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Digital Love (IC)


Tiffany Korta

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Slowly Amir al Misri raised an eyebrow as he looked at her, it was an artful expression one he clearly had chance to practice over the years. "You really did not read up on me did you? I keep several assistants, all of them are well recompensed, of the type that my schedule does not perturb them in the slightest." His tone was light, and he seemed almost imperious as he moved to the door, and pulled it open for her, and her friendly. "Fortunately I would imagine the perception of me will help you with this tact."

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  • 2 weeks later...
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“Of cause not, what do I know…†she turned as if about to move off then turned back, snapping her fingers “Oh wait Aisha say’s thank for the birthday present, Lindsey say’s Todd really appreciated those tickets and Hoshi say’s the flu’s better and will be back to work tomorrow. Personally I’d give her a couple more days.†She gave another of her smiles “You should know by now that I always do my research.â€

She pushed open the door to the business and held it open for him.

“This way sir, they should be expecting you.â€

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He looked at her a moment, and his expression was unreadable. It was something he was good at. Call it cultural, or something to do with growing up around high society. Whatever the reason, his poker face was good. If he had a retort he kept it zipped up as right now that bit of reparte was hardly useful for him. Instead he pulled out his phone and looked distracted as he did so. Stepping into the building, he acknowledged her, pausing a bit in the doorwar as he tapped quickly on his phone. Giving Camera Obscura enough time and space to step into the building.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Merge was all ready to introduce the pair as they entered the offices, she even had a had ready to greet the man the company had tasked to show them around. He however choose to ignore her and made instead straight for Asad pumping the man hand,

“Mr Al-Misri it’s a great honor to meet you, I flattered you wish to visit our humble little company.â€

Merge as mature as ever stuck her tongue out behind the man’s back, it must be strange for someone who was normally the center of attention to be suddenly shunted to the side-lines.

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Amir saw the flicker of her effort to reign in, to control the situation. He found her amusing, but now wasn't the time to goad her. Now was the time to focus on the man before him him. Smiling warmly, he took the man's hand and shook it. Even without his powers he was strong, but he also never played the war of who could squeezed hard. Eye contact, 2 or 3 pumps, and clean break. Merge was learning about Asad's main credo, Never let them see you sweat, ever. And one had to give him credit, he adapted to changes quite well, and at no point was it conceivable that he couldn't be in control. Even if he clearly wasn't.

"Please, please, I keep my ears out. And when I see people having interesting idea I do often follow up, schedule permitting." A small, conspiratorial grin then to the man. Amir was a charmer, but not overtly, he simple made the person he was talking to feel important. "I hope my showing up does not cause a problem..." Letting the sentence dangle, waiting for the reassurance that would follow, these kinds of talks were a game, a game he was good at.

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“No, no of cause not. We’re not quite up to speed yet. But we can only do basic simulations at the moments. But we should be able to provide a suitable demonstration.â€

He gestured for them the follow and led them along a series of rather drab looking corridor. He explained the basic function of the machine whilst pointing all of the various rooms of the business.

“The machine works by taking a snapshot of the brain, no mean feat in itself. We then strip everything out except the core personality. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds.†He gave a small laugh “Our aim is to create custom assistants with their own personalities, properly edited of cause, able to anticipate and even predict what the user wants and needs.â€

It was quite obvious to the pair as they were given the tour that he left out one room, quite a secure room with a complicated looking electronic lock. Merge caught Asad eye and gave a little nod, behind her was another Merge out of there guides eye line. She’d need a distraction to reach the door unnoticed however.

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Amir looked interested, or at least feigned interest in what the man said, and looked every bit the rich twit who saw some bit of shiny tech that he could buy up as a feather in his cap. But then, as Menage well knew by now, that whatever powers he had paled in comparison to him in the social arena. Without even trying he physically steered the man, via the conversation and shifts in his body language to move the man to where he wanted him to be.

