The Rains of Magen (3/3): Bits

It was raining on Magen three months later, the dismal, sleeting, heavy blatter that always came as the months wore on towards winter.

But the planet’s perpetual, churning overcast existed at a considerably lower altitude than the 995th floor office of Lyrith Kazesh, TriDyne’s Vice President of Computation. The bright sunlight streaming in the window from Magen’s unfiltered yellow-white sun, however, did nothing to ease the mind of Vark Reth-1928, waiting in the VP’s outer office while the future of his project – and more immediately important, his personal future – was decided.

*             *             *             *             *

Six hundred floors below, where the rain was beating hard against the outer walls, in the dedicated lab space allocated to the Project, Terek 318-1224 went about his business, emptying the trash receptacles and ensuring that document and media waste, and any discarded hardware, was properly routed to the confidential incinerators. He hummed as he worked, oblivious to the looks of annoyance from some of the operating staff – his clearance to work in the secured machine areas of the Project had meant a significant rise in per diem for a worker of his classification, and all was well in his little world.

*             *             *             *             *

All was anything but well for Vark, in Kazesh’s office above, receiving the VP’s tirade. “You received your present classification, and authority over the Project – not to mention your options – on the basis of your performance with parallel architecture machines. You assured me, and I assured the Board, that you could crack the proteome encoding on the — on the samples we recovered.”

“What are you bringing me instead? A fiasco. Nonsensical output, computations that differ every run, requisitions for replacement hardware? A two month overrun?”

“Last chance, 1928. Make it work. You have two weeks to make your pet cluster deliver what you promised me, or else the Project is scrubbed. And you go back to being listed among the assets. Now get out.”

*             *             *             *             *

And down below in the lab, where a cooling fan had plucked it out of the air and whirled it to rest between one golden leg of cluster processor 83-12-17 and another, a thin carbon film wound around a hair fragment shorted those circuits, flared to life just long enough to scramble a few bits of data, turning the results of a handful of operations to incomprehensible garbage, and then vaporized.

And elsewhere in the cluster, another.

And another.

The Rains of Magen (2/3): Hair

It was raining on Magen two weeks later, too, and the rain beating down on the starscrapers of Magen’s corporations and the mere skyscrapers of its stockholders flowed in rivulets and gushing streams down their sides, along the skybridges, and cascaded in waterfalls off edges and balconies, these waterfalls torn to spray in the wind to fall again as rain far below.  The shredded falls, in their turn, beat on the roof and windows of the housing block far below where Terek 318-1224 slept in the sound sleep of a Magen clone, undisturbed by the cacophony of the falling water.

Hour by hour, the bionanomachines within him went about their work. Within minutes of the ice sliver having melted in his neck, the released bionanites had found their way to their targets, colonizing roughly every tenth follicle on Terek’s head. And now, while the hairs fibers grew and slid imperceptibly slowly outwards, they went to work, plating a thin strand of conductive carbon film helically around each fiber.

A small, microscopic change, using nothing but natural elements of the body in barely detectable quantities; it was nothing that would alter the outward color or texture of his hair, but more than enough to fulfill its purpose…

The Rains of Magen (1/3): Needle

It was raining on Magen that day, the dull, persistent, sheeting downpour that beat down upon the planet’s surface for thirty hours of every thirty-one hour day. Except for those resident in the highest executive towers and the aerostats of the Stockholding Directors, rising above the permanent cloud layer that enshrouded the world in gloom and oppressive heat, the omnipresent rain was as much a fact of life for the residents of the Magen Corporate’s capital world as gravity and service deductions.

The rain beat upon the roof of a hotel near Magen’s primary starport, running down in channeled cascades past the windows of its rooftop café, opened in the hope of garnering what morning breeze there was.  And thus, too, it fell past the table where Rivis mor-Estaeum laid down the smart-paper with the morning’s financial results, and turned to leave. And in falling, its sound more than covered the puff of the tiny ice needler hidden beneath his jacket.

Twenty stories below, the rain fell just as heavily, slick with grime and fatter droplets washed off the edges of the buildings above. Terek 318-1224, one of the many Magen basic-labor clones waiting at an office checkpoint to begin the work day, slapped his hand to the back of his neck at a sudden, sharp sting, then muttered an imprecation as warm droplets found their way under the collar of his cheap bactry-plastic overcoat, shuffling forward in the line.

And as the tiny sliver of ice embedded in his neck melted away, a hundred thousand biological machines swam free, swarmed, and began to multiply…