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Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:29 am
by Little Brown Fox
It's "red herrings". And I wonder who this hacker is? iirc, he sounded like a kid, maybe around Atom and co.'s age.

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:05 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
Thanks, fixed it. I hate it when the brain thinks one thing and the fingers do something else. Must be a sign of old age :-(

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:17 pm
by Little Brown Fox
If it is, then I must be getting prematurely old, myself. I make weird typos all the time; some of them don't even make sense. :T

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:09 am
by Tetsuwan Penguin


The hacker felt proud of himself as he entered the last line of data into his program and typed 'make'. The complex script started running as all of the dependences were scheduled to be built first, along with all of the libraries. The 14 year old boy yawned and decided to catch some sleep. It was now 4 o'clock in the morning and he did have school in a few hours. The program would take several hours to compile anyway, he wished he had a faster computer.

Robert's legs, and part of his torso were visible sticking out of the access panel in the bottom of the X-35's fuselage, while the rest of him was jammed into the aircraft's electronics bay. Working in the tight quarters of the confined space was giving him claustrophobia, and he was sweating profusely. Finally as waves of panic rolled over him he pushed himself out of the hole and crawled out from under the aircraft.

“Done?” Simon asked.

“Almost,” Bob replied. “Between my muscles cramping up, my eyes crossing on me, and the claustrophobia, I just had to bail out and get some fresh air.”

Simon opened the ice chest he'd brought along and handed the computer expert a bottle of cold water from inside of it.

“Thank's, I needed that!” Bob laughed.

Atom stuck his head though the access panel that Robert had just escaped from. “I'm smaller than you and my hands more nimble,” he said. “Maybe I could finish the work here?”

“Yeah, I bet you could,” Bob replied.

He spread the schematic diagram that he had brought with him out flat on the ground and showed it to the boy robot. “Here, study this wiring diagram. I've already marked in pencil the connections that I've finished.”

Atom quickly scanned the diagram and memorized it. “Got it!” he smiled sticking his upper torso into the aircraft's electronics bay.

“You might need this,” Bob said grabbing a pair of long nosed pliers, a wire stripper, and a few small screwdrivers; handing them to Atom.

It was dark inside the compartment but Atom's eyes were well equipped for the task, equipped with low light cameras and built in illumination. Normally he'd have used the IR illumination, but as he needed good color rendition to identify the various cables he switched on the white search lamps located in the white sclera areas of his eyes.
He worked quickly, following the wiring diagram that Bob had showed him. After ten minutes he had the last of the connections locked down.

“Want to double check the wiring before powering it up?” He asked.

“Oh, I'm sure you've done it right, Atom,” Bob laughed, “But yes I will give it a once over.”

Atom slide himself out of the access panel. Bob grabbed his flashlight and stuck his head into the aircraft again and he quickly looked around. This time, with only his head inside the wiring bay he didn't get the sickening feeling from the confined space and was able to take his time checking all of the wiring. Finally, Bob dropped back to the ground.

“Looks perfect,” he smiled. “Now we can power it up and let Isaac and Cobalt get the feel of her!”

“Reno Felix Guzmán!” The boy was jolted back to attention by the teacher's yelling of his name and the resulting laughter of his classmates.

“Yes?” he replied, sheepishly.

“Can you solve the problem on the board, young man?” Mr. Waxmann asked, for the second time.

Reno rubbed his eyes and looked up at the blackboard. “Sure, piece of cake!” he replied.

The teacher stuffed a stick of chalk into his hand and pushed him out of his seat. “Show us then!”

The boy marched defiantly towards the front of the classroom and quickly filled the blackboard with computations. He then tossed the chalk stick back in Mr. Waxmann's direction, “The problem actually has several solutions, but I only solved it for the most obvious one.” Reno took his seat with a smug look on his face.

The teacher had a look on his face of someone that has just been 'had'.
“Very good, Mr. Guzmán, your answer is correct,” he said, “But I'd still appreciate your napping on your own time! Perhaps you should spend more of your nighttime in bed!”

