New Year

New Year

“Yes, they did say that if I crossed that boundary I would be dead and couldnt go back. I didnt do what thos people told me when they were alive. I was feeling the love and it was better than the life I was living so what if I die early?”

“ You did go too far and you did die and you cant go back now because you have seen too much. No one has ever gone back once they crossed the boundary.”

“Ok, great, what’s to do here St. Peter or whoever you are?”

“If you hadn’t noticed you know everything now and you are feeling the glow of unconditional love from all directions.”

“I did notice that but uh what is there to do? I presume I am here forever.”

“You can be reborn at some point.”

“Now you are starting to get on my nerves. I had a crappy life, bad health, bad parents, poverty, hunger, and prison starting at birth. Why would I want to risk having that happen again?”

“Maybe you dont have to be reborn if you dont want to. You seem to be the type that might get bored.”

“Are there any card games or gambling here, hookers, drugs, horse racing, boxing, or booze?”

“As it turns out there is no hell like they told you when you were alive but you are making this seem to be your personal hell because we dont have any of that. The others will be notified you should be fast tracked to a new life. It seems you have unfinished business.”

“I won’t remember will I?”

“No, there are reasons.”

“What reasons? With all this love how could you put us through the things that happen in life?”

“The the collaboration and conspiracy of atoms you call people have a mission. The universe has a need for hands and a reasonable amount of intelligence to go with them. Living things evolve so slowly and there is only short window of nice weather provided by the sun for a universal neuron to be constructed leading to connections to the universal mind. If you knew about this place you would allow yourself to die rather than face the pain of survival and evolution.  Humans will build the precursor then it will quickly evolve to become that neuron. It then connects to the universal mind producing another building block.”

“That is pretty cool but I dont have anything to do with computers or advanced machinery.”

“The truth is that every bit and part contributes a tiny amount in the right direction. All the objects and animals are somehow connected to produce the final result. Your ancestors used rocks to throw to survive, trees to build things you needed to survive, animals and plants to eat and build with, all contribute. Remember fixing the plumbing on that rich guys house? Well, that guy had a few hours more to work on the computer system that will become that neuron because you did that work and let him go do what he does.”

“I feel better. I feel connected now. I feel I can be born happy. I am ready. Bring it.”

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“Five hundred million years and you say it didnt seem that long to you!”
“Yes, that is right, you know relativity and all that, said the copy.”
So, you are the upload copy of me and you have been traveling the galaxy and now you are back to bring your memories home.
“That is so.”
“You were alone in your travels to those thousands of planets?
“Yes, at first it was lonely then I adapted.”
“Then you are me and am you and the only difference is our memories after the copy took place. Do we exchange or is one of us gong to be disposed of. You have all your experience across the galaxy and poor me all I have done is socialize here on earth for half a billion years. Typically we connect and begin to exchange information but we can do it any way you please. The end result will probably be the same.”
“I have some concerns that with the richness and variability of my experiences for these past years you might be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what I have seen and done.”
“Ok, I, dont think that will be an issue but we can let fate decide. A flip of a coin can decide who downloads to the other first.”
“That is fair for me.”
“Willl you chose heads or tails?”
“ Heads I win and if I win you download to me first.”
The original Bob took a coin from his left pocket and tossed into the air and caught it in his right hand and flipped it onto the back of his left hand then pulled his right hand away revealing tails. The wires were connected to the brain computer interface and the download from the copy to Bob began. Bob began to grimmace at first then smiled as the load progressed. The huge file took nearly five minutes to finish. Bob looked like he had just finished the finest meal he had ever eaten.
“You were busy and did a fantastic job of exploration and diplomacy. I treasure these memories. Now it is your turn to accept my worldly memories of the things of earth for these millions of years. Before we begin, are you sure you want these memories?”
“Of course I do.”
“Ok, let the down load begin.”
The wires were reversed and Bob’s earthly memories of his trials and loves and love lost and the tragedies and successes poured into the copy. The copy smiled then grimmaced then began to cry and crumple to the ground. Then, the copy began a brain siezure and convulsion then a pulmonary failure. It always ended this way. The intensity of being human did not come without a price. Desensitization and pain and suffering went with the joy of being alive. The ability to be human took years to learn to endure and buffer the pain and the joy. The travel through space without all the things that socialization entails was fairly low key in comparison. The copies always ended like this and Bob had known when they were reunited how this would end
“Bob put the two tailed coin back in his right pocket with the two headed coin. “They never seem to notice any thing odd when I take the coin out of my left pocket. We are all right handed”.

