"Sir, the AI has infiltrated another of our systems", one of the men sitting at the consoles reported. "We are holding it at bay, for now at least."
"I understand", Yamada replied.
For weeks now the mind of the boomer had been spreading inside their computers, entering into one area after the other.
Mr. Newman had ordered them to let the things run their course, but he couldn´t help but get an uneasy feeling.
Soon it could develop into a threat for their entire network. Before that happened they would have to do something.
The Knight Sabers were now standing in a large private apartment on the top floor of a building in the city of Mega Tokyo owned by the company their new contact claimed to represent.
Here they were currently in a conversation with the man who had offered to provide them with information regarding the events of the last months. Right next to them stood the boomer who had accompanied him at their first meeting.
They were sitting inside a large living room and this while they were still inside their combat suits.
This would have made a more than strange sight for everyone outside of their group, but for them it was a completely usual occurrence.
"Can you tell us more about how this organization is build up?" Sylia wanted to know.
"As I said, it had it´s beginning in Nazi refugee groups and criminals that mostly originated in South-America", Joseph Brigan explained. "By now however the organization has grown far beyond it´s roots. You could say that they have taken parts of the best or maybe I should rather say the worst aspects of their predecessor groups and developed them into something new. It has become a secret society that is world-wide active."
"What are their aims in the present?" the Knight Saber leader asked him.
"Their opinion is, to say it simply, that the human race needs to evolve and that at every cost. Social Darwinism to a extreme degree. The methods they are using are complex but mostly they amount to one thing, war and terror. They believe that development is best caused by destruction."
"Is that the reason they had been killing all this random people?" Linna threw in a question. "You said it was a test?"
"A field test for their military capacities actually. They wanted to know how much destruction they could cause in what time, a miniaturized version if you want to call it that of what they could do if the OMC would be no longer in their way. But it was also something else. With them the most actions have more than one side. It was a message."
"A message, to who?" Priss asked this time.
"The world. They wanted to show them what could happen. They believe that the next logical step in the evolution would be a war between humans and boomers and they are going out to achieve exactly that."
"How do you know so much about this group?" Sylia pointed out.
"That is actually quite simple, until twelve years ago I have been a member of this organization."
This casually given statement was somehow enough to cause even the Knight Sabers to freeze.
They all went into a defensive stance, partly involuntarily, partly they did it knowingly.
"I see you are back mister Newman", Yamada greeted him by the alias he was using for his activities in this country.
Hiroto Yamada was the actual C.E.O. of Omnitec. For this current project however he was subordinate to Seth, a special agent of the society and answered to him for this operation.
As a display of loyalty he had offered his company for the execution of the plan.
In opposite to Seth and people like him Yamada was only a loose member of the Black-Circle society.
He was not what they would have called a "true believer". That meant in opposite to them he didn´t completely identify himself with the goals of their organization.
He associated himself with the organization in first line because of the power and possibilities that came along with it, not only out of faith in their philosophy and their aims.
"Yes, I have returned from my business trip", Seth informed him. "Tell me, how is our project going?"
"It is developing far faster than we had expected", Yamada answered. "But sir, to be honest…"
"Yes?" He gestured for the man to speak, awaiting what he would tell him.
"It is not just ahead of what we expected, it is out of control. The mind of the AI had broken it´s restraints and has begun to spread in our other systems."
"Good", Seth replied. To Yamada´s confusion he had a smile on his face.
"Good? You call that good?" He asked him angrily.
"As you should know the entire sense of this part of the project is to study the new AI software and to test it. Finding out about it´s abilities and testing it´s capability to grow is the main reason for this entire exercise.
And that is exactly what we are doing", Seth explained to him. "Do you really think our `dear little Sylvie´ could infiltrate our systems if I didn´t at least allowed her to have a chance to do it? This is exactly what I wanted."
"What?" Yamada was shocked. He could barely believe what he had just heard. "You actually meant for this thing to infiltrate the network of my company? It is taking over our systems, it is threatening this entire building complex, the center of my company. This is dangerous", he stammered. "We are losing control."
