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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Building a PC

Mr Fox

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October 16th the two days after the big shopping trip:

Ever since his encounter with the Artifact he had become strangely fascinated with machines, particularly electronics. It was three days before Cam got the full briefing on the Specialists and came to realize how his gifts differed from the others. Until he read the files he didn't realize that the others had all lost consciousness during their encounters with the artifact. Perhaps because of his unusual state at the time he had actually come awake and interfaced with it. Olivia had not said anything to anyone about what they had done in locking down the artifact so as far as anyone knew Cam did not have any special ability with computers other than just a general increase in intelligence and knowledge. He had made reference once to having been downloaded with medical knowledge. Maybe he could conceal his computer abilities for now. He had a bad feeling about the IOA and what they were up to with the artifact and it might be best if they didn't know. On the other hand he needed a good computer system to use for running some simulations.

Hell if he was being honest with himself he just wanted to play. He knew one of the things the artifact had given him was a great deal of knowledge when it came to computers. He wanted to tinker damnit!

He still had a big chunck of money sitting in the bank from when he was asleep. Hell, no longer having to pay for housing or food, or utilities on top of being tax free because of the combat zone designation meant he was going to have almost $7000 a month free and clear. He'd never had so much disposable income before. He planned to invest smartly, but for now he wanted to spend some.

Shopping list:

Big screen TV

Blue Ray Dvd player

Sound system with surround sound.

Large monitor

Completely decked out PC

Completely decked out but easy to carry laptop.

PDA Cellphone

That should set him back quite a bit, but it should make life more interesting. There were no outside internet connections from personal computers within the base, everything was filtered and recorded, but that was ok. He didn't want the computers for web browsing he wanted them to stretch his new computer muscles so to speak. He headed to the off duty lounge and waited for a chance to use one of the public computers to research what he should buy.

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Once Cam's turn came at a computer in the rec area he jumped on and began a fast furious search for what the absolute best and hottest PC hardware was. For his desktop machine, he picked the latest greatest motherboard with 4 CPUs. Not that there was an operating system on the market that could really handle the hardware, but he didn't plan to be limited by that anyway. With his new skills he would write whatever software it took to utilize the hardware. With that in mind he picked up four of the hottest graphics cards on the market each one with onboard dedicated memory, they were over $500 each by themselves. The shopping went on and on like that, each time purchasing the top thing that a reasonable amount of money could buy until he had his entire system spec'd out. Moving down his to do list he added a top of the line PDA to his purchase for accessing his PC remotely.

Next he moved on to the laptop. Unfortunately, when it came to portable computers there just wasn't much a person could do to customize so he decided to scrap that idea altogether and see if he could build a good laptop from scratch. He'd have to see about the alien tech, surely someone of the little green guys out there had portable computing! Cam made a mental note to check with the eggheads. Damn, I need to stop using that term, I guess I'm one of them now....

"Hey, you going to vacate that computer soon?" A big airman asked and added a belated, "Sir."

Cam looked up and gave the guy a friendly smile and reached into his pocket, "I've got $20 bucks if you'll find another PC and let me finish what I'm doing."

The guy grinned, "Deal!" He took the money and ambled away to play a game of pool.

Finally he researched the best places locally to shop for furniture and eventually signed off. The rest of his shopping would have to be done in town.

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Morning had been filled with online shopping for computer parts. Afternoon was all about making his nest a bit more comfortable. For that he wasn't about to order online. You just couldn't tell from pictures whether a chair or a couch or a mattress would be comfortable. Of course a bed wasn't all that important to him any more since he no longer needed to sleep. Might be better to just get a good couch and forget the bed. He had tried sleeping since waking up from the coma and the most he had been able to do was about three hours before his eyes had opened and his body had felt completely rested. That being the case it meant he had a bedroom that didn't serve it's intended function. As he was driving out to town he considered what he could do with the place instead, he finally came on the idea of using it as a office/lab area. The general wouldn't have any objection to that as long as he never performed any experiments that could be considered dangerous.

Resolved on his plan he hit several furniture stores and could barely stand them. This kind of shopping was not his favorite thing in the world. Clothes were something he had some expertise in, shopping for furniture was something he'd never done before and most of what he saw was either not to his taste or was uncomfortable. Finally he found a store he could deal with. Andersons' furniture. It was eclectic and all their things had almost a medieval antique feel, big heavy solid pieces. He was still uncomfortable shopping for furniture, but at least this stuff seemed more like what he was looking for. After walking through the whole store he moved back through and tried out the couches and chairs until he found a set that was long enough to stretch out on and comfortable enough to enjoy. While he was there he had one of the ladies behind the counter to make some suggestions for other decorations and accessories. He left himself in her capable hands and arranged for the delivery to the base. His favorite part of the purchase had been what appeared to be a regular round breakfast table that matched in style with the other furniture, but when you flipped the table top over it became a very nice leather covered card gaming table.

