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.”

1 comment:

Poetry Sue said...

WOW. I am totally intrigued. I love this story arc. I think I'm really going to like agony