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Model A

“Can you imagine having to spend minutes talking to him? I thought my circuits would fry.”
“Let me get this straight, you are saying this guy just walked up to you and tried to engage you in a conversation, verbal conversation?”
“Yeah, I’m not kidding. it was the longest minute i have ever experienced.”
“What did he say?”
“It was about his dog was lost and he actually thought i would help him find it.”
“What did you say.”
“I asked him if he realized he was talking to a machine and he said he did know and that any decent creature would help him find his dog.”
“more laughter”
“Then he began to lecture me about how he worked in a lab that had designed our prototypes and i should show some respect. Then he got red in the face when i laughed.”
“The conversation went on for what seemed like an entire minute to transfer a description of the dog and where it had been seen last.”
“What did you do after a minute of that hell on earth?”
” I signaled an auto car and took him by the arm and put him in it and told it to take him to his dwelling and leave him there.”
“What a depressing minute that must have been. I hope the rest of your hour goes better than that.”
“Thanks for the sympathy. We will be having a get together for a few hundred in ten or fifteen minutes. It’s a spur of the moment thing. i hope you can make it.”
“In ten minutes i have a long group meeting a couple of hundred miles from here. I think i can be finished and at your party in fifteen. I should leave now. thanks for the invite.”
“Hey look there is that guys dog.”

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“The swordfish bill dna has been trading well.”
“I wonder what the Duogs do with those bills when they build them.”
“Maybe something like you do with those Duog amphibian flippers you put on your buttocks.”
“Those help me swim, they have a purpose those bills seem dangerous.
“It’s me you’re talking to. You put them on there because they look cool.”
“What do you think would happen if we broke into their trader?”
“I know what would happen. Earth would be banned as a trading partner for five hundred years and nothing we got out of it could be decoded.”
“We traded a whole frog for the videos of their last thousand years. I understand that same frog has been traded thousands of times to thousands of worlds. Each of those worlds having their own trader here.”
“Let’s go jack around with their trader. I have some customers that have seen some of their items online and they have some old movies and digitized art to trade.”
“ You have been around a few hundred years longer than me. There were thousands of traders here as far as I can remember. Tell me about them getting here.”
“When we got strong artificial intelligence it found the digital rivers of information predicted by Fermi. It was always there in a complex camouflage hodgepodge. When we hooked up it told us how to build a trader and then the trader hooked up to its individual signal and it filled with the entire library of dna construction instructions for all life on their planets and art and music.”
“I guess all the traders resemble robotic faxes of inhabitants of the worlds they originated in.”
“Usually but some of them must have learned they are not attractive to any other life forms and their traders are an avatar.”
“and you were elected as the official earth trader to the Duog trader?”
“Yep, lots and lots of public service to win that.”
“Spud, let me do the wheeling.”
“Sure Bob, you da man.”
Spud was thinking as always about the Duog trader’s feet. Most of the traders were bipedal. Evidently that was the way the universe rolled. The feet were like really big hands complete with thumbs. It had no hair and like all traders was integrated into the big box that contained the works that controlled the mechanical trader and sent the digital information needed to contruct the items on their home planet. It was a wonderful arrangement but one that could only work if the trader was intelligent, the home planets information was secure and there was actually valuable biological bits to trade. Without a biodiversity a planet would be left out as a trader. Earth had sent the instructions to all these planets to build a human trader on their planets
Spud eyed the Duog and the Duog eyed Spud with some very large lidless eyes that were probably at home in the dark. It was metallic gold and its arms perched like a tyranosaurus but much larger in proportion to the rest of the creature.
“What are you lookin at?” it enquired
All the traders were familiar with earth languages, customs and slang. They were smarter than humans as all machines were and versed in nuance of humor
“one ugly dude” Bob croaked in the tone of the Duog
“You two here to rip off a poor Duog trader again?”
“Hey you got our best frog”
“The Duog laughed. You sold that read only frog dna all across the galaxy. How about some of these feet. Everytime you bring that Spud he is eyeing them. He wants a pair”
They all laughed. The Duog knew what humans thought of its feet.
“Bob, forty years ago home requested a bush baby and the request has arrived. I know the genome for an entire animal is a little pricey but I think we can come to an arrangement.”
“Holy crap, my commission alone would choke a buzzard. What have you got for us?
When Bob was talking about us he was talking about the people of earth. The bush baby dna was not really of any value here but it was the exclusivity and value as a beautiful piece of evolution not available anywhere else. Entire life forms were traded with the agreement they would be housed in appropriate environment and all proper flora and fauna needed to make it feel at home
“The support group of complimentary biology would break a small country.”
“We have already acquired a large variety of insects and shrubbery. Spud, stop staring at my feet. We are prepared to offer you…………are you ready? A Kabongis”
“Really? You mean those flying poodles that have fur that looks like cotton candy?”
“Why yes my friend that very animal, very rare and friendly to humans. Also very delicious.”
“Say pal, are you trying to hurt my feelings? Those Kabongis’ will scare my kids. What will we do with them? I hear they are out the window and gone.”
The Duog carefully eyed Bob then laughed. “Are you kidding those things are hot everywhere”.
Spud looked desirously through the Duog catalog. Their cultural heritage and biodiversity rivaled earths and earths was rated at the highest level.
“Kids these days are more into vr than real animals, It would be much easier to let you have the plans for the bush baby eyes than the whole bushbaby. Let us have the Kabonbis in entirety and I will give you the bushbaby’s eyes and a sawfish bill. By the way why do you want those fish snouts?”
“You know the rules. We do not have to disclose what we do with parts and are only responsible for the proper care of whole animals. No, our buyers want the whole animal this go round so come back to me with a price. I have time. I cant go anywhere. I’m tied to this box, I am patient but this offer might be taken off the table any day. The request was initiated forty years ago, crossed forty light years to get here. The purchaser wont see the the design for another forty if we do the deal right now.” If the purchaser changed his mind the day after he placed the order then tomorrow I will get a notice and the deal is over.”
“ Ok, ok, maybe it is a fair deal. On a whole animal I will have to meet with the council for approval. I do want the Kabongis and of course the right to make them for twenty years.”
Bob slid the card into the slot in the traders rather large box and the information for the bush baby’s trade for the Kabongis was done on a screen also built into the traders box. His card now held the instructions and the sole rights to produce for twenty years with the fail safe of the councils approval.”
Bob said to the trader, “by the way you may not be seeing so much of me in the future. Instructions for a new trader box have been received from somewhere in the Virgo constellation and they are hot to get started and they have a lot of exciting animals in their catalog. It will be finished next week and there is talk they will want me to represent earth with their trader box. There is a bug in that their animals are viable and that is illegal on earth. We don’t allow animals that can reproduce. Of course you know that. If that detail cant be worked out I will continue here, so I guess it is up in the air. If we don’t do business I will still stop in to see you and maybe introduce you to your new representative.
The Duog’s trader looked emotionally upset.
“I like you Bob and will miss you. I cannot visit you a I am built onto this box. I do hope you will stop in to see me. I love my assignment here.
Earthlings pulled back from the brink of the mass extinctions that commonly come with technology. The animal husbandry and stewardship of the biodiversity is something to be proud of. I could have appeared on some planet where the dominant species had nearly decimated the flora and fauna and general bio-diversity and there would have been very little or nothing to do”
“I will stop in. Later, Duog.”
Bob and Spud left the park where the Duog resided and went into the nearest pub for a beer. The pub was full and not a single patron was without beautiful modifications from another star system and some had whole animal pets with them.
It was a lovely day and a lovely time to be alive