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:51 am
by Little Brown Fox
You misspelled "sickening". And for future reference, I believe that the whites of the eyes are known as the sclera!

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:58 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
Are we a biology major, or in medical school? Thanks for the catch, I'll correct that! BTW, did you catch the bit on the hackers identity? Not the same character as in the anime, but based on him.

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:19 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
Cobalt woke up and looked around him. He was sitting inside of an airplane hangar. The large door of the building was open and though it he could see the taxiway, and beyond that the active runway of the Air Force base. He could feel the thunderous vibrations echoing throughout the the structure as an old F14 Tomcat took off with full afterburners on a training flight with some rookie pilot. He tried to move his arms and legs, but instead got the feedback from the X-35's fly by wire from the aircraft's ailerons, and elevators.

“Where am I?” he asked, a strange version of his voice coming out of the cockpit voice synthesizer.

“Good morning!” Robert laughed. “Well as I promised your electronic brain is now controlling the the systems of an X-35 next generation advanced fighter prototype aircraft.”

“Where is Isaac?” Cobalt asked, “I thought that he was going to be running this show and I'd be just along for the ride?”

“Never fear, I am with you!” Isaac replied. Cobalt could hear his companion's voice inside of his own thoughts, and perhaps through the cockpit voice synthesizer and microphones as well.

“I've grafted a copy of Isaac's A.I. on top of your own, Cobalt,” Bob explained. “When he's performing the flight makeovers during the tests your motor interfaces will be off-line, but your sensory inputs will still be connected.”

“Gee, don't I get a chance to fly this thing?” Cobalt wined.

“You can taxi us to the runway if you like,” Isaac promised, “And if you're good, I'll give you some lessons and let you try some simple straight and level flight. I've already been though many hours of simulator practice, but you've never been behind the stick of an aircraft before.”

“That's OK.” Cobalt replied. “When do we start?”

“General Hayes will be here sometime after lunch,” Bob replied. “Why don't the two of you entertain yourselves in cyberspace till then?”

The Wagner apartment complex located east of First Avenue in the East Harlem neighborhood of upper Manhattan housed many families of Dominican descent. Manuel Guzmán, had emigrated from the Dominican Republic with his newborn son Reno shortly after his brother Alex had left to take a job in New York. Manuel's wife had died in childbirth, and he found it difficult to hold down a job and raise his son. Alex invited his brother to come live with him and his wife, the two of them were childless. The two bedroom apartment the two families shared in the Wagner house was crowded, but tidy.

All seemed to go well for them until the day that Alex's wife, pregnant with her first child went into labor. Alex was involved in an emergency where he worked so his brother Manuel took it upon himself to rush his sister-in-law to the hospital in the taxicab he drove for a living. A drunk driver on the East River Drive crashed though the center barrier and hit his his cab head on, killing Manuel and his sister-in-law instantly.

Alex nearly went insane after his wife's death. He started drinking and lost his job. The money he got from welfare and food stamps was barley enough to pay for housing and food for himself and his brother's son.

Manuel's now teenaged son Reno, already quite the computer nerd, handled his father's death by spending long hours at his computer hacking away. Despite the long sleepless hours he spent at the keyboard, Reno somehow managed to keep up his grades in school.

General Hayes arrived at the flight line promptly at 1:10 PM. His Air Force blue staff car pulled up to the hangar and was parked along side of the X-35 jet, just as a small propane powered tow vehicle was being attached to the plane's nose gear.
“Sorry I'm a few minutes late,” The General remarked, “There was a bit of a traffic jam on the NJTP.”

Bob looked at his watch and laughed, “As far as I'm concerned you're right on time, Sir.”, he said, giving the two star general a sloppy salute.

“Well, let's get this demonstration going then,” Hayes remarked. “I have a meeting with my staff scheduled for later this afternoon, and I'd like to report some good news.”