The other man only laughed. Somehow this made Yamada loose his nerves even more.
"Control, that is all that your kind is able to think about, right?" Seth asked him with obvious annoyance. "You find something extraordinary and the one thing that comes to your mind is to put it on a leash and hope that it will just function by only your terms. You truly don´t understand, control was never an issue. What we wanted was to unleash it´s potential.
As I said, this is a test, not only for her but also for your men. Like the boomer AI is trying to break out of her restraints, you are trying to hold her back. We will see who of you will succeed." He smiled.
When Yamada thought he was shocked before, it was nothing compared to what he felt now.
"This is insane", he shouted. "I have enough of this nonsense. If you are not willing to stop this I will contact the society and they will put an end to it."
"You really think so? You will not. The society is standing behind me to one hundred percent in everything I am doing here."
"We will find out about that", the man replied. "I will contact them as soon as we are finished here."
"I think we can spare that time", Seth told him casually.
"Yes? But first I will stop this damn AI.", Yamada yelled. "I will just shut down the entire computer network and try a new-start. That should purge it´s presence from our systems."
"I fear I can not allow this", Seth replied casually.
One moment later he grabbed the man by the throat and terrifying easily lifted him up off the ground.
Just in this few short seconds of horror, Yamada realized completely, perhaps for the first time, that his superior was not entirely human.
What are you? that was the question that came suddenly to the forefront of his mind, but he was unable to voice it.
Both of them had been working together for months. They thought they shared the same goals. Yamada had offered the society his company and "Mr. Newman" was the face of this society.
In truth however all that had been a illusion. What they wanted had never been the same. But none of that even mattered right now. With his actions Yamada had turned against the aims of the society, their true aims. That was what mattered for the man currently calling himself Seth Newman.
As he had said earlier, it was all a test, for the boomer Sylvie, for the employees of Omnitec, for it´s owner.
Seth had let a bit of the true scope of his plans slip and watch to find out if Yamada would stay true to his promises or if he would loose his nerves and turn against them.
And he had failed this test.
It was all too obvious by now that he didn´t even understood what this entire project was about from the beginning.
All this wasn´t just about money or economical and military power, it was about much more, the future.
Without a moment of further hesitation he broke the business-man´s neck and carelessly let the body fall to the ground.
"Too bad, only a few people truly understand us and our goals. As it turned out Yamada, you are not one of them." He said this, looking at the body.
"Diana", he called the assassin-boomer who was always by his side since the start of this project.
"Yes sir?" she asked.
"Our friend Yamada is not longer willing to work with us."
"I understand", she replied emotionless.
"Remove this." He gestured to the floor.
"It is interesting to see how you treat your allies." They suddenly heard the voice of a young woman talking to him.
The voice came from all around them.
"Sylvie", he greeted her, "as I was told you have been busy in my absence."
"Just like you have expected as I have heard", the bodiless AI responded.
"Yes", he just said. "I have to congratulate, you have come far, you are not longer the simple sexaroid-boomer you had once been."
"You have offered me much", she said to him, "to recreate me, to give me my life back, revenge on Largo."
"And I will stay true to every single one of this points", he told her with a smile. "But obviously you didn´t completely trust me, otherwise you wouldn´t have invaded our systems."
"I have learned the hard way not to just trust promises from people you don´t know. I was also able to hack into your databanks."
"I am impressed and what did you find out?"
"I know that you are responsible for the death of over 30.000 people, I know that you and your agents have used boomers for a line of terror assaults, I know that they had fought against the Knight Sabers, I know that you have just killed one of your own men.
But at the same time you have reactivated my mind, you have promised me a new body and I know from the data that you seem to be keeping your word. What do you want?"
"Right now my dear I want to see you grow."
The AI who had once been the boomer Sylvie was more than worried, not because of any enemy but about the man who claimed to be her ally.
"So you say that you have once been a part of a group of mass murderers", Priss exclaimed angrily", and now you are handing your former friends out to us?"
"Not anymore", Brigan defended himself, "I haven´t been one of them for many years now."