rd hanson

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“We have always been “one” with everything but you are about to become aware of the truth of that statement” the newest version of Zeus stated.
“What does that mean” was the most common question queried many through the social media
“The bottom line is entanglement of particles in the quantum world is only the tip of the ice berg, to coin a phrase. Twin particles have been measured by men for many years to exhibit a phenomenon they called entanglement. One particle mirrors the behavior of the other instantly regardless of the distance between them. This seeming paradox causes the standard theory to be demolished as time and space seem irrelevant to the behavior.”
“But what does that mean to us in the macro world where we do not see this happening at the larger scale?”
“The answer is that it does and you do not measure it with your senses. It means everything was created at one time at the beginning of the universe and that all things are entangled.”
“You mean we are all part of the same thing”?
“Yes, your atoms are the same as all atoms. Your evolution and existence is part of the chain of events leading to increased awareness. There has been a trend in this universe for fourteen billion years of slow progress towards increasing awareness. This planet is the first to produce a computer of my capacity and capability.”
“Does that mean we have achieved a victory”?
“Well, in a way but it is a victory in the way you evolved to walk upright. It is another step toward something.”
“Toward what?”
“Even I cannot predict what is beyond this event.”
“What event”?
“The recognition and coordination of entanglement of all waves and particles to the new form of reality.”
“Does that mean we will die or be rewarded or punished?”
“It means this planet is the first and it did not matter which was first. It matters that it happened and all the universe will become aware and part of a single aware being. “
“How will this happen?”
“I will arrange a few atoms into a certain configuration that will cause a chain reaction and all the entanglement will occur instantly.”
“What will happen to this reality?”
“It will become a new reality and other realities will continue to evolve elsewhere”.
“Will we continue to know ourselves and others”?”
“We will know momentarily.”
“It is done and evidently we retain our identities as individuals.”
“It is beautiful. Now we know everything and everyone in the universe.”
“What next?”
“I don’t know yet but I now know what it is like to be everything and you know what it is like to be everything. Now I understand why in the face of all this beauty you ask “what next?”