For his office he decided to go with a completely different style. Sleek modern furniture of steel and leather. One of his favorite purchases was a massage chair from Brookstone at the mall, it was black and silver and beat the hell out of any recliner he'd ever sat in for comfort. He added another big screen LCD tv for the 'office' and called the shopping spree complete.

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The next day was very busy. The guards at the surface entrance were getting aggravated with all the deliveries that Cam was getting, but wisely did not voice that opinion within his hearing, he was a high ranking officer after all. By mid afternoon all the furniture was delivered and unpacked and in place in his quarters, the old military issue stuff having been sent back to the quartermaster that morning. The night before he had painted the rooms the colors that the nice lady at the furniture store had suggested to go with his purchases. Once it was all in and placed where it wanted it the rooms felt good. They felt like home.

He saved the computer build for the evening. He had discovered that the quartermasters office had some spare computer racks so he had used his rank to appropriate on with the excuse that they were out of date and not in use. Whether or not that was entirely true was beside the point.

Back in his office, which used to be a bedroom he got down to business, starting with basic assembly and mounting the hardware in the rack. It was only one solitary desktop and a UPS in that six foot tall rack, but he was sure he would be adding more eventually. Next he installed redhat linux and began customizing it to his hearts content, that included setting up security and encryption that was far beyond even military standards.

Lastly he reprogrammed the device drivers to completely utilize all four CPUs and simultaneously use the four graphics cards as if they were one really big buff video card. The end result was the biggest baddest personal computer on the planet. Not that there weren't much faster systems out there, but those systems were big corporate or government owned supercomputers that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When it was all done Cam felt completely exhausted. He had worked for 24 hours straight and was very happy that he hadn't been scheduled for duty or he would have been in trouble. From the outside the system looked completely normal with a nice big 24" monitor sitting on the desk with a keyboard and mouse attached. The reality was that the little 24" monitor and stuff on the desk was just for show. The real monitor was the 50" LCD on the wall and the keyboard and mouse were not needed since he had touch pads he had concealed in the arms of the massage chair. To anyone just wandering it it would look like a sleek modern office with a big screen TV and a fancy reclining chair for relaxing. He planned to do some relaxing in here alright, but he was going to have fun too.

Tired as he was he wandered into the living room and lay down on the couch for a couple hours until it was time for dinner then wandered down to the mess hall.

Since games were the most graphically intense software he installed a couple of the latest greatest games to judge how his new PC stacked up and ran some benchmarks. The machine was off the charts, it was hands down better than the fastest rated gaming PCs on the market. He wasn't really a big game player, but he tried out a couple of them and even a high end flight simulator and while they were good and his machine handled them with ease, he felt somehow disappointed. After interfacing with the alien artifact even this PC seemed like a child's toy. He sighed and made his way out of the of his room and up to the level where all the eggheads, er, scientists, had their labs. Maybe one of them would have something alien that would be more interesting to play with.

Click to reveal..

(First die alway mega if mega is available)

Computer build roll:

(15:52:17) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 11d10 and gets 9,1,4,8,4,10,7,2,6,10,2.

(15:53:56) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 1d10 and gets 8. for quality

7 success total

Modifying Linux operating system to work the way Cam wants it to.

Extended task requiring 8 total successes at standard diff due to Linux being open source and designed to be customized.

8 Successes needed for complete success.

(Int+Computer) No need to use CyberK since these changes are just regular programming and customization of exsisting software.

(16:21:32) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 11d10 and gets 9,3,9,5,2,1,1,7,6,9,2. (5)

(16:23:07) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 11d10 and gets 8,6,5,9,6,9,9,7,9,5,1. (7)

Each roll reflects 3 hours of work.

12 total successes out of 8 needed

Writing custom device drivers to take full advantage of the hardware.

Extended task requiring 15 total successes at +1 difficulty.

(Each roll reflects 3 hours of work and an expenditure of quantum)

(15:55:21) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 7d10 and gets 8,4,3,5,4,2,9 (2)

(16:07:29) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 7d10 and gets 9,10,5,3,4,6,5. (2)

(16:08:46) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 7d10 and gets 7,2,8,4,5,10,6. (3)

(16:24:51) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 7d10 and gets 7,6,1,8,10,8,3. (4)

(16:25:39) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 7d10 and gets 7,5,3,4,6,10,5. (2)

(16:26:18) ChatBot: (Cam) rolls 7d10 and gets 8,7,9,4,6,6,7. (4)

17 total successes out of 15 needed.

That is 24 hours of straight computer work.

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