Thursday, March 31, 2016

Project Sphinx

Project Sphinx

Intel Breakthrough from the Core!

Sven sat in the busy cafeteria and was careful not to look right or left. He kept his gaze centred. His eyes would betray him, he knew it. Just sit here with your eyes forward and concentrate on munching your awful food!

Sven hated all this ‘cloak-and-dagger’ shit. He was desperate to tell his news. It was huge! He had to get it out - he was going to burst! But those who were indiscreet tended to lose their jobs pretty quickly.

And sometimes they lost more than that.

Just then ‘Big John’ sidled over and sat next to him on the bench.

Too close. Sven knew he was going to try to talk about something.

“Alright, Sven? How’s tricks?”

Just keep it short. Be rude.

“Fine. You?”

"Can't complain" said John, totally unperturbed. He seemed resolved to ignore Sven's blindingly clear signals.

The tubby man stretched noisily and scratched his groin.

There he is. That's what's protecting us from robot invasion: 'Big John, Pride of the Fighting CDF'! What a joke. No wonder everyone thinks the CDF are useless! I can’t imagine old John fighting anything. Let alone a robot!

“I hear they’re practically locking you boys up in the lab these days, Sven. You look like you haven’t seen the sun in months,” said John.

You have no idea, John! If you knew half the—No shut up, don’t say anything!

“Not talking, Sven?" continued John, "Well it must be something pretty big then! I’m just a grunt, but I bet it’s something you techies can give us to screw the robots, eh?”

Oh why not? Just tell him! He’s practically guessed it on his own, anyway. This isn’t a totalitarian state, for goodness sake!

“We’re decrypting a code...We…”

“Let’s go out and have a smoke, Sven”

“But I don’t smoke, I quit last—”

“We’re GOING for a smoke Sven, you idiot!,” John hissed at him. There was nothing playful about his manner now. He was darting furtive glances everywhere.

Sven sighed. It looked like he was going through with this after all.

They climbed up the stairs to the battlements. The night air was freezing. John closed the heavy steel door behind them. The clang sounded ominous.

Like judgement being pronounced.

“Go on mate, no one can hear us up here”

Sven doubted if that was true. He opted to speak in a low whisper.

“As I said, we’ve been decrypting AI code. Hundreds of us technicians. We’d managed to decrypt most of it. Then we got our hands on the Data Storage Units raided from the Robot Core. That was the missing link”.

John was dumbfounded. He seemed to know what this meant. Obviously not as stupid as he looks.

“I noticed something. Something about the patterns in the code. On one level it was like garbled, angry gibberish. A kind of dark, taboo language spewing out. Guttural. Cold-blooded. It was like glimpsing their collective consciousness or something. It was horrible and wonderful at the same time. I’d cracked the code! I should get a medal, John! We’ve been ordered not to tell anybody, not till the results have been confirmed, but..." Sven took a deep breath,"It’s called Sphinx: a new tool for collecting intelligence! We can hear some of what the bastards are saying, John. To try and predict their next move! Do you know what this means? Do you understand?”

John was silent. When he opened his mouth he only managed to croak out a single word


The two men stood silently for a long while, smoking and looking out into the blackness that surrounded them.

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