Atlas flew behind the X-35, keeping the fighter in his sights. What do you want me do do Drake?, he asked.
Poindexter chuckled to himself, he figured that the computer module that Andy had build him should be several times faster than the one he'd installed in #27, and if the electronic signature that Atlas had picked up from the aircraft was correct, that was the brain that was now flying the robotic plane.
Your electronic brain and the one flying that aircraft are both based on the same basic design, but your's is more powerful, Drake told the orange skinned robot. See if you can connect with the A.I. in that aircraft, and maybe we can take it over.
I'll have to get closer to it, and they might spot me on their radar sensors, Atlas answered.
Just try it, Poindexter said.
OK, Atlas answered, as he decreased his following distance.
Even though Isaac had full motor control over the aircraft's systems, he and Cobalt shared common systems. What one of them felt, the other did also. They also had a common weak spot that they shared, as Cobalt's electronic brain had been the final prototype produced at the IBM skunkworks just before the laboratory had been destroyed and the principal design engineer abducted. The module that was now inside of the robot known as Atlas was, at its core, a carbon copy of Cobalt's, except that it had several identical processing cores, where Cobalt's had only one. Both processors operated on the same neural frequencies, so they could be locked in sync. The master would be the more powerful one.
Hey Isaac, do you feel a bit dizzy? Cobalt asked, I think I'm coming down with a headache!
I'm not sure the human term applies, but yes I am experiencing some mild destructive feedback in my logic circuits, Isaac answered. There seems to be some outside interference to our systems, I'm scanning for it now.
The radar display showed a fuzzy image blinking in and out a few hundred meters behind them. Cobalt, whose thoughts were more at home in the electronic brain that he and Isaac's now shared quickly recognized the patterns of the invading A.I.'s thoughts and realized what was going on.
There's an A.I. inside of a quantum computer module similar to ours that is the source of this interference, he told Isaac.
See if you can force our neural network to frequency hop a bit, Isaac suggested. Maybe you can hid us from him.
For a few minutes Cobalt and Atlas played a mental game of cat and mouse as Cobalt tried to hide himself from the other robot, but his brain wasn't quite fast enough. Still he was able to evade him just long enough to foil Drake's attempt to grab control of the aircraft.
Drake watched on his computer as Atlas got closer to the aircraft. No luck so far, Atlas replied, I can feel them, but I can't quite grab control from them.
Then you'll have to handle it the low tech way, Drake said, Knock out their control surfaces with one of your weapons.
That will be fun! Atlas laughed. His left hand retracted into his arm to reveal the particle beam weapon that Drake had designed.
Don't do too much damage, Drake reminded him. Just ground them!
The first blast from Atlas's cannon shot across the front of the aircraft. The white hot beam of plasma didn't blind the aircraft's sensors, but it caught Isaac's attention.
Looks like we're being chased by an armed drone of some kind. Isaac radioed to Robert back at the air force base. "It looks a bit like Atom actually."
Where are you guys now? he asked.
Just passing the Verrazano bridge now, Cobalt said.
Give me a hand, Isaac told his partner, Lets see if we can out maneuver him and turn about.
We don't have any real weapons on installed, Cobalt replied to Isaac.
I know, but we do have some small rockets with dummy warheads that might confuse him. Isaac suggested.
The two minds joined as one and they rolled into a tight turn, zooming down to fly just a hundred feet above the water of the Narrows. Atlas was caught off guard as Isaac hit the afterburners and the ground shook as the X-35 went supersonic as soon as it passed underneath the bridge.
WTF is going on here? General Hayes demanded, peering over Bob's shoulder at the computer screen.
I've got a theory, General. Bob said. It didn't make any sense to me that the mob would have abducted Any Verostic unless they were working with someone that could actually use quantum processor. One name popped into my head, and the theft from the DARPA robotics laboratory a few months ago seems to tie into this.
Poindexter Drake! The General muttered.
If Drake had Andy Verostic build him a quantum processor, he's probably put that into an upgraded version of that DARPA robot, Bob said, Drake had access to the #27 plans, which were based on Tenamann's blueprints for Atom. He could have created a monster.
Isaac and Cobalt flew the X-35 at the limits of its envelope. A human pilot would have blacked out during the high g turns. I can't shake him! Isaac muttered as they flew north over the Hudson near Mach one. Atlas's particle beam blasts were getting closer.
I thought you said my brain was superior to that one! Atlas told Drake. It's sure doing one heck of a job avoiding me!
Obviously Mr. Levinson's programming has the advantage of military flight experience that you lack, Drake replied to Atlas. Don't worry, I expect that you will be a quick learner. I can already tell from watching your down link that your flight reflexes are improving. Keep after them!
Isaac made a quick turn, and faced Atlas just long enough for Cobalt to release all four of the dummy Air to Air practice rockets mounted in the racks under the X-35's wings. Atlas's first reflex was to flinch and dodge the incoming missiles. As the first flew past him his vision detected the fact that they were dummies, and he got angry.
In the underground computer laboratory under the museum, the 3D monitor suddenly displayed Isaac's feed. Atom and Reno had been fooling around with some of Bob's simulation games when Isaac relayed the live images of Atlas giving chase. They look like they are in trouble! Simon said.
I'm going after them! Atom cried out, as he ran towards the emergency shaft connecting the laboratory to the surface. The tunnel was only a few feet wide with a long ladder leading up to the surface. Atom didn't bother using that however, his leg jets fired with full afterburners, and he shot out of the top of the shaft like an ICBM launched from a silo.
Atlas finally got a lock on the X-35 and aimed his cannon. He got one good shot out, hitting the aircraft in the tail. The plane's F119 jet engine flamed out, and the hydraulics went off line. Isaac and Cobalt fought to regain control, but the aircraft plummeted towards the ground.
Atom got airborne just in time to see the X-35 spiraling down towards the great green in the middle of Central Park. He increased his speed in an attempt to rescue his brother and his cyber friend, but it was obvious that he wasn't going to make it in time.
Cobalt saw the ground coming up quickly as his field of view was spinning. I think I can break our spin and pull up at the last minute, Cobalt told Isaac, we've got just enough hydraulic pressure left for one quick shake of the tail feathers
Isaac wasn't so sure. I don't read anything left in the systems at all, Cobalt.
Trust me, Isaac. Cobalt replied.
A crowd of people playing soccer in the middle of the green saw the fighter jet about to crash land on top of them and they scattered as fast as they could. Barely 50 feet off the ground, Cobalt used all the pressure he could find on the rudder, and pulled up on his elevators. The X-35 flared at the last moment and skidded across the field, leaving a long deep trench in the middle of the outfield before finally coming to a stop.
Atom landed next to the X-35 and yanked the canopy open. Cobalt! Isaac! you guys alright? He asked. There was no answer, the control panel was dark, all of its electronic systems were down.