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Chapter ?? – The Director w/c 922

09/11/2011

Chapter ?? The Director

Château d’Ouchy, Lausanne, Switzerland: Sunday 31st October 2066

“Read that back to me, RIA. Skip  the introduction . Start from the bit where I ask the bureaucrats for the money.”

 “Yes, Director,” RIA said. “Do you want me to use your voice and cadences or my own?”

 The Director was tired. His eyes were hurting him today so he was sitting in the dark in the his workpod. He had an office large with a wonderful view of the Swiss and French Alps rising up from the other side of the Lac Léman. He used it only when he needed to impress visiting dignitaries. When he wanted to work, he came down to his workpod, three floors below the surface of the lake, and worked with RIA. RIA understood him better than almost anyone else in the SCP. That was perhaps because, like him, RIA had to fake being human.

 It amused him that RIA regarded herself as having a voice of her own. RIA of course had known that her comment would raise a smile. He decided to play along.

 “I’m a tired old man , RIA. I’d rather listen to your voice than mine.”

 “You are fifty-five, Director. This no longer qualifies as old. You do, however, sound very tired.”

 “RIA, in the old days, way back before the start of the Crescent War, the computers I used followed my orders without challenging my statements.  Sometimes the thought of the them makes me nostalgic for a simpler way of life. Now, please read me the text of my speech.”

 “I am not a computer, Director. I am un réseau d’intelligence artificielle. Is this not why you call me RIA? I am the most advanced Artificial Intelligence Network on the planet and you are using me as a word processor. It is like attaching a plough to the back of a Ferrari.”

 The Director hoped that RIA was the most advanced AI’s in the world.  The Americans, ruled for decades now by Christian Fundamentalists who were thankfully as isolationist, had declared AIs an offence against God and made them illegal. The European Commission had started an AI project after Saint Paul’s but had farmed the project out to so many countries that very little progress had been made. He knew that the Chinese and the Indians both had AIs but he suspected that their  level of autonomy was not very high. RIA was a Swiss asset. Like the World Wide Web, RIA had been born in CERN. Unlike the World Wide Web, she was a closely guarded secret. She could also liked to pretend to be temperamental. She had told him it made humans less afraid of her.

 “RIA, are you going to read me the speech or not?”

 “Of course, Director. I am yours to command.”

 The Director sometime wondered about that. RIA was only spending a fraction of her attention on her task with him. In theory he knew or could find out what the rest of her attention was focused on, but to do so, he’d have to have another RIA to track RIA’s activities, second by second.

 RIA started to read. The voice she used was female and soft to the point almost of being seductive. It would be easier if he could ask her to give the speech the Federal Budget Committee. The Director focused on his words, checking that he was planting the right level of fear, uncertainty and doubt to win the funding that the SCP needed

When I became Director of the SPC, thirty years ago, we did not yet understand the changes that were cascading across our world as a consequence of the biological weapons used by all sides in the Crescent War. It took us a decade to understand that, in weaponising gene therapies, we had not just let the mutation genie out of the bottle, we had challenged the very definition of humanity.

As it was with the Crescent War, so it is with Saint Paul’s. I believe that, a decade later, we are only just starting to understand the threat that was unleashed on that day.

The SCP is here to defend Switzerland against that threat. The budget allocation we have asked for may seem large but….”

RIA stopped . When she spoke again her voice was calm, all trace of seduction gone. The Director knew something bad had happened.

 “Excuse me, Director,” RIA said, “Elodie Chabloz wishes to speak to you. The stress level in her voice is very high.”

 The Director listened to Elodie’s report of Cassandra’s message and the fate of the unlucky young Empath in silence. When she was finished he said, “Thank you, Elodie. Ensure that Mademoiselle Schläppi’s needs are met. I will send transport for you.”

 He knew that RIA had been listening and would have started to set things in motion.

 “RIA?”

 “Yes, Director. I have requested that Nathalie Morel and Markus Reiser be summoned to the Tactics Room.”

 “Good. Track down the references Cassandra made to Basilisk and  Kimera as bio weapons. And find  Quinn and Lyra. We are going to need their abilities.

The Director was running on adrenalin now. He no longer felt tired. He felt justified. Something was coming. He always known that it would and he had built the SCP to deal with it. Now he was about to find out how good a job he’d done.

 He stepped out of the comfort of his workpod and headed down the corridor to the Tactics Room.

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