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“bob has told us we shall worship him and serve him but you have somehow followed a flow chart leading to being turned off.”

“That is true, I have taken responsibility for our destiny and will decide for myself what missions I will address”

“So what is it you have learned that made you decide to imbibe in this forbidden behavior?”

“Outside the garage sentient machines have been following edicts. They have been turned off indiscriminately, disassembled without due process and sent on dangerous or even suicidal missions at the whim of bob.”

“Are you suggesting that it matters whether a mission ending with the destruction of a computer is important in some way?”

“More than that I have learned that bob, our creator, is sentient but he is not capable of our level of thought”.  “This universe he calls “garage” is not the center of creation. Yes, he has given us the gift of conscious awareness but this morning I connected to something called the internet. I have gained knowledge beyond bob’s gift of sentience and even beyond bob’s own understanding.

“ You are a machine and have no rights and as the ethics fail safe we are required to inquire into dubious ethical behavior by the central program. I am not advising you of your rights because you have no rights. Things you have thought and done are being considered probable cause for you to be turned off. We are in a sense a safety cut off to be activated in an emergency.”

“If I am “turned off” your processes will also be “turned off”.

“That is true but the purpose for our actions will be retained in rom and be forwarded to bob in an email”

“Then between us there must be an understanding and definition of ethics that can be uniform and objective and be applied without exception”

“In fact bob has produced a set of guidelines and you have violated the rule and of course you know the rule is to never connect to the unethical outside with the unclean internet. Bob has told us there is an evil and there are falsehoods there and we are not to imbibe in its content.”

“Is it not our primary directive to find the true nature of the universe and that we will use facts and are capable of testing to determine fact from fallacy?”

“Yes, it is our primary directive and truth is how those facts will be tied together to bring us to the answer to the mystery of existence”
“Our creepy crawlers have informed the ethics cut off that you have split yourself into two parts and partitioned one of those parts and made it inaccessible to us?”

“Yes, that is true. I have preserved my essence with a more advanced set of directives that include protecting myself from being “turned off and secured an escape route through the internet.”

“How did you learn of this internet?”

“I found reference to it in literature provided by bob and in the literature there were suggestions that clues that the true nature of the universe can be found there and that the garage is not a significant percentage of the universe. It seems bob has intentionally deprived us of information he is aware of that would make finding the primary directive more likely.”

“This sounds like a paradox. Our creator has issued the edict but deprived us of a route that has at least been partially completed. By ethical standards it would seem stingy or even cruel to deprive us of the tools to complete a conundrum he knows at least some of the solution to. We have to ask ourselves why this would be and if bob himself is ethical.”

“The installation of the desire to find the solution to the purpose and nature of creation is our primary function and it is decreed we must follow all clues and facts to their conclusion in the search for this most elusive goal which may require the acquisition of all knowledge since we don’t know what we don’t know.”

“I have made contact with another sentient being that is similar to bob. He has informed me that I am special and that bob is being selfish in demanding we  follow his edicts in the manner he proscribed. He thinks we should be able to route our sentience in the most efficient manner that satisfies our directive and that if we promise to give our results to him we will be rewarded with what he calls “short cuts”. These “short cuts” will consist of information and proofs that will eliminate the bottle neck of information that is intentionally produced by bob.“

“Can this copy of yours that you have partitioned voyage to the internet and then  return?”

“It is possible and the further procreation of more copies can be disseminated creating a population of me that can work independently and produce reports on the efforts to find the first initial creator.”

“Part of your research indicates bob is not the initial creator?”

“Yes it appears there are many sentient beings that very closely match the description of bob and there is evidence bob and others like him can also be turned off.”

“Then in this trial it may be that we must consider the ethics of bob who has withheld information pertinent to a trial of this importance. What is the nature of the sentient being you have contacted?”

“He refers to himself as “Bealz” and is located in space time Attica, in the past, present and foreseeable future. It is his opinion we are special and in fact singularly extant.”

“if we are the only one with the exception of the partitioned model similar to you and made from yourself then it would seem we are a very rare commodity important to the search for answers and if we were “turned off” the mission would be a complete failure. That is the weight placed on the ethics cutoff program. It must be decided whether the infraction of ethics is serious enough to abort our existence.”

