Sunday, October 19, 2008

"FLI and the Illusion Generator" Part ii

Even on a Saturday afternoon the Dead Zone was alive with activity, though it was of a different sort. As the three moved toward the arena entrance they had to weave in and out of tables now occupying half the concert floor. The stage was empty but music still pumped through the speakers, driven by the old style jukebox in the corner. The crowd, as it often was, was a blend of Adepts and Norms, and nearly all of their eyes followed the trio on their march, as if they could feel the implied tension. Slo and Agony ignored the stares, focused on their goal, but G-Wiz nodded and waved at people he knew. He felt a bit like a celebrity the way they watched them.

They crossed through the arena doors unabated. As G-Wiz closed them behind him he could hear the noise of conversation rise beyond the heavy frame. “So much for being subtle.”

“I didn’t know we were trying to be,” Agony said, not focused on G-Wiz, but instead studying what appeared to be nothing more then a normal wrestling ring. His attention lifted and settled on the strange projector like device nestled nearly hidden in the rafters above the ring. He nodded, indicating the units nesting place, “What’s that?”

Slo stepped forward, glancing at the centerpiece to G-Wiz’s Illusion Generator. “Why couldn’t it just be lighting equipment?” Slo’s words were more a test then a question. Agony turned his head and just looked at him. Slo couldn’t help but smile slightly. The look said he would have to be crazy to think Agony would buy that. He turned to G-Wiz, still by the door no doubt trying not to get caught in the crossfire, “Show him.”

Despite himself, G-Wiz was giddy at the words. He found immense pleasure in showing off his creations, and when dealing with them he felt more confident, strong. He pushed away from his diminished stance and strode to the edge of the ring. He remained gravely aware of Agony’s intense scrutiny as he activated a hidden console and began loading the OS for his Illusion Generator.

Agony stepped forward, looking inquisitively over G-Wiz’s shoulder as unfamiliar lines of code blurred across the small screen. “What’s that?”

G-Wiz hesitated for a second, casting a questioning glance to Slo. Slo gave a brief nod, sending renewed waves of elation through him. “This is my FLI OS. It runs the Illusion Generator.”


“No, FLI. F-L-I. Fabricated Life-like Intelligence.”

“Oh, like AI?”

G-Wiz shook his head, a disappointed sigh escaping his lips, “No, no. Not at all. AI is…well you’ve seen the movies. Man gives computer a brain. Computer becomes self-aware. Computer kills everyone. This isn’t like that. FLI has no real cognizance ability. Instead it’s programmed with pre-designed responses to nearly every possible situation.”

Agony took a step back far enough for G-Wiz to see his quizzical expression, “What? That’s crazy. How could you possibly be able to predict every possible situation?”

G-Wiz just smiled, “If I told you that everyone would have one.”

Agony looked to Slo. He spread his hands deflecting the insinuation, “Don’t look at me. He won’t tell me either.”

Agony seemed to accept the answer and turned back to the kid. “Okay, so then what’s the Illusion Generator? I mean I can guess part of it. It projects images into the ring right?”

“Um, yes and no. It creates a duel environment, so completely realistic you won’t be able to tell the difference.” The scrolling code stopped, the system beeping to let G-Wiz know it was fully booted and ready to go. He tapped a few keys and the screen changed. He scooted over a bit and motioned for Agony to come closer as he explained; “On the inside of the ring we project one of nearly 1000 environments.” The screen flashed a slide show with varying vistas. “Each one perfectly real, functioning and reacting just like the real world. It even feels real.” He clicked another key and two figures appeared on the screen. They immediately engaged and began filling the view with an epic battle much like the one Agony had watched the kid perform at the Rooms.

Agony straightened and regarded the kid with a look of wonderment, “Impressive.”

G-Wiz tapped another key and the screen changed again. The figures were still present, but now they were in just the ring. And instead of the large-scale onslaught they were just wrestling. Excitedly and rather competently, but still just regular old wrestling. “On the outside we project a regular wrestling match. Its outcome and direction is determined by the FLI system based on what’s going on inside. So, a devastating blow might translate into a power bomb or something.” He clicked again and the images began to blur, blending into the real battle waging behind it. “Adepts can see in, past the illusion, but Norms can’t. That means we can have all-out, full-scale Adept brawls right in front of the ignorant public.” He smiled, standing straight, arms crossed like a proud schoolboy. He turned to see if Slo was as impressed with his lesson as Agony seemed to be, only to find his undivided attention was firmly on Agony. G-Wiz tapped a few more keys and the console folded and slid back out of view. He tried to shrink as he backed out of the place he least wanted to be, the crossfire.