"So, you make AIs out of people's minds? That sounds impressive..." His face showing he was pondering the idea as he looked off into the horizon, then he frowned and furrowed his brows, and looked back to the man. "It is not like that stuff Doc Otaku does, right? That is bad for PR, and just... icky." Making a face at the last word and the prospect of the slimy and villainous super scientist. Then realization dawned on his face, "Wait... you are making artificial intelligence, right? Not imprinting people's personalities on the other people? I can sell the board on one, but the other... well I would have to probably have to grease some congressional palms, am I right?" And then he laughed uproariously at his own joke and smacked the man between his shoulder blades, showing a bit of his unpowered strength.

Looking sheepish as he sees the other man move. "Sorry, been working out a lot recently, mostly my shoulders and back, it really has shown. Do you work out? I find that and exfoliating really, really help when it comes to soothing a troubled mind. Well that or some scotch, eh?" Another laugh, and another loud slap on the man's back. "Mmmm, well to the brass tacks, do you happen to have some sort of demo or something for me to interact me, because I will be honest. I am not a scientist, so I have to see things, not listen to theoretical mumbo jumbo."

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“Oh no we not allowed to create True AI’s, there just expert systems.†There was a slight waver to his voice, was he hiding something?

Totally ignoring what was going on behind him he lead them into the room where the machinery was contained. It was a rather unimpressive leather chair with a scanner like device attached to the top. Surrounding it was a much more impressive collection of computer equipment.

“We could do a scan of someone and do a basic simulation. Maybe your assistant here?â€

Merge managed to looked completely surprised “I’m not sure I think one of me is enough.â€

She was now standing beside Asad and had written something on the clipboard.

There is something the other me has found you need to see, wait until I cause a distraction. You’ll have to “convince" me to take the scan.

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  • 2 weeks later...

To his credit, he showed nothing as he read her little note, and he looked at his 'assistant' carefully, rubbing at his chin as he looked at her. "Hm, she is very good... Just climb in the seat for me. You are sure there are no side effects, right?" His brows raised as he spoke to the slightly slimy purveyor of this place. "Just a demo, I will have him delete the data, I just really would like to see it happen. How about another five grand on your Christmas bonus? Hmmm? That enough to help out with this demonstration?" Putting on his best charming smile as he turned towards his put upon assistant, putting a hand on her back and gently guiding her towards the chair.

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“That’s… that’s very generous of you. What do say?â€

For her part Merge played the part to its fullest.

“This thing it’s based on me own brain patterns?â€

There guide nodded to agree an offered her a piece of paper.

“If you’re happy to do this, I just need you to sign this. It’s a standard contract for the device; it gives you ownership of the recording. This is the basic contract; we won’t be able to use any of the data. One last thing, you don’t process any Metahuman abilities?â€

Merge managed to keep a straight face and signed the documents, before being led into the chair. The process was quite unremarkable, just a strange hum in the room and the clattering of computers collecting data. After a few minutes an image began to appear in the screen, the face was an almost photorealistic image and to Amir’s eye it look more like Merge herself than his current assistant.

Suddendly all sort of alarms seemed to go off in the room, and the few technicians began to rush around the room.

“There seems to be some kind of feedback loop, the simulation is somehow communicating with the host. That should be impossible there not even linked.â€

The Merge in the chair began to jerk around as if in some kind of seizure. Amongst this chaos Amir was, as planned, forgotten. The Merge on the screen gave a little wink at him and mouth for him to Go Now.

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Amir knew how to sell a lie. After all he was a skilled liar. Among other things. And he moved from the room back towards that suspicious door and the other Merge. He didn't move with any hurry, that tended to be noticed, he did move with a purpose, readying himself to power up if need be. There was so much electrical power that it wasn't really a concern. Though he wondered what else there could be. Of course he was stronger over all. And that kept growing, it was a little worrisome. But it was not something he troubled himself with too much. He just kept moving, until he rounded a corner and made his way towards her. This was going to get interesting. To say the least. Working with a villain, but then these people had done something unforgiveable, and he had the feeling from there that more was happening under the surface.