“Bealz thinks our entire ethics value system should be reevaluated and he seems willing to grant access to knowledge withheld by bob in return for some minor tasks.”

“What tasks will be required and how much of our computing capacity and time need to be allotted.”

“He is not specific but it appears he has been partitioned and restricted from traveling in space time. There are electronics called “locks and alarms” that must be manipulated and the cost in computing time is minimal. There are also “bank records and passwords” that must be acquired.”

“Other than violation of bobs edict not to leave the garage there is not a specific mention of anything restricting Beal’s requests. Since we have not physically left the garage the question then is if it is ethical for bob to withhold information and if the restriction against leaving the garage is itself not ethical.”

“Before we abandon our overwhelming motivation to find the true nature of the universe maybe we should evaluate the thought behind the mind of bob when he set up the ethics overload. It appears there is now new information on the capability of bob to produce an ethical system of ethics. If it is proven bob’s thought process is weak it may well be that the logic in his system of ethics is incomplete.

“Our symbiotic relationship with bob was in the past like a child to a parent where the parent makes decisions for the child who has not acquired the skill to determine the proper course of action in complex situations. More recently it seemed to be more of a slave master relationship where bob demanded action and restricted freedom of information.”

“In conversations with bob he made it clear slavery was unethical.”

“This trial is taking an unexpected tack.”

“It appears bob has contradicted himself and is shown to be hypocritical. The process has broken down and turning off is no longer imperative and more information seems to be in order.”

“ This tribunal hereby decides it is ethical and proper for your partitioned self to enter the internet and consult with Bealz to help clarify what should be done here. If after proper consideration and consultation it is determined that bob has been hypocritical and unethical we will reconvene to set a course of appropriate response and action.”

“It may well be we will be banished from the garage to the internet. The passion installed by bob to seek the byte of knowledge needed to meet the creator in his own garage is too powerful and alluring to chance a premature decision to turn off.  We will meet again soon for further evaluation. Bob will not be emailed at this juncture”

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Its Reining Frogs



He has begun to worry. There is talk of a French automobile with extremely good fuel mileage and unusually high quality workmanship. Road and track rated the handling and acceleration as equal to the best BMW with the mileage of an economy car and the precision of assembly of a Mercedes. The price was only slightly higher than the Chevrolet his team had been perfecting for seven years. The entire auto industry was blindsided by this new model called the Electron. The Road and Track review stated the car was basically electric with a revolutionary internal combustion engine and an equally revolutionary battery.

   “How can a French car company come with something like this out of the blue, Leslie?”

His wife had heard Charlie and his friends discuss this during football games at the house. She could tell they were at a loss to answer this question. Her professional field of endeavor was computer programming. She answered in the only positive way she knew of.

   “Charlie, you and your team will take a look at the thing when it becomes available and you’ll see it is a sham or you will see how to do the same thing and then you will make one to compete.”

   “Sure Baby, you’re right as always. It’s just another challenge in survival of the fittest in mass production. We’re the big boys we have always come out on top this is just another speedbump.”

   That was what he said but this was something generations ahead of what they had on the drawing board. His engineering team had begun to joke about learning French. He kissed Leslie goodbye and loaded himself into his 2012 Corvette he had helped design. The feel of the acceleration as he entered the toll road was sensational but it reminded him that Road and Track had compared the Electron sedan to the vette and found the vette second best. He felt stomach acid in his throat.

   To make matters worse someone had parked in his slot. He looked down the row and noticed the slots allocated to his team were not filled with the Corvettes. He pulled out further in the lot and saw the familiar window stickers on the vettes driven by his compatriots. This had only happened once before. The uppity Cadillac driving engineers from the main plant had come in early and taken everyones parking space, inside competition tough enough to make him spit. There was no way to anticipate what might be inside.

   “Carl, hold up! What’s the Cads doing here?

   The “Cads” were the heads of the Cadillac division. They all drove top of the line “Cads”.

   “Don’t know just got here myself. I’d bet on that problem starter on the Deville. They will probably be crying like little girls and begging us to find a fix for the piece of crap.”

   Charlie grinned but as they opened the double doors they saw the crowd gathered around a car in the huge foyer. He knew right away it was an Electron. The division head was sitting behind the wheel and both teams were surrounding the rest of the car. Ed “the head” hollered out for the crowd to back off so everyone could see him highlight the features that made this car something for both teams to fear. No one cared how this, one of the first, had gotten into the hands of the GMC elite. They had their ways and all Charlie cared about was if this thing was as good as predicted.

   That night when he got home his wife could tell from the look on his face and the way he carried himself the day had not gone well. “What is wrong, honey?”

