The Myopian Defence


Roger needed to wrangle those beautiful idiot savants Danny and Stanley and hope that their miraculous but fortunate blunder could be reverse engineered to fit the specifications of the contract. He had received specific co-ordinates from his contact at the Myopian Cooperative Defence Council, but right now that did not concern him. He wanted to see the source code that resulted in the theatrics of this morning’s crisis meeting and work out if any co-ordinates could be plugged in and then synthesized into the molecular electronic self-assembly serum. He had already glossed over this protocol briefly in his subconscious, and his logical mind assured him that theoretically this should be straightforward, but he was far from certain. Arthur’s blessing on the way out of the boardroom had prompted waves of uncertainty to creep back into his frail mind state. This self-doubt business was growing tiresome and quite frankly, a little demeaning. Roger would not stand for it, he would trust in his bravado, track down Danny and throttle the answers out of him if he had to. He broke into a brisk stride and navigated directly to the classified research lab where he’d assumed he would find Danny playing inane drinking games by himself. Roger arrived at the lab entrance, and stepped onto the authorisation pad, allowing the various biometric sensors to authorise him and grant him access. The checker plate doors slid open. ‘Welcome, Roger Emerson. Employee code 64-T5000,’ a modulated but distinctly feminine voice chirped at him. ‘Please state verbal command to gain access to laboratory floor.’ Roger sighed. ‘Papa Alpha Charlie Indigo Echo November Tango Echo Romeo.’ ‘Access granted,’ the feminine voice announced. The second round of doors, heavy sleek steel, opened inwards to reveal Danny Carver in the middle of the laboratory floor, standing on an office chair, with a heavy braid of optical cables noosed around his neck. He had secured the other end of them to the aluminium venting system that tracked the ceiling of the lab, and as Roger walked in, he kicked the office chair sending it scuttling along the floor with a high pitch squeak that suggested that not all the wheels were in perfect working order. ‘Danny no!’ Roger screamed. He sprinted toward Danny as he struggled in the mess of translucent wires, spitting through gritted teeth and turning scarlet as the breath was choked out of him. Roger still had ten metres to cover and Danny looked like he only had seconds left. Roger had only taken two more strides when the venting system groaned, whinnied, and then collapsed downward in a vee where poor Danny had secured his rather overweight frame to. This sent Danny down on his arse hard, and Roger sprinted towards him, sliding down on his knees as he reached him, desperately searching for signs of life. ‘Danny!’ he shouted at him. He checked his pulse; he did not look to be breathing. ‘Medic Drone! Possible near fatality! Get over here now!’ Roger could hear the distant hum of the far-too-slowly moving medical robot. There was no time, he leaned over Danny and began pumping his chest, and as he did Danny erupted with life, retching and heaving. ‘Danny, you daft bastard! You scared the shit out of me! What on Myopia would you do that for!’ Danny was clearly still oxygen starved; he gave him a few moments to catch his breath. ‘I’m sorry…. I…. never…meant….to hurt…Stan,’ he sobbed in between breaths. It suddenly occurred to Roger that Danny had not been notified of Stanley’s wellbeing, and that Stanley was likely too fragile to communicate with anyone, let alone tell Danny that he had survived their little experiment on his way to the infirmary. ‘Danny, look at me. You need to calm down. Stanley is fine,’ Roger said reassuringly. This got Danny’s attention, he sat up on his elbows, staring incredulously at Roger. ‘You teleported him into the executive boardroom, naked but unscathed.’ Danny’s eyes widened, and Roger added, ‘You magnificent bastard!’ Roger couldn’t help smacking an exaggerated wet kiss on Danny’s forehead. ‘Mwah!’ Danny squirmed, noticeably uncomfortable with the male affection. ‘Stan…is OK?’ Danny asked. He was still in shock, and a little slow on the uptake. ‘Yes Danny, he is fine. Hungover, and still questioning the fabric of reality, but otherwise he is OK. Now what I really need to see is the algorithm you two uploaded directly before Stanley was displaced from here into the Executive Boardroom.’ Roger stood up, extending a hand out to Danny to help him up off the laboratory floor. Danny groaned, the exertion prompting an unhealthy series of coughs culminating in a hideous throat clearing routine. They began to walk. Danny staggered, and would have lost his footing had Roger not been there to steady him. ‘Easy Danny. Do you want to sit for a bit?’ Roger was hoping Danny would push on, but he had to at least enquire if he was alright or not. ‘I’m fine. My arse hurts like a sonofabitch, but I don’t think I broke anything.’ He glanced sheepishly at Roger, then added, ‘Looks like the collapse of that ventilation system softened the fall.’ There was the slightest flash of a smirk on his face, and that was all it took. Danny and Roger erupted in laughter. ‘That has got to be the most tragic attempt at suicide in the history of suicides!’ Danny quipped. ‘Did you really think a hollow aluminium vent would support your significant mass? I’m astonished it lasted as long as it did!’ Roger bawled. They were both now roaring with laughter, the stress they had both been under escalating into hysteria. They slowly caught their breath. Danny with tears in his eyes, Roger was making girlish hooting sounds to try and calm himself. They arrived at the terminal connected to the molecular electronic self-assembly serum that Danny and Stanley were experimenting with earlier. An assortment of coils connected the terminal to a large cylindrical vat made of a thick acrylic material. This permitted an unimpeded view of the bubbling yellow gel that housed the thousands of microscopic nanotech machines that made teleporting possible. ‘This was the last upload we pushed through,’ Danny squeaked, still a slight tremble in his voice. ‘We dumped this in and then started getting wasted, and well, that was when I dared Stan to drink that ghastly stuff. It shouldn’t have activated though! There was no destination for execution, I still can’t get my head around how it happened.’ There was a plaintive nature to his explanation, as if he had done something wrong. Roger sensed that Danny had a growing concern that he was about to lose his job for gross misconduct. He couldn’t be further from the truth. On reflection, he had been intoxicated in a highly dangerous environment, tampered with company resources and had almost killed a colleague all in the early hours of the day. What Danny didn’t know is that all would be forgiven if Roger could replicate what had happened earlier and definitively conclude that they possessed working prototype. Roger ignored Danny’s yearning for pacification, turning his attention to the terminal. The green glass display panel was illuminated by a glowing red cursor. Roger flicked the touch screen up with his index finger, scrolling back through the hundreds of lines of code at a speed that would render the content indecipherable to any layman, but his years of experience had taught him exactly what to look for in the red blur of code. Roger halted the flow of the screen and flicked forward, then backwards until the view rolled to the precise section that had caught his eye. He had found them. Celestial coordinates. This was it. ‘You see this, Danny?’ Roger pointed to the screen. ‘What do they look like?’ There was a long pause while Danny reviewed the code and made his assessment. ‘They…look like…. coordinates?’ He was still sheepish, not knowing what this meant. ‘Exactly!’ Roger pronounced. ‘When you two were buggerising around doing god knows what, one of you have leaned on the projection pad and arse dialled the coordinates into the upload code!’ ‘Holy shit!’ Danny remarked, there were no other words. ‘So, you’re saying that not only did we perfect the algorithm for QE teleportation in our latest upload, but we also randomly smashed the keyboard, inputting the coordinates of the boardroom at the precise line it needed to be, in a thousand screens of code?’ Danny asked. ‘Not exactly,’ Roger explained. ‘It doesn’t matter where the coordinates are inputted, just that they are there.’ Danny looked on, doing his best to feign understanding. ‘You fluked the coordinates,’ Roger said. ‘That has to be the stroke of luck of the century. It wouldn’t have mattered which line you dropped it into though. When the molecular electronics in the serum are coded, they self-assemble and seek out coordinates like a hive mind of intelligence running numbers in a search engine. Once coordinates are found the serum activates.’ Roger began to type on the holo-pad. ‘So, all I have to do to confirm this works, is change these coordinates to somewhere else, and theoretically, we get the same result when I drink the serum,’ Roger muttered. He needed some coordinates, and he needed them right now. His mind drifted to his daily Gyro commute to Lysericorp. The pilot rebounded coordinates off his air traffic controller daily, and they were burnt into Roger’s memory. ‘Here goes,’ Roger whispered, typing in the coordinates that were repeated in his presence every morning. RA 15h 10m 44s | Dec +36° 53′ 11″ Roger hit the execute key on the holo-pad that would sync the newly updated data with the artificially intelligent serum, and paused until the terminal verified that the synchronisation had been completed. He grabbed a test-tube off the bench to his right and expensed some of the bubbling yellow gel from the vat using the crude tap that was positioned at its base. Roger hesitated, Danny looking on in awe. Before he had time to dwell on the potential ramifications, Roger drained the contents of the test tube. The liquid had no flavour, it was like shooting pure gelatine. It slowly crawled down his throat. Roger locked eyes with Danny, the anticipation mounting. He looked at his watch, counting the seconds. Surely it would take no longer than thirty seconds for molecular electronics to assemble. Each second felt like an eternity, he glanced up to see a trail of sweat meandering down Danny’s forehead as he looked on in anguish. Roger looked back at his watch, 9, 10, 11, and at exactly 12 seconds, he was blinked out of the laboratory, the scenery replaced with darkness. He opened his eyes to find he was staring into the night sky, a furious torrent of wind whipping at his naked body. He could hear a rushing sound in his ears, he was falling. He slapped on a hard surface, it felt cold and smooth underneath his body. Roger sat up, and as he did, he was dazzled by the intermittent glow of a blinding green beacon. He turned the other way, the stunning light still dancing in trails on his retinas. He took a few moments to clear his field of vision. Perspective returned, Roger’s stomach dropped, and his adrenaline soared. He scrambled backwards as fast as he could, the thousand-story drop he glimpsed revealing how precariously he had been situated. He was of course on the far edge of the Gyro pad atop of the Lysericorp building. Roger crawled all the way to the middle of the Gyro pad before daring to get to his feet. Slowly, and a little shakily, he stood up. A cursory scan over his body suggested he was unharmed, completely naked, but unharmed. ‘Ha ha!’ he screamed, the ferocious wild night air stealing most of the volume out of his triumphant cry. Roger threw his arms up in a vee and filled his lungs with precious air. He suddenly felt conscious of his naked body. He cupped his package with both hands and gingerly bounced towards the rooftop exit. Despite the fact he had just had the most revolutionary experience of his life, a sense of urgency took hold. Roger had perfected instantaneous transport of life. Its practical uses were endless both on Myopia and in the scheme of interplanetary travel. He had spearheaded the research that would solve both the fuel crisis and the overpopulation that had plagued humanity for hundreds of years. He would be immortalised. At that moment Roger knew that he would be bestowed exclusive ownership of this discovery, and his small sacrifice marked the successful completion of project Pacienter. His accomplishment had been solidified, and nothing was getting in the way of his distinction now. Not even his lack of pants.

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