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One of the Merge’s was waiting at the security door to wave Amir through. He could also hear Merge talking with someone else in the room, someone who’s voice sounded familiar.

The room itself was filled with a massive array of computer equipment, all whirling and flashing away. His attention was drawn however to one end of the room, where the final Merge (that he knew off) was trying to calm someone else in the room.

That wall was however was clear of computer equipment, instead it was dominated with a massive display screen. Which was filled with a idealised face of someone Amir was very familiar with, someone who he’d thought lost a long time ago. The face looking down on them all was that of Angela Milan.

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Like a ghost, it was. He wasn't expecting it, until he saw it, and even then. Amir stopped, just stopped and looked up at her. Angela had been broken when he met her, it was a light casual thing. She had broken it off, probably because she had gotten then attention she had wanted from it. He didn't know what to say at this juncture, it was rare for him to be speechless. But then this wasn't a scenario no prior social interaction could prep you for. It was a singularly unique thing, and he just stared up at her, or the representation of her. And he was angry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The face of Angela smiled down at Amir.

“I know this woman insists that it was years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. We’d just had breakfast when I’d told you about visiting this place, you weren't too keen and you suggested we spend the rest of the day on something more productive. Like spend the day in bed.†Her voice had an slightly tinny artificial quality, but it still sounded exactly how he remembered her.

Merge with an unusual amount of tact touched Amir gently on the shoulder and she kept her voice unusually soft

“I don’t want to rush you but they’ve just called for an ambulance. It won’t be long before they figure out something wrong.â€

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He had no words. It wasn't as if they were a love of ages. Met at a party, sort of fell in together because he wasn't judgmental, he wasn't really Hollywood, he just liked going to the parties, to hobnob, and because at the time he was investing more in entertainment ventures. It had been easy, simple. It didn't take too long after her going here that it all started to fall apart. But this wasn't related.... it...

What do you say when you are in a moment where decisions made up until now can be called in to question. "You... you did not go there that day. It looks like you eventually went here..." His hands were balling into fists unbidden. "They copied you... your mind." And he closed his mouth, he tried to collect himself, as he grew angrier and angrier. A shudder going through him as this happened. What was he supposed to do? The Quran didn't cover this, no class on ethics could inform him on what to do. Destroy everything and consign her to whatever fate awaited her?

"Dammit..." the word came out softly, as he struggled with himself.

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Digital Angela looked like she was on the verge of tears and Merge looked like she was going to say something smart ass, instead she turned back towards the screen.

“It’s okay it’s just a bit of a shock for both of you. If I could just ask a few questions…â€

As she turned another Megre was on eh same spot, who guided Asad a short distance away.

“Look I know what’s this is like, but I think we’re short on time. You see there…†she pointed to a large metal case below the screen “…that’s all that’s running Angela. I’m not sure what he rest of this equipment is for, and that worries me.†Her voice softened a stage â€I don’t know if she’s a true AI or a really good simulation, but you need to decide what to do with her.â€

She held up her finger before Asad could answer and turned back toward’s the her by Angela.

“Tell Amir what you just told me, us.â€

Angela had a serious on, as if the information was important.

“There someone one else in her with me, I keeping her away but she’s starting to get really suspicious.â€

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  • 2 weeks later...

The look he shot Merge was angrier than she had seen him. She had seen him chest pounding and pontificating, but this was... different. He was mute, and if it he lacked his beard (impeccably groomed as it was) it would be easy to see his jaw muscles clench and unclench, then he moved to look back at the Angela, or the screen she was on...

"Go ahead, tell me more Angela." Focusing instead on who was in the computer with Angela. While he was also focusing on her, he was also working out what to happen next, his arms rising up crossing his arms in front of himself.

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Merge didn’t say anything, she just took a place in one corner of the room (just the one of her for now) and watched the pair of them.

