little more then intellectual exercises to her. Understanding how Divis Mal had manipulated the world to push nova's and baselines apart with logic and power of his Nul Manifesto was a simple matter of calculating the factors. Understanding why the Directive and Proteaus were working to kill 2nd generation nova's, and how Sophia's powers had twisted their intentions in on themselves, was nothing more a matter of logical deduction.

Information was power, with her sister's rescent attack and transformation of her boyfriend, the nova who had chosen to call herself Genesis was even more sure of that, if she had known she could have done something to interfere and protect Maia before she was attacked. But the world and what was happening outside her mobile sanctum, the primus was one of her blind spots, and so she was taking the first of several steps to remove her blind spots. She had let Maia wander into one of them, without backing her up, and while everything had turned out alright, she wasn't going to allow someone she loved wander about without watching their back, however she could.

So, she had taken some of the many left over materials from creating the Primus, metals that she had set aside when she hollowed the thing out, and she was making them into the first of the two dozen super satellites she was going to put into orbit around the earth. Well, ask Warren to put into orbit was more like it, but she had specific locations and abilities she was working into these things, including connecting to the Primus and the Opnet from anywhere, even miles deep in the ocean. But this was only one of the many projects she now had in progress in her workshop.

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Alex paced through the area of Primus she'd designated her workshop and laboratory; roughly 400 square feet of space. Less than she wanted, probably a bit more than she absolutely needed. Light permeated the air, interfering with itself at carefully designed intervals to create glowing displays and numbers that hovered in midair. Schematics and designs for the satellites, a prototype of which sat lolled over onto its side on her desk. The production models were all already in their geosynchronous orbits.

Each one was a refinement of the aerial drone she'd used for recon over the Proteus base in the mountains. The cameras were hybrid; digital electronic enhancements combined with gel-filled optical lenses that could change shape to focus, much like the human eye's. It could make out human facial features from orbit, with enough detail for pattern-matching software to recognize someone. They also incorporated a more advanced version of the quantum resonance detection array, which she hoped would be able to distinguish quantum signatures at the same range. If so, they'd be able to track novas movements. And of course, certainly not least, was a full SIGINT package, designed to detect and monitor encrypted communications channels. The main computer would have a decrypt running in the background, picking at the codes until it found something...or stopped working.

On the defense side...the sats were small for satellites. Tiny, in fact. Space tracking would likely think them a form of space debris, not a functioning sat. Assuming ground-based radar could even detect them, with their radar-absorbing skin material. They didn't broadcast either. When Primus beamed a signal to a satellite via a laser communicator in the periscope, the satellite would beam all its stored data back. They could hold a week's worth of data at a time. It meant that they were next to impossible to detect the signals from, heightening the illusion that they were inert pieces of junk.

The twelve sats could monitor the entire earth's surface, though their pickup would suffer a bit at the edges of their range. That was all right though. She'd been working on something new to get intel from ground level.

With a gesture Alex banished the satellite and said, "Computer, open new file on the encrypted drive. Title, the birds and the bees."

The schematics and equations vanished, leaving her with just a blank field of blue hovering before her in the air. Awaiting her input.

She grinned and got to work.

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Technology, it was all a matter of the right applications, what would take a baseline research and development team decades of work, would take Alexandra no more then a few hours of pure genius, and her powers only made it faster, more effective and efficient, being able to reshape and redesign matter on an atomic level did have a lot of advantages to it. The living machine that Alexandra had remade herself also had all the tools she ever needed, if she could make, become or incorporate any of them into her body as desired, shape and form were completely optional after all, and she work on a level that made herself almost like a thousand techs working in unison. This way her present project would take her little more then a few hours, and she would be ready to start a new one..

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Alex's original apotheosis had been, essentially, over her anxiety over a bottleneck of efficiency. Her flesh and blood body had become obsolete, like an old computer that could no longer run the latest software. She'd designed her own next generation, and thus had become a Singularity. In the back of her head, she knew that eventually she'd hit another bottleneck...an upper limit that her current form couldn't move past. Then she'd change again, sacrificing what she was for what she must become. It was, in a way, terrifying. It was also exciting. What would she be in a hundred years? What would she be capable of?

Right now the bottleneck was multi-tasking. She found herself envying Warren for his temporal clones...though technically she supposed he wasn't really creating more time, but rather borrowing moments from his future. Sort of like a zero-interest temporal credit card, he'd have to pay those moments back eventually. Still, it'd be nice to have another her around sometimes.

The Birds and the Bees was a tricky project...two projects in one, really. Part of her kick to get on top of the 'Intelligence Gap.' She was smart, but she was also horribly, horribly underinformed. On the island, her streams of information had been few and thin, and their reliability questionable. Public info had been available on the OpNet connection she pirated. But to be a mastermind, she couldn't rely on the strained baby-formula info released to the public. Novas far inferior to her in intelligence would be several moves ahead just because they could see what she couldn't see.

So what she needed then were more eyes. A lot more.

Circumstances were aligning. With the growing prevalence of Hive Collapse Syndrome around the world, a lot of bee farmers were trying to get out of the market, selling their companies for rock bottom prices. She had two trading companies privately held under well-documented, albeit fraudulent, identities, that she ran online and generated most of her cash resources. Combine those factors with her emerging research into biomimetic systems, and Alexandra smelled the honey-like scent of opportunity.

A bee was a tiny creature, but with micro-engineered carbon and titanium parts, she could make a robot about the same size that would be durable enough and lightweight enough to do the job. The trick would be power and control...but she thought she could solve both problems by moving the biggest, heaviest parts of those systems out of the drone and into a central intelligence unit...a hive. The hive would broadcast command and control signals to its bees on an extremely narrow band to make it hard to localize. It would also broadcast a microwave signal that would interact with a thermocouple on the bees...heating it up and generating the power they needed to fly and record audiovisual data. As each bee filled its storage capacity, it would be recalled to the hive to upload it to the central database.

To the eyes of human beings, it would just be...bees, doing what bees do. Flying out of the hive, crawling around on flowers, flying back. But they'd be watching. Listening. Recording. She could design the hive with a sophisticated pattern-recognition protocol, allowing it to send bees after specific targets. The range would be a limiting factor though...

And that's where the birds came in. Larger, more independent, the birds had their own brains and power systems, flying with solar-recharged solid-state batteries. She'd make them in a variety of breeds, and they'd fly in every major city, as well as lonely isolated...top secret...spots.

And every so often, the hives and the birds would all uplink to one of the 12 satellites overhead, and relay their data to her, at Primus. There software dataminers would comb through the footage and audio, looking for key words and key faces. Those files would be flagged for her personal attention.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It was after the assassination attempt, before anyone could find Shen, and when he did appear it was several days later within Alexandra's lab aboard the Primus, enough time to discover that Shen had taken Ichigo to see Bombshell and to disappear for a time, when he did reappear it was here and now, when Alexandra was hard at work, and only a bit after she had completed her medical training.

Shen handed her a thick file, and then took a seat a few feet away, he also handed her a small seed pod. "These will make interesting reading for you, I took it from another reality where matters have been moved forward historically by a great deal. And this is a pod for Neofiber, you may find it useful now that you have a the equivalent of a doctorate in medicine and genetics, I'm sure you can reverse engineer it. However, on a different note, I have something of a challenge for you, I think you'll need to work with Warren to get it to work, but I need a device in the next three weeks that can extend and sustain a temporal acceleration field over an area around 15 to 25 cubic miles, more of a bubble really, that should last about 4 months, and increase the temporal field within by a factor of 7 or 8.. I will need to compress more then a years training into a much shorter period of time."

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  • 3 months later...


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