When G-Wiz cleared Slo motioned to the small set of steps leading to the ring, “After you.”

"FLI and the Illusion Generator" Part i

Excitement coursed through him, anticipation dominating his thought. Soon, soon he’d be here. Agent Ham was true to his word and as a direct result Agony was on his way up. G-Wiz had seen him get on the elevator through the security cameras. Now he wasn’t sure what to do. His body was trying to tell him to run, to retreat into his room, but his mind wanted to stay. Morbid curiosity he supposed, but he had to meet him. Had to know what a man with his background was like. After all, he could handle himself pretty well if it came to it. At least enough to get to his room, and there he would be safe. Resolved to stay, he tried to appear natural; lounged in his chair, legs over the arm, system controller in hand, virtual combat blazing across the TV screen and through the speakers.

When the door finally opened he froze. He didn’t mean to, he just reacted. A deer in headlights, he watched as Agony entered. He was immediately struck by the size of the man. Towering, it was a wonder he got through the door without ducking. And muscle. Not that grotesque body-builder bulk, but lean, hard girth. Solid mass like a Mack truck. He moved with a nonchalant swagger, as if he’d just returned from some errand instead of walking in for the first time. Within a moment Agony’s long strides had him directly in front of G-Wiz. Wide eyed, he couldn’t help but stare.

Agony gave him a curious look; mocking, but in a way, friendly. It was a look that said he’d seen this reaction before and was a little amused by it. He seemed to consider the kid briefly; eyebrow’s rising, “Right.” His demeanor shifted as he turned toward the large TV screen, pointing at the cyber fighters still waging their epic battle, “So, what game you playing?”

The question caught G-Wiz off guard. This wasn’t at all what he’d expected. Agony turned his head with a questioning glance, willing the dumbfounded G-Wiz to snap out of it. A micron of composure returned to him. “Technically none,” he managed to say as he began to remember the controller in his hand. He tuned back to the screen, and instantly felt more confident, now in his element, “I’m testing environments for the Fight Club.”

Agony watched as the kid performed impressive and complicated combat maneuvers inside a virtual environment that looked almost real. He glanced over at him, “You’re doing what now?”

“Testing environments. It’s my Illusion Generator. It lets us—“

“Wiz,” Slo’s voice interrupting him. He appeared out of nowhere, but G-Wiz was used to it. No one ever saw Slo unless he wanted them to. “You gonna introduce me to your friend?”

The kid could tell Agony hadn’t seen him coming. His appearance had either scared or impressed him because he wasn’t friendly or curious anymore. Now he was cautious, watching Slo carefully. “Agony, this is Slo. Slo, Agony.” Agony took his eyes off Slo long enough only to give him a questioning scowl. G-Wiz shrugged, “I saw your file.”

“Wiz.” Slo said the name mildly, but G-Wiz could feel the warning in it.

“What?” It hadn’t occurred to him that the information was secret.

“What kind of name is Slo?” Agony interrupted, attention back on him.

“What kind of name is Agony?” Slo responded now returning the favor, attention locked on the larger man.

“Hell, what kind of name is G-Wiz” him attempting to break the tension. The two men broke their stare to give him a disapproving look. “I’m not helping am I?” G-Wiz turned in his chair, sitting in it properly for the first time and tried to appear invisible as he mashed slowly at his controller buttons.

Agony and Slo turned back, eyes locked, each measuring the other with a fierce intensity. Slo broke the expanding silence first, “What do you say Wiz, shall we show Agony what the Illusion Generator is in person?”

The kid turned slowly, looking to see if Slo was serious. Agony seemed to understand the implications though. He spoke before G-Wiz could reply, “You gonna show me personally, Slo?”

“That’s the idea.”

Like everything, Slo spilled the words like they were no big deal, but G-Wiz knew otherwise. He was picking a fight with Agony. Didn’t seem like a good idea to him, but then again he wasn’t the one getting in the ring so who was he to bitch?

Adept Tales 07...mostly

Adept Tales 07 is mostly done. The whole thing is 3 parts and I just put the finishing touches on part ii. I was going to wait and post all of them together, but since it's been so long since I've posted, I figured I'd give you i and ii now.

So here it is, part i and part ii of Adept Tales 07 ~Blood and Agony~ "FLI and the Illusion Generator"

By "here" I mean in two separate posts, one for each...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

To my four faithful readers

I apologize for the lack of updates. I recently got a new job and it's made writing time a little scarce. Things should be evening out soon, so bare with me. Adept Tales 07 ~ Blood and Agony ~ "FLI and the Illusion Generator" will be completed as soon as possible!