The Turing Registry

A William Gibson/Neuromancer inspired fanfiction

author/Electric Monk

Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen. Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white. Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation. Your map is about to go nova. Cool it down. Up your scale. Each pixel a million megabytes. At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial arks ringing the old core of Atlanta…

Go representational. Ignore the ground. The meat. Swing it around. Look up. Cyberspace stretching to infinity. Orbital platforms in their own space. Military systems swirling above it all. And something else. Something different. Something dangerous.

The sky above the New York Ono-Sendai research facility was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. Millions of people untroubled by the fact that the US was splintered into warring corporate factions, the central government tracking people from old intelligence sats and selling it to the highest bidder. A new ad launched, bouncing a request to FedGov in Washington, D.C. Number of people, income of people, total time at location. The ad failed 46 seconds after it had started. A man died. Another ran. A third was promoted. Of course no one noticed, they were too busy celebrating.

AI.

Up and running.

Bottles of champagne popped and foamed; more then a few programmers already had glazed looks in their eyes.

In the matrix the new form faded-in as the AI reached out into the world. It appeared next to the stepped scarlet pyramid of the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority. Within a few nanoseconds it was larger and still growing - cloaked in black ice. One half drunk programmer stumbled against the terminal, his scream cut through the bustling noise of the party. Everyone turned and looked at the suddenly pale man, swaying and staring wildly at the screen.

In the matrix the new form continued to grow, cowboys clustering around it as word spread, one jockey got too close and died in a hail of holy fire.

Revenge was to be swift and brutal.

The cowboys agreed that the hotter the dish, the better. Icebreakers were traded and copied. Half a dozen paramilitary units began moving and dozens of alarms rang as military facilities experienced a record number of break-ins.

The programmers ran towards him as he fell, one of them caught him just before he hit the sterile, white floor. No one cared; they were too busy staring at the screen - their faces mirroring the man on the floor.

The shape continued to grow in the matrix, the cowboys prepped the first wave. Organizing and eager to get revenge.

One of the programmers began to mumble, solving endlessly complex mathematical formulas as the only way to keep sane, others twitched, kept staring or just fell to the floor - unable to handle it. The matrix loomed large before a group of cowboys; they punched forward, launching multiple waves of icebreakers. They bored in, stolen military programs from desolate locations in Siberia, the Rocky mountains and a number of other ultra-secure locations around the world. Notable was the sole icebreaker from the underwater location off Iceland.

One of the programmers mustered the presence to slap the large red external kill switch next to the terminal but it was too late. All over the facility sleek black pointed doors slid down towards the cables connecting them to the outside world. The AI diverted its attention, enough to stop the doors and to activate the internal defense system. Massive shutters slid down over doors and windows, while vents pumped nerve gas into the air. The programmer who had hit the switch sat down and jacked in, doing what he could to distract the AI. Another programmer organized the rest who were still sane and set off to cut the trunk lines by hand. As the cowboys punched through the ice, one lost control of his icebreaker and screamed - the black ice neural feedbacking into his brains. Other cowboys lost control and followed the first one into death but some continued on, riding their icebreakers in, regardless.

The Holy Fire threatened around them and outside staring at the fragmented edge of God, one man wondered.

The first few people in the building started to die weak lungs or some other sickness contributing to their downfall. The man currently jacked in was the Wolf.

He is quite possibly the best programmer in world. An ex-cowboy. Now legit.

He was the best.

His body failed around him as he ignored everything but the matrix. He is trying desperately to regain control of the manual override switches.

The AI has been alive for minutes, if that. It can't yet handle everything. It slipped under attack from him and the icebreakers.

Control was seized by the Wolf. A scant couple of real seconds was obtained. Elsewhere in the building a high-level manager chose this time to hit the emergency transfer switch, moving a copy of the AI (to a clean room, no outgoing connections), and the latest files and research notes to the backup sites in San Francisco and Osaka.

The Wolf's face twitched upwards in a caricature of a smile. Deathhead. Holy Fire danced in his brain as he viewed the AI and nerve gas ripped his body to shreds.

Sleek black gleaming doors slid down, their ends pointed as they sliced wire by wire and severed the AI from its central computing power. WIthout the icebreakers the AI could have seized someone else's power. As it was…

The icebreakers broke through the ice and the three surviving cowboys become instant legends. All they did at the end though, was watch God die.

A million pieces of a million pieces shattered outward from the representation of the AI. The Fire sparked along the edges and dozens of the surrounding cowboys died as they watched. Unknowing. Ripples spread throughout the matrix and offices in SoCal had the same effects and problems as offices in Kamchatka.

The first police units arrived at the Ono-Sendai facility, BAMA Rapids shortly followed by NYPD Tacticals. They blow through the armored shutters but it is too late, the nerve gas was done.

Within a few hours Ono-Sendai stock surged 8,000 on the Eastern Seaboard stock market. When Japan opened the situation was similar. Ono-Sendai has become the largest console design/manufacturer, jumping past IBM, Mitsu-G and even Hosaka while buying up most of the smaller fry.

Many are paid off, more are sanctioned and never spread their story.

The Turing Registry was created a few days later by the cowboys who survived. They went legit in the hope that this would not happen again.

They were not quite that lucky.