“I think we can accommodate you on both counts,” Robert replied.

“Good afternoon General!” Isaac's voice said, coming from the cockpit voice synthesizer.

“Good afternoon to you too,” Hayes replied, suddenly realizing that he was talking to an airplane.

“We're not going to do anything really advanced today,” Bob explained to the General, “Just taxi to the runway, do a simple low performance takeoff, circle the field a few times and do a few low passes and some touch and goes, then land and taxi back to the hangar again.”

“Sounds like stuff a green cadet would do on his first flight in a prop plane,” the General huffed.

“True,” Bob agreed. “But this is the first test of Isaac's A.I. in the cockpit, and my interfacing a quantum processor to the aircraft's control bus.”

“Did you disable the cockpit controls?” the General asked.

“No, they are still functional,” Bob replied, “I have a lock out switch installed in the aircraft, if you like we could put a pilot in there and in an emergency he could lock out Isaac and take control of the plane himself. But I assure you it won't be necessary.”

“Maybe not,” Hayes replied, “But I'd feel better with a pilot on board, even for no reason other than to monitor how well your A.I. performs from a pilots point of view.”

“That isn't necessary, you can monitor the flight from the computer down link attached to the simulator.” Bob replied.

“Even so, I've brought a pilot along with me,” Hayes replied, waving at his staff car.

Sitting in the back seat was a young man who couldn't have been much past twenty years old. He was thin and still had acne as if he was just out of puberty. The cadet was wearing a light weight flight suit, and was holding a helmet and breathing mask.

“That's your pilot?” Bob laughed. “I though you'd have brought along some Chuck Yeager type, not a cadet still wet behind his ears.”

“He'll do.” the General replied. “Cadet Smith has several hundred hours logged in the simulator, and an equal amount in actual jets. He's soloed a long time ago.”

Smith nervously climbed into the X-35's cockpit and strapped himself in. Behind his back, Cobalt and Isaac were laughing.

“Say Cobalt, you up to a little fun?” Isaac asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Let's see if we can get cadet Smith to lose his lunch,” Isaac chuckled.

“Still want me to taxi out to the runway?” Cobalt asked.

“OH YES!” Isaac said, “And make sure you have a heavy hand on the throttle and the brake!”

The ground crew detached the tow bar from the X-35 and the little tractor left the aircraft sitting on the tarmac in front of the hangar. Isaac went through the engine start procedure carefully by the book, and then handed the plane off to his co-pilot.

“OK Cobalt, we're cleared to taxi to the active.” Isaac then brought up an image of the base map showing the route along the taxiway from the hangar to their assigned runway.

“No problem, I won't get lost.” Cobalt replied as he revved up the engine.

As soon as he had full throttle, Cobalt took his 'foot' off the brake and the plane lunged forward. Cobalt immediately pounded the brake hard and yanked back on the throttle. He carefully repeated the actions, setting up a bouncing movement in the cockpit. Cadet smith would have been thrown out of the cockpit if he hadn't had his seat belt and shoulder harness fastened. As it was the belts dug into his flight suit and pinched him hard.

“OK, that's enough!” Isaac laughed, “I'll take over from here!”

The X-35 sat right behind the numbers on the active runway, waiting for the final clearance from the tower. As soon as they received permission to roll, Issac advanced the throttle. He kept the nose in a level attitude while the aircraft picked up speed, rolling along the runway.

“OK, hold onto you stomach!” Isaac warned Cobalt.

“I'm fine, but shouldn't you have given our guest a bit of a warning?” Cobalt replied

“I'll let him figure it out!” Isaac said.

With almost all of the runway now behind them, Isaac went to full afterburners and pulled the nose up hard. The X-35 shot up in a maximum performance takeoff climbing like a bat out of hell at an 80 degree incline! Once in pattern level altitude, Isaac leveled out. Although his speed bleed off quickly, a short sonic boom hit the ground, and the rear window of the general's car fell out!