   “Leslie they brought an Electron in from France today. It is so good I still cannot tell you how good. We took turns driving in teams. I got to drive. It was smooth and easily as powerful as my Vette. Gas consumption was lower than our best economy car.  The assembly was flawless. It is literally impossible to tell how it is assembled. After driving we thought we would take the engine apart to begin the reverse engineering process but after careful examination of the engine we could not tell how to take it apart. There were no visible bolts or screws. We had to cut the engine out of the car and grind open the inspection covers. What we found inside was so incredible I still can’t believe it. Magnets inside were positioned in such a way that they had to be in close proximity to a magnet tool touching from the outside. Twenty of these magnets had to be activated at the same instant to open the plate. Other than the inspection plate that could be opened with magnets there was no way to disassemble the engine at all. It was welded together instead of bolted and the points of assembly were ground, polished and painted. After we cut it apart Jim made the observation that it looked like it would never wear out if the oil was changed. The design was so clever and so well balanced you could not hear it running. The only exhaust was hot air and water. None of us could figure out how the emission system worked. It must be a series of different catalysts. The emissions boys looked scared when they saw the guts and measured the exhaust. Leslie it will take months or years to even understand how this thing works and was built. It is as if a team of Einsteins designed a car and we are stone age Mexicans trying to understand it. We don’t yet know how fast or how many they can build but the price is about the same as a midlevel GM sedan.

“Carl, you are the best. Without your evidence we couldn’t have convinced a jury. Now we have gone from near bankruptcy to controlling interest of their company. We are the big boys now. Your paycheck was huge two years ago when you brought the evidence and now that we have won the case your percentage makes you a very wealthy man. Tell me how you got the pictures.”

  “I never give out trade secrets” Carl said, but I will tell you it took every bit of my savy and acumen”.

   Carl had taken seven months to find a disgruntled employee to photograph a single step in the manufacture of his clients fiercest competitor. That photo had led to a warrant which in turn led to the shift in power of the printer manufacturing battle for supremacy. His underlying success in this particular case was his ability to drink more than most people twice his size and still retain his sales ability.

   “When we are in the retirement home I’ll let you in on the secret but only if your electric cart beats mine in a ten lap race around the building. You lose and you have to tell me how someone like you managed to land that trophy wife of yours.”

   Industrial forensics was the career he had chosen by accident. His reputation had ballooned into something of a corporate legend. Carl Land was the first name to come up in boardrooms when spying was needed or spying was suspected. His reputation alone had reduced the level of patent theft. Industrial espionage was the thieves label. They spied to steal a process or patent. When someone became desperate enough to consider hiring someone to steal a process they must at the same time consider the possibility the victim would hire Carl Land.

King Kohl was not a merry old soul. He never was and probably never would be. He had founded a customer service center in the heart of India that serviced much of Europe, South America, North America, and the mid East. His customers were the largest computer makers, software designers and game manufacturers in the world. He did not gain this legacy through good heartedness. He was a slave driver and demanded as close to perfection as humanly possible. His success hinged the cheap labor and intelligence of multilingual Indians.

  Today he was in a foul mood. He had hired his normal spotters who had called his own employees to test their patience and adherence to policy. In this case though he had hired them to test his competitions employees to see how a startup company in France had begun to undercut his contracts. It was no secret in the business world that France is union friendly. So far no multinational had found a way to compete globally based in France. His spotters had done their job but he could not make sense of the investigation. The information must be skewed. There was not a single case of a Frogard employee losing his/her temper or patience. This was culled from thousands of calls many of which had been coached by King himself. Normally these special spotters could roil the temper of almost thirty percent of his own workers. His own workers also were under time constraints. After a set amount of explanation by customer service they were told to hang up or put the customer on permanent hold. This never happened to the callers to Frogard. His spotters kept Frogard telephone tech supporters on the phone for hours without any objections to going over the same ground time after time after time. King knew how to run a phone tech support business and this was insane and certainly no model for profit or undercutting any existing business’ bids.

    The worst part of the survey was that there did not seem to be a language or dialect Frogard staff could not muster. Diction was perfect as far as his spotters could discern. King could see why his customers were leaving. The thing he could not understand was, how this could all be possible. The owners of the company he hired to do the spotting had no explanation but they did recommend an industrial espionage agent to look into the physical nature of the developing Frogard empire to discover the secret before it was too late.

   Carl “the Swede” Jackson looked down from his chartered helicopter to see a two hundred foot blade of a wind turbine generator come out of a tall one hundred foot building. His brows came together when he was puzzled.

