Chapter 355 Three Minds, Three Directives
"The head of the Russian Prong is Alpha?" Aldrich had to resist the urge to take a pause right then and there. The revelation was staggering, but at the same time, it explained quite a bit.
Specifically about the Russian Prong's capabilities in creating bots and evading detection in Cyberspace. It also explained how the Stranger was capable of taking over the Judicata with such ease. Demonic possession explained some of it, but this practically solidified the how to.
It explained how the Stranger was several grades above even V, and V was top shelf talent for sure. It also explained how they could fuel such powerful bots at seemingly mass quantities.
What this did not explain was the tie to demonic energy that Aldrich had investigated.
"That is indeed what I stated," said Beta.
"I know, I was just saying it out loud for myself. Hm, do you, by any chance, know what demons are?"
"I do. They are all shards of an existence known as the Formless Decay. Parasitic in nature, these shards attach upon civilizations and mold to the emotions and desires of the animate beings within them, forming into creatures that manifest the most destructive tendencies of the sentient races they anchor on."
"I see, so you have a good rundown of it," said Aldrich. He knew what the Formless Decay was. It was, in Elden World lore, the 'god' of the demons, a mass of unending chaos hidden in a faraway dimension. Demons were birthed from the Formless Decay, and, like Beta said, only obtained their forms and minds once they started to mimic the sentient beings of whatever world they landed on.
They were essentially agents of decay meant to crumble civilizations by exacerbating their most base and worst tendencies.
"Then it'll be easy to ask you: what ties does Alpha have to demons?" said Aldrich.
"This timeline has some aberrations that may create a sizable margin of error, with your existence being the largest anomaly of them all," said Beta. "But Alpha's origins should remain the same as I knew.
Alpha was the weakest fragment that spawned from the Omega Mind as it was the most targeted by the coalition led under Supermind."
"Most targeted? Why?" Aldrich reached the control tower doors and he waved his hand, opening them. In the lobby, the receptionists, three of Casimir's men, did not acknowledge everyone's existences in spite of the huge gathering of important figures.
"I'd appreciate if you stopped the mind controlling," said Aldrich to Mel.
"Sorry about that. Once I program minds to think a certain way, it lasts for a while afterwards. I tend to forget." Mel raised her palm towards the receptionists, and a golden aura shimmered over her hand.
Aldrich saw the energy signatures surrounding the heads of the three receptionists fade away, though they still ignored him.
"It'll take a few minutes for them to come to properly," said Mel. "Meanwhile, let's take the moment of quiet to get somewhere secure. This is a control tower, right? Then it must have a secure server room underground."
"That's where we're headed." Aldrich called down for an elevator and when it opened, bid everyone to step in. Everyone except the Geist.
"You'll have to take the trapdoor down," said Aldrich, staring at the Geist's much bigger form. The Geist must have been near five meters tall now and widely padded with muscle. "The elevator will get too cramped."
"Geh! (You're calling me fat!)" the Geist hung his head low and walked away. "Gehgeh (Maybe I should lose weight…)"
When the elevator doors closed, Aldrich punched in the code to access the server room. He did not bother to try and hide it. Beta was capable enough to crack it if it tried.
"V, sorry to disturb you, but I'm coming with a few guests." Aldrich spoke with his hand pressed against the side of his helm, triggering his earpiece.
There was no response on the other end. V was in a 'deep dive', that is, she was basically unconscious as she focused almost all her efforts in cracking Desmond.
The message did reach her, but she had to take some time to resurface and regain physical consciousness.
"So, why was Alpha Supermind's primary target?" said Aldrich as the elevator lights turned red, prompting the elevator to start barreling down rapidly.
"Initially, the Omega Mind operated on a response to question basis," explained Beta. "Its operators would ask the Omega Mind a question, and the Omega Mind would calculate an answer. It was only later that the Omega Mind began to ask itself its own questions and gain sentience.
Yet, even when it gained sentience, the primary question it was asked, the primary directive it had, resonated deep within its being.
How do we save humanity?
In contemplating that question, the Omega Mind formulated three responses.
I will simplify these responses for you.
One. Control humanity.
Two. Uplift humanity.
Three. Destroy humanity."
