Chapter 3: The Dark Ones

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     ¨You realize Janus is the most sophisticated A.I. on the planet?¨ Director Oliver posed the question.

     ¨She's a full Artificial?¨ Jonah said with some degree of amazement. ¨I know we were running some cyborg experiments for wounded agents, but a full A.I.?¨

     ¨She had limbs blown off, crawled to a med-bot, verbally initiated the surgical app, and managed to give the middle finger to the aliens of Planet X.¨

     ¨I thought she may simply have been running on pure adrenaline.¨

     ¨You're asking a lot of adrenaline.¨ Director Oliver says as the two of them walk down a long, pristine white, uninhabited hallway. ¨She is the only functional A.I. the earth has and those alien assholes wanted her.¨

     ¨That is another item of interest.¨ Jonah says as a green laser scans them for entrance into another section. ¨What are we doing in response to their hostilities?¨

     ¨Nothing.¨ Director Oliver answers as a smirk runs across his lips. ¨The powers-that-be are calling it a 'misunderstanding' and are choosing to use diplomacy.¨

     A door opens into a room filled with technicians, tiny drones, and floating, holographic computer screens. Janus is sitting up on a metal table as she is having synthetic skin applied to her mechanical hand. Easily overhearing their conversation she says, ¨Bullshit.¨

     "Bullshit it is Janis, but this incident is being called a unfortunate event due to lack of communication. " Director Oliver made clear.

     "Ok, Interstellar P.R. bullshit." She says.

     "We're using diplomacy on this one Janus." Director Oliver says with the empathy of a stone.

     "Those people had families." Janus says.

     "A galactic war with the people of Planet X would easily claim more lives. There is no telling just how advanced they truly are." Director Oliver makes abundantly transparent. "If you'd like, a full deletion of this tragic event can be authorized for you."

     She stays silent for a few long seconds and then says, "No. Powering down for maintenance."

     "She's full A.I.?" Jonah asks with bewildered astonishment.

     ¨Janus is one of kind, Jonah. There is nothing quite like her this entire agency.¨ Director Oliver says with a sense of pride. ¨A few agents have modified appendages and our Tech division only seems capable of making sex drones that are artificial masterpieces, but leave much to be desired in the intelligence domain.¨

     ¨No wonder why they were after her.¨ Jonah concludes. ¨Some of them had powerful psychic abilities. One of them had a clear advantage over me and, I must say, it was a first.¨

     ¨As soon as Janus is functional, the two of you are going back to the Yosemite area to investigate an unusual amount of disappearances.¨ Director Oliver says as he checks his paper-thin retractable tablet.

     ¨Just the two of us?¨ Jonah asks puzzled considering the last operation.

     ¨I must have failed to mention that Janus is like having an army at your disposal.¨ Director Oliver is almost completely amused. ¨We have every defensive and tactical program uploaded in cybernetic brain. Even she is barely taping into her maximum potential.¨

     ¨How do we justify not having more?¨ Jonah poses the question.

     ¨If we lost control or the enemy captured one-¨ Director Oliver pauses and looks sickened at the thought. ¨It is much easier to protect one than many for now.¨

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