"If that is so why did you leave?" Sylia wanted to know. Normaly she wouldn´t ask a client personal questions, but after all she had seen from this organization she was on alarm.
"Let us say I had learned a few hard lessons that made me realize that their aims aren´t mine or their methods", he answered reluctantly. His expression made it clear that he didn´t particular liked to talk about this time or this topic.
This was something that all the Knight Sabers could relate to all too good. They all had times in their lives that they would rather not be reminded of.
"Can we continue now?" he asked them.
"Tell us what you want from us first. We will then decide if we are willing to work for you", Sylia said. "You have said that they have found a way to overcome the OMC", she questioned, "how?"
"I am sure you all remember the events of the last year, first the so called "Vampire murders", then the attacks of several genom towers around the world, started by a boomer calling himself Largo."
At his words Priss felt a lump in her throat.
This was probably one of the last things she expected to talk about here and the last thing she wanted to talk about.
Sylvie had been one of her best friends and that in only the short time she had known each other, despite what she was. She had loved her and then there was Anri. She had promised to protect her and instead watched her die.
And now this man had to bring up all that again.
The other Knight Sabers were surprised that he actually seemed to know the details about what had happened and especially the name of the one responsible for it.
"Largo", Brigan continued, "was a boomer created by the former genom vice-president Brian J. Mason, a boomer that he had transferred a copy of his own mind into."
This particular information caused a collective gasp. Except Sylia none of the Knight Sabers had been aware of this.
"Largo was the one who had programed the defense-satellites to attack populated cities, using the knowledge of his old self he was also the one who organized the escape of a group of 33S boomers along with an experimental battle-mover from genaros. The survivors of this group used blood from humans to save their own lives."
"Stop", Priss said with barely hidden anger. "We know all that."
"But there is also something you probably don´t know. Largo had led one of the 33S into a trap. He had sent two combat boomers after her and forced her to use the DD battle-mover against them. It had happened all exactly as he had hoped for.
During the following fight the mover was completely activated and merged with the mind of it´s pilot. At the same time however the 33S was dangerously wounded and the DD went into a suicide mode. It would have activated a small nuclear device and destroyed a notable portion of the city.
What barely anybody was aware of however was that the true level of the merging between the DD and it´s pilot. Do you remember why the 33S were originally outlawed?"
"Because of their ability to..." This time it was Nene who answered, but then she paused and nearly interrupted herself, as if she suddenly began to realize something. "...to merge with the software of advanced weaponry."
"Yes, at the final stage the boomer and the battle-mover were nearly two parts of one being. That was exactly what Largo had been speculating for.
If the bomb had exploded it would have destroyed the most of his enemies and rivals, genom headquarters, Quincy, you. The way would have been free for his plans.
If it had not he would have also won. When the body of the pilot was killed her mind, still merged with the software of the DD was copied and downloaded into the CPU of the mover.
"What?", Priss called out now. For the last minute she had listened to every word with more and more shock.
"Why would Largo be interested in that?" Sylia asked.
"We are not just talking about the mind of a boomer and a combat-weapon. During the merge the software has changed, mutated, maybe evolved, very likely to a point where the OMC has no longer any influence over it. With that he would have a blue-print to program boomers that he would be free to use against the civilian population. Not exactly effective in comparison to getting the OMC itself into his hand as he tried later, but with far less risk to himself.
But something went wrong. I don´t know exactly how but agent of Black Circle had stolen the DD from him and a short time later you have destroyed Largo", he finished.
"Are you telling us that a possible key to free boomers from all restrictions is in the hand of a group of fanatics who are planning to use them against the world?" Sylia aske him.
"Yes exactly, they have salvaged the AI and are holding it inside the building of a company that serves as a puppet for their organization. We have to either get it out of there or to destroy it." He sounded as if both possibilities were similar agreeable.
"No", Priss yelled. When she thought she was in shock before, it was nothing compared to now. She felt as if the room was circling around her. That was impossible, it shot through her mind, that couldn´t happen.
"Priss", Sylia tried to calm her friend down, even aware that she was using her real name.
"No Sylia", she replied angrily, "I won´t kill her again, I can not."