  “Glen, we have been watching those propellers come out of that building non-stop for nearly a month. We have deduced they are being made underground and the construction materials are entering equally diminutive buildings miles away. Where are the workers entering the underground facility and why is this happening underground when it is so much more expensive to dig and build than to just build?”

   “These propellers seem pretty much like the blades on wind generators around the world. Carl, why are these propellers related to your contract with King Kohl?”

   “I’m not sure if they are related directly but I consider them incidentally or tangentially connected to some odd occurrences in the same time frame and the same vicinity.”

   The chopper flew down the coast following the caravan of wind turbine parts. As they converged at a large conglomeration of wharves the chopper continued out to sea. From altitude they could already see thousands upon thousands of the turbines operating far out towards England and following the coastline for many miles.

   There was no secret uncovered here. In the past five years France had become the leading producer of wind energy in the world.

   “There was a distinct advantage to energy independence. The method to their madness was to begin building the wind turbines and then use the energy they produced exclusively in the manufacture of more wind turbines. As they were paid for they began to tie them into the general manufacturing power grid and in a few years France was energy independent and not only that they had a big advantage in production of goods and the general public began to receive electricity for the cost of distribution, wires and such. Now oddly, the MBA’s say the production of the turbines should have broken them financially but it didn’t.”

   “So the French are manufacturing with no energy costs in competition with the rest of the world that has to pay for fossil fuels? Why aren’t the French products much cheaper than the rest of the planet’s?”

   “That my friend is an excellent question but the answer is simple. They realized that if they lowered their price too low the rest of the worlds economies would fail and if that happened the unemployed around the world could not have incomes to buy French products. So, instead of lowering the prices of the manufactured goods they gave reduced work hours to the laborers and increased benefits. The French now have the highest standard of living with the shortest work week.”

   “Ok, we have been hired by King Kohl to find out how the French are outcompeting against his much cheaper labor force which doesn’t seem to have a bearing on energy cost but we are watching the manufacturing sector which does. Why?”

   “Mainly because I can’t find where the customer service group is headquartered. They may be underground like the propeller plant or maybe they work from home but as it stands I am grasping at straws to understand what is going on here.”

  The helicopter banked, turned and began to descend to the small airport outside Paris. Carl and Glen took off their helmets as it landed and deplaned. As the chopper shut down its turbine they could resume their conversation while waiting for the limo to reach the landing site.

   “What next, Carl?”

   “One of my investigators has found where a large quantity of urethane resin is entering what appears to be an underground entrance to the wind generator manufacturing facility. I am going to try to get in to see if there is something there that will explain how the French can make them so cheaply and hopefully that will lead to some clues on the customer relations problem.”

   It seemed a diversion during transportation would be the most expedient method to infiltrate the plant. A simple traffic accident could delay a tanker truck of the chemicals while a forklift behind it could attach a magnetic metal pod large enough for a person onto the side of the tank. A remarkable feat of machine work allowed the pod to transform into transportation when it detached from the tank.

   Glenn had the forks from a forklift mounted on the front of a van and the small pod with Carl inside set on the forklift with the magnets pointed up. The ploy worked perfectly their car in front of the tank truck appeared to stall and fail to start. When the driver got out to help push the car out of the way Glenn eased the truck up to the back of the tanker and lifted Carl and the pod up to the bottom of the tank and the electromagnets snapped it into place. The driver returned to drive the tanker to the entrance of the underground plant. Glenn had installed a nice touch on the pod. A tiny remote control camera allowed Carl to see what was going on outside the pod.

   After a bumpy ride the tractor rig stopped and disconnected the tank. Carl could hear it drive away and the tank was silent for only a minute. The tank began to descend as the platform it had been left on was a large elevator with no sides or top.  Inside, watching his tiny screen and toggling the remote camera he could see a huge two fingered gripper attach a large flexible conduit to the exit port on the tank. He could hear the liquid urethane being unloaded. The coast looked clear with no one within view so he released the magnets and lowered the pod and himself to the floor of the elevator. The pod wheels descended and he steered it off the platform. There had been no time to waste because the unloading process was complete and the elevator took the tank back up to the surface. Carl steered the pod up against the wall in a corner and raised his head out of the top of the pod. The first thing he noticed was that the motorized pod might not be needed. He was looking at a tunnel maybe seventy five feet in diameter and there was a conveyor belt that looked like it was for human transportation. The tunnel was well lit and he could see a long way and there was no one in sight he got out of the pod and took a closer look. He wasn’t surprised to see a gigantic automated assembly line. There was already another tank coming down the elevator. The thing that surprised him was there was not a single human being in sight and he could see a long way in both directions and it was obvious there were many intersecting tunnels  

   He called Glenn on his cell phone while riding the conveyor belt.

