Alice in Virtuality

Alice in Virtuality by Norman Turrell Read Free Book Online

Book: Alice in Virtuality by Norman Turrell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Norman Turrell
Tags: Science-Fiction
girlfriend?" said Alice.
    Martin swung around to face green eyes.
    "Log out! Log out now!!" he typed as fast as he could.
    He cursed himself for being so selfish. He hadn't thought about what could happen. There was a brief pause, then green eyes was gone. The colours behind her started to change, fading. The ground below his feet was turning black. He turned back to Alice. A red mist rose from the ground, grouping into capillaries then arteries as it climbed. Alice's arms pointed out to each side, fingers outstretched to receive the rising tubes. She smiled as she drained the beauty from the glade.
    You bitch!
    He was angry that she was destroying this place, but he knew he couldn't fight her. At least he had saved green eyes. He logged out. Alice's face appeared in her application as the virtual world closed. She looked like she had that brief moment before when he had challenged her during his cleaning. This time it was sustained.
    "Ok you little worm, game over! I had high hopes for you. I gave you opportunities and you wasted them."
    Martin went to close the application. The clicks did nothing.
    "What? You think I am just going to let you shut me down? You are going on my bad boys list. If you won't play my way, you won't play at all!"
    She snapped her fingers. One of his news feeds shut down. She snapped again. One by one his programs closed. He had to uninstall her, terminate her at the core. In a terminal window, he listed the processes, looking for her signature. Her window closed as he swiftly typed the command Kill'. Immediately it restarted. Kill'. It stopped. It restarted. He knew a better way to play this game, but he had to be fast. First he changed the permissions on his terminal in case she tried to stop his access, knowing that wouldn't hold her off for long.
    Typing quickly and confidently from years of programming practice, the instructions entered set off a loop. Her program stopped, restarted and was immediately stopped again. Like a strange zoetrope her face flashed, changing to a demonically angry sneer. Finally it did not return. If he switched off his computer now his code prison would end and she would be free to return when he rebooted the machine. He would have to get onto Uno straight away. It was an emergency, he would phone him.

Chapter 10 - Uninstall
     
    Uno appeared at the door a couple of hours later carrying a black bag worthy of a house breaker. He smiled at Martin.
    "Having a bit of bother? Never fear, the Doctor is in!" Uno said.
    "Come in Doctor U-No." He was happy to joke with him. The power of the Alice program had been a bit disturbing but she was just a program.
    "I don't see what that app could have done. It was fine when I used it, but let's get to work." Uno had already opened his bag of tricks.
    Martin couldn't believe that statement, after what he had been through. Uno had the back of the computer open in a moment and attached leads from efficient looking boxes into its silicon guts.
    Thanks for this, said Martin.
    "Fy pleser," said Uno.
    Martin paused.
    "Right! I want to know what's going on."
    "What do you mean?" Uno said. There was a hesitation in his voice.
    Don't give me that, just spill
    Uno paused. "Ok, take a seat," he said, leaving the technology to complete its job.
    "I loaded Alice a few weeks ago. The prog is from HackerNet," he continued.
    "What!" exclaimed Martin.
    "Hear me out first. Alice is a learning program they obtained from the military. It needs variety of input to test out its potential. I tried it out some time back. When Alice has soaked up some interaction we suck up the output, uninstall and move along. I wasn't very impressed myself."
    "Not impressed!"
    Martin related his experiences of Alice. Uno sat back on the floor beside the machine as he listened, his disbelief apparent.
    "This is nuts!" said Uno when Martin had finished.
    "Not that I don't believe you, but I never heard anything like this before. It's pretty out there."
    "Just get that thing

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