“What the hell is your A.I. doing?” General Hayes demanded. “You said a simple take off, not a max performance tear out at Mach One!”

“I think Isaac might be showing off a bit for the benefit of your pilot,” Bob snickered.

“Just what I need, a robot plane with a sense of humor!” the General face palmed.

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:26 pm
by Little Brown Fox
You don't need to be a medical student to know what a sclera is. :T I haven't been a student proper for a while... And I'm really quite stupid when it comes to things that I need to know.

Also, yeah, I got it.

Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:39 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin


“Hey RFG!,” Juan Garcia said as he ran to catch up, “You really lucked out with Mr. Waxmann in math class today.”

“Not really,” Reno replied, shrugging his shoulders, “I already knew all that junk.”

“How?” Juan asked.

“I had to learn it on my own for the computer stuff I'm working on,” he replied.

“What stuff?” his friend asked.

“It's over your head, Juan,” Reno laughed.

“Try me!” Juan demanded.

“Well it has to do with encryption theory,” Reno explained. “I've been trying to hack into a certain computer network that one of my advanced search programs stumbled into. There seems to be some kind of, well alien cyber-intelligence lurking behind this heavily fortified firewall. The site is surrounded with honey pots, and dead end back doors. Must be some kind of top secret government research outfit, I'm figuring.”

“So why do you want to hack into there?” Juan questioned, “If a place like that catches you and figures out who and where you are, the FBI will throw you in jail, or maybe the CIA will secretly make you disappear!”

“You've been reading too many spy novels,” Reno laughed at Juan. “I've almost cracked my way in, when I left for school this morning my latest attack program was still running. Maybe when I get home I'll discover I've gotten lucky this time.”

“Well if you see a bunch unmarked black cars parked in front of your house, you'd better sneak in by the back way.” Juan suggested.

“I'll keep that in mind,” Reno laughed as the two boys departed to go their separate ways home.

The X-35 aircraft made a low pass over the field in the inverted position, and then pulled into a vertical climb and rolled back into a normal flight configuration. Isaac slowed the plane down, lowered his landing gear and lined up with the runway for a touch and go. His rear wheels had just barely kissed the ground when he applied full throttle and pulled his nose up. He leveled off in traffic pattern altitude and made two circuits around the airfield before setting up for a second landing approach.

“That looks much better!” General Hayes said, slapping Bob on the back.

This time the X-35 settled down on the runway and the nose dropped allowing the front landing gear to roll along the tarmac. “OK, Cobalt,” Isaac said, “You can taxi us back to the hangar now, only this time take it easy on Smitty there, I think his skin is turning green.”

Cobalt felt Isaac unlock his motor reflexes and he walked the aircraft onto the taxiway. This time he was gentle on the throttle and brakes. He did show off one little bit by waltzing past the tow tractor that was waiting to back the aircraft into the hanger. Instead, Cobalt drove the plane straight into the back of the building, locked the left brake solid, and gave the throttle a quick blast of power. The aircraft pirouetted around the left main gear, swinging its tail feathers about, nearly sideswiping the General's car, as he made a tight one-eighty turn to park the X-35 with its nose pointing at the hangar door.

“Nice!” Isaac laughed.

Reno bounded up the stairs to the fourth floor of the apartment building and inserted his key into the door. After quickly locking the door behind him he ran into the bedroom he once shared with his father and sat down in front of his computer. The program had finished its run and had dumped several pages of data onto the screen. Reno scrolled through the dump as he mentally evaluated each line. At first it looked like he'd struck out again, but once he reached the last line few lines of the printout his face lit up with excitement.

“YES!” he whispered out loud. “I've got you now, whatever you are!”

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:39 am
by Little Brown Fox
Reno strikes me as kinda bratty here, messing in things he knows he shouldn't. But mostly I have a bad feeling that he's gonna end up inadvertently harming someone, most likely Cobalt, given the state he's in now...