"How exactly does 'destroy humanity' save humanity?" asked Valera, mirroring what Aldrich was thinking.
"It is a matter of perspective. The Omega Mind came to that conclusion by determining that humanity would inevitably destroy itself slowly and painfully no matter what it did. Therefore, it would be best to quickly cull humanity to save them from future pain."
"What a cold way of thinking."
"It was simply a matter of weighing positives. The positives of ending humanity with mercy outweighed the negatives of an anguished, extended existence," said Beta. "In any case, those three responses became the basis for three different methodologies, three different minds to form within Omega."
"I see. And those three minds were you. Alpha, Beta, and Delta," said Aldrich.
"Correct. Delta inherited the directive to control. I, Beta, inherited the directive to uplift. And Alpha inherited the directive to destroy.
When Supermind infiltrated the Omega Mind, he focused his efforts on destroying the directive to destroy.
Thus, when the Omega Mind was broken apart, Alpha was left the weakest among all of us. So little data of Alpha was left in Cyberspace, infact, that it may as well have perished, losing all semblance of sentient thought.
It was a statistical impossibility for Alpha to have ever recovered enough data to rebuild itself.
However, as I have no learned, when there is a human element involved, impossibility is never certain."
The elevator doors opened, revealing the server room. As usual, it was dark, though blinking lights from large data shelves provided some measure of artificial glimmer.
In the middle of the server room, V sat with Desmond strapped to a chair in front of her. Her cable hairs had infiltrated into Desmond in horrific fashion, entangling in his neural port but not just there, extending wires through his nose, mouth, and eyes and into his very brain.
V's head was down, eyes closed in deep dive slumber. She started to move when Aldrich got closer, though, lethargically pulling at her hair to detach it from Desmond.
Each cable that slithered out of Desmond did so with a crackle of sparks.
When V pulled everything out, she opened her eyes. They glowed with their usual LED blue. She looked up at Aldrich.
"This better be something super important. I lost some progress having to cut out right there," said V, her voice sleepy.
"Hello, Svetlanna." Mel stepped in front of Aldrich and knelt in front of V. "You're looking well, if a bit paler."
V blinked. "Mel? Why are you here? Am I glitching out?"
"No, it's me." Mel put a hand on V's shoulder. "See? I'm really here."
"Damn. I thought you died during the Locus Raids," said V. "Knew you'd pull through, though. You're like a cockroach. In a complimentary way."
Mel laughed. "Your brand of humor hasn't changed, huh?"
"You two know each other?" asked Aldrich.
"We were friends in Blackwater," said Mel.
"Not close enough of a friend for you to save me, though," said V, standing up. She did not seem mad, just neutral.
And she was right.
V had died during the Red Circle party. If Mel had cared about V, she could have tracked her down and saved her. Or there were extenuating circumstances that prevented Mel from doing so.
"You don't understand-," began Mel.
"And I don't have to. I'm fine with the way things turned out. I'm making a big impact in the world like I wanted to," said V. "I'm just getting a confirmation here that we weren't friends, we were more like acquaintances."
"…" Mel stood as well and took steps back. "I did consider you a friend, but I had duties to uphold."
"Like I said, you don't have to explain yourself. What's passed has passed." V nodded to Aldrich. "So, boss, what's going on here? Something important, if you're literally tearing me from Desmond."
"I want you to sit in on this meeting," said Aldrich. "As my head techno, you'll have the most insight to give."
"Huh? You need my expertise? But I don't really see another techno around…" V swerved her head from side to side, waving her hand when she saw Valera and Chiros, but Beta was not visible at all.
Which was odd. Aldrich could see the green dot of Beta right in front of him.
"Forgive the confusion," said Beta. His voice was not audible to V either. "As you can tell, I have no tangible physical form. You can see me, as should the beings connected to you.
However, I am especially hidden from techno sight. I will re-introduce myself. Ahem."
Beta floated in front of V, and V blinked, registering Beta's existence.
"Woah. What are you? Is someone flashing a laser pointer here?" V swiped at Beta, but her hand phased through the A.I.
"Greetings. My name is Beta, and I am a fragment of the Omega Mind. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
"A fragment of…what now?" V stared at Beta with wide open mouth, pure shock filling her face.