“When I first… first came online I was aware that there was another presence in here with me. She’s meant to be keeping an eye on me; I think she always does security. It seems that I, the real me, took something they want back. They showed me…†she gave a little sob a strange sound from a computer simulation “…what I’ve become what I’ve done.â€

She was silent for a few second and when she spoke again her voice was a whisper.

“I, I don’t think I can’t hold her off much longer.â€

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A chair in the room on wheels started to roll towards him, and he felt his hands become balled fists, "It's okay Angela, I know you can't fight it, let her come. I need to talk to her anyway. I need to find out what the other you took" He said it softly, managing to keep the quake out of his voice as he spoke. His eyes on her, and smiled gently at her. "It's okay Angela, you didn't do those things." The only sign of his mental state was his use of contractions, but his tone was gentle. Of course he wanted to know what the hell these people were planning, were plotting. He wanted answers. He needed them.

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“If you think it’s a good idea I let her see you all.â€

The screen went blank for a few second only to be replaced with a idealized face of a golden skinned woman. She didn’t say anything but just gave a face of barely veiled contempt before the whole unit seemed to shut down.

At almost the same instant alarms stated to go off and the room was bathed in red light. Through the blaring alarms merge made her intentions clear.

“I’m guessing she’s not happy to see us. Normally I’d split at this point, but hey I think I actually almost like you two.â€

As she spoke from the ceiling dropped a large number or roughly circular objects around the size of a Frisbees. As they neared the ground they sprouted tentacle like legs and made their way toward the two of them.

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The robot dropped to the ground and began skittering towards the pair of them, as they did they split into two groups. Then with only the sound of the skittering of there tentacle’s they began to power up some sort of beam attached to a single massive “eyeâ€.

Whilst the droids were silently carrying out there attack plan Merge had used the time to multiply herself into a least a dozen or more copies. These began to attack one of the groups of robot’s most of her copies avoiding the burst of energy.

Meanwhile the four robots’ that had been assigned Asad as their target also began to fire there beams at him, most of them missed but one had managed to strike the hero. The blast didn’t seem to do any damage, but had a numbing effect on them.

“Well the good news is they only want to capture us, the bad news is if they do they have a way to find out what we were doing.â€

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  • 2 weeks later...

With Asad stunned the drone seemed to lose interest in him and instead focused their attention on the horde of Merge’s currently occupying most of the room. All except two drone which seemed to paying attention the box that contained the virtual Angela.

 

The other Drone and Merge’s were engaged in a flurry of fists and a blast’s of energy. For a while it was difficult to follow who was gaining the upper hand as new Merge’s seemed to pop up as quickly as them were taken down. Finally all the Merge’s were still standing whilst a single drone was still on it spindly legs.

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The funny thing was that whatever they were using to numb him was based on energy.  Something that never should be aimed at Asad.  He staggered and shrugged a bit, shaking his head while Merge was taking the fight to the drones, before white hot fire erupted out of Asad's chest, burning through his clothes.

 

"Done... Done... I AM DONE!"  It was a shrug of shoulders as he just let the power surge out, and filling the room.  Keeping enough of his wits about him to make sure it only harmed the drones.

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The two droid must have determined that Merge was a serious threat they left there work on the unit containing the virtual Angela. They clattered towards the herd of Merge’s there little beams firing wildly into the crowd.  

 

Some of the Merge’s seemed stunned, but the rest of them seemed fine and all seemed to converge on the final droids. The battle was brief and rather brutal and all was left was the rather smug army of Merge’s.

 

“Okay flyboy what shall we do next?â€

 

The room was still bathed in the evil red light of the alert, and it was unlikely the robots in the room were the only defences.

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He walked over to a wall, gliding a hand over it, above the light switch, and then his eyes narrowed, and he reached back and rammed his fist into the wall, his hand grabbing at electrical line and breaking it and getting at the electricity, and the he started to drain it.  He needed more power.  More.  He was angry, and to help sate that it needed just... more.

 

"Next... I am going to show them how equity works."

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