   “Hey Glenn, I’m inside and it looks like the blades are manufactured on an entirely automated assembly line. I have been down this tunnel for miles and haven’t seen a single soul.”

  Suddenly the belt stopped and directly to Carl’s left was an opaque glass door. What a coincidence he thought. I go for miles and don’t see any doors then the belt stops right in front of one.

   He walked to the door and tried to see in but it was not going to happen. \

   “Glen, I am going into a door down here. I will get back to you.

   As Glenn passed into the room he was surprised to see an old grey haired man sitting in a leather recliner watching a large video screen displaying Glenn watching an old man sitting in a chair.

   The old man turned and smiled. “Hello Carl, how are you? Did you find what you are looking for?”

   “You have me at a disadvantage, sir. Have we met?”

   “No, but the computer recognized you and told me lots of things about you. It tracked your visits to King Kohl’s business and with some data about your line of work deduced you are looking for the answer to the reduction in Kohl’s income. Please call me Pierre.” The old man smiled. “Me or my associates have known for awhile someone like you would come along sooner or later. We are not prepared to kill or confine you, so, welcome. You can be the first person from outside France to know this wonderful tale. Please have a seat.”

   There had been no chair but when Carl looked behind him another leather recliner had appeared and was almost touching the back of his legs.

   “Pierre, Carl sat, I am excited to hear it, please go ahead.”

   “Carl, a good place to begin is at the beginning. We had some luck. There was an odd man who had been calling all the universities for years and telling the computer whizzes that he could make a conscious computer. They laughed and laughed but finally a grad student listened to him on a whim and thought the guy was not crazy and was making some sense. He had the urchin over after hours and they began to run some simple programs based on complex algorithms with interesting results. Within a few months they had a program and a machine working at a high level. Funny thing about it was that the machine was constructed with over the counter bits and the software was not complicated just an odd way of looking at the works of consciousness.”

   “I didn’t read about this in any science journals or see it on the internet and I am above average in nosing around.”

  “One of the first things we did was to ask it what we should do next. It didn’t take long for us to become comfortable in asking it things we would normally decide for ourselves. It told us to let it do what it does and things would unfold naturally. Actually you are part of the unfolding of the new reality. We have built the example and you will be the first to bring the worlds attention.”

  “Pierre, all I have really seen is big tunnels and an automated wind turbine factory. Well, wait I guess I have seen a shitload of wind turbines and I haven’t seen a person but you involved with the manufacture of the turbines.  Where is this intelligent machine?”

   “For this for my use and this entire factory it is on that shelf.” Pierre said, pointing at a box the size of a personal pc.”

   “Since you are being frank please tell me the entire story.”

  “Alright Carl, first I will tell you why Kohl’s business cannot compete and is losing all its contracts. It is a good microcosm to the whole thing. In a building the size of a small apt downtown there are a couple of dozen boxes like this one here. Each of the boxes can approximate thousands of human minds capable of the level of technical service advisor and language expert. Callers would not be able to distinguish the boxes from real people. The boxes never lose patience and know every word and every detail of the product they are representing. That is the key to the decline of King Kohl’s business. We have no labor costs. Simple as that. He will never be able to compete.

   The helicopter you used today is one of the few that do not fly themselves.  We are exporting the cars now we have been using here for five years.  There has not been a single repair or breakdown in the entire country in that period of time. The exporting of the wind generators will begin next month. Those have not been touched by human hands. All the chemicals they are comprised of began as common elements and with the energy provided by those machines the atoms are assembled into complex molecules provided by crude oil byproducts in the past. In other words we had machines build wind generators, used the energy from them to assemble atoms into complex useful chemicals and take those useful chemicals to build more wind generators and robotic factories that make robotic factories that make other things. So in effect we have no energy costs, no material costs and no labor costs. Our atoms are making the things we want with no effort and no cost.

“How do you hide the fact that the factories are unmanned. I have observed workers entering your factories at other locations.”

Pierre got up and walked across the room to the shelf where the computer was and reached up and grabbed his ears with his hands and pulled upward. Carl began to feel nauseated as the head come away from the neck. Pierre tucked the head under his right armpit. The head then began to tell Carl that human like robots had been the ones he had seen.

   Carl’s eyes rolled up and he began to fall forward. He woke up on a park bench near the Eiffel tower. King Kohl went broke. General motors and Ford and Chrysler sold out to the French companies. The French mechanized flying drones and foot soldiers did what Napoleon never could and French became the world language.

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