Thursday, 2 June 2011

Chapter 6: Finding Purpose

It had been two months since the initial immigration to Mars and Mack had managed to get a job as a constructor controller, helping build new habitation domes for the next immigration wave. He started his day heading to the construction depot in dome two, climbed into a constructor-robot and the protective outer casing closed, sealing him inside, he activated all the primary systems with his spinplant and received his work orders for the day.
Mack walked out onto the Martian landscape, unrecognisable from traditional images of Mars from generations before; the entire surface of Mars was covered in semi-solid lava, years of asteroid bombardment has rendered the planet a molten ball in space. Over the last 30 years, thousands of specially selected meteors were thrown from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The goals being giving Mars a molten iron core, giving the planet a magnetic field, boosting Mars’ mass by enough to give Mars a 0.8G gravity field and also shifting Mars’ orbit further into the “goldilocks zone” allowing liquid water to exist over a large proportion of the planets surface. A blast of liquid nitrogen preceded every step Mack took; enough to give his heavy suit enough of a hard surface to walk on without sinking into the liquid rock. Mack walked past the towering heat dump sails, huge sheets of silver plated titanium with roots spreading out through the ground, designed to conduct as much heat as possible out of the ground and into the relatively thin atmosphere. The aim being to cool the surface of Mars down to below 80°C, when three captured water and CO2 based comets already in orbit would be collided into the unpopulated hemisphere of Mars, bolstering the atmosphere, spawning oceans and helping to cool the planet the rest of the way to a habitable range.
Mack was working on the ultra black nano electric plating, attaching it to the primary framework, which was almost completed by the time of the immigration wave, once the energy gathering plating covers the dome, an interior layer of plating would also be applied and the cavity would be filled with insulating sealant foam. The ultra-black plating is able to convert a large range of EM waves into electrical current to supplement the energy requirements for the domes, this technique pioneered in the early 21st century works by electromagnetic waves causing electrons to jump from one surface to another causing a potential difference and current between the two surfaces
At the end of the day Mack received a message via his spinplant; an invitation to an official ‘seminar’ it did not divulge the purpose of the seminar, just the time and place. Intrigued, Mack made an entry in his calendar and headed back to his apartment. When he got in he jumped back on his bed and called Marina, they had been seeing each other casually ever since they first met and saw each other or at least talked every day. Marina had managed to get a job as an assistant programmer at the “Martian Internal Techno-Core Hub” or ‘MITCH’ for short, Mars’ supercomputer equivalent of the Hive Queen, with limited sentience and power. Coincidentally Marina had also received the mysterious invitation to a seminar, and was equally intrigued.
* * * * * * * * * *
“I want to be a test subject for the next phase of project Chimera,” Vincent finally said to the Hive Queen. “We have only got these four viable strains after seven years and six billion variations; we are well on the way to combining the best complimentary traits from these into the two final super-strains. I don’t think we can go any further, all signs point to total success, and I believe I have the right…”
The Hive Queen cut Vincent off before he could finish. ”We have already discussed this Vincent, I cannot afford to lose my best genetic scientist if your body rejects the new genetic material, or worse, you have seen what can happen when the opposite happens, if you became an animal like that your mind pattern would be drastically changed, and probably irretrievable,”
Vincent could not fault the Queen’s logic. “I know the risks, but I strongly believe the Feline/ Chiropteran strain will exceed all expectations, and the Canine/ Lupine variant will be perfect for its purpose”.
”Yes Vincent, this may be true, but all test phases will be carried out on clones until I am ready to implement the final phase of integration. You may have the modifications when it is supplied to the anti terror police, which may be sooner than planned in any case, terrorist EMP attacks on GyRobot and AnthRobot forces is increasing, it wont be long before they are destroying them much faster than I can deploy them,” The Hive Queen was adamant.
”Fine, I understand, I can wait” Vincent conceded.
”Why are you so eager to receive the modification Vincent?”
”All my life I have been looked down upon, not physically obviously but metaphorically, I have never been able to stand up for myself or had the confidence to try, and I have never been acknowledged for my work. I feel these modifications would be advantageous for my confidence and I see it as a reward for my years of work,”
”Yes Vincent, I see, you will have your reward soon enough, do not worry”.
”Thank you Queen”.
”Yes Vincent”.
Two hours later Vincent is standing in old ruin of a late twentieth century warehouse outside of the city, the Hive Queen has very little surveillance in places like this especially since many of the Queen’s policing forces are being deactivated by the humanist underground, or so called terrorists, incidentally the very same people Vincent is meeting. A group of three people approach Vincent and greet him.
”Are you sure it’s safe?” Vincent starts.
”Yes we have an EMP field interfering with spintronic transmissions for the entire interior of this warehouse,” the man at the front of the group explains.
”Thank you for coming on such short notice but the news I have to tell you will affect your plans drastically. I have requested to be put on the test subjects for the next phase of project Chimera, but the Hive Queen is using clones throughout the entire project until the final phase, and that might not be as far away as we thought.”
”ah, we thought something like this might happen, but don’t worry, we have a backup plan, if you are willing to continue to help our cause to the bitter end,” the man revealed “are you 100% dedicated to the cause?”
”Yes,” responded Vincent.
”You may even be killed, are you willing to risk your life?”
”Yes, if I wasn’t I would have backed out long ago, I have lived a long enough life, a long healthy life like our fathers or grandfathers could only dream of. I am ready to die to bring down that damned condescending computer that I have served unwillingly for far too long,” Vincent almost began to rant.
”Good, now let us discuss the plan”
* * * * * * * * * *
On the day of the seminar that Mack and Marina were invited to, the pair of them met up for lunch prior to the meeting that was to start in the early afternoon. Of course, Martian days are of a different length to that of earth so to avoid confusion, and due to the fact that the entire city is indoors, Martian days are timed to Greenwich Mean Time. Marina and Mack sat ate at one of the many eateries in the food court at the edges of the city. They sat at a window seat on the east side of the city and they had just finished eating when Marina noticed a light out of the window.
”Look at that Mack” she said “isn’t it wonderful”
the sun had begun to rise, the light shining through the fumes and heat distortion of the molten landscape, and reflecting off the chrome coloured heat dissipation trees, the star-scape still clearly visible through the thin upper atmosphere, to create the most beautiful sight Mack had ever seen.
”Wow, that is amazing,” said Mack, he had seen many sunrises and sunsets before, whilst working out on the domes, but for some reason this felt different.
”Do you think it’s some sort of sign?”
”How do you mean?”
”Sometimes I feel that a sunrise is a sign, you know, like a new beginning.”
Although Mack did not generally believe in that sort of thing, he did have a feeling about today. He took her hand and said, “You know what? I think you’re right,” They lent in towards one another with the brilliant orange red light smothering them in a golden glow, and they kissed.

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